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Women's Daily Encouragement Blog

Strengthening Families Across the World through the encouragement of women in their high calling from God as wives, mothers and homemakers.

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KeepHabitYesterday we talked about having an exuberantly thankful heart. Did you begin investing this attitude into your family yesterday? Did you start with your husband?

What are you thankful for today?

T I am thankful for our family Table where we enjoy the presence of God, great laughs, family discussions, and where we make rich memories.

H I am thankful that God blessed me with a faithful Husband and for being married for over 54 years.

A I am thankful that God is Always available to hear my cry.

N I am thankful for my God-anointed career of Nurturing and Nourishing my family.

K I am thankful for God’s Kindness and mercy to me.

F I am thankful for God’s great Faithfulness to me which is never failing.

U I am thankful for God giving me Understanding of His truth.

L I am thankful to God for Loving me enough to send His Only Son to die for my sins and shed His precious blood.

What are you thankful for?

Many blessings from Nancy Campbell

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OverTheTopGod’s purpose for our lives is to be “abounding with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7). That doesn’t mean saying a “thank you” every now and then, but a lifestyle of thankfulness. Not just a lifestyle of thankfulness, but one that abounds with thankfulness! Over the top with thankfulness!

It’s not only being thankful to God, but to our husband and children. And to people we meet. It means being thankful for all the little things of life. It means have a grateful heart to all that happens in our lives.

I am amazed how this generation of young people and children have not been taught to be thankful. They haven’t been taught to say, “thank you” for everything that is done for them. Let’s make this the habit of our own lives and invest it into our children.

When your husband does something for you, thank him. Don’t just take it for granted. When your children do their jobs well, thank them. Teach your children to be thankful for the daily things in life. Teach them to say, “thank you” at the end of the meal you cooked for them. When you take them somewhere, remind them to thank you rather than just taking it for granted. It should become the habit of their lives to say “thank you” for everything.

We must not let our children get into the entitlement spirit which is so prevalent today. We don’t deserve anything. We should always be “over the top,” “above and beyond,” and exceedingly thankful for everything in life. May we never be like the nine lepers, who after they were healed, went rejoicing on their way without ever bothering to thank the One who healed them (Luke 17:11-19).

Some time back a lovely family stayed in our home. They also loved fellowshipping with the Johnsons (Howard and Evangeline’s family) who live next door. They noticed how their children were “over the top” thankful about everything. They didn’t say “Thank you” in a monotonous voice, but “Oh, tha-a-a-a-nk you SOOOOO much.” This is how their children always thank people. When they are given a gift for a birthday or Christmas, they immediately express their enthusiastic thanks and give the person a hug.

Our visiting family noticed and took up the habit too. When they waved goodbye to us, they all puts their heads out the window cried out: “Tha-a-a-a-a-a-nk you SOOOOO MUCH!”

You can never be too exuberantly thankful! Encourage a new spirit of thankfulness in your home today and see what happens.

Much love, Nancy Campbell

Nancy Campbell

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FineWeatherToday, ladies I would love to introduce you to another very dear friend. Heather Jones is Val’s sister. Val is the Director of Above Rubies in Australia and her sister, Heather, is the Director of Above Rubies in New Zealand. This is a testimony which Heather wrote for Above Rubies 40 years ago when the magazine first began. I am sure it will relate to you as much as if she was writing it today.

The Howling Gale . . .

Most people ask children at some time what they want to be when they grow up. I always replied, “A mother.” As far as I could see, childrearing would be a breeze. However, when it happened, I soon registered a howling gale!

Our first child, Richard, was not well when he arrived, and for that matter, neither was I. We both struggled together. Nineteen months later Naomi arrived, healthy and strong. Then came Virginia 18 months after—with a heart defect. I had three children in three years. Those who have their children close know what it’s like.

My husband suffered from a disease called “deerstalking-it is.” which meant he was in the hills every chance he got. He also worked shift work, so that left me practically bringing up the children on my own.

