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Friday, May 30, 2008

Lady of Wisdom Interview - Mrs. Robin Brookshire

As a kick off to the "Pursuing Wisdom" Series, here is an interview with a wise woman of God. Take it in and learn from someone who has gone before us. Enjoy!

Robin is a homeschooling mama to her two "dahling" teen daughters, a wife to her sweetie for 24 years, and a lover of the life the Lord has blessed her with. She is a wise, older woman who has graciously agreed to share her insights with us.

Sarah: I know from your blog that you are a stay-at-home. Why did you choose this "career?"

Robin: My husband and I were not Christians when we married and we were living a sinful, selfish lifestyle. When I became pregnant with Breezy I would have liked to have stayed at home, but my husband didn't see how we would manage on one income and I didn't really know very many moms who did stay home, so I just kept working. Also, while I was pregnant with Breezy the Lord saved me and began to change who I was. Two years later I had Emily Rose and I continued to work. It was increasingly difficult to manage everything, and my relationship with my husband was strained due to the fact that I wanted him to go to church with me and he was not at all interested.

As the Lord changed me more and more, I realized I needed to be more loving to my husband and not be nagging him about "everything". Rob began to notice a difference in me and actually started attending church with us. He was saved about 6 months later.
As the months went by I really wanted to stay at home with our girls, but Rob still didn't see how we could live on one income. This became a sore topic between us. When the girls were 5 and 3, I gave up talking to Rob about it and one Sunday after church, I asked the Lord to show me that if He really wanted me to stay at home then He would have to change Rob's mind about it, I was tired of talking about it.

The VERY NEXT DAY, after we had both come home from work Rob told me that the Lord had really broken his heart that day and made him realize that all our daughters knew was getting up in the mornings and going to the babysitter and that someone else was watching them grow up. I began to cry and praise the Lord. It still makes me cry. The next day I gave my notice at work that I was quitting and going home.

That was over 12 years ago and while it can be a struggle to live on one income, we are much better off financially now than we ever were when we both worked. There is not enough money in this world that would tempt me to give up these years that I have been able to be at home with our girls. It had to be in the Lord's timing and we had to learn the lessons that He had for us.

Sarah: That’s amazing - what a testimony! Now, for us mom’s trying to figure it out, please tell us what kinds of things you did to train your children in the Lord?

Robin: When they were young I would always read to them Bible stories at bedtime. I would also help them to memorize scriptures. After we started homeschooling, I found so many more resources to use. I would read to them a lot of character training stories, the Bible, Polished Cornerstones and other materials from Doorposts. I had them copy out scripture and read from God's word daily as they worked through their school work.
Sarah: What are some "tools" in your tool kit of parenting that worked for you?

Robin: I began to read and listen to anything that I could on training and raising children in the Lord. I was always sharing what I learned with my husband and we were just trying to learn because we really didn't know how to do it.

One thing I heard on Focus on the Family when I first came home was the idea of "first time obedience". Sadly, I hadn't heard that before. The idea was that when you tell your child what they need to do, if they hesitate at all you then ask them, "When do you obey?" Their response should be, "The first time". Then you ask them, "Who do you obey?" Their response should be, "Daddy and Mommy". While we weren't always perfect with this, it definitely set a precedent.
The more you discipline and train your children when they are young the less work you will have to do in this area when they are older.

I also liked the saying "Act, don't react". I put that on my refrigerator so it would be a constant reminder.

Sarah: What would you do over if you could?

Robin: A lot of things, mainly that Rob and I would have been Christians our whole lives and not wasted a large part of our lives on selfish pursuits. I wish I knew more about parenting and homemaking early on. You can become a homemaker and parent without training, but there is much to learn and it would be a great benefit to learn before all the responsibilities are added. You could think of it as someone learning to play the piano on stage in front of an audience. If the pianist had learned and practiced before taking to the stage everyone involved would have a more pleasant experience. I wish that I could have been more patient. Whiile I have improved, I still need a lot of work in that area.

If I had known how truly fast time would fly by that I would have enjoyed the little moments even more. The old saying "The days are long, but the years are short" is so true. (I would repeat that to myself sometimes when it seemed like an incredibly long day.)

Sarah: Did you have family worship/devotion time? If so, how did you do this?

Robin: My husband, Rob, started out with a devotional book that his grandmother had given him when he was little. It had stories and a bible verse to go along with it. Since then we have used Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson, Hidden Treasures by Doorposts, Training Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade. Rob is now in the process of reading through the Bible. This will take close to 2 years, as he reads just a chapter or two a night.

We started off singing hymns, with Rob playing the guitar as we sang. We went to a church for several years that sang Psalms, so we incorporated that into our family worship time.
Our typical family worship now consists of us singing a Psalm, praying before we read God's word, Rob reading the Bible passage, discussion of the passage (sometimes in-depth, other times very little discussion) and then each of us taking turns praying. This of course, would look somewhat different with different-age children.

