A Shoulder to Lean On
What does it take to have a "shoulder to lean on?
We're going to think of our shoulders as a foundation to a house. It needs to be solid w/ LOTS of strength to carry the weight of the frame and the roof. Whatever pleases the owner / builder to add to call it "his house" - uniquely mine - like NO other. A house he is well pleased, “proud" to show off to others. Did you ever have a family member or friend build a new house, when you go to visit, what is one of the first things you do? They WANT to show you thru the house, right? So our shoulders, they need to be strong, w/ LOTS of strength to carry the weight of the house God places on our shoulders , and He will look down and say, "Uniquely Mine well built w/ precious wood and stones of brokenness , humility, love... VERY pleased, when a tender, needy, broken soul comes along, God says, “Come to this house, here is a pair of shoulders I know you can safely lean on, and be shown a clear example of peace, joy and happiness..."
As I pondered the strength a shoulder needs to be for others to lean on, my mind “flipped" thru the many “files" of shoulders I leaned heavily on as I went thru being a child, a bride, then a wife, now a mother... it helped me a LOT to take on the responsibility and study of this topic. Also, studying Proverbs 31 and many other Bible verses, that teach us that God will be there to help us have a shoulder for others to lean on.
As a bride and wife....
1 Timothy 5:14a “I will that the younger women marry,..." God calls us to marriage, loving our husbands - giving them a shoulder to lean on. As we look back to becoming a bride and a wife to “the best man in the world" , what foundation did I lay, and now, what foundation am I helping our daughters lay, or granddaughters and other younger women?
The first foundation that I began to lay, was at a very young age, to a boy that was the "dream”of my life, I seemly had all my young heart could wish for, and yet there was an emptiness that was stirring from deep within. We loved our times together, our love blossomed. God was faithful at bringing people and circumstances into our lives that were drawing our attention more to our Creator, taking our focus off of ourselves. The pull we felt between our flesh and what we were learning was tremendous. Thru this, I was asked to be his wife, my delight! As we were happily planning for our life together and also being directed on biblical ways, God chose to snuff his life out thru a vehicle accident , a day after he had given me his engagement gift and we had gotten our engagement pictures back. It has left me with questions and yet it was thru that experience that I found God and also a “determination” to be ready at any phase of life, also a burden to help others live for God thru their youth and their courtship. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving for the people that helped me thru the burying of one “foundation" and taught me to lay a solid foundation , showing me what a shoulder to lean on is all about.
In courtship we develop a mutual love for each other, coupled with the love of God in our hearts, giving life a deep, abiding sense of warmth, inner peace, satisfaction and purpose as well. A beautiful bride is beautiful in Christian character - facial features and figure DO NOT figure in. A bride filled with Christian character has a wardrobe that is simple, inexpensive, for simplicity compliments the life within her heart. Beauty shines forth, NOT in fabric but in eternal fabrics of “strength and honor" , not in the pattern of the dress, but in the behavior patterns of loving obedience. 1Peter 3:3,4 Our wedding day, no doubt, was one of the happiest and most outstanding days of our whole life the accumulation and realization of LONG cherished dreams, hopes and plans. As a young girl, we look forward to this day with happy expectations and as a married woman we recall the time with pleasant memories. It is THE day yet, ONLY a day!!
Did we prayerfully plan for our wedding and focus much more on our marriage?? As a bride, did we have a working knowledge of the responsibilities that will very soon be ours, something we CANNOT walk away from - IT IS: plain, simple, boring, demanding, exhausting, dirty, the hum-drum of cooking, baking, gardening, canning, washing, mending, ironing, scrubbing, cleaning, sewing, mending, stretching dollars and/or pinching penny's, plus bearing children, an endless list ! BUT it is great and I love it BECAUSE of choosing to stay focused, doing the “hard" work of dying to self and NOT going on feelings. Is maturity essential for the demanding relationship of marriage?
One NEVER builds without choosing the BEST builder, then having a WELL thought thru blueprint. Let's do the same as we build - use the best builder, God, and follow His blueprint. Building costs to much, is way too taxing, demanding, exhausting and difficult to be without it. Let us ALWAYS keep our “blueprint" written upon our hearts. It gives great strength to our shoulders to carry things the way God would have us to build on them through out our life.
