Saturday, August 19, 2017
 

Archive for March, 2001

Floating on Water

Dear Ladies,

Cindy and I have been writing back and forth about faith lately. She was saying that I write about faith in a simple way but maybe I feel passionate about it. Well, faith to me is very every day stuff.

When I was a young homemaker, I about wore my cookbooks out making different foods. My first Better Homes and Gardens cookbook now looks like you could put in the oven and bake it. It has pages missing and sugar and flour spilled on the pages … it’s a mess. Now I rarely follow a recipe. I cook by inspiration, or what I had left over from the last meal. I finally learned to cook.

Well, when I first got saved I did the same with my Bible. I read it until the pages fell out. My Bible went every place I went. It was a spiritual tool to me and I turned to my Bible for everything. I learned the basics of faith, as I learned the basics of cooking.

So, as the basics of cooking is a bit boring for me to write about, the basics of faith is a bit boring to me. And yet I need to write about it because as I write and get out of the simple stuff, it takes me to where I am now … the harder stuff.

I was thinking this morning before I got out of bed how faith is simple and is like floating on water. Still water can be floated on top of, and really people who drown in still waters drown themselves. They fight the water. Well, faith is like that. Just relax and float on the top.

Another way to explain faith is like this. Some folks are so worldly … they live in such spiritual darkness. When they come into the light of His word, they can’t focus their eyes. Their own worldliness shadows the word of God. God’s dark purple looks almost white to them. They can hardly see the colors of Christ. Their vision is used to darkness … they can’t discern the colored lights. These ladies are full of the word and they pray and pray … but when the answer comes, they can’t see it. Their visions are blurred. Red means GO to them and green means STOP, and they get very confused trying to follow their Leader that they can’t see … or if they can see Him, they don’t understand the signs He gives them.

The basics of faith is this. Follow the word of God. Be ready to die for the word of God. Focus on the word of God.

Now, I went to church as a Baptist for six years when I was first saved. Those Baptists — they will teach you the word of God. After you learn the handbook and have it memorized, then you start applying it to your life. It’s like … ok, here are the rules and they never change, no matter what. Now how will I apply this to my life? How do the rules affect my life? What rules am I breaking?

In the word, the bottom line is the family. Some people are not called to have a family, but in the word, they bounce off of the rules set down for the family. Or they are single so that they can minister and make strong the family. There is an order set up for the family in the word of God. Now, as you get yourself right with the Lord, ladies, and you submit to your husband in your home and you have children for Christ and raise them for Him … this is your foundation. Then Satan comes along and tries (as it is his job to do) to mess up your foundation. He causes your husband to leave you, makes your children hate God and basically burns your house down. Butyour foundation is built on the rock.

HOME ON THE ROCK

So you have your home built on the rock and Satan tries to destroy it. Well, if it is built on the rock and you are on the rock, the devil can’t have your home. The storms will come … but satan cannot have your home.

It is his job to lie to you and tell you to get a divorce because your friend got one and they loved it. But is that the word of God speaking to you? Satan says give up on your kids because, after all, God just made them fuel for hell, anyway. And maybe your family looks like they are done for. Well, faith says, “This looks pretty bad for sure … but I am going to look at God’s word. I am not going to consider these circumstances. I am going to consider the word of God. I am not going to line myself up by the opinions of my friends. I am going to line my life up with the word and what it says concerning my life. I am going to let God be God and every man a liar. I am going to call things that are not as though they were. I am going to see reality with my spiritual eyes, which is God’s word. I am going to speak the word concerning my family. Bible says, Let the weak say ‘I am strong and the poor say I am rich.’ I will be a faithful friend to Christ and not an enemy by being friends with this present world.”

We need to search our hearts. What is more important to you? Long painted fingernails and a job or a family that follows Christ? You can’t wash dishes with both hands and play the piano at the same time. Choose you this day whom you will serve. Do you want the world or are you willing to die to this world for Christ? Either be hot or be cold … lukewarm makes the Lord sick and he won’t even listen to you.

