A Mom's Mission

Leslie Basham: Moms get inundated with requests to help with worthwhile projects. Here's Sharon Jaynes with something to keep in mind.

Sharon Jaynes: The Bible does tell us to be ministers or ambassadors for Christ, but for a young mom who has children at home, her first priority is that home.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, July 8th. Here's Nancy to introduce today's guest.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We're talking with Sharon Jaynes this week about some very practical aspects of what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman. By that, of course, we're referring to Proverbs chapter 31 in the Old Testament that gives us a list of characteristics of a woman of virtue, a noble and excellent wife.

Sharon is the vice-president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She's an author; she's a speaker; she's a radio host. She does many, many things, but her highest calling in life is to know and walk with the Lord, to be a wife to her husband Steve, and to be a mom to her son Steven. Sharon, thank you so much for your commitment to live the life of a Proverbs 31 woman, and then to help others of us know how we can live that life as well.

Sharon: Nancy, it is just an honor and privilege to be able to do that.

Nancy: I think that you would agree with me that this is something you never arrive at. This is something we're very much in process of becoming. We can't look at anyone we know and say, "There's the Proverbs 31 woman." It's a process, isn't it?

Sharon: Exactly. It's just like when the Scripture tells us to be like Christ. You know we're never going to arrive there.

Nancy: It's a life-long pursuit, but you've done such a great job in numbers of your books on motherhood and family and home and this book on the 7 principles of a Proverbs 31 woman of helping us know what does that look like and how can we liveoutthat life. We've been talking about these 7 principles that are the basis for Proverbs 31 Ministries that have been drawn out of Proverbs chapter 31.

Today, we come to the fifth principle, which has to do with time and money. Tell us what that principle is.

Sharon: Well Nancy, we have the fifth principle saying that the Proverbs 31 woman contributes to the financial well-being of the household by being a faithful steward of the time and money that God has entrusted to her.

Nancy: Proverbs 31 really has a lot to say about how a wise woman uses her time and uses her money, doesn't it?

Sharon: It does. She was a very thrifty woman. She had a home business. She made belts; she sold them to the traders. She saw some land; she thought it was a good buy. She purchased the land; she planted a vineyard. She invested--a lot to do with money.

Nancy: In fact, more than half the verses in Proverbs 31 talk about a woman in some way managing financial resources.

Sharon: Exactly.

Nancy: Now, you used the word "thrifty" a moment ago. That reminds me of a story I heard you tell about a Sunday School class where people were asking questions, and your husband had an interesting answer to one of those questions.

Sharon: It was a marriage series we were doing, and they had different couples come and sit at the front of the class. This was our Sunday; we were in the spotlight, and I knew the questions they were going to ask. But I did not know what the answers would be. One of the final questions that they were going to ask Steve, my husband, was: What is one thing you admire about Sharon? Well, I thought he would say something romantic about the color of my hair or my eyes sparkling in the moonlight or something like that.

So they asked that question. I'm just bracing myself sitting on my pedestal, and he said, "She's thrifty." My mouth dropped open.

Nancy: This is one of the things he most admires about his wife.

Sharon: Right. And the class just burst out laughing, but he went on to say that he did admire how I was thrifty and how I was content with what I had. He really admired how I could go out and see a project that I wanted to do for the house. Iwould start out at this project, like I did the bedroom (I wanted to have new curtains in the bedroom). The project was going to cost about $1,200, but as I looked at outlets and waited for them to go on sale, I actually ended up making it myself. He told how it dropped from $1,200 to $123, and he admired that in me.

Nancy: You used the word "contentment" there. I think when it comes to being thrifty and being a manager, a wise manager, of financial resources, contentment really is the key to managing money well.

Sharon: Contentment is key. I think of a story one of my friends told me about her granddaughter. She was in Wal-Mart with her mom, and the little granddaughter saw some cookies with sprinkles on them. She said, "Mom, I want those cookies!" The mom said, "No. You don't need those cookies. We have cookies like that at home." So she thought about it for a little bit, she was three-years-old, and she said, "Mom, I need those cookies." The mom said, "No honey, you don't need those cookies. We have them at home."

They were pulling out of Wal-Mart and she just gave one more effort. She said, "Mom, I think God wants me to have those cookies." We kind of laughed about that and thought, "You know, that's what we do many times in our own lives. We see something we want, then we convince ourselves it's something we need, and then sometimes we take it a step further and say, 'God wants me to have that.'"

What we need to learn is just to be content with what we have. And you know what, Nancy? That honors our husbands because they have a need to feel like they're providing for their family. If we're not content, then I'm actually destroying that man's heart, and it's very difficult for them. You might not realize you're doing it, but that's what not being content will do.

Nancy: I've actually seen marriages destroyed because a woman--and it can go the other way as well--in many cases a woman is not willing to be content with what God was able to provide for her family. She always wanted more, wanted more, wanted more, and the pressure that put on her husband to perform beyond what he was able to do actually ended up destroying the marriage.

Sharon: I've seen it as well.

Nancy: Now as Proverbs 31 women we want to be faithful stewards of the money God has entrusted us, but also of the time. That is one of the most valuable resources God has given to us and I think one of the greatest areas of frustration for women, whether married or single, mothers, empty nesters, whatever. It seems like in every season of life I hear women saying today, "I am so busy. I just can't do everything on my list. I'm just stressed out."

