Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Woman - Part 1

This speech was originally presented to my MOPS group. I will be breaking it into bite-size thinkable pieces for this blog.

It is popular today to knock some of the old TV shows and say that Leave it to Beaver is not realistic. Instead, Roseanne is supposed to be the typical family of today. That may be true. I grew up in a home that was more similar to Roseanne’s home (with sarcasm, lack of communication, and lack of true confrontation), but watching a show like that gives me no hope for better. I love Leave it to Beaver because I can see things in the Cleaver household that I do want to emulate and strive for. Maybe I will never do housework in my best dress and high heels, but I can work toward listening to my children, communicating politely and lovingly with my husband, and keeping my family together in harmony rather than acrimony.

I feel the same way about Proverbs 31. It gives me something to shoot for. It isn’t today’s list of things to do. I couldn’t possibly accomplish everything in a day, a month, or year out of my life. But I can try to do some of these things over time. And I already do. And so do you.

Proverbs 31 contains the words of a woman! A mother, just like us! This mother was trying to give wisdom to her young son, Lemuel, the future king. This is her advice regarding the type of woman he should find to marry. I think she did want him to find someone, so this list can’t be totally unrealistic.

First, the Proverbs 31 woman is to be TRUSTED.

v. 10-11 says
An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her.
And he will have no lack of gain.

So far, so good; we all want to be rewarded with rubies, right? And the biggest quality for us to have is to be trustworthy. What does being trustworthy mean to you? [Think about that.]

To me, that means my husband doesn’t have to worry about me when he is planning our life. He knows he will get a big “thumbs-up” for the plans that he makes for our future; that he will get a smile when he asks me to do him a favor; that he will not be yelled at or belittled or looked down upon.

The Bible often tells men to “love” their wives, but women to “respect” their husbands. I think this is a critical difference in our makeup. A man is made to need respect. If he doesn’t have it, he feels less than a man. [Read: Rock Solid Marriage, by Bob Barnes, especially pp. 196-199. One sample paragraph: "It has been said, "Behind every successful man is a great woman cheering him on." Cheering him on because he's worthy of her cheering? Probably not. In the same book that tells husbands to love or cherish their wives, it says, "the wife must respect her husband" (Eph 5:33 NIV). Why? Because her husband is respectable? No, it doesn't say, "and to those of you wives who have respectable husbands, respect them."]

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Timely Word

Where does it go? We are always looking for it. We can never find it when we really need it. It comes and then vanishes like a bubble, without even a little pop. The evidence is all around us though. My daughter will be studying for her driver’s test this year. My son is in “training” for a para-military organization. So, time does exist. And time does fly!

I remember Holly’s first dance recital when she stood on stage with a bunch of other cute “munchkins” and we cheered amongst giggles as she wiggled her hips from side to side and then performed a somersault! This week, she will dance on that stage for the 11th time! Her instructors no longer stand up front reminding her what to do – she remembers it all! She makes quick costume changes. Her ballet, tap and jazz moves are so much more complicated and deserving of applause. She has shown herself dedicated and responsible in many areas of her life. Where did my little girl go?

I remember Elijah running around in the backyard with Nerf guns – okay, he still does that, but they are much bigger now. And now, I’m told, he may be taken into the woods to learn to shoot M16s! He keeps his room neater and he is showing a new commitment and perseverance level we haven’t seen before. Where did my little boy go?

Don’t get me wrong, I have always enjoyed the “getting older” bit. I loved seeing them graduate from diapers, training wheels, and I Can Read Books. But, now I think, “Our time left together is short.” There may be schools, jobs, marriages, and family obligations that will part us in the not-so-very distant future. Is there enough time left to teach them what they really need to know? Is there enough time to ensure that they are stable in their faith and ready for the persecution that is coming? Is there even enough time to just “be together,” without the rush, rush, rush of life pushing all around us?

Are we just “running to and fro” (Daniel 12:4) or are we running to something worthwhile? Are we “using our time wisely?” And what does that mean? And what does that look like? If all else fails, I know: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4).

If they walk in the truth, and we walk in the truth, then when this life fails, we shall have the gift of all the time of eternity.