You can’t get anything from God on your terms and in your time. Forget it. This guy works alone and He has His own agenda. Take it from one who knows … He ain’t gonna change His mind to suit your fancy. I tried to get Him to change His mind to suit my fancy. Trust me, it didn’t work. After all, He is God. You may rule your husband, lady, but you don’t rule God. I used to rule. I am telling you one thing … before I met wild man Harry (Jim), I ruled a lot of people. Well, that is another story. So when I met God, I thought I could rule Him. I would cry and wail at Him and try to get Him to go along with my plan. Didn’t work!!!

The devil told me before I knew Christ that, because I was so horrid, he would give me a special place in hell. I wasn’t gonna burn with the rest of ’em. Well, I believed that. And was I wicked! Anyway, when I met Christ, I found out that “Oh, yeah. I was gonna burn like dry grass in an August drought.” I can’t tell you how happy I was to run to Christ, once I found out He was my Savior and that I didn’t have to be bad anymore. Well, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Being bad can really be a burden, especially if you are notorious and worry about your reputation. I was so glad to be have my sins washed away and to walk with the Savior.

But don’t try to change the rules, ladies. The word has been the truth for over two thousand years. You won’t change it. You may discover things in it that others haven’t seen, but you can’t change it to suit your opinion. So an important step in walking by faith is to go with the flow … with Gods word. Humble yourself before the word of God. Confess that you have tried to run things with God.

WALKING BY FAITH

Faith is a spiritual muscle that is either ready when you need it or weak. If you aren’t used to using your faith for healings, for instance, then you get an incurable disease. You aren’t all of a sudden going to be able to tap into your faith. Maybe spiritual healing was never needed in your life … you were always well and then, surprise, you contact a disease the doctors have no answer for. Well, you are going to have to reroute your thinking and start working out.

Faith comes by hearing the word of God on faith. We read the word and listen to the Holy Spirit.

Someone in the house has to have faith for you to be healed, either you or someone else. An electric fan isn’t going to just turn on by itself. It has to have the power of electricity — either electricity in your house or from an extension cord from the neighbor’s house who has their power on. Same with healing. If your power isn’t on (God’s power), then your body fan isn’t gonna work. The Bible says that without faith we can’t please the Lord. Without electricity the fan won’t go on … same thing. Without electricity we can’t please the fan.

Faith is a substance … like God. We can’t see faith. We can’t see the wind … but we can feel it when it blows against our faces. It moves our hair or blows our skirts. Faith is like this. It blows a situation from here to there. It moves things … things that God wants moved. Because it is His power and He won’t move things that He doesn’t want moved. He is an exclusive POWER that will only move through an extension cord that believes in His Son. You have to be plugged into the right connection — a 3 prong connection — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now, sometimes you think you are plugged into the right power and yet you pray and you are desperate and things only get worse. Well, Darlin’, don’t blame the fan. Just try to see why it isn’t working. Fans work normally unless they need more oil? They may be plugged in but they won’t work because you need more holy oil … the Holy Spirit … the power of God. But things have to be hooked up just right for your fan to whirl and cool you off and refresh you.

God is not dead. If you get yourself plugged in just right, the Lord will touch you and answer your prayers.

It’s silly to say, “Well, I guess electricity isn’t for today or maybe the electricity isn’t supposed to work in my house and I am to roast all summer.” No, you aren’t called of God to roast … find out why your electricity isn’t working. Find out why your faith isn’t working. Hey, maybe you are ignorant concerning faith. Find out more about it.

Start using your faith … as you do, it will grow. Start out believing the Lord for your smallest needs to be met. After that, go for something bigger and bigger. Some of us can’t even believe the Lord for the healing of a cold. How do we expect our faith to work if we get an incurable disease?

In my life, I never wanted to learn to have faith. It was just that I got pushed out of the boat and into the sea. The first plunge on the way down to the bottom of the ocean was the scariest. But the Lord allowed me to bob to the top. I could swim a little. After a series of being rescued and being thrown over the side again and again, I finally learned how to swim ashore. Duh. It was a slow process … as learning to walk by faith always is.

Our Heat Bill

Dear Ladies,

Well, throw me over Niagara Falls in a barrel … I feel like I would land on my feet. Guess what? Our heat bill for January was over $500, for February over $300. And for this month, guess how much??? Drum roll please … Ladies, it was 25 dollars and 87 cents. We used our kerosene burner and spent 40 bucks a month on the fuel. So we saved hundreds on our heating bill. What a gas!