I have to tell you the reason I recognize it so quickly in others is because I see it so often in myself. We want to be thrifty not only in our financial resources, but also in the ordering of our time. How do you find time as a wife, as a mom, to do everything that you're supposed to do?

Sharon: Well, I think that last thing you just said is the key. Do everything that you're supposed to do. I think that's where we get the lines blurred. What exactly are we supposed to do? That's what we're not really sure about.

Nancy: We're not supposed to do everything.

Sharon: We're not supposed to do everything, and that's where it all begins. Come back and read about Jesus in Mark, and it says in Mark 1, "Jesus rose while it was still dark. He went to a lonely place and He was praying there" (verse 35). You know I think He was praying, "God show me what you want me to do today." Then his disciples came and they said, "Jesus, you've got to come back to this town where you were yesterday because the people are looking for you. They want you to heal more people; they want you to do more miracles." And Jesus said, "No." He said, "No, I'm going to the next town because that is what I came for."

That's what we need to learn how to do. Again it all goes back to principle #1--that we have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. We pray, "Lord, what do you want me to do today?" Then go back and look at the request. I don't know about you Nancy, but by about 8:30 my phone's ringing off the hook with people asking me to do one thing and then another. I have to say, "Lord, what do you want me to do today?" Yes, these things that they're asking me to do might be good; they might be noble things to do, but is it what God wants me to do today?

Then I go back and look at the requests that come in. Actually, this is something that Liz Curtis Higgs wrote about in her book, Only Angels Can Wing It . She includes five great questions. Number one: will this activity matter one week from today or a month or a year? Number two: is there someone who does this task better than I do to whom I might delegate it? Number three: does it satisfy a heart need for me or someone I love very much? Number four: what are the ramifications if I don't do it? And number five: what is the outcome if I do?

Nancy: Okay, give us an illustration about how you might apply those questions. Will this matter a week from today, etc. How would you do that in real life?

Sharon: Well, I remember one time when Steven, it was his birthday, and I got a speaking request on the very night of his birthday talking about something I love: giving the gift of encouragement. I had to sit down and evaluate. This is Steven's birthday. This is a speaking engagement--I'd be doing it for the Lord. Someone might come to Christ that night. What should I do?

So I sat down and asked myself those questions. After praying, I realized that they didn't have to have me come and speak that night. They could have someone else, but there was no other mother in Steven's life that could celebrate his birthday. Would it matter a week from now or a month from now or a year from now if I didn't do the speaking engagement and someone else did? It wouldn't matter. Would it matter if I wasn't at home and didn't celebrate Steven's birthday? Yes, it would matter.

It might matter in the long run. It may have an effect on him that he felt that ministry was more important than him. So asking those five questions I decided that I would stay home and give my son the gift of encouragement instead of taking that ministry opportunity, and I knew God would give others.

Nancy: I remember, Sharon, one of the things that impressed me most when I first met you and you were in a different season of life than you are now because your son was still at home, and you were only taking a limited number of ministry opportunities, speaking engagements, because you said, "This is my season of life to be home with my son." Now you still have a husband, and you're not traveling all the time. You're still very devoted to your husband, but there are different seasons of life when we have opportunities to do different things.

Sharon: The Bible does tell us to reach out to those in our community, and the Bible does tell us to be ministers or ambassadors for Christ. But for a young mom who has children, her first priority is that home. That is a ministry. It is an incredible responsibility as we've talked about previously. We shouldn't feel the pressure of trying to make everyone happy and take every opportunity that comes along because they might be good opportunities, but the good is not always God's best.

So we need to pray, "What is God's best for me? What does He want me to do today?" Then we need to learn how to say no and not feel guilty about it.

Nancy: I think one of the things that has helped me most is the line I actually wrote in my book, The Lies Women Believe. It's something that has come back to haunt me many, many times as I've had to remind myself of this truth, and that is that there is time in every 24 hour day to do everything that is on God's to-do list for me for that day.

Sharon: You know what I have in my study Nancy? You've probably seen this before, but I have two jars. In one jar I have large rocks that are about the size of my fist. The other jar is almost all the way full of sand. Those two jars remind me of my priorities. See, my priorities are the big rocks: What God wants me to do on any given day. First of all, spending time with Him and loving and taking care of my family. The other jar, which is almost full of sand is my to-do list--all those other activities that I want to do on any given day.

Now the reason I keep those jars in front of me is because if I start filling up the jar with the large rocks all that sand from the other jar will fit in nicely, will fit into place. However, if I start out my day with the sand, if I start out my day with my to-do list and other things I want to accomplish and think, "Oh I'll get my time with the Lord in there somehow." You know what? It doesn't fit for I could never get those rocks to fit in that jar. So I have those two jars just to remind me to keep my priorities straight and all those other little things will fit into place.

Nancy: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

Leslie Basham: Sharon Jaynes writes more about managing time wisely in her book, A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life. Does your life need some balance? I hope you'll read this book based on Proverbs 31.

You can get more information online at ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also visit our website to order a copy of our current series. If you've missed any of Nancy Leigh DeMoss' conversation with Sharon Jaynes, you can order the series on CD. Again, the address is: ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1-800-569-5959.

According to Sharon Jaynes, there's at least one thing moms and wives don't have to be: perfect. We'll hear about that on Monday. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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