Sunday 17 July 2011

Cultivate your Soul.

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that more abundantly” ( John 10:10)

Abundantly :  Dictionary Def : Existing in plentiful supply, ample,
Synonym – plentiful, copious, large, ample, overflowing, lavish, luxuriant, liberal, rich
Antonym – rare, scarce, deficient, short, insufficient, sparing, dry, drained, exhausted, impoverished.

How common it is for us to be living dry, drained, exhausted and impoverished lives in this day and age where mother hood is no longer held in high esteem ? 

How is it then that as mothers we reach this place ?  As daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers we often end up in the place of feeling that it is only us who have these problems and that some how we are never quite at the place of success no matter how hard or diligently we work there is always some thing wrong with the picture, we feel that other families are ‘perfect’. Let’s look at what the word has to say about this problem:
  • “but they, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.” (II Corinthians 10:12)

How often do we seek approval from one another instead of our Heavenly Father who has lovingly made us and chosen each child for us and us for each of our children? We spend our time vainly comparing ourselves and that comparison leads to discontentment which in turn can lead to envy and a root of bitterness and anger taking hold in our lives. As the word says in the above scripture we are not wise when we compare our selves one to another, our situations or homes with each other and yet how often it is that we do so?

How then do we confront this issue in our daily lives?  What can we do to live life in the abundance that Christ has promised us?  We are spirit, mind and body and therefore we need to look after ourselves in these vital areas.

Let us start with our heart:
  • ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23)  Above all else.  
Why ? Because God knows that our heart is core to who we are.  It is the source of all our creativity, our courage, and our convictions.  It is the fountainhead of our faith, our hope, and of course, our love.  This ‘wellspring of life within us is the very essence of our existence, the center of our being. 

'Your heart as a woman is the most important thing about you.’(Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge Page 7-8)

Guard  Dictionary Def: To watch over or care for; protect, 
Synonyms – Sentry, sentinel, protector, watch, lookout, safeguard, secure, shield, fortify, defend.
Antonyms – Neglect,

What are you doing to watch over, protect, fortify and care for your heart?
  • For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.Matt 6:21

So what is it that we treasure ?  Is it time, money, beauty, perfect homes, well behaved children, romance, craft, books, fantasy, movies, dinner parties, scrap booking, food, children, our husbands ? 

Relationship with God
  •  Beauty fades but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.Proverbs 31:30-31
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your mind and with all your soul and love your neighbour as yourself.

How can we be all that we are called to be when we are not looking after ourselves or loving ourselves and others?  We are failing to keep the command of our Lord when we are not looking after ourselves, our relationship with Him or those He has created and put into our care and sphere of influence. It is written somewhere, “A mother is only a woman, but she needs the love of Jacob, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Moses, the foresight of Joseph, and the firmness of Daniel.”  To grow in this way comes from walking daily with our Lord.

Our Thoughts : 
  • See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather then on Christ.Colossians 2:8

Think about it:  What are some of the lies you have bought into that rob you of the joy of living where you are ?  How much advertising (basic principle of the world) do you take into your heart and believe ?  Where are your thoughts ?  Are you longing for the day when your children are grown  and therefore missing out on the precious moments you have now ? What are you meditating on ? What about peer pressure (human traditions) ? Are you living up to the unspoken rules of some group at church or mom’s group ? (hollow and deceptive philosophy)
The word tells us:
  • Take every thought captive into the obedience of Christ Jesus.  2 Corinthians 10:5
  •  When I was in trouble, I called to the LORD, and he answered me.  Save me, LORD, from Liars and deceivers.Psalm 120:1-2

We need to call to our Lord and he will save us.  His word says:  The truth will set us free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

David asked the Lord: How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
  • I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119: 9 –11 NIV

What did David do ? He filled his heart with the word of the Lord and meditated on it day and night and when he was in trouble he called to the Lord.
  •  Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, -if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things Philippians 4:8
  • .growing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10

What are you doing to grow in your faith ?  Are you in the word ?  Why should we be learning and growing ? This is a question I asked myself one day when I realised I haven’t read a book in over two years or talked about anything other than children, the daily trials of raising and training my children, domestic responsibility and the like. 

I came across this article published in 1892 and realised that this is not unique to our day and age it was a struggle mom’s had over a hundred years ago and it challenged me to grow and keep growing.

There is no sadder sight in life than a mother, who has so used herself up in her children's childhood, that she has nothing to give them in their youth. When babyhood is over and school begins, how often children take to proving that their mother is wrong. Do you as often see a child proving to its father that he is wrong? I think not. For the father is growing far more often than the mother. He is gaining experience year by year, but she is standing still. Then, when her children come to that most difficult time between childhood and full development she is nonplussed; and, though she may do much for her children, she cannot do all she might, if she, as they, were growing!