I told wild man this morning, as we were gloating and pouring coffee, “Baby, we’ve got Moxie!!!” Or guts, in other words.

Papa kind of laughs and watches me out of the corner of his eye. Like, “Well, she thinks she is a pioneer woman now.”

I love it that I can smile at the gas company in my imagination and say, “Well, you nearly destroyed us financially, but you didn’t make it.” I told Jim, “And, honey, I can save us a lot on water and even more on gas this summer when I use my wringer washer and hang all of our clothes on the line.” Oh, I cant wait.

Well. It is all the Lord and He is the one to get the glory, but bear with me as I am so proud of my ornery little self. For the past few months, I wouldn’t allow the kids to turn up the heat. I dressed in long underwear … two pairs of socks and jogging clothes over the top … plus a jumper jean dress over that … and sometimes a jacket over that. On our bed we used a big comforter and two regular blankets, and flannel sheets … plus we wore the jogging pants and all of our clothes to bed. At night I covered up my head to keep my face warm. We all did this. Mary and Dan, too, and Jim. But the kids are older so we could do this. I wouldn’t have done this if the children were young. But Mary is 15 and Dan is 18 so they could take the cold. None of us got sick and, really, we have to say we feel better than we ever have, health wise.

In the mornings, when I would write here with you ladies, after Jim had gone to work? I would turn the kerosene burner off, so there was no heat on at all, for about 45 minutes. Then when Mary would get up, I would turn it back on to have devotions in the living room. I would make it warm and cozy for Mary. Well, our dog wanted me to turn the burner on for her and she would cry and stand by the burner while I was typing on the email machine. I feel so proud of my naughty little self that my dog cried for the heat and I didn’t. And my dog sleeps on the porch at night so she is used to the cold. It was sort of embarrassing to have your outside dog shivering in the corner when company came. Our dog is so happy spring is almost here.

Well, Papa just went out the door to pay his gas bill with a big grin on his face.

I am supposed to be making chili. But instead I am here braggin’. Please forgive this old woman in her glory. But the Lord has given me confidence and I needed it, too. I just feel like the little red hen who, when the fox caught her in his bag, she was prepared. She had her little sewing scissors in her apron pocket, and she cut her way out of the bag and saved her little self.

Our heating bill would have pushed me out the door to work. We were in dire straits. Jim didn’t want me to baby sit. I was between a rock and a hard place … but the Lord took us through. Jim’s heat bill on budget was going to be $$$ 250.00 $$$ a month. That is over our heads. But because our bill was so low this month, they put it down and it will be reviewed again in May and go down further.

I just Praise the Lord for His redeeming power and His miracles.

Love,
Connie

A Busy Day

Dear Ladies,

I have to be gone this morning, so I am running about doing things. I need to make a list for Mary to do after she finishes her schoolwork.

Walked Jim out to the car this morning as he went off to work. Yep, it’s almost spring. The yard is a mess. I make lists in my head as I walk back into the house. I can’t hardly wait until I can be done wearing my layers of warm clothes and wear only a cotton house dress to do my house work in. And go barefoot with no socks … just red painted toenails as my spring and summer shoes. I am itchin’ to get out my wringer washer and wash clothes and hang them out on the line.

I love the period of spring just before the schools are out. It is so warm and quiet in the neighborhood. As summer goes on, it gets noisier and more oppressive. It gets harder and harder to hear the Holy Spirit. Sometimes when I want to get quiet, I shut the front of the house off, and the kids and I use this side door that goes out to the back yard while Jim is at work. When he gets home, he makes the walls dance and the front is open again.

We don’t have air conditioning and I love the house to be open and the fresh air coming in. But in town, it’s hard to keep the house quiet sometimes, and especially in the summer.

When I was raising my children … so often I needed to be quiet. To be still and meditate and pray. I would get so confused and out of control if my quiet times with the children were interrupted. As Mary L used to say, her children were as medicine to her. My children were, too. I loved spending my quiet times with them … they gave me peace.

When the first two were young … late morning in the summer, we would go for a walk to the library. Then in the afternoon, I would lay a clean sheet on the floor and bed pillows and put our big box fan in front of it. Then the children would lay there and get cooled off and read their library books. I would fix them cold drinks that they had to keep on the table. If they wanted a drink, they just went to the table and drank them. Then back to their place on the floor with their books.

