Editor's note: This article was originally published on Nicole Burkholder's blog, 365(ish) Days of Pinterest. It has been republished here with permission.
On Wednesday night, we had a special meeting with the theme "Building Your Home." Pastor Ernie Merritt spoke to the men and boys and his wife, Melissa, spoke to the ladies. The focus of the meeting was on practical ways to build a godly home. Her points were so good, I promise! But for the life of me, I can't remember them, even though they were alliterated with the letter "C" for easy memory. My brother said it was probably something like Crying, Cowardice, Cackling, Craziness and Criticizing. He's so helpful. I remember the overall gist of the night, so, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, ""lemme sum up."
Cultivate a strong relationship with Christ
You can't even begin to hope your children will "turn out" and your daily life will go the way it should if you are not actively cultivating your relationship with Christ. This begins with salvation, but goes beyond that as well. Are you spending time reading your Bible each day? Do you remain in an attitude of prayer throughout the day, communing with Christ? You can't be the role model you need to be if you don't have a healthy relationship with Him. And yes, it's a relationship, not a list of do's and don'ts that you check off each day.
Cherish your husband and children
""in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish"" We make that vow, but do we know what it means? Cherish is defined to hold or treat as dear, to feel love for; to care for tenderly, nurture. I've written many times about ways to cherish your husband specifically, so we won't go into that today. But take a step back and evaluate your behavior toward your husband. Would he say that you cherish him? Try to incorporate deliberate acts of love toward your husband each day. We all say "I love you" but do you show it?
And what about your children? Do you treat them as a burden and an inconvenience? Trust me, I know it's hard some days. I count down to bedtime regularly. But we are growing and nurturing people! The next generation of humanity! They are a wonderful gift! Think of the childless people in the world longing for the opportunity that we often take for granted.
By the way, caring for and nurturing someone means giving them what they need, not just what they want. Feed them, put a roof over their heads, clothe them, and discipline them. Yes, discipline. Because loving them is giving them what they need, not just what they want. And no child wants to be disciplined, but all of them sure need it!
Care for your house
If you ever read Proverbs 31, you know that lady was BUSY! She wasn't just sitting at home barefoot and pregnant, either. She was industrious, she was financially savvy, and her household was well cared for. Caring for your house doesn't just mean keeping it neat and tidy. It means creating a welcoming environment for your family. It means keeping track of doctors' appointments, organizing school work, shopping, cooking, cleaning " and the list goes on and on. It's hard to "build your house" if you don't, you know, take care of it!
Control your speech
Watch out, it's about to get real here, folks! The fastest way you can tear down the home you are trying to build is to open your big mouth! Speaking in a negative way about your husband to other people, or even worse, in front of your children will NEVER do any good. Ever. Lashing out in anger and irritation when your toddler spills food all over the couch leaves a mark that can't ever be taken away.
Again, I go back to the Proverbs 31 woman here "" and in her tongue is the law of kindness." Can that be said about you? This hit me right between the eyes the other night. Right before church, I was SO frustrated with all the kids for various reasons, and I began to take it out on everyone with my tongue. My tone was angry and my voice was raised. And I hate the way my kids' faces looked while I was yelling at them. Did I really expect my barely 2-year-old son to clean up an entire puzzle he dumped on the floor without supervision? Leaving him to clean it up and then being angry when he picked it up and dumped it all out again was foolish of me. He's being 2. That's what they do. If I expect obedience, I need to stick around and train him. Instead, I yelled at him and then sent his father in to deal with the mess. Oops. Control your speech, Nicole. OK! Lesson learned.
I hope this has been as helpful to you as it was to me. There's nothing new being said here, but it just helps to be reminded not to "coast" through our marriage and rearing our children. It takes work to build up a home. And it's oh-so-easy to pluck it right down again!
One last thing, right at the end of the night, Melissa said something almost as an aside, but it was so good: the church is only as strong as its families. Wow. It's true - the church is made up of families. And if the family is weak, so is the church. I want our family to be contributing to the strength of the whole, not acting as a weak limb, dragging everyone around us down! What about you? Are you building your home, or plucking it down?