I am no longer the things of my past...I am the daughter of the Great I AM.

Exodus 3:14
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
2 Corithians 6:18
I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Proverbs 31 Woman - Her Lifestyle

Proverbs 31:13-19 (NKJV)
She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.

Verses 13-19 of Proverbs 31 discusses the lifestyle of a virtuous wife. She fulfills all the traditional roles performed by women, working hard to care for her family.

My parents divorced when I was 5, and my mom had to go to work outside the home. She worked shift work for 40+ hours a week. I am the 3rd of three girls, and quite a few years behind the first two. Both of my sisters married and were out of the house while I was still young. The years that I should have be learning by example on how to clean/maintain a house, I was either home alone or with my aging grandfather. When I should have been a help to my mom as she worked, I was not. I grew up not knowing how to clean, or even realizing that I should want to clean. My room was horrible when I was child and teen. You've heard jokes about not being able to find the floor... that was no joke in my room. I would literally walk over all my junk, and dig to find what I was looking for.

I remember staying at friend's houses that were clean, but I really didn't take notice. A clean house and how to run a household was insignificant to me... that is until I met my future husband. I guess my mindset or heart set was changing. I remember walking into his house for the first time and being amazed at how clean and uncluttered it was. It was at that time that I started figuring out how I should clean and keep house. I began by asking those older than me that had houses I admired. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was seeking out a Titus 2 role model. the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5

Proverbs 31 gives us an outline on how to maintain our households. It is from this passage that we can discover how to be a homemaker.

Verse 13
She seeks wool and flax,
Seeks - careful evaluation
As a wife, we need to carefully evaluate all that we purchase. Is is something that is really needed? Is it the best for what our family needs? Are we getting the best price?

willingly works with her hands
Her own skills enable her to instruct and teach others, to assign tasks, and to supervise their work.

Verse 14
She brings her food from afar
She plans meals and menus carefully, taking care to provide a varied diet that is both nourishing and tasteful.

Verse 15
provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.
She manages those under her care ... whether her children or employees. She is organized and assigns tasks. She plans work needed to be done each day, and selects the right person for the task. She does not stop with making the assignment, but also supervises their efforts.

Verse 16
She considers a field and buys it;
She spends her money wisely by considering whether or not something will be a good investment.

From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She looks at the economy and decides the best way to use her resources wisely.

This verse also refers back to verse 11 in which the husband safely trusts her. Because he trusts her, she has personal access to the family accounts and the discretionary power to spend it.

Verse 17
She girds herself with strength,
She takes care of herself and makes sure that she remains healthy.

Verse 18
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
She carefully checks finished work or products, and she exercises quality control.

And her lamp does not go out by night.
She makes sure her house is provided for, the bills are paid and things that are needed are in the cabinets.

Verse 19
her hand holds the spindle.
She is diligent in homemaking.

As you focus on verses 13-19, ask God to help you answer these questions:
Are you taking care of your household as you should be?
Do you consider your spending before you make a purchase?
Do you consider what is best for your family?

Seek out other scriptures dealing with diligence, and allow God to build in you the lifestyle of the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Proverbs 31 Woman - Her Character

Proverbs 31:10-12 (NKJV)
The Virtuous Wife

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Verses 10-12 of Proverbs 31 discusses the character of a virtuous wife. She is virtuous, trustworthy, and committed to doing good.

The heart of her husband safely trusts her

When Jason and I were first married, I was handling all the bills. We did not discuss this arrangement. I just assumed that I would, and Jason didn't rock the boat. Not only did I handle the bills, I never ran anything past Jason. Never asked his advice or permission. During this same time frame, we had several credit cards. Credit cards with ever increasing balances. As the balances increased, the more guilt I felt, and the more I hid this fact from Jason. I told myself it was to protect him. I didn't want him to be upset. I didn't want to cause him to stress. I had all sorts of excuses I would tell myself, trying to ease my on conscience. The truth is, I did not want Jason mad at me or to consider me a failure. I went to great lengths to make sure Jason didn't find out. I made sure I always got to the mailbox first, and would be stressed to the max if by some chance he picked up the mail instead of me.

Needless to say, I did not have much peace during this time frame. Then one day, Jason opened the mail before I got home. The scene that followed was not pleasant. We worked through the argument, through the debt, and created a better way to handle the bills. A way in which we both knew what was going on in our accounts. What we did not work through as quickly, was the lack of trust between Jason and myself. For years, there was always a wall of distrust between us when it came to money.

Thankfully, now I can say that Jason trusts me in all areas. He trusts me to run our household and raise our children. He knows that I will come to him with whatever I need to. He trusts me not to hide anything from him and not to lie to him. I had to earn that trust, and I am honored that he now bestows that trust on me.