Often in the summer, we took the bus somewhere, early in the day before it got hot. They loved that. I would fix them little lunches to eat on the bus. Always at the start of the summer, I bought them new sunglasses, and a toy whistle to make noises with and to wear around their necks. They were so cute as they would get on the bus, with their little lunch boxes and sunglasses and their whistles.

Chrissy and Johnny were about 3 and 5 at the time. I would take them shopping and they always had to try out all the potties at each new store. But I didn’t care … good grief, they were just little.

We need quiet times with the children, to come to their level and do what they would like to do. That is impossible if you have company all the time. You naturally will cater to the adults in the room. And then the little ones get left out.

My babies were top priority. I remember one time getting upset with the children and telling Jim they were driving me nuts. He really took offence at that. I tried to never say that again.

Someone had given our Chrissy, at about age 5, a tee shirt that said KID FOR RENT on it. She has never forgotten that I hated that shirt … because the shirt made it sound like we didn’t love her.

Even after the children were grown and Jim and I were out shopping, we still automatically go look at the toys.

Love,
Connie

Foxfire Books

Dear Ladies,

I love the Foxfire books. Are you familiar with them? I got some from the library last week when I was wondering about planting my garden by the moon signs.

The old timers up in the mountains planted by the moon. One old guy I was reading about said he wanted to plant by the moon, but he thought it was too far to go. I mean, these people are characters.

When Jimmy was little we used to read the Foxfire books before we went to bed at night. That old timey country wisdom hits a bottom line in my heart. It’s where I relax.

When Jim and I were watching the weather this morning on TV before he went to work, they were advertising the Mall of America. I said, “Man, I would hate to have to work there and have to be there every day.” Pity just arose in my heart when I think of women being strapped into such a job as clerks in those stores. Every day, being scraped and skinned by such a circus of materialism. Oh, mercy! There has to be a better way to live.

When I was a young mom like many of you, with little ones, I so often had to turn everything off and abandon myself unto the Lord. No one would see hide nor hair of me for days. I would put a sign on my door, “Not Available. Baby is sleeping.” The phone got turned off… I listened only to the Lord. “Well, all Connie wants to do is sit in her house and read her Bible.” That’s what friends said about me. That was not an insult to me; that was a compliment.

I used to say to myself, “Connie, guess where you will find a helping hand? Answer — at the end of your own arm.” While my friends were fellowshipping with each other, I was fellowshipping with God.

I feel so condemned at times, just because I am me. I tell the Lord about once a week, “Lord, I would like to take this email machine, tape it with masking tape to a stick of dynamite, and blow it to the moon.” But God has called me to this and, if I value my life, I had better keep on typing. Because when I quit, the anointing stops in my own life. I become confused and hard to handle, like a mean old mule. But in myself, this is not my thing. I do this merely to survive and to keep my own self from floundering.

In the deepest part of my soul, I am a hermit and always feel safest alone with the Lord… makin’ soap or baking bread… planting a garden… and Papa loves me like that. Yesterday, as I stood in my heart between my two worlds — one as a writer and one as a hermit — the Lord spoke to my heart. “I have called you, Connie, to be a writer because your heart is not in it. Because it is a sacrifice. Because you would rather have a baby and care for him than write.” Oh, I know as I get better at this, I will be able to have a baby and write. Or, in other words, be a prized hermit and write, too.

I thank the Lord that He knows me… and that I could never stand to be far from home and my duties here. I love homemaking more than going to the mall. I love staying at home and making things. I love cooking and baking.

I have written for years before I ever sent anything out… always private writing just between the Lord and me. Oh, I love you ladies — every one of you is so valuable to the Lord and to me. But I guess in my heart, the bottom line is I am just a hermit, a back yard flower.

In quietness and confidence is my strength.

Love,
Connie

RELATED LINKS
Foxfire – The Foxfire Fund, Inc. is a not-for-profit, educational and literary organization based in Rabun County, Georgia. Founded in 1966, Foxfire’s learner-centered, community-based educational approach is advocated through both a regional demonstration site (The Foxfire Museum) grounded in the Southern Appalachian culture that gave rise to Foxfire, and a national program of teacher training and support (the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning) that promotes a sense of place and appreciation of local people, community, and culture as essential educational tools.

 
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