Isn't that beautiful?
Psalm 128 was included in our marriage ceremony back in 1991 after the Lord woke both of us in the still of the night, just days before the wedding, and imprinted it upon our hearts.
The next day we were having coffee and shared with each other what the Lord had done. Each of us believing we had 'news' to tell the other, we laughed at how He had spoken the same promise to us on the same night.
There was no doubt in our young Christian hearts that this Psalm was ours for life. We read from the King James Bible which says the wife shall be as a "fruitful vine by the sides of thine house" and assumed it meant lots of children - but things have changed and I understand it quite differently now.
You see, this week whilst reading verse 3 in the New Living Translation I was struck by the word "flourishing" describing me within the home, and I realised that this wonderful Year of Gentle Domesticity is adding to that very transformation of my personality and life.
A wife is to flourish in her home in every way!
A home usually reflects the essence of the wife because the atmosphere is so often formed by her personality, which means life at home can be either good or bad. You will flourish or shrivel up, depending on how you choose to be.
Stop for a moment and think about what you reflect within your home.
Is it creativity, laughter, encouragement, generosity, nurture and love, or perhaps negativity, slothfulness, meanness and criticism?
For a few years I was a harbour of gloom for my family.
Life had dealt some hard losses, but instead of looking at the blessings of loved ones the Lord had placed into my life, and the streams of mercy He ran across my path each day, I had an attitude that caused my husband to say one day, "Can you stop being a martyr and let me help, please?"
I was gobsmacked, no response falling from my lips. Quickly escaping to the outdoors I sat down to process what he meant and why he would say such a thing.
At the foot of the Cross, rivers of tears falling over my chest, I suddenly saw who I had become - a woman who worked tirelessly and resisted 'help' so that her family would pat her on the back for her selflessness and unceasing hard work.
I had created an atmosphere of obligation on the part of my loved ones in the misguided belief that by doing everything myself they'd always love and appreciate me.
I did not flourish, my home was no sanctuary from the pressures of work or school, and my kids did not learn that homemaking is a privilege and a joyous act of love for your family, but rather a chore to be completed perfectly for praise.
My heart heaved with repentance and sorrow for my selfish and controlling attitude.
But you know, the Lord is good, and when we stray from the path His love carries us back with forgiveness and hope.
My transformation began that day and I grew in grace and joy a little more with each passing month until one day Blossom said, "Mama, you are a very different woman to the one you used to be. I've never seen you laugh so much, pray so much, and chill out as often. You're amazing and so beautiful!"
Even though she has always loved me unconditionally, now she loves being with me at every opportunity - she seeks out my company because I show her sunshine breaking through the clouds, grace to let others find their own way, the power of JOY in each day, and I have learned to stay quiet and simply listen while she unburdens her heart.
I also let her do my dishes.
And Mr E?
He works alongside me now and I never refuse his assistance. We laugh long and loud every single day, are each other's best friend, delight in being together, and are more in love than ever.
My home is my haven.
My heart overflows with gratitude and love and respect, and I'm finally starting to flourish.
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