Monday, May 28, 2012

Proactively Doing Good All Our Days

"She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."
– Proverbs 31:12

Shortly after I was married, I read an article in the Ensign magazine called Life's Obligations. One passage in this article spoke to my newly married heart in a very significant way.

"Choose a companion you can always honor, you can always respect, one who will complement you in your own life, one to whom you can give your entire heart, your entire love, your entire allegiance, your entire loyalty. Determine that there will never be anything that will come between you, that will disrupt your marriage. Make it work. Resolve to make it work. Three is far too much of divorce wherein hearts are broken and sometimes lives are destroyed. Be fiercely loyal one to another.'' (Gordon B. Hinckley, May 1999 Ensign, italics added)

My husband and I have taken this counsel seriously to heart during 14 years of marriage. In fact, we often share this counsel with other newlyweds at weddings and bridal showers. It has been a saving grace to us.

Like this inspired counsel, a Proverbs 31 woman does good for her husband all the days of her life. That takes a lot of devotion and loyalty. And I will be the first to tell you it is the hardest thing in the world to do. I personally believe that before a marriage begins, Satan will try his hardest to push a young man and woman together prematurely, putting them in compromising situations and destroying their virtue. If that doesn't work then, after a marriage begins, he will slowly pull the couple apart, until the fabric of love and trust starts to tear and the relationship becomes damaged. Satan wants us to fail!

This is why it is so, so, so important to put our trust and our marriages in God's hands. God wants our marriages to succeed. But we have to be proactive about this. We can't just say, "God, take care of this for me" and sit back and be idle. We must be doing good. That means proactively finding ways to be devoted and loyal through our faith and actions. Satan wants to and will creep into our families and marriage any way he can, so we must be proactive in doing good all our days if we are to succeed. God wants us to succeed, so begin today to be proactive in your marriage, to do good for your husband, for your family, and for yourself!

With love,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Feeling God's love inside me

I found this quote by Elder Henry B. Eyring today, and I can testify to you that it is true. As I have started my Proverbs 31 study, I have felt a lot happier this week. I know it is because God's spirit has been in my heart more and in my home as well. 

I have been focusing on being a Proverbs 31 woman, and I think that has changed my entire perspective and focus on everything I do with and for my family. I haven't been as grumpy with my husband or with my kids. I haven't been focusing on past offenses and misunderstandings. Instead I have been thinking about what I can do better and how to prioritize tasks so my family and home come first. 

Changes are already happening, but they aren't happening around me. They're happening inside me. And what a miraculous feeling it is! This is God's love and spirit working inside me to make me happier. This is God's spirit working on my heart to make me more penitent and teachable, because I know I've still got lots of big lessons to learn!

I challenge and encourage you to see for yourself if Elder Eyring's quote is not truth. Read your scriptures every day. If you don't know what to read, start with Genesis 1, Matthew 1 or 1 Nephi 1, and just read. And do it every day. Do it with a friend. Do it with your family. Just do it! You will love the way the spirit makes you feel. I guarantee it!!

With love,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reality check

Yesterday a postcard came in the mail from the school district where I graduated high school. On it was a toll-free number and a request to call and update my information for an upcoming alumni publication. Well, why not, I thought.

I called this afternoon and spoke with a nice woman who got all my info sorted and straightened out. The first thing to change was my name. No, I don't go by 'Jean Herker' anymore. Then she verified my profession. Again, 'student of civil engineering' wasn't accurate.

So, what is my current profession? the nice woman asked. And I paused, not sure exactly how to tell her what I do. Should I use some fancy-shmancy title, like 'domestic engineer'? Or maybe S.A.H.M., like I use on medical charts, when I have a one-inch line to describe my job. Maybe I should focus on the creative, artistic side of my job and say 'hobbyist' or 'chef.'

But, after just a moment, I knew I should be honest with her, and with myself. "Well, I'm a homemaker," I said. "Wow, and that's one of the hardest jobs out there!" the nice woman answered. Then she said there was a spot to list all of my family members, so I named my husband and four children. The nice woman said "Boy, you do work hard, don't you?"

After the phone call had ended, I thought about the conversation for a while longer. Did she really say it had been eighteen years since I graduated high school? I still remember that hot summer afternoon in my school gymnasium, sweating in my dress and white nylon gown over it, white hat pinned to my hair, my fellow orchestra members in the upper deck playing 'Pomp and Circumstance' for all they're worth.

I was so happy I'd made it that far. I had actually completed 12 years of public education. Wow! I had been accepted to a high level university and hoped to enter the engineering program within the next year or so. I planned to have a very successful career doing something engineering-like, because I had enjoyed my math classes so much. And if that didn't work out, maybe I'd go to law school and work as a children's advocate in the family court system.