What a privilege to be a wife, we are the queen of our husbands life - a shoulder to lean on - he can safely trust in and love her.
May we DAILY keep the “Fear of the Lord" in our hearts, the basis of our beauty, this will keep our marriage happy and enduring. All of us that are married here know how high our ideals were as a new bride. It doesn't take very long after being wife, that those ideals we wished to obtain as a wife came shattering down around us. It can almost feel like it sounds when our children are singing “The Foolish Man" , having the house come crashing down that was built on the sand. We know in our heads we won't live perfectly, BUT neither did we expect our "house" to crash so-o soon! However, sinking in despair and discouragement isn't the answer either. But, rather sink ourselves into the persistent efforts of getting up and trying each time we fail. This will make our best even better, growing stronger and lovelier as we face each new stage of building - it's all about sacrifice and toil.
Our husband has perfect confidence in our management because we are trustworthy, dependable, virtuous , and he knows we won't keep any permanent secret from him, He can trust to share with us his joys and sorrows, he is assured of our whole devotion to him. “She will do him good... “ALL the days of her life." “She looks well to the ways of her household, and doesn't eat the bread of idol ness." Vv.13-16, 24, 27 Our goodness takes action - being industrious, our heart, head and hands are devoted to HOME, our place of duty. We richly provide for each need, our willing cheerful service is motivated by love. Strenuous duties are ours, keeping our minds cleared of jealousy, bitterness, any sin that will drain or sap physical strength. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost and let us do our best to make it a fit place for Him to dwell.
What about joyfulness? We set the atmosphere. Do we understand that happiness depends on what happens, BUT joy comes from the Holy Spirit. A wife who has this indwelling her will create a joyous home atmosphere.
Being submissive is an important part of building as well. Eph. 5:22-24, 1Peter 3:1, Eph. 5:33 The world's attitude is in rebellion to this Biblical principle, which has brought much unhappiness into a vast amount of homes and families. Submissiveness is a working together - he as a king, director, lord, ruler, she as a queen, helpmeet, helper.
To have a shoulder for our husbands to lean on - means for me to be trustworthy, thrifty, industrious , properly prepared, efficient, energetic, unselfish, sympathetic, mentally alert, honorable, loveable, joyful, submissive all supplies needed to build and ALL supplies found in God's warehouse. With God we CAN do this great job - having a shoulder for our husbands to lean on. As we strive daily to fill our role, we find peace, serenity and avoid many a spiritual battle.
ITimothy 5:14b “.. .bear children, guide the house... “Our Godly calling when we choose marriage. Our primary focus this morning is encouragement for mothers, so most of our time will be centered right here.
Our highest calling is motherhood... are we providing a shoulder for our children to lean on?
Whose shoulder did you first lay your head on? Mom, as a newborn, right?? There you worked your bubbles out, there you found warmth, there you found rest, from there you saw others and the world, from there you found security, love, stability, a place to cry on...at the time we couldn't even put it into words , we JUST liked it there.
• Motherhood is the highest calling, the noblest work and the greatest opportunity.
• Motherhood is one of dignity, duty and delight.
• Motherhood is the experience of pure creation - a working together with God in the miracle of birth and life.
• Motherhood is a privilege of molding a life and shaping a character whose influence will extend into eternity.
• Motherhood is building a child's soul that will never die.
Our happiness continues to grow and increase as we love and care for and watch the development of our child, whether it be the first or last. The God-given privilege of bearing children carries with it equal responsibilities. Till they return to Him, He asks us to provide a shoulder for them to lean on. As we grasp this, it causes us to become more thoughtful and prayerful.
Christian motherhood and simply bearing children are not necessarily synonymous. Do we realize enough that what we do for our child physically also affects him emotionally? A baby can soon sense whether he is loved by the way he is picked up, talked to and the way he is handled. Our attitudes, joys, tensions, fears, hates and loves leave an impression. This should cause each one of us Mom's to search our heart to see if it is noble and pure enough for the LARGE task of providing a shoulder for the unstained soul of a child. What a job for us to make sure our inward feelings and our outward emotions correspond with a Christ-like life.
