Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Family Fragrance of Affection

Mediation/Memory Verse: But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. ~ 2 Cor. 2:14-15 (NIV)

I found this great book tucked away in my book case. I have had it for many years but, sad to say, had not read it. I am sure it was on my "list to read" at one time for me to have purchased it but obviously was meant for such a time as this. I plan to take today's message from this book. It is one out of a series of four put out by Heritage Builders. Its title: "Family Fragrance: Practical, Intentional Ways to Fill Your home with the Aroma of Love" written by J. Otis and Gail Ledbetter. It was originally published in 1998 which is the copy I have but was updated in 2009 (which is the book you see here).

When you read through Proverbs 31:10-31, can you imagine her home and the feeling she created in it? When your family walks through the doors of your home what do they feel? What do they sense? What do you want them to feel? When they leave your home do they want to come back? What kind of memories have been built in your home?

In this book the Ledbetter's identifies that the home should be used as "God's modeling studio creating a fragrance that draws them in and makes home a safe place... It is to be a creative place that exemplifies the love we have in Christ. It is a home that is consistent, reliable and predictable".

"and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. " ~ Eph 5:2

I imagined the Proverbs 31 woman creates a home that models John 14:27-a home of peace, untroubled and unafraid. A home built on faith:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."

The Ledbetter's define this aroma with five characteristic which I have listed below. I have found them to be so valuable that I wish I could give each characteristic its own week for review. However, I have been picked to do a blog book review the end of this month so I do not know if I can. Lets play it by ear and for this week address the first virtue:

Affection is the foundation of this AROMA acoustic. Our authors describe affection as:
"a consistent loving act of the will, openly and sometimes spontaneously displayed toward its recipients... As Christ modeled His love for us, if we live close to Him, our homes should mirror the power of that love. When that love has taken rook in the hearts of a family it is consistently manifested in an outward show called affection. Perhaps within the family unit we might say love is the noun and affection is the verb."

Intentionally we are to "distribute affection equally, but not necessarily identically, to each member of our family". You treat each family member according to their needs. You also intentionally "express [your] affection in such a way that it will take root and influence the behavior of [your] children". If you model a selfish attitude, they will learned that attitude. That would reflect a stench in the home and not a sweet aroma don't you think? On the reverse side of that thought...if you model a servant attitude, that will be picked up by your child.

Can you smell it? Can you see it? Can you hear it? Can you feel it? In a nutshell, we create the mood that makes a child want to linger in the home or to leave the home!

This chapter identified the following guidelines for the fragrance of affection:

Be sure that discipline of a child's bad behavior is not accompanied by withdrawal of your affection...never allow your child to equate your rejection of his behavior as a sign that you don't love him.

Model intentional affectionate acts in your home on a consistent basis...a child needs love the most when he is the most unlovable.

Model and teach an affectionate servants heart consistently in your home...if you want a house full of harmony, it is everyone's responsibility to learn to serve the others.

At every opportunity, say freely, "I'm sorry" and "Please for give me".

Model and teach an attitude of affectionate communication in your home...You'll communicate to them what you may never be able to explain in words.

Show your children how to keep personal priorities in order...doing this requires quality time with your child..quality time with your child only comes out of quantity time.

Always remember. each child does not have to be treated with the same kind of affection...learn how to show affection in the way a child understands and accepts it best.

If your home was to be painted into a picture, how would you describe it? Would it resemble a Thomas Kincaid or Norman Rockwell painting or would it be abstract, maybe a chaotic presentation at best?

"Affection at its best wishes neither to wound not to humiliate nor to domineer. " ~ C.S Lewis

God created the home to be a place to learn about love-to see it, fell it, taste it, smell it and hear it. So how are you doing? There are days where I want to scream and give up...blending a family can make this a difficult task but all things are possible through Him if we rely on Him. Just the other day I took off from work and decided to create a pleasing aroma in our house for the girls to come home to. The place was essentially spotless...cookies in the oven...christian music playing...and they walked in. The two youngest (ages 11 & 13) were excited to have me there and loved the cookies. My oldest (age 17) kept saying "what are you doing?" as if she was in shock and didn't know her mother could be like about a wake-up call. Time to shake it up!!

Family fragrance is not dreamy-eyed sentimentality. What we want our family members to feel when they pull into the driveway of our home is a reality so inviting, they can't wait to get inside.

That's what I want. I am going to some extremes to try and change the aroma in my home...starting with affection. This week, lets make this our work on being more affectionate, maybe not intentionally putting them into shock...or maybe (wink)? Reflect on those guidelines listed above. I encourage you to read the Ledbetters book to learn what they have behine the rest the the Aroma acoustic. Live them out and pray...pray hard for yourself to be a model of Christ, a beacon of His light in their world, His sweet aroma in your home. Be intentional.

Believing Him~Pamela

1 comment:

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Excellent post, Pamela. Truthfully, I couldn't get past the part about "withholding affection because of bad behavior." Why? Because as a child, I felt this on occasion. I love my father dearly, but there were times when I felt isolated from him because I had done something wrong. It's been said that our first "glimpse" of God comes to us through our earthly father. In regards to discipline and the seeming withdrawal of love as child... well, if that has carried over into my faith life with my heavenly Father.

It's so important not to withhold love from our children. I hope I don't do it with mine, but I have a suspicion that one of my sons could benefit from a little more unconditional loving.

A painful prompt, sister, but a needed one. Thank you.