Is there not some need for "mother culture"? But how is the state of things to be altered? So many mothers say, "I simply have no time for myself!" "I never read a book!" Or else, "I don't think it is right to think of myself!" They not only starve their minds, but they do it deliberately, and with a sense of self-sacrifice which seems to supply ample justification. There are, moreover, unfortunately, only too many people who think that sort of thing so lovely that public opinion appears to justify it. But does public opinion justify anything? It can never justify anything which leads to the "Oh, it's only mother" tone in any young person

The only way to do it is to be so strongly impressed with the necessity for growing herself that she herself makes it a real object in life. She can only rarely be helped from the outside. The resolute planting of Miss Three-years-old in her chair at one end of the table with her toys, of Master Five-years-old at the other with his occupations, and fascinating Master Baby on the rug on the floor with his ring and his ball--the decided announcement, "Now mother is going to be busy"--will do those young people a world of good! Though some of their charms will be missed, they will gain respect from mother's time, and some self-reliance into the bargain, while mother's tired back gets a rest, if only for a short time, either on the sofa or flat upon the floor. Then she can listen to her children, and perhaps do a little thinking--not about frocks and foods, but about characters, and how to deal with them; or she can take a book, and "grow" that way. This would do something, but not enough. Mother must have time to herself. And we must not say "I cannot."
It would seem as if we mothers often simply made for ourselves the difficulties we find in after life by shutting our minds up in the present. What we need is a habit of taking our minds out of what one is tempted to call "the domestic rag-bag" of perplexities, and giving it a good airing in something which keeps it "growing." A brisk walk will help. But, if we would do our best for our children, grow we must; and on our power of growth surely depends, not only our future happiness, but our future usefulness.

The wisest woman I ever knew--the best wife, the best mother, the best mistress, the best friend--told me once, when I asked her how, with her weak health and many calls upon her time, she managed to read so much, "I always keep three books going--a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel, and I always take up the one I feel fit for!" That is the secret; always have something "going" to grow by. If we mothers were all "growing" there would be less going astray among our boys, less separation in mind from our girls.

(Volume III, no. 2 1892-93 of The Parents' Review, pp 92-95)

My friend said to me you can tell a lot about a person by the type of books they read, and the movies they watch.  Remember mother this is a gate into your heart so be sure to screen carefully what you are reading so as to guard your heart and your mind. She also used to say: ‘You can only take your children as far as you yourself have come’ and it is so true as I came to realise the other day. My older two were having some dispute and I honestly wanted to get in the middle of them and sort it out by the rules of the school play ground when it dawned on me hey mom you are the adult here use what you have learned and help them grow. I soon realised as the author above has put it I have stood still and needed to grow.

When we have little ones they take a lot of physical time from us but when they get older they use a lot of mental power and this is one of the main reasons we can not stand still, we need to keep growing, for if we don’t then our children will look else where for wisdom and understanding. We need to know what we believe, and above all why we believe and think for they will challenge you on every point and if you don’t know they will look else where.  Gone are the days where their choices are based on ‘because I say so’ we need to be able to fill their moral warehouse and to do so we need to be constantly filling ours.

Are you well rested ? Are you going to bed early enough ? Are you run down ? Are you eating properly ? Are you getting enough exercise ? Are you too busy ? Are you making life difficult by having chaos at home ? Are you being a martyr and trying to do it all yourself ? Are you out and about playing taxi driver ? Do you need to simplify your lifestyle and be home more ? Maybe we need to slow down a little and enjoy the season of life we are in as moms instead of always been on the run.

  •  Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
  •  Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:29
  •  … in view of Gods’ mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God Romans 12:1

God – this is your spiritual act of worship
If you don’t take the time to look after yourself or to give yourself ten minutes a day then soon you will be lost and all that will remain is an empty hole where once you so richly dwelt. We need to be up before the children and be ready for them to enter our world not us into theirs.  This helps us as mom’s to cope with the daily requirements of being wife, mother and friend.

You were not created to simply disappear into the oblivion of wife hood and motherhood, while these are excellent in themselves and a huge part of our noble calling, as our Lord calls us to love and care for our husbands and children These are also seasons in our lives.  If we were only created for these things we would have started life in these roles. We need to be looking after ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

When last did you pursue your passion and your interest ? When last did you have a long hot soak in the bath with your favourite novel ?  When last were you creative ?  When last did you practice magnanimity (generosity of spirit)? When last did you set aside time for the man in your life ? (Couch time and put the baby and children aside for your date night)If you enjoy gardening you could plant a new plant once in a while, check out a book for yourself at the library and not just for the children, getting a UFO (un-finished object) out of the cupboard and work on it.

A word of caution here: We live in a world full of the catch phrase “Because you are worth it”. It’s favourite standard is to elevate self and worship self, and makes this the highest ideal above the preciousness of others. Be careful that you do not swing the pendulum to the opposite extreme where you are spending all your time and resources upon yourself to the neglect, loss and detriment of family, home  and friends.

“ I think it is a definite gain to the whole family when mother is able to take a little time to pursue her own interests, whether they be crafts, painting, sewing, gourmet cooking, a literature group, gardening, nature study, going to plays or ballets with her husband, bicycling, or ice skating”
Karen Andreola ( From A Charlotte Masson Companion)

“Mothers should cultivate their souls, that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children.”
Billy Graham

Blessings on your journey of cultivating your soul

PS  I have been really sick these past few days and was wondering what I could share with you when I stumbled upon this article I wrote about five years ago when I was teaching at a GEMS (Godly Encouragement for MotherS) group in Christchurch.  It spoke so much to me that I wanted to share it with you all.  Would love to hear your perspective.

PPS I will be back posting as soon as I am better .... Am feeling so loved: Paul came home from work today and made me lunch, my children have been bringing me cuppa's, my mom made us dinner last night, my friend Mrs W made us dinner for tonight and my mom has made me some orange juice.


  1. Chareen, do you know of anywhere (in aust) that sells the CM Parent Reviews?
    I keep "bumping" into the mention of them in Karen Andreola's old homeschool magazines.
    (Keep posting - I read but don't often get a chance to hope over & leave a comment!)

  2. Hi Chelle. Sorry don't know of anywhere in Australia. I will write and ask Karen if she has any stockist in Aus.

  3. Thank you Mrs Adept. Blessings


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