Saturday, January 26, 2013

Proverbs 31 on the Farm? Part One

Proverbs 31 Woman
-she would have made a good homesteader- 

*I'm re-posting this from an earlier time, I am picking up this series again and thought I'd bring this beginning post to the top.  I'll have the next one ready for you soon!
 I'm sure most of you are familiar with in Proverbs 31:10-31. Verses like "she looks over a field and buys it, then with money she's put aside, plants a garden..."  Most of the articles I've read about these verses focus on the attitudes behind the verses.  But I think we can learn a lot about caring for our farms or families as well.  So I'm going to take a swing at this.  I'm not writing because I have some awesome wisdom to impart but rather it's written from the perspective that these are things I'm hoping to apply in my life. This first one is a lot about how we treat others but it still pertains to how we manage our homes and farm.

Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.  Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.
Proverbs 31:11-12

Even though it specifies a husband/wife relationship, I think the need for trust applies to us all.  Earning trust and being able to trust in others.
Webster's Dictionary defines trust as "Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something." and "Dependence on something future or contingent: Hope"

-Trust In Character 
For me this has a big impact in homeschooling our children and the impact my behavior has on my family.  We follow the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling and it stresses good character/habits.  So through my own actions I need to model patience, love and a desire to learn.  The way I conduct myself has a direct effect on my children, my husband, and others around me.  The way I act can encourage others to show love or it can cause a negative reaction to how I am acting.  We are responsible for how we act so I need to be aware of how my actions are influencing my family.
So do I model these?  Not really.  I try to.  But I get cranky and I lose patience.  I say negative things about others and I spend too much time numbing my brain on facebook instead of being outside or learning new things.  But I know I need to learn these other character traits and try to make them the focus of my day and how I act.  So I figure each day is another chance to try to do better and every night I pray that I will learn how to be more like God.  None of us will ever be perfect but as long as we keep trying we are building character.
"The  Will's function is to choose and with every choice we make we grow strength of character"
-Charlotte Mason

-Trust in Ability
Some of my responsibilites include caring for our garden, our livestock(chickens at this point), our home, our children and making wise purchases.  I think that "trusiting in ability" pertains not so much to natural talents or ability but in having the right priorities in order to learn or improve our abilities.  I need to make sure I don't procrastinate doing the tasks I know need done and make sure to put my efforts to good use.  I can also learn ways to do things better or more efficiently.  I like to subscribe to magazines or read books that help me learn more about gardening, farming or sewing and I'm hoping to take a poultry class later this spring.  And I consider it a personal challenge to plan menus and grocery lists that allow us to obtain healthy meals yet still stay within our budget.  I think this builds trust because my husband knows that I will take care of or make plans for the care of our home.  Although I still strive to improve in these areas.  My goals are to be better about staying within our grocery budget and weeding the garden more often!  (And to get our house more organized, but I'll cover that at a later time.)

- Trust in Strength
There is more than one type of strength. Physical strength, being morally strong, strength of character...  In order for my husband to have trust in my strength I have a responsibility to be healthy in order to be able to have the energy(strength) to carry out the tasks I plan to do.  Obviously I can do this by eating healthy, getting exercise and getting enough sleep.  But I also think it's importanat that I am emotionally/spiritually healthy as well. So whether I need to plan a time to read my Bible every day, to be by myself and take a walk or if I need some time to spend with friends these are just as vital as making time for physical health.  If you don't take the time to foster this aspect of health it's difficult to be motivated to care for yourself and others. 

-Trust in Truth
I've been reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and he says in the book that "You have to care enough to lovingly speak the truth, even when you would rather gloss over a problem or ignore an issue."  But he also adds that it's "not a license to say anything you want...It is not rudeness."  It is not spitefullness.  Being spiteful means you have petty ill will or you are purposefully trying to irritate or annoy someone.
This one is kind of hard for me.  I prefer the "ignore it until it goes away or someone else fixes it" method.  Also, I think I've become more critical ever since we have had kids.  Maybe it's the stress that comes along with it but I get irritated and I'm afraid I may speak the truth (or my opinion) but not always so lovingly.  And I think that breaks down trust and also initiates a similar response.  I need to remember this when I get frustrated with my family's actions and reactions.  If I want to be treated politely and lovingly by my children and husband I need to set that standard.  We are all responsible for ourselves but it sure helps everyone's attitudes when there is even one positive person in the group.  A friend shared this quote the other day, not sure where she heard it, but I like it.  "Just one word of encouragement can make the difference between giving up & going on. There is power in what you say; speak carefully."
I also like Ephesians 4:29  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

"She treats him generously..."  Ok, I'm not so good at this either.  Boy, I must have needed to write this because I'm learning a lot as I go along here, lol!  I tend to go about my day with an attitude of just trying to get things done, not necessarily out of a generous spirit.  Or I make decisions based on what I want, not thinking of others first.  I'm not very generous with my attention either.  There's always something I need to get done first.  Recently I determined to start spending more time together as a family and decided we should play cards together at night.  It would allow us to spend time together in a social way, rather than staring at the tv together.  But so far all I've managed is to convince my husband to play Go Fish with the girls so I can finish cleaning the kitchen.  I guess I need to be more generous with my time and attention...

I hope this has been helpful in some way. I'll be following my plan to write on the subjects in Proverbs 31 each month.

I'm participating in the Homestead Barn Hop!
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