I Did Not Need My Economics Degree to Figure this One Out

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Just as I predicted, with the election of Donald Trump, the American economy is exploding.  And I believe that will mean fewer marriages ravaged by financial stress, more opportunities on all fronts, and most of all, I hope it means more moms will be able to be at home.  Homemakers, homekeepers, hearthtenders.

I not only hope, I earnestly and diligently pray that we are about to, once again, become a society where people are nurtured in the most excellent place of all – home.  And by the most blessed and privileged of all people – homemakers.

I wasn’t so privileged when I got the “education”, bought the Italian pumps and sported the chic haircut.  I had a fancy office all my own and a degree – a piece of paper – to prove I was somebody.

But now I have “medals”.  “You and John have medals,” a lady at church recently said to me after we stood together as a family before the congregation.  The pastor had asked our oldest son to come forward for prayer, along with John and me, before leaving for officer training in Fort Benning, Georgia.  Our other three joined us as well.  The pastor prayed, John prayed, and I managed to pray through the tears of an utterly full heart.

There were other words spoken and joys shared and then those words from a lady I didn’t know.  “You and John have medals.”  She paused and I waited as she gazed at our children.  “Your children are medals.”

Indeed.  And we fought for them.  We fought financial fears when I chucked that fancy job to stay home with Benjamin.  “It’s an opportunity to trust,” I said to John when the doctor said if I didn’t abort Hannah I would not survive.  Told I would miscarry Rebekah, again we donned the full armor of God and we fought.  Recovering from the C-section that brought us Seth, I battled for my health and vitality, and John prayed me through those wearying days.

Attempting to hear God and not our own insecurities or preferences, or the opinions of others, we stood our ground when we decided to home school.  John prayed as I sought self-discipline, self-control and patience.

Always, we suited up for battle with the Word of God in our mouths, saying what He said about our children, rather than what we wanted to spew out of our mouths.  This child is impossibly strong-willed, stubborn, willful, and I am at my wit’s end with her!  was the thought.  The words were prayers and positive scriptural confessions:  “This child is my great and glorious gift, fearfully and wonderfully made for God’s purposes and she will live in the light and bring blessings all the days of her life.”

And so on.  Through the years I have made the most powerful and eternally profitable investment a woman ever has the privilege to make:  I have raised my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  I have been a homemaker.

For John, the husband who supported my determination to do whatever it took to raise my children (for a time we took all four of them with us on our trim and tile jobs) I am grateful beyond all measure.

Because I raised my older children as a single mother, or rather they were raised by the daycare center and the public school system, I know the immeasurably high cost of a “real” job, of a society-sanctioned career.  I know the ever-diminishing returns on that kind of investment – investment in the world’s ways.

“I simply can’t go through that again,” I said to John when we talked about my returning to work and finding childcare for Benjamin.  It wasn’t just about my baby, it was about me, and my peace of mind.  It was about that deepest of needs in my heart, the need to make a home for my family, to be a homemaker.

A homemaker who is also a homeschooler has it made in the shade, especially if she has a strong and good husband.  Her life in no way resembles the stereotype of the harried and frantic chicken-with-her-head-cut-off mommy.  Rather, if she seeks the impartation of wisdom freely given via simply asking the Holy Spirit and reading God’s Word each and every single morning, she grows ever more skillful in battle, ever more confident and in full receipt of her rewards.  Her life is lived in rhythms of grace, rather than in sorrow and regret.

If I had it to do over in what I call my “first life” I would have cleaned houses and taken my babies with me, or lived in a tent by the river, or moved in with family.  But I would not have sacrificed my children on the altar of career, I would not have bought the line that I “couldn’t afford” to do otherwise.

I would have said, “What I can’t afford is the breaking of the little hearts and spirits of my children by leaving them in the care of, at best, indifferent workers while I go and chase the almighty dollar.

I am eternally grateful for this second chance, but regarding my older children, there are no overs.  I urge and exhort you, if you have young children being raised by others as your heart yearns for them, pray and believe God for the highest of callings and privileges, that He will make the way, that He will be the author and the finisher of your parenting, your marriage, your family.  Your home.

Then say joyously to all who ask who you are and what you do:  I AM A HOMEMAKER.

The Church of Homemade Apple Pie

For my son’s birthday (Nov. 3) I made apple pie.

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(I failed to take a picture, so I made use of this picture made by someone whose baking skills exceed mine.)

Three kinds of apples, three healthy sweeteners, lemon juice, spices, a little flour for thickening, then marinating in the fridge overnight.

A crust with two kinds of flour, salt, butter, coconut oil.  Should have had some vodka (keeps it tender) but it was, as are most of my pies, a creative endeavor making use of the materials at hand.

We (daughter and I) peeled enough for two pies, sliced them thinly and smashed and piled them into one pie.  I asked the birthday boy if I could add raisins (no!), and how about doing a crisp top crust made up of oats, butter, sugars, salt, and chopped walnuts?  “No, Mom, just plain, traditional apple pie.”

I don’t really do “plain, traditional” but I came close enough.  The pie was a big pie and a big hit, and it didn’t hurt that I whipped heavy cream with a pinch of salt, a bit of almond flavoring, and a tablespoon or so of honey to liberally pile atop each slice.

The pie was enjoyed with laughter, candlelight, and song.  I was chastised by my wondering children for starting “Happy Birthday” before the candles were lit (we are all in agreement that a large three-wick candle in the midst of the table works just fine for every birthday, and eliminates the cringing we all do when someone spits on the candles, and thereby the pie).

As a student of economics and government, I thought about pie slice sizes, and how my professors talked so often about scarcity, and pieces of the pie.  I thought of the socialist idea that there is only so much pie to go around, and that we must all share and share alike, our tiny sliver of a sliver.

I thought of the apple pie served to the masses – storebought, from old and tired and flavorless apples, with bleached GMO white sugar, thinly layered into a nasty, off-tasting crust.  Said pies are not, as was mine, baked at home in a large red pie dish.  Rather, they are each merely one of hundreds, baked in throw-away aluminum via industrial ovens.  For the masses.  Those of whom there are too many, supposedly creating scarcity.

I am here to submit that God’s way is a very large and luscious and multi-nuanced, soul-nourishing pie.  God’s way is more people to plant more apple trees, to get creative and try new varieties of apples, cooked with various kinds of sweeteners, in pies, cakes, tarts, ciders, juices, sauces, and anything else the unendingly creative human mind can dream up.

God’s way is more pie.  Enough for you and whoever He puts on your heart to invite into your home and partake.

God’s way is a variety (for every individual taste, because He is not the God of stereotypes, of groups – He is the God of each and every precious individual, unique-in-all-the-world human being) of coffees and teas to go with the pie, and the giving of thanks that He is the Blesser, the Giver, the Abundant One.

The Church of Apple Pie.  Try that thought on for size.  Your have a choice:  The Church of Slivers and Scarcity vs. The Church of Apple Pie.

It begins with each of us, looking in the mirror, being Apple Pie to those at home – not stingy in anything at all.  Partakers of His bounty, that we might pass it on.

We live in a world physically and spiritually starving for big, spicy, delicious slices of apple pie.  And since we’re all different, some of us want raisins, some want rum sauce atop our whipped cream.  Some want plain, traditional apple pie.  Some, unbelievably and inconceivably, don’t want apple pie at all, ever.  They want pumpkin, or peanut butter chocolate.  But I think it’s safe to say, whatever pie we prefer, we want more than a sliver, about which we have to feel we’re stealing from someone else.

Let’s do away with the lack mentality.  Like storebought pie, it’s from Hell.

 

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