It was just over one year ago that the Lord began working in my heart about praying earnestly for my husband. Our life had begun to seemingly crumble around us as we learned of a major unexpected ministry change that would be taking place. Hard times were ahead- we could just feel it. As my husband came home each day and shared his burdens with me, the Lord seemed to impress on my heart that I could do more to support my husband. I could do the one thing that mattered the most- one that would have a lasting impact. I could pray.
You may be thinking, “Didn't you pray for your husband before last year?!” Yes, I did. But not earnestly. And not specifically. And not consistently.
I needed to make a big change.
One day I came across a prayer calendar online. I don't even remember what site I found it on, but I knew immediately that I was looking at the perfect prompting to my prayers for my husband. The calendar was not month-specific, so I could use it over each month. Every day's box had a different topic of prayer and a few verse references to go along with each topic. I printed it off onto red paper and presented it to my husband as a gift. He was very appreciative and I could tell that it meant a lot to him that I was taking this step and then making it known to him. After he looked it over, I carried it to the kitchen and taped it above my sink.
It's one of the best things I've ever done.
Every day for the past year (plus) I have prayed for my husband as I washed the dishes. (Yes, I've missed a few when we were traveling, but my point is that it became a habit.) I even started knowing what the prayer prompt topic was before I got to the sink!
As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I began to reap the rewards of my prayer time.
My husband would come home and recount the events of the day, telling me his joys and struggles, and of his own answers to prayer.
I was often amazed to find that the very things He encountered that day were specific to the topic I had prayed about! I shared those things with him, many times saying “I prayed about that for you today!” These instances strengthened our faith together, and motivated me to pray even more consistently and more often as the Lord brought things to mind. Furthermore, as time went by, I found that God was changing me through my prayers for my husband. As I prayed about areas of character and Godliness for him, I realized that my own life needed God's stirring in some of the same areas. Only God can give double blessings like that through prayer!
This year, I have designed my own prayer calendar. I've changed up the topics from last year and have added new Scripture references. It's time to begin a new cycle of prayer, and I'm looking forward to seeing how God is going to use it in my husband's life to encourage him.
I'd like to make this calendar available to you and encourage you to pray earnestly and specifically for your spouse this year! Give the gift of the blessings of prayer. My calendar is available as a free printable on my website. At the moment, it is an excel document that I hope will open for you! Click here to download your daily prayer calendar.
Expect God to do great things as you intercede for your beloved!
I have in my home, like some of you have, a dual purpose room. It’s my piano studio. No, wait- it’s my living room!
It’s both. And it presents an organizing challenge.
I’ve taught private piano lessons in 3 of our homes since we’ve been married, and it’s taken some trial and error to figure out what works best when it comes to keeping the teaching room company clean. I sometimes have parents stopping by to make a tuition payment, so even on days when I’m not teaching, the living room needs to be presentable.
My children are used to what happens on my teaching days; they know it’s time to clear the living room of all toys. They are my main clutter control for this dual-purpose room! As a rule, I try to keep this room simplified from extra “stuff,” so when it’s pick-up time the main jobs are toy pick-up, vacuuming, and dusting.
I’m going to share some pictures of the metamorphosis of this room. I’ll also be sharing some tips to keeping a dual purpose room looking professional, yet comfortably livable.
This is a shot of the studio part of our living room from about a year and a half ago:
My teaching supply shelf was originally bright and colorful:
The side wall held my white board, calendar, and progress charts:
Then I added the giant fishbowl to keep track of scales…and added musical notation charts:
Last year’s set-up was workable. However, this fall I decided that the piano studio was taking over the living room. It felt more professional than it did livable. Also my array of supplies was visually distracting. I began to wonder if company thought they were in a living space or a professional space. I’ve made a few small changes that made a big difference! Here is a shot of my teaching space as it is right now:
I took down the charts and added some homemade musical art above the piano. I also moved my music cabinet and replaced it with houseplants.
So when people come into my living room/studio, this is what meets the eye:
(A simple shoe space and a maritime welcome.)
The photo below gives a glimpse of the room from the door. Notice that you can see all the way through the dining room and kitchen to the back door! I try to keep that visual line clutter free as much as possible. (I’m noticing my daughter’s teapot pony house on the floor there…just keeping it real, eh?)
The top of the piano is attired in simple decor as well- just a few items that inspire me and that I hope will inspire my students. I like to use items that are enjoyable for me personally even when I’m not teaching:
I swapped out the green bookshelf (pictured above) for a smaller, wooden one. I also swapped out the colorful supply baskets for some brown weave baskets. My intent was for them to blend in to the surroundings a bit better- to be a bit more “living room-ish” and a bit less “piano studio-ish.” I use my laptop while I teach to record notes in Music Teacher’s Helper, so the computer is a permanent fixture:
Directly to the right of the bookcase are my notation posters, progress charts for children, and the ever-handy white board:
In a different corner of the room is my music lending library that used to be to the left of the piano (pictured above). It is functional, yet not distracting to my goal of a homey living room:
So there you have it- my dual purpose room. Some of you may have a piano studio/living or dining room as well. Or perhaps you have a photo studio that shares your home. Remember that it’s the small things that make the biggest difference in a room!
The key to maintaining a dual-purpose room is to find a balance with the decor and the practical items that are implemented into the room. The goal for this type of room is to have a professional feel during the “business” times, and a comfortable, homey feel during the casual times. And above all else, the main focus should be to present a well-ordered home as a good testimony for Christ and for all who enter.
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40