One of the many blessings of having a regular family worship, especially with younger children, is getting them in the habit of sitting still and listening to God's word. This would be a benefit for them when it comes time to go to church. They have practiced all week with the concept of being still and listening. This training will help them be able to be a part of the worship service.

Sarah: Any advice for stay-at-home moms who feel like they've lost themselves as women?

Robin: This is such an important question to talk about. The idea of losing yourself in your family and not having an identity is really a lie from Satan and the world. Being a mother is the most noble job a woman can do. You are caring for the children that God has blessed you with. He gave them specifically to you and your husband to train and raise them in the Lord, for His glory.

There is nothing more important. Women in this age struggle with this issue because of what the world is constantly telling them, that your worth is what you do outside of your home and apart from your family. There is also the struggle within each one of us to feel important or that others leaving their homes are living a more fulfilling and exciting life than we are. Again, this is a lie that we can fall into if we are not thinking biblically.

Titus 2:3-5 tells us that the women are to love their husbands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored. God's word is clear here. You cannot make it mean something else. God's word does not tell us to find our worth in our careers or even ourselves. To think that you are losing yourself is an unbiblical thought.

Being a homemaker and mother is a ministry, it is our calling. As we serve our family, love them, and care for them we are bringing glory to God and finding fulfillment in serving Him.

Sarah: Our "ministry" of being homemakers can get pretty exhausting, especially with little ones! How did you make time and have energy for your husband?

Robin: Coming home out of the work place made such a difference in this area. While I was working I felt torn in too many different directions and I don't think I handled this area very well. I always knew that after the girls were in bed that we could have some quiet time for the two of us. That didn't work out every night, but that was the goal. There will be days when you will be exhausted from caring for your little ones, but it won't always be like that. If it seems like you aren't getting any relief than perhaps some changes need to take place in what is going on through the day.

When the girls were younger, I always made the girls have a rest after lunch. Whether it was a nap or looking at books, they had to stay on their bed and be quiet for an hour. We gradually worked up to that starting at 10-15 minutes. It gave me a chance to rest, read or just be still for awhile through the day.

Sarah: What is the greatest thing you've learned in how to be a good wife?

Robin: I think reading The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace was very helpful for me in becoming a good wife. She explains how our thought life really effects our actions and words. We can change our ungodly thoughts to biblical thoughts and become a blessing to our husband instead of a curse. Reading this book and trying to apply these principles made a huge impact on our marriage.

Sarah: What is your favorite "cheap" date?

Robin: We really don't have dates. I know that may sound awful to some, but we just really enjoy staying at home. My husband works hard all day and doesn't really enjoy getting back out and going anywhere and I am pretty much a homebody so it works for us.

Sarah: If you could pass on one piece of wisdom for young wives and moms, what would that be?

Robin: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding (Jer. 17:9). In all your ways acknowledge Him (Matt. 6:33), and He will make your paths straight (Ps. 119:33-35, 105) Prov.3:5-6.

God's word needs to be your standard for everything. While we are weak He is strong. 2 Cor. 12:10. You can do all things through Jesus who gives you strength. (Phil 4:13)

Those are some of my favorite passages of scriptures, ones that I have cherished. I would encourage you to be in God's word daily. To read, study and pray every day. You may think that you don't have time for a quiet time with the Lord and that all your responsibilities are keeping you too busy. I want to ask you, why do you have all these responsibilities? Are they not from the Lord? Are your children not from the Lord? Is your husband not from the Lord? The Lord who gives all these blessings and gives you every breath commands us to seek Him. Psalm 63:1-8, Psalm 1, Proverbs 1,2,3 are just a few of the many passages throughout God's word that speak of seeking Him and spending time meditating on His word.

How you do this in your daily walk with the Lord will look different in each of our homes. We all have different families, homes and schedules, but the important thing is to do it. I truly believe that if you want your children to have a relationship with the Lord and to grow in Him, then we need to model that for them. Your children will grow up someday and be raising your grandchildren and future generations, what will they have as a foundation? as a standard?
I want to also encourage you to cherish your family. As you look at your husband and children cherish them. Embrace what the Lord has given you as a ministry and run the race with endurance. Hebrews 12:1-3.

Sarah: Thank you so much for passing on your wisdom, knowledge and insight! You are a blessing to us young women!

Want to get to know Robin better? Visit her blog at Robin's Egg Blue.


Lisa said...

Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing this interview.

Jenn4him said...

I very much enjoyed this interview. Thanks. I am a stay-at-home homeschooling mom and it is always good to read about others who make it work.

Miss Eyebright said...

Thank you so much for sharing! This was very helpful to even me, who is still only a stay-at-home daughter.

Have a very bright, very cheerful day!
Miss Eyebright