Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Perfect Woman?

I am facilitating Beth Moore's study When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, in my home on Wednesday evenings. I tell you, I have the most wonderful group of woman joining me... I cannot tell you what a joy it is to share Jesus with them. Each one is so distinctly different, but we share the commonality of being sisters in the Lord - no matter where we are in our faith walk.

One of the gals wanted to share Proverbs 31 with us at the end of our study. Her husband came home from his Saturday morning men's Bible study with the scriptures readings they had studied for the day. One reading for the week was Proverbs 31. Her husband brought the printed sheet home and stated the men said this describes the perfect woman.

The Wife of Noble Character
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

The Wife of Noble Character is a beautiful portion of scripture. Today I have to tell you what I feel compelled to share is not a verse by verse breakdown, but a problem I had with the statement "this describes the perfect woman. I had an issue with someone stating this passage is describing the "perfect" woman. I see a difference in perfection and being noble. I was struggling with my thoughts because we live in a time where we are force fed what society views as "perfect" - I was bothered that the word perfect was used - because sisters, we struggle enough with our insecurities - how can we ever live up to what the definition of perfection is? With that said - this morning I pulled out my old Websters Collegiate Dictionary (yes, it's quite old) and looked up the words Perfect, Noble and Virtuous (as this passage is sometimes referred to The Virtuous Woman)

Perfect: Being entirely without fault or defect, flawless

Noble: Possessing outstanding qualities

Virtue: strength, a commendable quality or trait

Well, I know I am not perfect, nor do I know anyone who is with the exception of our Lord Jesus, nor do I think that our Lord is using Proverbs 31:10-31 to describe "perfection". I looked up the word perfect in my concordance - there were many, many scriptures listed where the words perfect/perfected etc were used.

Deuteronomy 32:4 says: He is the rock his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
1 Sam 22:1 - As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.

These are just two -however, what I saw as I was reading through about 10 of the scripture verses listed is the common theme that God is perfect. His ways are perfect, Christ is the perfect, sin removing sacrifice. Beloved, we aren't the perfect ones. But, we can be noble, we can have virtue. If this passage of scripture was describing The perfect woman - God would have titled it The Wife of Perfection - not The Wife of Noble Character. Sisters - we can't be perfect - perfection will come at the Day of Completion, but we can strive to be noble, to be virtuous. We won't be without sin as our perfect savior Jesus - but we can live in His perfect grace and live out our lives of faith as His Servant of Noble Character!

Bless You and your day!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is anything too hard for the LORD?

1 The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3 He said, "If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant." "Very well," they answered, "do as you say."
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread."
7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
9 "Where is your wife Sarah?" they asked him. "There, in the tent," he said.
10 Then the LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son." Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?"
13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."

I was the Lay Reader at our 8:00 service this past Sunday and above is the scripture I was assigned to read. I had to laugh (like Sarah) when I received the schedule a few weeks earlier and I saw the scripture I was assigned to read. As some of you may know, my husband Jim and I have been unable to have children. For more years than I can remember my heart ached for a child. I would read the verses in 1 Samuel about Hannah and her prayer for a son. (1 Samuel 1: 11a, 20, 26b-27) Those verses are underlined and highlighted in my Bible, and there are tear stains on those pages as well. I would pray over those scriptures and hope.

Several friends asked me after service if it was difficult to read this portion of scripture. 5 years ago I would have had to say YES! I would have never been able to read these verses in private without crying, let alone stand at the pulpit and read them in front of my congregation. I would have only focused on the fact that the LORD was giving Sarah a child, but I did not have a child. As I look back now, I remember praying over those scriptures, but not totally believing that God would give me a child. I doubted Him. After many years of growing in my faith, I can now read this scripture and what stands out to me is verse 14: Is anything to hard for the Lord? I can say NO, nothing is too hard for my God. He healed my broken heart. Filled a place that I thought could only be filled by having a child of my own. He filled it with His awesome grace and also with many children (nieces, nephews, Godchildren, friend's children - as I shared in an earlier post) I now look back at the verses in 1 Samuel 1:26-27 ... I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. In His sovereignty, He has given me the gift to listen and see what His answers to prayer would be... I asked for a child and He gave me so many. Eventually I began asking to be healed - and He healed me! I am free from the bondage of sadness I felt in longing for a child. Would I have loved to experience a baby's first kick in my tummy, yes, raise a child up in the Lord, yes... but I would never want to miss the journey He took me on while He healed my heart. In Him I can stand in front of a congregation and read scripture that tells of His glory. I can type this story on a blog and share His glory. God is good sisters, there is nothing impossible or too difficult for our LORD! Turn it over to Him, let Him heal you and fill you up! He is the thrill of your life!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Woman of Strength

This is a favorite of mine and I wanted to share! Be strong in the Lord Siestas! God Bless!


A Strong woman isn’t afraid of anything… but a woman
of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.

A Strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her… but a woman
of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.

A Strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the
future… but a woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also
be God’s blessings and capitalizes on them.

A Strong woman walks sure-footedly… but a woman of
strength knows God will catch her when she falls.

