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By Contributing Writer, Stephani
This past school year I led discipleship courses for young ladies at a local homeschool academy. A recent assignment required each student to submit a personal question they wanted to discuss during an upcoming class period. One fourteen-year-old girl submitted this question:
What are some practical things that a young lady can do to bless her family now—that will also prepare her for running a household of her own some day?
What a great question! Because this month’s topic at Visionary Womanhood is spring cleaning, organization, and homemaking, I decided to post our class discussion in answer to her question.
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Opportunities to Sculpt with a Ministry Mindset
If someone gave you a ball of special sculpting clay and a guide book with instructions to sculpt a magnificent vase, what would you need to do to make that vase?
Follow the directions and practice, practice, practice.
If you decided to make a football instead of a vase, what would happen? The ball would not be useful because the clay was designed for making pottery not footballs.
Isn’t the same true of God’s good gifts? Our homes and relationships with family are gifts to be shaped for our Father’s glory according to His Word. We will need to read the Word of God for guidance—and practice, practice, practice! On the other hand, if we choose to carelessly handle these gifts apart from God’s Word, we will end up with heavy, clay footballs.
Just as Jesus came to humbly serve others, we too are called to serve for the glory of God. But we need to put on “ministry mindset” SONglasses, available to us in God’s Word, and then ACT based on what we see. He gives the gifts. He gives the clay. He gives the instructions. He gives the ability to sculpt for His glory.
Practical Practices—How can we serve now and prepare for the future?
Helpers, Preparing to be Helpmeets
We can serve in a multitude of ways right now, while at the same time preparing to be helpmeets to godly men in the future. Instead of looking to be served, it is exciting to consider how the Lord may use us as we seek to joyfully serve Him and others – even in very practical ways.
Here are some ideas we discussed in class relating to practical, day-to-day, ministry mindset opportunities at home:
Organization & Cleaning
In our house we have closets, rooms, cupboards, and dressers that need regular TLC and organizational help. You too? Our parents are often more aware of the disorganized, cluttered, overrun areas of our homes than we realize, but often they just don’t have the time or help to set things straight.
When I jump into big organizational projects without input from my parents, things don’t always go well. I am slowly learning that humility and willingness to support my parents is a much greater blessing to them than a know-it-all attitude that operates according to my preferences.
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Although we still have much room for growth in this area, my family and I are finding that by having ready-made gifts on hand, beautiful gift baskets can be whipped up in no time! When we have unique, personalized gifts ready, we end up saving time, frustration, and money.
Welcoming new neighbors, celebrating birthdays, visiting families who are ill, blessing a family who has a newborn, giving hostess gifts, etc.. Possibilities are endless: knit/crocheted wash clothes, homemade soap, cookies, greeting cards, canned garden goods, fresh flower bouquets, framed Scripture verses, etc..
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Meal Time & Food Preparation
Growing up, I stayed as far away from a cook book as I was allowed. My mom gently hinted at the fact that cooking would be an important part of homemaking in the future. Still, I did not want to learn. My younger sister was a fantastic chef; at age 10 she was already writing her own family-favorite recipes. I told her that if I ever married, the only gifts I wanted her to give me were ready-made freezer meals. I did not want to cook.
Thankfully, in high school, the Lord began to chip away at my prideful resistance. I knew I wasn’t good at cooking, was afraid of failing, and did not look forward to asking for help again and again. By God’s grace, I now enjoy cooking, baking, and preparing meals for my family. Who would have guessed?
There are so many ways to approach this art: learning how to prepare healthy, yet tasty dishes, managing time in food preparation, shopping for groceries, making meal plans, preparing/delivering meals as gifts to families in need, understanding nutrition, shopping within a budget, hosting a family for a meal, setting the table beautifully, organizing a sibling pie contest, facilitating table conversation, improvising recipes to utilize on-hand ingredients, etc..
When clothing tears, a blanket begins to unravel, or a costume needs to be made, sewing skills come in handy!
This is far from glamorous, yet Jesus notices. Helping with family laundry frees our moms for other responsibilities, teaches us a very useful skill, blesses everyone with clean clothes, and causes us to realize why Moms ask little ones to roll up their sleeves when they eat.
What a wonderful ministry we can embrace! There are many ways to be involved: preparing for a guest’s arrival by cleaning and cooking, praying for them beforehand, serving them while they are in our home, looking out for their interests, and pitching in with clean-up after they leave.
Help Homeschool Younger Siblings
If we can learn to support, love and serve our siblings, how much better prepared will we be to serve and love our own children someday! What great training to be a Mom.
Be Flexible & Available
I am learning, often through trial and error, that flexibility, availability, and a teachable heart reflect greater love for God and my family than perfection in the tasks that I think are important around the house.
Character of the Heart
Be a Real Girl
What comes to your mind when you hear the word girly? Maybe you picture someone weak who sits around sipping tea all day, never gets dirty, and doesn’t know how to work hard. That is not the biblical picture of a real woman! The Proverbs 31 woman is far from weak.
As girls striving to bear Proverbs 31 fruit we are called to strength. Real girls are servants. Real girls are not afraid to do hard things. Real girls are willing to learn new, useful skills. Real girls are not embarrassed to serve with their family for God’s glory. Real girls love people. Real girls love God.
In Christ, we can embrace lives that radiate real love for God and people! If this is not our foundation, all of the projects listed above mean nothing!
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Sculpted to Glorify the Lord
By looking at life through SONglasses, we can serve with a ministry mindset in ways that matter eternally and will prepare us for future homes and families of our own.
Heavenly Father, would You cause us to carefully handle the beautiful clay You set before us. Enable us to shape our relationships with family and our time at home according to Your Word that we may glorify You!