Motherhood - some thrive, growing towards more emotional and spiritual maturity while others feel resentful and frustrated. They feel motherhood has thrown them into a whirlwind of terrible difficult tasks they were not emotionally ready for, or prepared for. They feel shredded, pulled apart by the demands of a dozen or more conflicting jobs. They feel chained to the house and look at motherhood as a prison instead of a privilege. Others may swing between devotion and despair, loving their children and would not exchange their role for any other. BUT they simmer and boil with resentment at all the hard work , self-sacrifice, the endless demands of child-care the loss of freedom.
It is true , that a mother with several small children, can easily find oneself in the middle of such a predicament. Just having a baby doesn't make a saint out of us. It doesn't take long till our head is full of problems, our hands are full and running over with work, our budget aches and we are plain down tired. One time when we had 4 preschoolers and I was finding myself fitting all the above, Anthony called a sister who is a spiritual mother to me. He asked her if she could come over to our house, and spend some time with me that day. The house was a wreck, plain chaos, dirty clothes piling up, dirty dishes everywhere, dirty pampers lying around and I was tired. She came in that day with a loving, understanding heart and provided a shoulder to lean on, giving me time to share how I was feeling. She then gave me true love, not pity, telling me it will be okay, God will give me strength, for I am doing His work, children are His prized possession.
So we must choose to accept our role of providing a shoulder for each child we are blessed with, every minute of the day, every day of the week, every week of the year, every year of the child's life...even when this child is naughty or unlovable. Especially then they need our shoulder. Motherhood provides 24 hour service, NOT 2314 , so-o, we are NEVER off duty.
I'm natured , (basically) to get up early, but when evening comes, it's bedtime. What is my attitude when Anthony and I are rocking two little ones to sleep and several teen-agers gather on the floor around you, keeping the 2 little ones awake, plus keeping Dad and Mom up, just talking? Its 10:30, we wearily crash into bed, knowing the morning demand's begin at 5. One looks at the other and says, “Oh for the good-ole days, we went to bed around 8, and we really didn't need that long of a night, now we need it, but....!"
What about when we go to bed too exhausted to sleep, and a sick toddler has you up often, ALL our physical and mental powers are stretched “further than the limit" , shoes and socks are to be found, hair to be cut or combed, faces to wash, food to be made, lessons to be heard, the phone rings with another hot line message to pass on to 2 other people, cuts to be bandaged, bumps to kiss, for the 100th time we hear the question, “Why" , wondering tots to be found, tears to be dried, teenagers to pick up, countless other things, and then the teacher may call and say little sonny was naughty... How does your shoulder feel right now??? Do you shrug your shoulder and say, “Just forget that I'm a Mom today. IF I feel like it, I'll pick up my role tomorrow!"
Remember Christian mother, our role does not change and our responsibilities remain, there is NO running away or pulling our shoulder back. Some do try running away by keeping their children spaced just right, or have very few. Some find baby-sitters frequently, finding a career in the home, shopping a lot, going to/or having parties you know in your heart that when the going gets tough what you are tempted with to get away from it all.
Who wouldn't give it ALL for the touch of little hand's that come directly from heaven and deserve to be raised to go back? Motherhood, who could find a more challenging career, one that requires more self discipline, more preparation, more alertness?? No doubt about it, there is dark and difficult days.
Motherhood involves much knowledge and many skills. It involves being a teacher, a nurse, a leader , a cook, a chauffeur, a maid, demands and sacrifices that are NOT always pleasant. Yet, motherhood is one of the most rewarding experiences in this world, but we need to view it as such then our work will change from chore to challenge. I read once of a little girl who asked her daddy what a slave is? After he explained the best he could, she looked up after a minute and said, “Is that what my mommy is?"
A positive, wholesome outlook of our providing a shoulder for our children is very important; It's not our position, but attitude, that makes the difference between being satisfied or frustrated. A positive attitude will help us be efficient, we won't tire as easily. Our attitude as a mother, not only affects our own well being, but the whole family. Childhood impressions of Mom's outlook on life will form patterns that shape their entire life teaching them to have a shoulder to lean on. It will turn around , dear mother, and they will have a shoulder for us to lean on. Once I was struggling if we should reach out and provide a shoulder for someone. One of our teen-agers said, “Mom, we say we are missionaries , but do we have to go to the field to do it? Don't we have to start right here first."
