Today is February 5 or 2/5 which makes it Be Keepers Day because the name Be Keepers comes from Titus 2:5 which tells older women to teach younger women to be keepers at home. The word "keepers" is often translated "workers" which fits right in with my corny bee--we are to be worker bees! 🐝 Titus 2 is rich with admonitions for older women and what they are to be and what they are to teach. They should be teachers of good things.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much 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.
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Whether you are single or married, young or old, a stay-at-home mom or an outside-the-home employee, you have work to do at home. I hope my Facebook page and blog posts will remind you of all the Bible tells us to BE and KEEP.
I'd like to give you some background on how this blog came to be. This is my personal story but it no doubt parallels your story--the challenge God has issued to you to take who He has made you to be and use it to build your faith in Him.
In 1990, I completed my degree in Home Economics at Bob Jones University, got married, and began teaching private piano at a Christian school. During that year, plans were made to offer Home Economics to 11th-12th grade girls and I taught that class daily for the next three school years.
The cooking portion of the class was done in an old house on campus that had a small kitchen. Since the class was only 50 minutes long, I had some prep to do for the girls before they arrived. You should have seen that little kitchen full of girls, squealing, running, panicking for 50 minutes—not long enough to prepare and cook a recipe, and then clean up after it, much less eat it! Therefore, I was left with one torn up kitchen. Similar story with sewing, just add machines that needed constant repair and an insufficient teacher to student ratio for such a task. Not ideal but we managed. I stopped teaching in 1994 to stay home with my first baby.
Fast forward two more babies and eleven years. I missed teaching and thought I could handle just two hours per week, so in 2005 I taught 7th-8th grade girls a class that we called Life Skills. Knowing that it didn't work to teach cooking during a class period, necessity was once again the mother of invention and it was decided that I would video myself cooking at home, show the video in class, and have the girls make the food at their own homes for their families to eat. (This also forced Mom to get involved which was part of my scheme.) They would then fill out a short questionnaire to turn in to the teacher. This worked like a charm, and I used the same idea for teaching other things such as sewing on a button, where it is difficult to show close-up detail to a large class in person but very easy with the zoom on a video camera. I used the same videos to teach the 7th-8th grade boys the following year.
My drive to do my best drove me right out of business as I gave all my energies to the class and was too exhausted to minister to my family at home. Pretty ironic—teaching Home Ec but neglecting my home (Home neglEc?). This was a lesson in prioritizing. Family is first. Anything that gets in the way of that should be dropped like a hot potato. There come times when we have to ask ourselves "Is anything standing in my way of doing my best at what I'm supposed to be doing?". Something was and I had to give it up.
In 2007, our church called a new Pastor. His wife also had a Home Ec degree from Bob Jones University. I told her of my struggle and she told me of having a once-a-month girls' activity at her former church where they would spend a few minutes teaching homemaking skills and then have popcorn and a movie or some other activity. I liked the idea but did not want to string it out so long or add any more busyness to our church calendar. We toyed with the idea of making and loaning out DVD's but that would have become a logistical nightmare. After much consideration and prayer, I decided that I would start a blog. Though the concept began as talks of church involvement, it is not a ministry of my church but is done completely on my own. And thus is born Be Keepers!
I'm going to be transparent with you right from the start: I'm scared. It has taken ten years for me to start this because I could not find the time to do it and I have been afraid to put myself out there. It's scary to be transparent—to give people reason to criticize you. I'm a private person—a recluse at times. I like my world to be perfect and it takes a lot for me to deal with the reality of my imperfection. However, I am now 47. (As I edit this rough draft, I just had to change that from 42. I told you it has taken a while.) There's something about being in your 40's that makes you finally comfortable with who you are as you give up on becoming the idealized you. I accept myself for who I am—designed by God with strengths AND weaknesses; imperfect, but always striving to be more like Christ.
What people think of me has always been important to me—too important. I now realize that I cannot control or even know what people think about me. What really matters is what God KNOWS about me. I'm having to depend on God's grace to help me carry through with this and I will give it my best, short of neglecting my family. It will take a lot of encouragement from my "team" because Satan will be on my heels if this is something God can use, but greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
I am pleased and frankly surprised that I haven't had any "attacks" over my effort or content in this first month. I still fully expect them. No worries though because I am my own worst enemy. The ten years leading up to this were grueling. I had ideas left and right and then the doubts would come and I would let God know that He had the wrong person or that this would be just a public display of my failure. I got so tired of this blog idea plaguing me constantly that I would just decide to let it die. I wanted it to GO AWAY so I could stop thinking about it.
It wouldn't go away.
It's like that irritating song continuously looping in your head that makes you scream "STOP IT!"
It wouldn't stop.
I finally decided that I just had to do it to make it stop. Whether it lasted a month or a year, I had to go through that phase to get to the other side of it. I told God that I wanted to wait until I could really do it right. He told me to do what I can right now. I told God that other bloggers were writing the things I would have written and doing it very well. He told me that I could join them and be counted as one more voice for His cause and that there are those I could reach that the other bloggers would not reach. It had proven to be God's idea and not mine. So here I am.
That was quite an excruciating ten years, but this last month has been that in concentrated form. I have been through every emotion at extreme levels. It has made me really come to terms with WHY I am doing this. The final answer is that I have to. God wants me to. If no one else gets anything from it, at least my momma enjoys reading it, I get my thoughts out of my head and send them off to outer space, and I can be sure my children and their children will know my point of view.
The things I am learning as a result of this experience are incredible! It's as if God has granted me a new level of light in exchange for putting myself out there. Here are a few things I am learning:
🔹It takes a lot of humility to serve others in a public way. You are working for a cause while risking your reputation.
🔹God gives you enough light to see only the next step. I don't know where this is going or how long it will last but I am content that I am doing what I should do today.
🔹This empowers me to work hand in hand with God. He's not far away when you live by faith but right beside you filling in the gaps. He gave me eyes to see an answer this week to something I have wrestled with all my adult life and I just cried and praised Him! I'm looking forward to a lot more of these experiences.
🔹I have never been so alive. I know this is a tempest in a teapot (my head being the teapot), but it is my act of faith--trusting and obeying--and God is using it as my schoolroom.
Bottom line: God designed each one of us to contribute to His kingdom and He proves Himself real to us when we exercise faith in Him.
I hope my testimony encourages you to take your next step of faith. When you are fully convinced that it is of the Lord, He will give you everything you need to accomplish it.
I'd like to thank those who have encouraged me to do this project.
Jeff—there is no way this can happen without your picking me back up, brushing me off again, and encouraging me to live out who I am. You are my lifelong blessing.
Colton, Evy, & Capers--you have been my students and my teachers. You are the reason I was put on this earth.
Momma & Mom—I just hope I can help to perpetuate the likes of you.
My Pastor's wife, JoAnna, Kim H, Dennae, Rebekah, Dawn, Mary Ellen, Becka, and many others—you've given me nothing but encouragement for this project. Thanks for the vote of confidence!
My Home Ec and Life Skills girls and boys (currently totaling 93) have always held a special place in my heart. Watching you grow up has been a delight. Those of you who have thanked me years later for what we learned together have kept that fire burning in me to teach others also.
To God alone 🐝Be the glory!