Monday, September 07, 2015

Making Use of Things

    (Photo on Pinterest)

Here are some examples of making old, useless things work for you.  I shared in my previous post an old vehicle that I own and love, which cannot be moved, and how I made it up to be something more. I appreciated the comment from Janet, who said that women like to make things pretty for their families and their homes.  

Yes, ladies, we can always make things better, even when it seems we are limited. The one thing I cannot make better is the old industrial shelf that is kept in the garage.  I remember when we used that sort of thing as a bookshelf, and many other people did, too. We spray-painted them white and wound latex vines around those ugly metal shelf units and lovingly placed our families book collection, model cars or dishes in them.  This was long before there were places that average families could purchase bookshelves cheaply for their homes.  We just did what we could.  I am sure there are many of you who remember using bricks and boards to make a bookshelf in the living room.  I am glad things have changed. 

Above is another example of using things that have something wrong with them, in a different way.  The child's wheelbarrow has a big hole in it, and the trike had all its screws and bolts missing. The child's boots have cracks in them.  I have used all these things as garden art and planters.  I realize not everyone wants to do this, and it won't always suit your garden. I am sharing this for inspiration.

This is a basket I got from Goodwill, and I have taken it with me in the car even on errands, because it is so convenient to pack a little lunch and refreshing cold drinks.  It is on the front porch right now and I like using it at home. It will go well with that old truck when I get it all cleaned up.

Now for another reason I am posting today.  

My husband read this impressive story to the church on Sunday. It was authored by someone who recognized the power of discouragement.  I think it had a better impact when read aloud, so you might try reading it aloud.

                                                   The Devil's Yard Sale

ANGER: $100, RESENTMENT: $400, HATRED: $600, etc.

"Each tool sold almost as quickly as it was placed upon the table. Toward the end of the day, a crooked old man in tattered rags approached. The man eyed the tools that remained, but was taken by a certain tool at the end of the table. The tool resembled the two long and bowed fangs of a viper. Its chrome-like pointy tusks caught the sun and sent flashes of blinding light everywhere. 
With one hand, the old man blocked his eyes from the glare and with the other, he reached for the tool. As he grabbed hold, the tool's steely, needle tips nearly pierced his hand. This seemed to please the old man. He snatched up the tool and held it to his chest. With a glint in his eye, the man asked the Devil, “How much for this one?”

“I’m sorry, that tool isn’t for sale,” the Devil replied.

Without hesitation, the man said, “But I’ll pay double.”

The Devil narrowed his eyes and hissed, “Sir, I’ve told you, that tool is not for sale, nor will I ever sell it. It is the most useful tool I own and without it, I wouldn't be half as effective in my work. With that tool alone, I can accomplish my every task. Now good day, sir.”

Dejected, the man looked once more at the shiny tool, then slowly placed it on the table. With almost a whisper, he said to the Devil, "If I can't buy it, would you, at least tell me its name?"

A slow and wicked grin grew across the Devil's face. "Of course, old man, its name is... Discouragement."

Perplexed, the old man wondered out loud , “Why is this tool so important to you?”
The devil responded, “It’s more useful to me than any of the others. When I can’t bring down my victims with the rest of my tools, I use discouragement, because so few people realize it belongs to me. Nothing paralyzes a person, nothing stops someone in their tracks like discouragement and hopelessness. Discouragement and hopelessness are no respecters of persons. They keep the unemployed unemployed. The homeless homeless. The sick sick. They can even draw the most powerful ministry to its knees. 

When overcome with discouragement and hopelessness, the person can’t pray, they can’t worship and they become a victim of their environment. Discouragement and hopelessness drains their victims of courage, vision, faith, expectation and the will to make a difference in the kingdom of God . If I can get you discouraged and hopeless, then I have successfully neutralized you. You are left with only enough energy to feel sorry for yourself.”

Many men and women embark on the journey toward God and salvation. It is something exciting or something new, a new form of energy, boldness and desire to pursue that which our hearts long for. However, as the journey ensues, many run out of steam, and eventually give up. Trials and difficulties plague our every step in our attempt to climb the Mountain of God.

"In times of discouragement, we need to be reminded to keep holding onto the courage we began with, irrespective of the obstacles and challenges that may cloud our paths. We are 'Saints in the Making', clay pots still being molded, and for those who persevere till the end, the reward of Heaven awaits them.

        We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; 
        we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; 

cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 2nd Corinthians 4: 8-10

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10: 35-36

 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:1"

My comments: the role you have as wife, mother, homemaker is so important and of earth-shaking value that you probably can't even understand the far-reaching value of it.  The very fact that it is under attack shows that other people know the impact of what you are doing.  They want to rob you of your influence on your family, your freedom to work at home, and your spiritual worth. 

The naysayers will pick at you even subtly to turn you against your goals, and turn your children against you. They will put doubts in your mind. They will frustrate you.

As the article pointed out, a rude accusing comment can tie you in a knot emotionally and debilitate you, immobilize and demoralize you to the point you cannot function. When that happens, the discouragers have achieved what they set out to do. 

They want to make you ineffective in your teaching and your example. They want you all broken down, losing your personal dignity.  They want to disenfranchise you of everything that is God-given: your bonding with your children, your husband's  love and loyalty, (they plant doubt in his mind, too, about your decision to be home)  your nice clean house. 

They know they can stop you from having personal satisfaction and contentment. They want to steal everything you work for at home. They don't want you to be faithful to the Christian life.

Warning against this, Jesus said:

"The thief comes to steal and to kill: I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly."

