A Dad’s Right

Have you ever had someone owe you something that they refused to give you? It can be pretty frustrating. Perhaps it is even something you really need! Moreover, it is ten times worse if that someone is close enough that you encounter them frequently. This is true, in varying degrees, for every one of us right now. What is it?

I marvel at how the creative genius of God designed the institution of marriage. God placed two opposites together in a lifelong covenant that is designed to represent the relationship of Christ and His bride, the church. The purpose of that union is to bring God glory and raise up godly seed (Malachi 2:15).

Into the man and woman, He placed intense inner needs, which can never be circumvented. Women marry for love and companionship. Men need respect. However, what is the husband to do if he isn’t receiving the respect he needs (Ephesians 5:22-33)?

Have you ever noticed a situation in the news or maybe at work, where either a group of people or an individual feels their/his rights are being violated? They will demand, get angry, petition for new laws, and do just about anything in trying to get this injustice resolved. The end of this militant campaign is that they are the targets of contempt by the others whom they expected to right the wrong. They appear to be a bunch of whiners and complainers.

So, dads, what do we do if we are not receiving the respect we deserve? First off, we obviously don’t turn to another woman. After a while, that other person would realize why our wives don’t respect us, not to mention we would be breaking a covenant. I believe the first thing would be to cry out to God and ask Him why we aren’t being respected. I think the answer will surprise us. We are receiving more than the respect we deserve! It’s true in my life.

Let God show us our failings, bad decisions, and tasks left undone. If He doesn’t show us enough, then we can ask our wives, as I’m sure they can give us some more ideas. The result–we will realize that we don’t deserve the respect God says our wives are to provide. Yes, it is humbling, but it will take the wind out of our sails and the fight out of our speech.

Of the groups or people we observe, the ones who are determined to fulfill their responsibilities and act according to the respect they desire are the ones who will begin to receive it. Maybe this respect is not fully the amount they think they deserve, but who among us is paid what we feel we deserve!

Now what does that have to do with home education? Everything! With our wives taking so much time and emotional energy to teach our children at home for us, they are under great stress. We will have additional responsibilities when we take on home education. Our wives become very discouraged when we neglect our responsibilities. Trust me, I know from personal experience!

Specifically, I believe we should first apply ourselves to what our wives need most, and that is love. Just as we often don’t deserve respect, they won’t deserve the full amount of love God has commanded us to give them. However, that is what is needed. It is ironic that with the additional responsibilities home education brings, our wives could be even less lovable. However, we will never love our wives if we allow ourselves to think about their perceived faults; they will never respect us if they think about ours. We are to give them what God says they need and expect nothing in return.

I believe when we concentrate on our responsibilities, of which the primary one is loving our wife, God is free to open her eyes to respecting us like she never has before. The result: peace at home, mama feeling loved, dad being respected, and the children learning and growing in a healthy environment.

Finding Quiet Time for the Lord

Last month in the Mom’s Corner, I shared with you a key to the treasure of spending time on the priorities the Lord has given each of us. This month I want to give you the key to our success in life as a woman, wife, mother, home teacher, neighbor, and Christian. This key comes from the key we talked about in September, but is of vastly greater value. Despite its importance, this key is often not used because there is not time; other needs seem more pressing. This, though, signals an even greater urgency to use the key.

What is the key I am referring to? It is “time alone with Jesus Christ.” There is a reason this key comes from last month’s key. For us to have time alone with the Lord, we are going to find we must plan that time into our day. If we choose to take it during a free, quiet moment whenever we can, we will probably come to the end of the day and realize it has not happened. We will decide to try again tomorrow. The cycle will be repeated the next day and the next day.

We are foolish women if we think we can get through our days the way the Lord wants us to in our own energy and strength. Where does our dependence on the Lord come from? Where do we get our daily manna? Isn’t it from our private time alone in the Word, in prayer, in memorizing Scripture, and meditating on it? I know how absolutely crucial this time is to me. Is my life busy and full? Could I spend this time doing something else? Absolutely! Is there anything else I could use this time for that would produce more lasting or greater benefits for my family or me? NO!

How, practically speaking, do you find time for quiet moments with the Lord in the midst of all the responsibilities and demands of a homeschooling mom? You pray, look at your day, and are creative. You make your quiet time a planned part of your day and remain faithful to it.

Does it have to be early in the morning? No, but I believe that is the best time. You start your day with your focus on the Lord, your heart seeking Him. If you have little children it is easier to not have disturbances if your quiet time is while they are still sleeping. Will it be hard to get up earlier? Probably. However, why make up your mind that you are too tired to get up and fear it rather than try it?

For years, I felt I needed eight hours of sleep to function well. I also struggled regularly with long sleepless nights. About a year ago I changed to seven hours of sleep at night with a short rest in the afternoon. It has been wonderful. I sleep great at night. Had you told me two years ago that I would have to survive on seven hours of sleep a day, I would have been sure I could never make it.

There have been times when early morning devotions did not work out for me. Did that mean I stopped having devotions? No! I planned time during the little ones’ afternoon naps for that time with the Lord. It was a part of my day just like making dinner was.

Another common feeling about time with the Lord is that you barely get started with fifteen minutes or a half hour, so, why bother? Why not wait until you can find the large amount of time you really want? The reason is that day after day will go by when you never find an hour to spend with the Lord. How much better to consistently, day after day, spend a half hour with the Lord, finding it adds up to three and a half hours a week, than to always look for the hour or two that never appear.

Steve and I go to bed at 10:30 p.m., and the alarm clock goes off at 5:25 a.m. I go in to nurse Mary and then have a half-hour devotion before family morning Bible time at 6:25. I spend ten minutes reading a chapter in the Bible, picking a verse that is meaningful to me, copying it in a notebook, and writing a short prayer concerning it. Then I have the next ten minutes for memorizing Scripture and doing a study on the verse I am working on. The last ten minutes is my prayer time. Could I easily spend more time? Without a doubt! However, I am grateful to spend the time I have and offer it to the Lord for Him to use.

This summer I was battling discouragement over some issues with the children. By early afternoon, I felt like my hands were dragging on the ground. I was so worn out from dealing with these issues! As I was bemoaning my discouragement while sewing one day, the Lord showed me that I needed to spend extra time with Him. My unhappiness with the situations and stewing over them produced no benefit, only negative consequences for my family and me, as I moped around. However, turning those needs to Jesus Christ, the One Who carries our burdens, provides peace and rest through trials, and has direction for working through those difficulties, would produce benefit. I began getting out my spiritual notebook and getting on my knees at 2:00 p.m. each afternoon for another half hour. That extra time with the Lord was like a banquet to a starving person!

Here is a story I think we can all relate to. “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

Our lives as wives, mothers, and home teachers are filled with Martha activities. Let us not give up what Jesus Himself says is better. The foundation for everything you do in and out of your home grows from your relationship with Jesus. Plan that time with Him every day. Be faithful to it. Use the key that will give you the desires of your heart.