Prayers are continual for this coming year and the new season we will be entering into. Planning is finished: schedules (the most challenging yet), chore charts and meal planning for the start of our school year are complete - next will be the trial run in a few weeks to see where they will need to be tweaked. Preparations have been underway for the changes that we are expecting and have planned for (of course, the Lord knows how He will direct each day...we can only plan for them ;P).
This post will complete the 3 part topic of Prayer, Planning & Preparations, of which I will cover the last part. What does it mean to prepare? According to Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary, prepare means: to make all things ready; to put things in suitable order; to make one's self ready. Just like with planning we can look to the Bible for examples of what it means to prepare. The Proverbs 31 woman did not wait until there was a 'need' to begin preparing, but instead looked well to the ways of her household and gives us an example of putting to 'action' what she had been called to do as a wife, mother and manager of her home. (Proverbs 31:10-31) Being a wife, mother and manager of the home are a good work, which the Lord has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10) As we go about preparing, remember that we are to be doing so as unto the Lord. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
There are many areas that need to be prepared: 1) spiritually. I need to gird up with His word so that I do not fall prey to the enemy - this world puts forth images DAILY of what it deems to be good, what women should be seeking after and what focus a woman should have. If I am not actively combating that with TRUTH (His word), then I can become susceptible to desiring the wrong things or believing that the work I do is not important. I have had days of doubt and discouragement...we all do. But this is why girding up against the daily bombardment of the worlds values is so important. What women are called to do in the Bible is one of the most important works that can be done - training the next generation...sending forth arrows that fly straight...ready to stand against the schemes of the devil.
I have also had to assess each year what changes to expect (this year: the added blessing of another child, children growing physically and what their educational needs will be, the added responsibilities of daily home management as our family increases in size, continuing to help my husband with the Lord's provision of entrepreneurship - going on 8 years, etc.). Some of this requires preparing our 2) home for those changes.
Each year, a list is made of projects that we will do to help our home stay maintained, run more efficiently and serve our family based on the needs of that year. Additionally, this year we have looked at ways to make our home more energy efficient, space efficient and inviting to our guests. Over the summer we "planned"/scheduled a few family work days to complete items on that list, with hopes to have a majority of it completed before we start school back next month and before the baby comes soon after that.
We always marvel at God's perfect wisdom. When we built our home 15 years ago, it was for a family of 3, with no intent of increasing that number. This very home (with the addition of 2 rooms in 2006) continues to serve our family - soon to be family of 9 - very well. It is not large in comparison to most homes today, however it continues to be a place filled with family, friends and ministry to this day...the Lord's faithful provision.
Another area of preparation, was for assessing 3) education. Curriculum was evaluated, learning needs assessed and items were purchased to help facilitate learning. Over the past month, I have had the blessing of a mother's helper one day a week which has allowed me to prepare for the upcoming year. What a tremendous blessing it has been to have the help of a young lady caring and playing with the younger children, so that I could plan the lessons for each child for the year, review materials that we plan to cover and gather together the learning materials (making copies, setting up notebooks to help keep things moving, etc.) which we will use throughout the year. Preparing in this area will help keep things running smoothly, help us not waste valuable time and having our schedules in place lets everyone know what they should be working toward each day.
Now - does this mean that everything is perfect? Does this mean that things will always go smoothly and according to the 'plan'? NO! We must remember that the Lord directs our steps. We may deviate from the plan, however it will be there when we need to come back to it and allow us to pick right back up. By girding up each day and putting our plan into action, will give many opportunities throughout the year for blessings that come with being prepared. Blessings to minister to others, to serve and extend hospitality and a more peaceful home are just a few.
May your time in prayer, planning and the preparations you undertake bring you peace, joy and blessings this year - even on difficult days. :-)
"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon
you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon
you and give you peace."