They were not easy children, as those who knew us would verify. I got lots of sympathy, mostly from myself!

Richard had social problems. He would suddenly attack a child for no reason and cause it harm. He was so unpredictable. We could never see it coming, so every day I was going up the wall.

Those were the days that I’d go to bed at night and wish the next day would never come. I hated my life and many times wished I could die. One evening, after I’d struggled to get the children off to bed, and was still pretty wound up, a friend called and asked how I was. My reply, much to her horror, was, “I wish I could get some dreaded disease and die.” I felt that dying of a painful disease would be easier on me than these three offspring in my care.

I was desperate and cried out to God. How I pleaded with Him and how He graciously taught me not to fight my children, but to understand them. The unfolding wasn’t easy, because I didn’t always want to take His advice. But I learned to set my will to do what I knew had to be done.

I couldn’t feel close to my middle child. She was hard for me to love. I’d have her on my knee one minute, then push her off. I could see what my rejection was doing to her, and so I WILLED myself to show her lots of attention. When I’d rather watch her little sister, I’d watch her instead. I’d sit her on my knee and cuddle and kiss her until she’d had enough. It was lovely to see her respond. My attitude changed through the sheer discipline of my will. And now I looked forward to our cuddles together.

After a while she asked me, “Mummy, do you love me?” Finally, SHE KNEW I did.

Another thing I learned was that God had REWARDED me with my children. He wanted to bless me through my children. When I realized this, I stopped calling them “fair little brats” and began to call them “my blessings” and “my rewards.” As I changed my words, they changed their behavior and truly became my blessings. They are now my joy and delight.

As our children are growing up, we’re filled with joy and expectancy about their future. Their father is no longer a deerstalker, nor does he do shift work. Together we are jointly working towards a wholesome life for our children.

~ HEATHER JONES
Evan and Heather’s children are now grown and they are doting grandparents.

Picture: Heather Jones and Nancy cutting the Above Rubies anniversary cake to celebrate 40 years of doing Above Rubies. This was taken in the spring of this year in the city of Palmerston North, New Zealand where the magazine began.

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Dear ladies, Did you enjoy reading Val's testimony which she wrote 40 years ago in the post below? Do read it if you haven't read it yet. I am posting another of her testimonies which she wrote many years later. It's about how she learned to submit to her husband. It was not easy for her at the time as her husband would not take any authority to which she could submit. How did she manage to do it? Find out in this story . . .

PLEASE YOURSELF, YOU USUALLY DO!

The Bible was open before me and notes were everywhere as I waited on God to give me this anointed message on submission. You can imagine my shock when several hours into this study God spoke to me and said, “Val, you cannot teach this message.” A little unnerved I asked, “Why not?” His answer to my heart was, “Because you don’t know what submission is!”

Now I don’t mind admitting that I was shocked.

“Lord, do you realize that I’m Val Stares from Above Rubies? I’ve always encouraged submission.” “Yes,” was the reply, “but you still don’t know how to submit.”

By now I was on the defensive. “But. Lord, you know that every time I want something, or desire to go somewhere, I always ask my husband first.”

“And what is his reply?”

“He says for me to please myself. Oh yes, he always adds, ‘you usually do.’ I don’t know why he says that because he’s already given me permission to do what I think best. After all, Lord, if I didn’t want what I asked for, I wouldn’t ask for it.”

“If you are serious about learning submission, Val, I want you to go to your husband and tell him that from now on he needs to answer “yes” or “no.” If he says that you can please yourself, then you will take that as his disapproval and will stay home or go without. There is to be no pouting, no banging doors, no attitude of annoyance or hurt when this happens.”

I desired to obey the Lord, so I bowled out to the shed where my husband could always be found. He is a cabinetmaker and works at home. I shared with him the plan that God had laid out before me.

“I can’t wait!” he roared, laughing. “You’ll never be able to do it.” I felt annoyed at him for thinking I was so weak, but it didn’t matter, as I didn’t want to go anywhere or have anything at that time. So far, the strategy was easy.

