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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.

DidntEvenLikeIntroducing: As we continue to celebrate this anniversary month of 40 years of publishing Above Rubies, I’d like to introduce you to another dear friend who was part of the beginning of Above Rubies. Lois Jordan was the original Design Artist for Above Rubies. This was before we used computers and she did everything with “cut and paste.”

Lois is not the ordinary woman. When she married, she longed to have their own home. Her husband didn’t have time to build it. He was too busy earning the money. She decided that since she was at home with her little baby boy, Azaan, that she would build the home. Studying books at night and with advice from her father, she began the dream. And she did it! She built this beautiful five-bedroomed two-story home that you see pictured. Lois is a grandmother now and Barry and she continue to live in this home she built.

I remember going out to her home when she was building. Azaan would be rocking in a hammock between poles and she would be up on the roof hammering! I would call, “Come down, Lois, we’ve got to work on some design.”

When we moved from New Zealand to Australia to pioneer a church on the Gold Coast of Queensland and to continue the ministry of Above Rubies there, Lois and her family and her sister, Janie and her family also came with us. She continued to create the design for Above Rubies for some years before they returned to New Zealand.

Lois and her sister, Janie were also the first singers for Above Rubies. With sister harmonies, we produced their original songs to encourage and bless women. Their two recordings were called HER PRICE IS ABOVE RUBIES and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE. They blessed thousands of women. Lois and Janie, Val Stares, and I travelled to many meetings across Australia to encourage women in Australia. I would speak, Val shared testimony, and Lois and Janie sang. Does anyone have a copy of these LPs and tapes?

Serene and Pearl were only young and as they sat around with Lois and Janie as they wrote and sang, they were inspired to also become a sister due. When they grew up, they continued producing Above Rubies music.

This year in the spring Colin and I were back in New Zealand for an Above Rubies retreat and I got to see Lois again. How wonderful it was to catch up with her.

“How are you, Lois, and what are you doing these days?” I asked when I first set eyes upon her.

She replied with the most radiant face, “I just love to seek the Lord and BEHOLD Him each new day.” What a beautiful answer. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone gave such a reply?

The following is an article that Lois wrote for Above Rubies in the very beginning, telling about her marriage that at that time of her life, she didn’t want!

I DIDN’T EVEN LIKE HIM!

“And they both lived happily ever after!”

That’s certainly not how we were going to live! It wasn’t that we didn’t want to, but we just weren’t happy together. In fact, I wasn’t happy being with Barry three days after we were married.

We became engaged two weeks after we met and were married five months later. During our engagement, I thought that the things I was doing were too important to stop doing to get to know Barry. “I’ll have plenty of time for that later,” I thought.

Alas, on our honeymoon, I realized I didn’t even like Barry very much, let alone love him.

It wasn’t that he was a bad person, but the thought of spending the rest of my life with him didn’t send me into spasms of joy. The greatest cause of our problem was that we were two people wanting to live our own lives and not give in to each other.

After several months of marital unhappiness, I wanted to leave Barry, but there was only one thing that stopped me. I was a Christian and had promised before God that I would love, honor, and cherish Barry as long as we both would live. However, I felt that unless something miraculous happened in our relationship, I was not going to be able to fulfill the promises I had made at our wedding.

The things that made me go further and further away from Barry now seem so small and insignificant. In fact, it is hard to remember them. Little things like going out for the evening and not telling me where he was going, hardly ever being on time, breaking something of mine, etc. Oh yes, I had list upon list of all the things he did that I didn’t like.

Of course, I never, never did anything wrong except be stubborn, selfish, independent, and above all, would not accept Barry as he was. I thought that by nagging and criticizing him I could make him the way I wanted him to be. But that didn’t make him change for the better, but for the worse.

Finally, I spoke to a counselor at our church and told him everything about our marriage. I announced that I was giving one more week for a change to occur. He encouraged me to accept Barry the way he was and not try to change him. We prayed and he asked God to do a real work in both Barry and me, which was our only hope. There was nothing we could do--we were too far apart and the hurts were too deep.

The following week a miraculous change came into our marriage. All the things that irritated me before seemed so unimportant and I began to see all the lovely things in Barry. I saw how good, kind, and gentle he was and so many other things.

At the same time Barry responded to the new love I had for him and he became so thoughtful and started looking for ways to please me and all I wanted to do was please him. That was five years ago and now he is my best friend and I am his best friend. We live so peacefully and are so much in love.

With all my heart, I know that because Christ was in our lives, when we called on Him He stepped in with His love and saved our marriage.

We have a little girl who is so beautiful. We call her Selah. We are so glad to have God’s principles working in our lives. Now we have the absolute confidence that we will live “happily ever after”!

LOIS JORDAN, Ashhurst, New Zealand

Don’t miss tomorrow’s article. I will print another testimony from Lois—this time a very sad one!

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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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