Chapter Four: Building Your House
Thoughts from the author that stood out to me during my reading:
* page 53, "'The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.' (Proverbs) Am I building my house or, God forbid, tearing it down?"
* page 53, (when thinking about the difference between the wise and foolish woman) "One is in touch with God's design for her life, one is not."
* page 54, "A house that is filled with 'rare and beautiful treasures' will satisfy the soul as well as be a place of safety and refuge."
* page 55, (reflecting on counseling children from dysfunctional families, she reminds us that their mothers did not set out to tear down their homes) "Though they had not planned to 'tear down' their home, neither had they planned to 'build' them."
* page 55, (for a wise woman) "What mattered is that she knew what she wanted to accomplish in her children's lives, and she had a plan for making that happen. She was commited to building her house. ... Begin to define your vision for your children: How can I develop their character? How will I instruct them in Biblical truth? How will I train them in righteousness and morality? ... "
* page 56, "The more clearly you can define your vision for your children, and the more specific your plan for carrying out that vision, the more confident you will become at the daily process of building your home. ... And if you are secure in your vision and plan, your children will be more secure because of your confidence."
* page 57, "The key to building a strong home, I have found, is identifying those foundational ideals that have eternal weight, and concentrating my building time on those. ... For example, two foundational principles of the Christian life have become increasingly important to me that I want to pass along to my children: to love God and to love people (Matthew 22:37-40)."
* page 57, "...even though I cannot always make them (her children) behave the way I would like them to, I can always do what Jesus did - speak to their hearts." This caused me to think about how Jesus would speak to Emily if He was disciplining her - do I imitate Him in my thoughts, actions, and even tone of voice with her? A good and challenging thought!
* page 58, "But it's not enough for my children just to hear me talk to them about loving God and loving people, they also must see me doing it, God will be real to them only if He is real to me."
*page 59, "There is a price to pay for building your home and family according to God's plan ... Sometimes, though, I have made the building process more costly than God ever intended it to be. ... I expected more of myself that God did. Consequently, I set unrealistic goals and higher standards for my children than God required. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that I burned out trying to pay a cost God never required. I burned out not because God was asking more of me than I could do, but because I was asking more of me than I could do."
* page 60, "Each day, my confidence and faith for building my own home rests a little less on my abilities and strengths as a mother, and more and more on His character and grace."
* page 60, "If I am ordering my life according to the Creator's design for family, I don't have to wonder if my house will stand or fall - it will stand."
* page 61, "He will build a home through me, and a testimony through my children, that will stand here on this earth, and throughout eternity."
Thoughts From the Living Word:
* page 62, "...the wise woman builds her family. She uses timbers of wisdom; she uses bricks of understanding; and she uses the mortar of knowledge. She is careful to use the best building materials taht will keep her family standing strong generation after generation. No matter what physical house they may be living in, it is the spiritual house that the wise woman labors hard to build."
Proverbs 24:3- 4
What does it mean to build your house with "wisdom"? To me, it means to build with God's strength, understand, and wisdom. Not leaning on myself to create a home that is what God desires, but relying on Him for the understanding and knowledge of how to do this. Wisdom comes to all who ask of Him and if I ask Him for the wisdom to build my house - He will provide it.
What is an "established" house? Established makes me think of settled, firm, not wavering, etc... It has been decided that this is how it will operate and the prinicples that will guide it, the One who will guide it.
How does "understanding" help bring that about? When I have the understanding of my need for God, I will choose to establish a home that pleases Him. If I have not come to know Him, I really will not see my need to establish a different kind of home because I will not realize the difference or the need - my understanding will be shaded.
What kind of "treasures" fill the house because of "knowledge"? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control - I am assuming this word knowledge to mean knowledge of God, His Word and His ways.
What kind of treasures fill your house? Peace, joy, contentment, love, kindness and a true appreciation for who God is and the many ways He blesses and provides for us.
What does it mean for the Lord to build a house? Pure motives and a right heart before Him really desiring that He build my home. I think it means a commitment to allow Him to build my home and a surrendering of my will and plans to allow Him to build. I also think it means that when I make decisions and choices that affect my home - they should be made in view of His word and His will for a godly home and family.
What would make your labor vain? Doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons or the right thing for the wrong reasons or with the wrong motives. If it is just for show or what others think - that would be vain labor. It shows a lack of trust in Him to work harder than necessary when sometimes we simply must rest in Him and trust Him to provide the answer and make the way clear.
Why are children a "reward" from the Lord? Children are His creation, children are an opportunity for correction and change in me, raising these little ones to know and love Him is a great responsibility and privilege that not only impacts my home but all they will come into contact with now and throughout their entire lives. Emily has brought such joy into our home with her simple contentment and overflowing joy and happiness, and I have watched her bring this kind of joy to even people walking by our cart in the grocery store. This is indeed a blessing and a reward. I have always thought it somewhat ironic that God speaks about how He grants sleep to those He loves and the blessing and reward of children in the same passage! It seems we miss out on regular sleep especially in the early days of children ~ but sleep is still important to God and it speaks to me that He will provide what I need and He knows and cares about what I need. Children are a blessing - so He will give me what I need to receive them and care for them!
How are your children like "arrows" in your hands? They can be aimed in any direction ~ what direction will I pour my efforts into pointing her towards? The way of the Lord.
What contemporary metaphor could you use instead? I am not good at thinking of things like this! I will be content with the arrow metaphor! :)
How has God "blessed" your home and family? There are too many ways to list them here - God has poured out blessing upon blessing upon us and our greatest desire is to continue to thank Him for these blessings and look actively for ways to share these blessings with others. From providing the home that we live in, the food we eat and clothing we wear, to the incredible gift of salvation He has provided us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
According to Jesus, how can you build your house to stand, even through the hard storms of life? By hearing His words and putting them into practice. This reminded me that when we moved into this house, we had to replace all the flooring. So, I decided to paint a Scripture verse on each floor (on the foundation) making the foundation of our home God's Word. Of course we cannot see it now physically, but I know it is there and the action of doing it has made an impression on my mind and heart.
What does "rock" look like in your home? The way we treat one another, being content with who we are and what we have, building our home on the Rock of Jesus Christ.
In what ways are you tempted to build on sand? It can be easy to get careless or lazy in memorizing Scripture, praying together, and studying God's Word. Even skipping our morning Bible Story during breakfast or seemingly little things like this can be a way that I am saying I am willing to build on sand.
Like the man building a "tower", what will it cost you to build your house? It will cost everything I have to wholeheartedly be willing to follow, serve and obey Christ.
What changes should you make in your life in order to be sure you finish what you have begun to build? I have been lax about Emily's Bible story time at breakfast, memorizing Scripture, and continuing to deepen my prayer life. It all comes down to discipline and choosing the most important thing as Mary did when Jesus came to her house and she sat at His feet and listened.
Do you know what you are trying to build? Describe it. A peaceful home that is inviting to anyone who comes in and where the aroma of Christ is a pleasing scent to all who enter. A place where my children and even myself and David are encouraged and nurtured in the ways of God ~ truly desiring to do His will above all.
* She suggests identifying one or two specific character qualities in each of our lives that we would like to work on. Determining the "cost" to build this character into our lives and taking one step this week toward paying that cost.
* She suggests planning a weekend family night. Using whatever building materials you have on hand (blocks, Legos, Lincoln Logs, etc...) build two houses - one on a pile of popcorn, and one on the solid floor. Eat the popcorn and discuss together Matthew 7:24-27.