The Dutch Rush

they're Dutch...and life's a rush

Category: Books (page 2 of 2)

Hard Work


How precious a thing is the [family]. Is it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work?  Does anything come forth without work?

-Edith Schaeffer


Some books change your life. But you don’t realize it till much later.

What is a Family?” by Edith Schaeffer is one of those for me.

Another was “Auntie” Leila’s blog. I have learned so much. I’m grateful.

Hard Work mixed with encouragement and grace has been a major theme of their writing. They remind us that it’s normal for it to take a lot  of work to make a home, cook from scratch, and keep the laundry ahead of the nakedness.

I’ve needed these ladies to remind me that life will never be perfect, and that perfection shouldn’t be our goal.

We can (and should) work hard, love each other, and do special things for our family.  But when the goal of ultimate perfection creeps in, it causes unhappiness and discontent.

Reading old books reminds me of how amazing it is that we have plumbing and appliances that make this a good day to be a wife and mother!

doing laundry

Yet somehow no matter how many “work savers” we have, the fact remains…there is a lot of work to do every day.  It is my experience that the more I try to run from it, the worse it feels.

It’s only when I make myself get right into the mess and work, that things start to change. For dramatic effect we could also call it “heading into the eye of the storm”, because honestly, some days that’s what it feels like.

But those old books also remind me that we have grabbed some strange beliefs in our culture. Maybe we were sold some lies when we weren’t looking.

We’ve been told that having children is hard enough, so we shouldn’t be expected to also cook, clean, and keep things running for our hard working husbands.

We’ve been told that we “deserve a break”, and sometimes we take that to mean something it doesn’t.

We’ve been told that a clean house doesn’t really matter, that our husband should get dinner for himself, that no one knows how hard our life is, so they shouldn’t expect anything from us.

We feel entitled to a life of ease.

But I don’t see a life of ease for Christ’s followers described in the Bible anywhere.  God calls us up to a different place.  He says that to be great, we must be servants of all.

Being “servants of all” is such a different philosophy from a life of ease.  They aren’t even really compatible.

It can be very unpopular  to question these beliefs.

It’s scary to tell women that hard work can be the best thing to happen to them.

But I will question. I will be brave. Tomorrow.  We’ll have part 2.

Don’t worry.  Like everyone else, I have my bad days.  I have a post bookmarked for days like that.  It is gentle and comforting and helps me get back up the next day and try again.

I hope this last idea gives you the comfort and peace that it’s given me.

Human beings are very unbalanced and prone to go off on tangents. In every area of life- with too great emphasis on one thing, leaving out another important thing altogether. None of us will ever be perfectly balanced in our spiritual lives, our intellectual lives, our emotional lives, our family lives, in relationships with other human beings, or in our business lives. But we are challenged to try with the help of God.

-E. Schaeffer

commonplace books

You may have never heard of a commonplace book. Most of my friends look at me a little strangely when I mention it…

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The idea is simple.  You could really just call it a quote book.  But I got tangled up in the Charlotte Mason crowd, and she and others used to call it a commonplace book.  It really is encouraging to go back and look at what you thought was important enough to write down from the books you read.  Here’s what Charlotte says about them.

It is very helpful to read with a commonplace book or reading diary, in which to put down any striking thought in your author, or your own impression of the work, or any part of it; but not summaries of facts.  Such a diary, carefully kept through life, should be exceedingly interesting as containing the intellectual history of the writer;  besides, we never forget the book that we have made extracts from, and of which we have taken the trouble to write a short review.

This goes along with what I mentioned to you all awhile back.  I really think it is a valuable trick she is teaching us, especially women, to always have something worthy of thinking about. When we don’t have good things for our minds to chew on, it’s all too easy to dwell on what someone said that hurt us, or why we may be irritated with our husband.

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Since I’m a random person, my book would make a neat, tidy person go bonkers.  I have put pictures of my sweet little people in my book…randomly.  No order to it at all.

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I’ll give you a few examples of what I’ve recently put in my book.

Those who seek first their own pleasure out of marriage and make the happiness of their partners only a possible by-product…are doomed to misery.  It is an inexorable law of our lives that only through making others happy can we expect happiness.  So many wives seem to want to learn this lesson the hard, bitter way.

-Leo Kinsella

The people who do us good are never those who sympathize with us, they always hinder, because sympathy enervates.  No one understands a saint but the saint who is nearest to the Savior.  If we accept the sympathy of a saint, the reflex feeling is – Well, God is dealing hardly with me.  That is why Jesus said self-pity was of the devil.

-Oswald Chambers August 10th

That is a painful quote.  We want to tell people when we feel “God is dealing hardly with us”.  But I love that quote, and it seems to go hand in hand with my next one.

You need not cry very loud, He is nearer than you think.

– Brother Lawrence

It is no small comfort to me to know that God has called me to my work, putting me where I am and as I am.  I have not sought the position, and I dare not leave it.  He knows why He places me here-whether to do, or learn, or suffer.

-Hudson Taylor

Shall I tell you the secret to happiness?  A thankful heart.

– Margaret Jensen, in First we have Coffee

And now for the fiction.  Somehow I even choose fiction that hurts!

She was shamed.  Women like herself, sheltered, indulged, secure, beloved, and yet they dared to find life hard;  they dared to pity themselves because the path they trod was strewn with pink rose petals when their own choice would have been crimson.                      –

-Elizabeth Goudge  in Pilgrim’s Inn

Maybe some of you already do this.  It is a comfort to look back through these when things seem difficult.  I suppose one of the tricks to this is that you have to be reading things that supply good quotes.  I think you can tell a lot about someone by what they read.

One of the great and humbling joys of my life so far, was seeing what Alyssa had written in her book.  She reads good things.

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