A Strong woman wears the look of confidence on her
face… but a woman of strength wears grace.

A Strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the
journey… but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the
journey that she will be come strong.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Swimsuits & Self Condemnation

Last Friday I decided it was time to buy a new swimsuit. So courageously I headed to the department store, found a parking spot far enough away from the store for a good walk (maybe that little walk would tone my legs a bit more), wandered past the Junior section (no longer a Jr.) and found the swimsuits - yes, all of them, even the Jr. sizes. After a brief period of browshing I gathered as many suits as I could. Suits that I thought were cute & just might fit me and look ok on this 42 year old body, and headed to the dreaded dressing room. Yes, the dressing room. That small little room, with the door that doesn't quite latch the way I would like - after all, I will be quite vulnerable trying on a swimsuit. I am setting myself up to really tear myself a apart. The horrible fluorescent lighting that doesn't hide any flaws, the 3 way mirrors - oh the agony! Of course I could not find one suit that made me look like a swimsuit model - I really thought the pink suit would transform me! HA! Depressed, I handed the sales girl the suits and walked directly for the exit door. As the days went on I was beating myself up thinking "why haven't I done more crunches, why aren't I riding more miles on my bike, why, why, why.... I started to think about how hard we are on ourselves as woman, how we just beat ourselves up over our diet, our bodies, our choices and decisions in life etc. There's nothing like trying on a swimsuit to conjure up feelings of self hatred and loathing. I recalled a post on Beth Moore's blog (obviously my favorite) and I wanted to include it on my blog for you gals out there who are just as hard on yourselves at times as I am.

The Self Condemnation of a Red Bird - Posted by Beth Moore - May 16, 2007 on the Living Proof Blog

" I just have a second but I can't get something off my mind so I decided to log on and throw it up here. I've told you before that I really dig birds. I keep lots of feeders and feel really co-dependent when I'm out of town and can't fill them up. As ridiculous as it sounds, they bring me untold joy. One of my birds, however, is having a serious issue. I think it's mental - and I can certainly relate - but it's manifesting itself in all manner of outward expressions. I've been home plenty lately so it's not my fault...I don't think. But it may be my responsibility. I'm too co-dependent to know for sure. Here's the scene: This lone female red bird keeps attacking the mirrors on both sides of my car. She wildly flaps her wings, chatters madly, and runs into one mirror repeatedly then flies to the other side of the car and gives it an equal piece of her mind. Like she's got anything left. She makes such a racket that I can hear her all the way in the kitchen and I just stand there in total astonishment, looking out the window onto the driveway. I, then, proceed outside and try to talk some sense into her. No matter how close I get, she never lets up. She just keeps attacking her own self. Only she doesn't realize it's her. She's got such a beef with the red bird in the mirror that she has nearly pecked her blessed little beak into a nub. Clearly, the whole ordeal has her stomach upset. I've had to hose down the car on both sides. I keep trying to tell her, "It's you! It's only you in the mirror! Let up, Girlfriend!" For lack of a better solution, we now have old kitchen towels draped over the mirrors which upsets me since some of my neighbors think we're crazy religious freaks as it is. Now they'll think we're vampires to boot. I think the problem could be hormones. Hers. Not mine. I'm not sure if birds have hormonal issues but I know that girls do and she is clearly a girl. (In case you aren't up on your basic ornithology, you can tell by the color.) It really doesn't matter what age she is. All it takes to have to have hormone problems is to be the right gender. She and I could start a support group. I feel sorry for her and I hate to see her go on this way. After all, I know how she feels. I've been pecking at myself a lot lately. I always have had the tendency to self-peck. I recall one time clearly but silently in my own mind saying to God, "You hate me." Absurd, I know. And after all He'd done for me. The chilling part was that I sensed an unexpected clear response come right back at me in my mind. "No, Beth. You hate yourself." Dang it. And it's sin. Self loathing is sin. It's just another form of self-absorption. Maybe you've got some anger issues like that bird and maybe the person you're maddest at it you. Maybe regret over a decision you made years ago or a path you took a long time ago is still eating you alive. Maybe you've nearly self-pecked your beak into a nub. Maybe, truth be told, you've been thinking that God hates you, despite all He's done, but today He's opening your eyes to the fact that it's you who hates yourself. And it's got to stop. Nothing about it honors God. Your God loves you with an everlasting love. A love that heals and restores and takes a disfigured soul one day at a time, treats it with Truth, and makes it whole. A love that breaks old patterns and paves new pathways and not just for you. For a lot of people who are walking behind you. But you have to let that love in. You have to believe God feels it for you just like He says He does. You've got to be convinced of it to the marrow of your bones. What more could He do to tell you? What more could He do to show you? Choose to accept it. Embrace it. Wallow yourself in it. "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything." 1 John 3:19,20"

Dear sisters... I hope Beth's words speak to you as they did me. You are loved by God, even on the days when you try on swimsuits!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Summer Happiness

I had to share this photo of my nephew Isaac! It just speaks "summer happiness" to me!
God's Blessings to each of you as you celebrate our Nation's Independence. Whatever your 4th of July celebration entails - I do hope it's filled with fun and happiness!