About three weeks later, a visiting speaker came to town. Everyone was excited. “Are you coming, Val?” I was asked. “Sure, I will,” I answered. "I wouldn’t miss this for anything."

Finally, it was time to ask my husband if I could go. Out to the shed I went, told him what was happening and asked if I could go. As usual, I left everything until the last minute! Can you guess his reply? “Please yourself, you usually do.”

Suddenly I remembered my pact with God. I was speechless as the enormity of the situation began to impact my brain. I can’t go! Worse still, I can’t say anything. I raced into the bedroom and pleaded with God, “He’s forgotten he has to say “yes” or “no.” Can’t I just remind him?” “No” came the answer to my heart.

Perhaps pleading would help. “Lord, this is a special overseas visitor to our church. He may never come this way again. His message could change my life. I’m told I shouldn’t miss his teaching.”

“I’m teaching you.” was the awesome reply. By now you would think I would be still, but no, I had to have one more shot. “Lord, couldn’t I just have a shower and get ready so that it will help to jog my husband’s memory.”

“No!” came the answer.

It was too much for me. I couldn’t do anything. My emotions were getting the better of me. If I was going to obey God, I would have to divert them. I began cleaning the house to help relieve the tension. Around the time I should have left for the meeting, my husband walked in to find me cleaning.

“I thought you were going out to a meeting,” he said. You would have been proud of me. As sweetly as I could manage, and it wasn’t easy, I answered. “No, darling. Remember I told you that from now on I’m not going to please myself. God said you must say ‘yes” or “no.” otherwise I must stay home.

What do you think happened? He relented and said I could go? No. My husband is a gentleman and very slow to anger. This time he was livid! “If you want to be so stupid, you can stay home!” he shouted as he stormed out. It was then that the full revelation of what God was teaching me became clear.

I had overridden my husband’s decision so many times that he was now robbed of any desire to lead. He must have felt so cheated. Now, by God’s hand, he was responsible for me staying home, but what hurt me most was the realisation that it was me, the Christian wife, who had robbed him!

I wasn’t bossy when we married. I just grew that way. My husband is a cautious man and rather slow at making decisions. My impatience at waiting for an answer caused me to make more and more decisions myself and he would go along with me for the sake of peace. When you’ve got children hanging out for answers, it’s easy to get caught up in this syndrome.

I stayed home for several weeks after that while we both learned our respective roles. I thought I’d have to stay home forever! Gradually, my husband began to say “yes” or “no” without the added adage of pleasing myself.

As I continued to study the Scriptures about submission, I realized that this was something I had to do of my own volition.

Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit yourself unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Are you like me and sometimes wish he hadn’t written that last phrase?

Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit yourself unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”

The Greek word for “submission” is “hupotasso” which means “to place yourself under.” In each of these scriptures, God tells us “to place ourselves under our husband’s authority.” He doesn’t tell husbands to make us obey or make us come under their authority. We do it because we love God and our husbands and because He has asked us to. It is our choice.

In my mind, I saw my broom raised to a horizontal position above my head. The handle was labeled, “My husband’s Authority.” I could see that if he were in his rightful position, I would be able to walk beneath it in an upright position. This upright position was one of honor, security, love--and a surprise I didn’t expect or notice until much later--power!

As I pondered my imaginary broom handle, I realized that I couldn’t stand upright beneath my husband’s authority. No, I would have to bend to get beneath it, mainly because he had been slowly robbed of his rightful authority, and secondly, because he now had no compulsion to take it up. My futile efforts only seemed to make matters worse.

Just as my husband couldn’t make me submit, I wasn’t able to make him lead. Both were individual heart decisions. God gently showed me that I would have to learn to bend my attitudes until I could get under his authority. I had to become flexible. Just because the things I wanted to do were good things, didn’t necessarily mean they were what my husband wanted to do. He could have other plans.