Even when you're feeling “blue" , our children still need support and a caring heart. Time and energy are priceless during the years of raising our children, so we do need to use them to the best advantage. Use short cuts that save time and energy, learn to live simply don't cheat a child. We need to lean heavily on the Lord, His blueprint DOES NOT fail. Is. 40:30 & 31
Motherhood should be one of the happiest of all earth's tasks. Christ was once a child Himself, (born of a human mother, as we are here,) He is the one never failing source of help for the perplexing, discouraging, wearied parts of motherhood. There are so many “help's" out there for motherhood. Remember Mom's , God, our builder, provides the blueprint to help us have a strong shoulder for our children to lean on. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." Psalms 127:1
Our home is our mission. Our home is the first school, the first “church" for our children. Basic principles are established right here on our shoulders. We have the most influence on our children. A quote: “I like to think of mother like a blessed candle, burning thru life's long night, quietly, and useful , simple, gentle, tender and ALWAYS giving light." L. S.
As A Grandmother...
"The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given much to wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands , to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands , that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:3-5 Grandmother's, what all goes thru your minds when you ponder these verses? Is it not like God clearly saying, “Put your shoulder out there , I have a GREAT work for you to carry, so my Word is not blasphemed, discredited , or evil spoken of.
After pondering the KJV of Titus 2:3-5, I went to the Amplified, this is how it reads, “Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment, as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and to be teachers of what is right and noble, So that they will wisely train the young women to be “sane" and sober-minded temperate, disciplined and to love their husbands and children; To be self-controlled, chaste, ... homemakers, good-natured(kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their own husbands , that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach blasphemed or discredited."
After pondering the depth and meaning of all that, I went to the KJV Life Application study Bible, it said about verses 3-5, “Women who were new Christians were to learn how to have harmony in the home by watching the older women who had been Christians for some time. We have the same need today. Younger wives and mothers should learn to live in a Christian manner - loving their husbands and caring for their children through observing exemplary women of God. If you are of age or position where people look up to you, can you be confident that your example is motivating younger believers to live in a way that honors God?"
Grandmother , is that what your shoulder is providing??
It's like Grandma saying to the young women, “Yes, the biblical blueprint is the BEST, because I followed it in person. And I know God wants me to help teach you how to do it.”Personal experience is the best seller. Isn't being a Grandma passing on your years of experience, learning and wisdom to the younger women?
Being Grandma, is living out our last days, they are the best days if accepted and filled to the
fullest , because with years one reaches a new vantage point, on a higher plain, nearer heaven. Eyesight becomes dimmer to the world and yet the values of life are better observed and evaluated. After the busy, hectic years of having a shoulder for the children, there is more leisure time, do you bask in that leisure time for self or keep yourself very active, and keeping your life FULL with providing a shoulder for the younger women to lean on and teach them how to do it the Godly way. Make this stage of life pleasant, life doesn't cease in aging, but simply brings a rich change.
A quote from a grandma that followed the biblical blueprint, “The longer I drain the cup of life, the sweeter it grows. All the sugar is it at the bottom of the cup." The last of life is the best with those who truly love the Lord, for every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.
Outside the Home
“Use (practice) hospitality one to another..." 1 Peter 4:9
The glory of the home is hospitality, reaching out to others. Satisfaction is found in practicing and exercising this Christian virtue, it enriches our lives, broadens our horizons and blesses our homes. As we share our shoulder, we enjoy the privilege of Christian fellowship.
To be hospitable, loving strangers, having brotherly affection to strangers, anybody that comes our way, to be this is representing Christ Himself. This is what having a shoulder to lean on is all about. I well remember as a child a family from church that lived this out in everyday life. The wife was more quiet, steady and consistent, but was always ready for her husband to invite folks at any given time into the home for a meal. I always admired that in this family and wanted to be the same way when I grew up. They probably never realized how their shoulder touched another's life. This husband was killed by an electrical shock, his viewing and funeral was “flooded" with community people, WHY? He readily shared his shoulder for others to lean on.