We go through life naive and deceived, thinking everyone means well, and then excuse these discouragers by saying they just had a bad break, or life has not gone well for them, so we need to tolerate their anger and their bad manners. But we need to be more like our forefathers, who weighed things on Biblical truth and acted accordingly. 

 So please do not believe that things people say are true. The problem, is that you are rational and you think everyone else can be reasoned with in a just and rational way.  But when dealing with discouragers, you are not dealing with people who can be reasoned with. They are not rational.

One way to rise up after a mental beating of discouragement, is to use it as a trigger point to do whatever it was they don't want you to, even better. Use every destroying remark as a signal to do more and be more content with your role at home. Treat yourself to something nice. Reward yourself by doing something good in the home. 

Develop an interest in something, whether it be organization or art.  Find something harmless that gives you a big lift and resort to it when you are discouraged. The discouragers will go on griping and getting their lives more messed up, while your family will thrive. 

If every time someone makes a cruel remark or gossips about you, you do something positive in your family and home, at the end of the year you will have a better garden, a cleaner house, a nice collection of home sewing, ironed clothes, the Bible read in a year, or your own artwork on your walls.  At the end of the year you can have an album of photos of all the things you did or the people you showed hospitality to.  The resentful wolf or troll will have more troubles and more jealousy and will never get over it.  

Christians are supposed to rise above their problems, not carry around baggage and burdens .  They are supposed to overcome. But these discourages carry around bitterness, resentment and jealousy all their lives. What a waste.

I once read a blog where a very young lady was simply posting pictures of her crochet. She made little roses and other small things during her leisure time.  The haters mocked her and told her she was ridiculous. At first it rattled her and she stopped publishing.  But later she decided not to let the negative people get the better of her.

 Each time she got a rude comment she crocheted a rose and posted it. She made some just for the critics. At the end of the year she had started an etsy shop and sold her work. She was not able to keep up with the orders. But she rose above the petty, gloomy criticism and at the end of the year she had a few thousand dollars more.  

Years ago I was wearing a dress I made with a rose print.  I made a matching one for my little girl. Someone leaned down to talk to my little girl and said "You will not want to dress alike when you get older."  From that point on I made matching dresses and continue to this day. After all, even at a wedding all the bridal party, men and women and children dress alike in a coordinating way, so why can't members of the family dress alike at home?  Recognize such rude remarks as the Devils tool of discouragement and overcome it with positive action.

This action must be approached with some caution, however. You may not really want to do more of what you are doing that got the criticism. You cannot allow the critic to control you into doing less or doing more.  You have to do what you really want to do and what is best for your family.

You have to look at yourself as the commander of an army. You have to keep the troops optimistic and give them a feeling of confidence in your care.  You can not do that if you let those who are trying to break down the doors (a figure of speech) upset you.  A smile always unnerves them, so give it your best smile and laugh a little when answering them.  Tell them life is great at home and you are doing just fine. The bitter and the disgruntled do not want things to go well with you.  It will unnerve them.  Most of our problems in the home come from discouraging words and thoughts. Recognize that as your enemy and arm yourself with a smile.

You can use the critical remarks directed to you as a reason to pour out your love upon those who need it, and it will give you the self esteem and building up that you need. Consider also the principle of loving your enemies and praying for them!

Throw on extra gratitude for little things. This dispels the darkness of the attacks!

From my email:

Dear Lydia

I know you can see from your numbers and comments that you are immensely popular and well-appreciated the world over, but I wanted to just add my voice, and affirm you, and thank you, for your ministry to me and thousands (or more) young and older women, the world over, who desire a better life for themselves and their daughters, but feel they are the only ones who aren't doing it the world's way.

I know you can see from your numbers and comments that you are immensely popular and well-appreciated the world over, but I wanted to just add my voice, and affirm you, and thank you, for your ministry to me and thousands (or more) young and older women, the world over, who desire a better life for themselves and their daughters, but feel they are the only ones who aren't doing it the world's way.



TheTayloress said...

Hebrews 10:35 was a lifeline for me last month: Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. Just think,
- I have the responsibility to HOLD ON to my confidence
- My confidence is not in myself or my surrounding circumstances, it is in the Person of my Victorious Lord Jesus Christ and loving, all-wise Father God
- in His perspective, my "confidence" has enormous value!
"A great recompense of reward"!

anonymous said...

I am so thankful for your gift of encouragement and your obedience to use it to the glory of the Lord. Have been so lifted up as I've read your last two posts of how to silence discouragement and use them as a "trigger" to do more.

The old grey pick-up truck with flowers growing in the bed reminds me of the time I used a toy truck of my son's to display a bouquet of flowers as a centerpiece on the dining table.
Maybe the next time my husband tells me he's going to put an old rusty truck in front of my pretty garden, I might surprise him by telling him that I want to choose the truck first.

Thank you again for sharing.

Thank you for posting the letter of the Devils Yard sale. Reminds me of the C.S. Lewis story,"The Screwtape Letters".

Mrs. Christopher Daniels said...

I take much pleasure in coordinating colors for my family whenever I can. Like for holiday pictures or Church, or day trips to the stores. It makes me feel proud to take such good care of my kids that I would think to do that. It's the small things!:-) Excellent post! May God rain blessings down on you forever.

Lydia said...

Thank you Marita!

Mrs. Christopher Daniels said...

Lol!!:-D you're welcome!

ladypinktulip said...

I am so thankful to your ministry to me which has been probably at least 15 years now. I appreciate you SO SO much. Lovely post....Love Kelly Thompson