Then I realized that even bending wouldn’t be enough to get under his authority. It would take more than a little bending. Perhaps, if I kneeled! Oh, what a humbling position, but if that was what it would take, I would go that far.

I realized I was measuring myself against Bill instead of the Word of God. I was the one who was reading the Word each day, praying, and going to all the church meetings and he wasn’t. But God wanted me to measure myself by the attitude of Jesus and His example in 1 Peter 2:18-23: “For what glory is it, if when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps . . . Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously . . . Likewise, (with the same spirit of Jesus) ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the Word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (the manner of life) of the wives.”

I had become so religious that I had failed to see that I would please the Lord more by obeying and submitting to my husband than attending every church meeting and program.

However, it still wasn’t low enough! There was only one position left! My husband’s authority was so low that I had to lie down to get under it. Yes, I had to lay down my life! To get my marriage back into its rightful order, I took this position.

I placed myself there. No one made me. It took sacrifice and I had to lay down all my own rights. But I desired to be where God wanted me to be. It was the only position from where I could help my husband to take up his leadership role again.

With God’s help and guidance, I took one step at a time. The hardest part lasted only for a season. The rewards are for a lifetime and eternity.

What happened to that feared and dreaded “door mat,” the so-called intimidated mousy wife who gets no say? It was a lie. It had no substance or power. I can now stand up and walk upright, secure and loved under his protection. On this side of submission, I have more say because my opinion is of greater value than before.

One word of warning. Submission is a daily practice, not a one-time act. I must daily check my attitude and the humility of my heart. Is my life daily laid down for my best friend, my husband, Bill?

VAL STARES
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

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RubyCelDear Ladies,
Because this month is the Ruby Celebration of publishing Above Rubies for 40 years, I thought I would send you a few more testimonies that were written in the magazine back 40 years ago.

The following testimony is by Val Stares. Val has worked with me in the ministry of Above Rubies from the very first day. I remember sharing the vision with her and telling that we were going to get out a magazine to encourage and strengthen the wives and mothers of the nation. She looked at me with a blank stare! Well, her name is Val Stares!

I didn’t know that that very morning she had said to the Lord, “If Nancy Campbell comes up with any more of her great idea, I’m not getting involved.” Obviously, I was wearing her out! However, so much for her confession, she got involved and has faithfully worked in this ministry ever since. When we moved to Australia, she and her husband and family moved with us and she continued to help me in the ministry there.

When Colin and I came to USA, I handed over the ministry in Australia to Val and she has watched over it ever since, until this day. What amazing faithfulness. I cannot count my blessings to have such a faithful laborer in this great vision of strengthening the families of the world. God has raised her up as an anointed speaker to wives and mothers and she has blessed so many women and families.

This was the first testimony Val ever wrote about her early days as a mother. Val came into our church one Sunday evening and was miraculously saved and baptized the very same night. God miraculously changed her and her whole life was turned around.
~ Nancy

WORKING MOTHER FINDS ANSWER
by Val Stares

As a young girl, my heart’s desire for my future was to have a husband who loved me and children of my very own. I felt capable and confident that I could love and care for them as good as, and if not better, than the next person. To be a successful wife and mother was my big aim in life.

Eventually, while on a working holiday in Australia I met my future husband. We married and built a new home in a suburb of Sydney. Life was exciting at this stage because our first baby was on the way. It seemed I had all my heart’s desires met within a short period. A husband, a new home, and a baby of our own.

One thing we didn’t have was very much money. In fact, we had struggles making ends meet so I worked until I was eight months pregnant. Because of financial pressures I went back to work when my daughter was six weeks old. Grandma came and lived with us and looked after our precious little girl, Natalie. Having my motherly mother with a “heart of gold,” our situation looked good. But it wasn’t true.

Because I left the house each morning at 6 a.m. and didn’t arrive home until 6 – 6:30 p.m. I saw very little of my baby during the week. I longed for the weekends when I could bathe, feed, and play with her. But for the first time I experienced something from someone very close to me which I’d never experienced in my life before. REJECTION!

