Thursday, February 12, 2009

Practical Love

Proverbs 31:10 ¶  Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13  She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

Titus 2:4 tells older women to teach the younger women to “be sober (to be wise and prudent in their conduct to their husbands, and in the management of family affairs), to love their husbands.” Proverbs 31 shows us a wife whose “husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” A woman who will “do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

"The heart of her husband can be at rest, it can rest on her whom it loves—he goes after his calling, perhaps a calling which, though weighty and honorable, brings in little or nothing; but the wife keeps the family possessions scrupulously together, and increases them by her laborious and prudent management, so that there is not wanting to him gain, which he properly did not acquire, but which the confidence he is justified in reposing in his wife alone brings to him. She is to him a perpetual spring of nothing but good." (Keil and Delitzsch) 

O, that we would always be a perpetual spring of nothing but good! How do we love our husbands– with working up “mushy” romantic feelings, or also with practical deliberate actions? Especially in times of financial turmoil, we women need to be very practical! Older women must teach younger women to be content and learn to “make do” with what we have. As a woman who loves to re-arrange her furniture and thus “get a new room,” I love to paint the walls and “get new furniture to match.” One of the best ways to get “new” furniture is by covering what you do have with an inexpensive slipcover.

One of my dear neighbors, Laura, was helping her cousin clear his mother’s house of her furniture when the house sold, so my husband and I also went along to help. Laura was on the verge of throwing out what seemed like a “lost cause” couch, when I persuaded her to keep it, and we would fix it up together. The couch seemed better suited to the trash heap, but I sat in it and thought the basic structure was still sound. So we put the couch in our garage– to my husband’s (temporary) dismay!

Laura is not a “floral fabric” person, so it took several months to find inexpensive material that she liked.  One day as we checked out our local Wal-Mart’s meager fabric supply, we found upholstery fabric Laura liked. Upholstering (and slipcovering) directions suggest that 9 or 10 yards would be needed for her love seat which has 4 detached cushions. Alas! There were only 7 yards! So we purchased a tan upholstery fabric to use for the rear of the couch if needed and took it to my house.

A couple of weeks before we started work on the couch, two sisters contacted me about doing a sewing apprenticeship. I mentioned that Laura and I would be working on a slipcover for a couch, and they said they would love to help, but due to their homeschool schedule, they only had from a Wednesday noon until Monday noon to help. Since they live only two hours away, we agreed to a date. (My daughter, Jennie, encouraged me to photograph each step and make the slipcover experience into an E-book– new idea to me!)

The sisters arrived with their mother for lunch, and after their mother left, we began removing the “skirt” of the couch, photographing each step. We 
were only able to work one hour Wednesday due to our Bible study that evening. We worked on the couch Thursday, Friday and Saturday for 6 to 7 hours each day, taking breaks to fix meals, listen to the sisters play the piano and their harp, and photograph the five or six deer that came up on our back patio to eat the bird seed! 

Laura and the girls learned to “drape” fabric on the couch to decide which way the stripes should go, cut, tuck, pin, sew sections together, match stripes, “rip” out mistakes, re-position fabric, and when we found we did not have enough to cover the front skirt of the couch, to cut some from the backrest piece and add some tan fabric in its place! The sisters also learned how to use the serger for the cut edges of the fabric. 

We had two machines and the serger going most of the time. When I was on my machine, sewing the final bulky parts on Monday, the sisters made two pillow covers with velcro closings. God is so good! We had enough of the main striped fabric to cover the couch without having to use the tan material except for under the cushions!

Photographing each step of everything we did took a long time– whoever was not doing something at the time became the photographer. Having to photograph each step worked out to the girls’ benefit, however, in that they experienced each step of making a slipcover. Working against the deadline of “finish before noon Monday” when the parents were to come have lunch and pick up the girls was a bit stressful, but we were just putting the decorative pillows on the newly covered couch when the parents arrived!

How privileged Laura and I were to be able to work with Rebecca and Bethany, introducing them to a skill that may be a blessing to them when they have their own homes! Many homemaking skills are being lost to the next generation, and it is up to us older women to take up the Titus 2 call to teach younger women the things that they need to know to pass on to their own daughters and granddaughters. 

I encourage the older women who may read this to consider what God has gifted to you that you can pass on to younger women!

Titus 2:3  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.


  1. What a wonderful experience for the two girls. I have the pleasure of teaching them math and they are so fun and very talented! I'm sure they'll use this new found skill for many years.

  2. Wow! The couch looks beautiful...if a couch can look beautiful. That seems like a job for a pro seamstress. Was it easier than it looks? My family bought two couches from Goodwill and slip covers from Target, but they don't fit very well. Any tips?

    God Bless

  3. The finished product looks great!!! I hope you will do that slipcover e-book. I have a large leather sectional that is taking much abuse from our young children. At some point, I would like to cover it up and make it look attractive again. I'll need far more than 9 yards! :)

  4. I can remember my MIL doing this many years ago. She knew how to do so many things around the home yet wasn't always one for teaching it to the next generation. Oh, that we will all learn to pass on our knowledge and wisdom!

  5. What a wonderful, wonderful time you must have had! What a treasure, and what a treasure that you have so many pictures of it as well. I would love to see the Body of Christ filled with ladies such as yourself, willing to give of their time to encourage younger ones. So many of us don't have a friend like you we can count on to help us. Blessings to you for your faithfulness.

  6. I am so excited to find your new blog. I have been so blessed by LAF over the years and now to have your wisdom and insight to glean from will be an extra blessing. It was very interesting reading about the slipcover adventure. My husband is a 3rd generation upholsterer and so I understand all the details and work that went into that slipcover. I, personally have only recovered a "very simple" cushion. You have encouraged me to be more adventurous.
    Thank you for starting your blog and may God bless your words and encouragement.

  7. Hi Betty!

    I found you on the LAF website and thought I'd come for a visit! I am just as new to blogging as you; it is sort of fun, isn't it? (It does take more time than I thought it would, however!).

    The one thing I don't think I will ever do is upholstery! That looks overwhelming! Everything else regarding homemaking I really enjoy doing.

    I look forward to all the wisdom you will be sharing!

    C. C.

  8. I enjoyed reading your posts - followed the link from LAF. It is always a blessing to find women who are willing to serve in a Titus 2 way, even online.

    Looking forward to knowing more about you!

  9. We praise God for the technology that enables us to share what God has given us-- beyond our borders! Persevere! God bless you!

  10. This is nice and good and practical...for women who stay at home.

    There is a large chunk of the population that this is not an option. As a single mom whose husband walked away when my boys were 2 and 4, I don't have the luxury of this kind of life.

    It would be nice to have advice and inspiration for a large percentage of Christian women whose lives are not in this ideal.

  11. Can any of you ladies share advice and inspiration for this dear mother? She needs our prayers and encouragement!

  12. We probably all know of at least one single mom in our lives. Lizzie Norris is not exactly a single mom, but with her husband incarcerated, she is living with her young son as a single mom, facing the same struggles as one would.
    Lizzie blogs very transparently about these struggles and feelings and how God is moving in her life on her blog, A Dusty Frame.

  13. Your blog is a blessings. I enjoy it so much that I am adding it to my "Great Places to Visit" list on my blog. I hope you continue to write about biblical womanhood. We all need it.