Finding contentment with our lot in life, living simply in our home, and making no apologies to others for it , will give us a freedom to have a shoulder for others to lean on. As we look outside our homes for those to lean on our shoulder, do I have the ability to care for both the poor and rich? As I thought thru this one, my mind went back over the folks that took me into their home, the way I was and the way they were, no fancy “air" was put on. These kinds of people we often admire and we say they challenge us, but let's take it closer home. Does it motivate us to be not only challenged but change?
I know from personal experience, what mind battles you can go thru. I went thru it the four times we shared our home with someone. Self-talk takes you on lots of “trips"! But after taking the “trip , I always came back to the ground work laid out thru out this article. A little while ago we heard a sermon on “Hospitality" . After that sermon, Anthony made the comment that he wants our home to be like the ideals shared in the message. How does that happen though? We all deal with our flesh and we like things the way they are. Who likes living in a “glass" house for others to peer in and pass judgment on us while someone is leaning on our shoulder? Who likes their schedules interrupted every day, just to make room for someone else? I'd rather just be there for people at my convenience , like when it suits me to make a phone call, or when I have a minute to send off a card, or when I'm hostess I'll invite a needy family, or I'll just send some flowers. That may be all good and fine and has it's place, but, we can still live in our own selfish world. They could be ways to satisfy our conscience and not really be the shoulder God would want us to be for Him.
To have a shoulder for those outside our home takes a heart-cleaning, NOT a house-cleaning. Clean windows are not so important as to keep the windows of our soul washed. The curtains of doubt need taken down so the love of God can shine brightly in. Keep the cobwebs of distrust swept away. The walls of pride need to be scrubbed down with the brush of humility. Keep the crumbs of gossip swept up. Its so-o easy to accumulate unkind and impure thoughts dump them in the rubbish heap. Keep up the scrubbing, polishing, and cleaning of our heart and our shoulder will be at it's best for others to lean on. We are tired and we find our house many times not “fit" for company.
Pray for a hospitable heart, the hostess is more important than the house and God can give us a serene spirit in the midst of disorder even while our back aches and feet hurt. God WILL, because He may well be sending this individual to lean on our shoulder.
I well remember the day one of our boarders came to our home. What a day! It seemed everything went “wrong" , plainly put; it was a “BAD" day. As a family, we were working on making the changes, emotionally and in our minds. (Remember, looking at a bridge is worse than the crossing. God's grace is not for the imagination, but the reality.) We had just turned our spare room into a boy's room , putting Devon down with big brother, so Jennica could graduate from the bassinet in our room, over to the crib in the nursery. The four boys had just “spread their wings" out into 2 bedrooms! Now the 3 oldest would need to go back to 1 room and Devon come back up to the nursery, only now it would be a foam mattress on the floor. So we had a changing around of beds and some other furniture, making it a excellent time to do some extra cleaning while in the rearranging process. Well, that day the little girl that we babysat woke up from her nap, itching her head, telling me she had lice.
What a deal to face today! It took some phoning to see if she was accurate; and, yes she had lice! This meant more washing of bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, plus a host of other things to deal with. Someone from Martin's Water came, he was having a “bad" day as well. He ran into problems, putting us out of water for 6 hours, something that was not to happen. So how do you wash with no water ? Garden needed to leave for singing at the Mall that eve., so he ended up at the neighbors to get ready to go. Anthony left to go pick up our “new”boarder. I still needed to run to the neighbors to pick up a piece of foam she cut to the size of a crib mattress, Devon needed it for his new floor bed in the nursery. Plus there were lots of things at home that we were frantically flying around trying to get done. Every time I turned around, one of the children would start itching wildly! Why not laugh, we needed some humor just then. Our boarder came, in the middle of a big mess. His room was not quite finished, maybe lice in our home and eating supper after 9 in the evening. I felt like we needed a shoulder to lean on. Why were we sharing our shoulder with someone else? That's how it so-o often goes, when we share our shoulder with others, blessings come back, even in the midst of a “bad” day.
Remember, God may not always clearly spell out to us when sending someone to our shoulder to lean on. The inn keeper did not recognize Joseph and Mary, shutting the door to the greatest opportunity of his life. Don't turn your shoulder away from a soul just because you think your “full" enough, God has a plan, for each of us. Hebrews 13:2, as we are there for others, so we have done it to Jesus.