She does him good and not evil

This one seems like a no brainer, right? Of course we are not going to do evil toward our husband. Really? What about the times that we are talking about his "irritating habits" with our girlfriends? What about the times when we have a fight, and we call our moms/sisters/friends and tell them everything that was said? What about the times we publicly role our eyes or make jokes at his expense? What about ...? This list really could go on and on and on.... Are we really causing good to him during these times?

As wives, we really need to pay attention to what we say with our words and our body language concerning our husbands. We need to honor him in the way we act and react. I know a lady that when asked to tell something about herself, one of the first things that she says is that she is married to the best man in the world. It is not just words she utters, you can see in your eyes that she believes it 100%. I have never met her husband, but I have a very positive opinion of him because of her. What opinion do others have of your husband? Are you bringing him good? Or causing him harm?

All the days of her life

Finally, it is important to realize that this is not something we can do for a few days here and there. This is daily living. Good days, bad days, average days ... Everyday we are to live in a manner that our husband knows we have his best interest at heart.

As you focus on verses 10 - 12, Ask God to help you answer these questions:
What are your motives?
Are you committed to doing your husband good? Or are you promoting/protecting yourself?

Seek out other passages of scripture that deals with virtue or trust. You will be amazed at the work God will do on your heart toward your husband. Ask God to create in you the character of the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Women Out of Balance with God's Word

The other night I was reading an article that had the following quote from Adolph Hitler in it, "First you get the women, then you've got the children, so follow the men." This quote set my mind to churning. I immediately thought of the verses in 2 Timothy about gullible women.

For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:6-7

Why is it that women can be gullible? How can we guard our minds and our hearts from deception? Here is what I believe is the answer for wives.

Wives are gullible because they get out from under the covering of their husband. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3) God placed us under our husbands for a purpose. We were created to be a help meet for our husband, and it is his job to protect us. When a wife fails to submit to the authority of her husband, this leaves her open to deception. Just as Eve was deceived because she was not satisfied with her station in God's plan, so we can be deceived when we are not satisfied with our role as wife.

This is why it is important that we know, from God's word, what He desires for us to do. Society will tell us lies, and if we are not grounded in truth, we will be "led away... always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." As women, we need to seek out specific passages in the Bible that tell us how we should behave.

Proverbs 31:10-31 and Titus 2:3-5 offer great outlines for a wife. They show us how we can be the crown of our husbands. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4)

It is my daily prayer that God show me areas that I am out of balance with His word. That He show me how I can change that area, and how I can guard my heart that I might not be a gullible woman.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lesson Learned

This is not the blog I had planned on starting my series on the Proverbs 31 Woman with. However, God chose this time to teach me a valuable lesson, and this lesson goes perfectly with my desire to be a Proverbs 31 Woman. Therefore, here is my blog about a lesson learned...

As a child, I did not take care of my teeth. I didn't like brushing them, and honestly didn't know why I would need to. (I know GROSS!!!) It wasn't until I was in 7th grade, when a boy (not a particularly clean boy) told me that I had butter teeth, that I started brushing daily. As you can imagine, with that many years of neglect, I have had a lot of trouble with my teeth. I have joked about being able to set off a metal detector because of all the caps and fillings. God has blessed me that my front teeth are pretty good, therefore I can hide what happens in the back.

Why would I hide it? There are a couple of reasons. First it is embarrassing to admit that you have bad teeth because you didn't take care of them. Yes, I realize I have just confessed that over the internet. Second, and probably most prevalent, is that as a Mom, I can always think of other things for my family to spend money on. I often put taking care of myself on the back burner.

This weekend, God showed me how important it is to take care of myself. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a problem with one of my teeth. I ignored it. If it bothered me, I just chewed on the other side. Problem solved! Well, maybe not... On Saturday, I was in pain, a lot of pain! By Sunday, I couldn't even get out of bed. I have an abscessed tooth. While laying down, listening to my husband take care of the family, I realized something very important... I cannot take care of my family, if I don't first take care of myself.

Now be real careful here. Some wives/moms put themselves and their pleasures above the needs of their family. That is not what I am saying. The Proverbs 31 Woman serves her family. "She watches over the ways of her household." What I am saying, is that if we neglect our own health, we will not be able to serve our families as God intends.

One final note, thanks to gargling with first peroxide, and then warm salt water, and taking Motrin, I am back to a functioning state. I am also going to the dentist tomorrow, and I will get this problem taken care of. In the future, if I notice a problem with my health, I will not just ignore it. This is one lesson I hope not to repeat.