My baby didn’t want to come to me. She wanted Grandma! At first, I smiled brightly and covered up the hurt by joking, but as the weeks went by I couldn’t hide my hurt. I was brokenhearted. My baby didn’t know why I worked. She didn’t know reasons why I was never home. All she knew was that her mother rejected her by not being there and so she rejected me and clung to Grandma.

What had gone wrong? Why was it that I had all I ever wanted, yet it wasn’t a bit like I ever dreamed it would be? Now life was a burden instead of a joy.

When my baby was eight months old we moved to New Zealand and started life afresh, but rather penniless. We again lived with my mother, this time in a two-bedroomed flat. I continued to work and we saved hard buying ourselves a small car and then eventually building another home.

We began to experience the same old pressures again, but by this time our responsibilities increased with the birth of our son. He was a very sickly child during his first 18 months and took a lot of attention, so I only worked part time while he was young. With sickness and lack of finance life was a big drag. I dreaded each new day.

Then I met Jesus! This meeting changed my whole life. I experienced a miraculous conversion and was never the same again. However, being a young Christian I didn’t know God’s word or His will for my life and so I continued to work with the excuse that I was my husband’s helpmate and was therefore helping him with finance.

One morning at our Bible Study we had a visiting speaker. She asked us to open our Bibles to Titus 2:5 and there I read that I was meant to be a “keeper AT home.” The Holy Spirit convicted me and that very day I handed in my notice. Because of holidays owing to me finished that very day. I left work at a time of great need as by this time we had our third child and were in a new home needing fences, drive, paths, lawns, and a garage.

Our Bible Study leader gave me a memory verse to learn and claim. Hebrews 13:5: “Let your conversation be without covetousness: and be content with such thing as ye have: for He hath said, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’”

In the days to come I literally clung to this verse. Another verse in Philippians 4:19 tells me He will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory. I find this a fantastic verse. I don’t live according to my husband’s wages. I live according to His riches in glory!

I testify now that since I have stayed at home and become a mother and a wife in the true sense and learnt to trust God that we have never gone without. We have all our fences, paths, lawns, garage, bigger car, etc. All on one wage. We are well-clothed, well-fed, and much, much happier. We have never had an account which has not been paid in a reasonable time.

This Christmas for instance was our first without two wages coming in. We had a family gathering Christmas day, the first in eight years, plus during the holidays we showed hospitality in a way we had never done before. In the natural we couldn’t afford all this, but in God I learnt a valuable lesson.

My grocery account became rather large with the extra food needed so I took the matter to God and left it with Him. So often I used to give Him my problems and then take them back again and have another worry over them. This time, however, I managed to leave it with Him. On Pay Day, my husband handed me his wages and no matter which way I juggled it the money just wouldn’t go far enough. I therefore decided to pay a small portion of my grocery account and pay more later. I informed the lady at the counter of my intentions and she said, “Mrs. Stares, your account had been paid in full.” Praise God!

He hasn’t always blessed me in such spectacular ways, but nevertheless I am fully aware of His hand providing clothing for us and the children which miraculously fit or match, the very things needed at the time. Food – the very thing we’ve run out of and so on. God continues to bless me as I become increasingly obedient to His will for me.

I would also like to share that being a working mother was most harmful to my children’s behavior, not being there to do the correcting of bad habits and teach them the right ways is something I could only blame on myself. I also laid a big burden on my mother who loved to help me, but not to do my job for me. I thank God for her understanding, patience, and love throughout those years when I didn’t know God.

I now find my life is totally fulfilled as a mother and a wife and as I reach out to others, to neighbors, and friends.

VAL STARES

Picture: Val Stares, Nancy, and Pat Twomey together in Australia in March of this year. Pat is a wonderful mother and grandmother who has supported Val in the ministry of Above Rubies in Australia. She is also a dear friend and great woman of faith.

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