Isn't it amazing how God's designs and plans come in and lead you in a completely different direction? I never did get accepted into an engineering program. I did like math, but I did not like physics, and apparently you have to be good in both for engineering programs. Six years after graduation, I ended up with an Associates degree in Science, with an emphasis in English Literature, from a school I had never heard of when I graduated high school.

As for the high and mighty career, that flew out the window with a mighty whoosh the day I met my future husband. He was determined to have a wife that stayed home with the kids. And after many, many months of pondering, wondering, and talking to God about all of it, I realized this was the best plan for me. I wanted a family with this wonderful man more than a career, and I knew being home with my children was of far more importance than a full time job.

So here I am, eighteen years after that young girl walked across the stage in her white cap and gown. Of course, if someone had told me that day what I would be doing today, I would have said they were crazy. But God knew. Isn't it nice how he leads us step by step into the right paths He has planned for us? Sometimes He has to stop us in our tracks and redirect us, but most of the time it's a little change here, little change there, until we are where He wants us to be.

Am I happy where I am? Yes. I'm am pursuing a challenging career full of glory and honor. But it's not worldly glory and honor for me. It's spiritual glory and honor for my Savior.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Being a conduit of blessings

Today for my Proverbs 31 study, I read the following two verses:

Proverbs 18:22 - "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor from the Lord."

Proverbs 19:14 - "House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord."

As I pondered over these verses, I thought of how a virtuous woman and wife can be a conduit through which God works to send blessings from heaven into the home. In the first verse, the wife is the means through which a man obtains favor from God. In the second verse, the wife is compared to a worldly inheritance. But she is a spiritual inheritance from God for her husband.

Here's another example for you - a wife is the means by which children are born into a family. Through her righteous sacrifice of body and spirit, children are endowed with physical bodies so they can come to earth and be blessed with loving parents and a life of innumerable opportunities.

As virtuous woman, and a loving wife, you can be a conduit of blessings from God to your home. What an empowering thought!! YOU are the one God uses to bless your home and the lives of your family members. By your love, your patience, your sacrifice, your endurance, your faith, your compassion, your tenderness - you allow God to bless your family.

Be His instrument of love.

With love,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Proverbs 31 Woman

Here I am, back from the dark. I haven't posted here in FOREVER, for two reasons. One, I've been focusing a lot more on my Gibbee blog, as well as staying busy as a wife and mom. Two, I've been in a dark place lately. Where is that, you may ask? Let's just say depression runs strongly in my family, I am at the same age as my mom when she hit her "breaking point", and I've been paying for lots of doctor visits lately. But now I feel like I am coming back to myself - thank my Maker!

So I had to share some wonderful, wonderful things I found today....

I was searching around online for a website I used to frequent that was about being a Proverbs 31 woman. Instead, I found Women Living Well, a site dedicated to helping women walk with Christ daily in our marriages, in motherhood, and as a daughter of God. This site is exactly what I've been needing. It is well organized, not overstuffed with info, just lots of encouragement about living the gospel in all aspects of our lives.

Courtney, the creater of WLW, also has a sister site called Good Morning Girls. This site's purpose is to help women stay "in the word" daily. It encourages us to read and ponder over our scriptures daily, find personal applications of what we read, and to pray about what we read. Not only that, there are lots of GMG groups you can join. These groups of women connect with you daily, via email, texting, twitter, Facebook, etc., to help you stay on track with your personal study. Isn't that just so awesome?!? And what a cute name for the whole concept.

GMG always has a bible study schedule for the groups read and discuss together. Right now they are just starting a Proverbs 31 study for the summer (love it!) There is also a free ebook available at WLW to read along with the study.
(Click here for the summer reading schedule.)

I am jumping into this ministry of Courtney's with both feet, because as I said, this is what I need. Through these last several months, the one thing that I have been clinging to is the love of my Savior Jesus Christ. I have had the Spirit bear personal witness to me in different ways that I am important to God, and that I have important things to do with my life in His service. I have been praying and pondering over what His will is for me and looking for ways to accomplish those purposes.

I know my most important personal ministry takes place within the walls of my own home. I can see that when I'm in my dark place, and I watch the routines of my home and family start to become disorganized. I see how much I am needed to keep things on track, to keep everyone marching to the beat. Maybe I provide the family heartbeat? Hmm, interesting thought...

Anyway, these websites and their purposes really spoke to something inside me, and I feel they are going to be a great blessing to me.

With love,