Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a woman who fears the lord, she ain't playin'

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 t An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11  The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12  She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13  She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14  She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15  She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16  She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17  She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19  She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20  She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21  She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.t
22  She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23  Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24  She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25  Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26  She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27  She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28  Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29  "Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31  Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates. 

So just like I assume many women who read this in our day and age, my first reaction to this passage was, "who the heck is this woman?"  You have to admit, she's pretty incredible.  All of a sudden getting dinner on the table and keeping up with cleaning, dishes, and laundry seems like children's play.

Of course I felt a little convicted. This woman is EVERYTHING. She runs a home, she keeps her husband happy, her children look up to her, she runs several  businesses, she buys property, she doesn't worry, she has complete trust... yada yada.

I was pleased, however, to read my study bible notes on this passage, and I think you'll be pleased to read them too... 

"Proverbs has a lot to say about women.  How fitting that the book ends with a picture of a woman of strong character, great wisdom, many skills, and great compassion. Some people have the mistaken idea that the ideal woman in the Bible is retiring, servile, and entirely domestic.  Not so!  This woman is an excellent wife and mother.  She is also a manufacturer, importer, manager, realtor, farmer, seamstress, upholsterer, and merchant.  Her strength and dignity do not come from her amazing achievements, however.  They are a result of her reverence for God.  In our society where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realize that her appearance is never mentioned.  Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character.  The woman described in this chapter has outstanding abilities.  Her family's social position is high.  In fact, she may not be one woman at all - she may be a composite portrait of ideal womanhood.  Do not see her as a model to imitate in every detail -(...like I'm going to buy a vineyard...)- ; your days are not long enough to do everything she does!  See her instead as an inspiration to be all you can be.  We can't be just like her, but we can learn from her industry, integrity, and resourcefulness."

I LOVED this.

Yes, I am still convicted, but I'm also encouraged.  Just like every other person on the planet, I have been given talents and gifts from God, some of which are profitable, and I am guilty of not using them for His work, and for providing for our family with them.  I am guilty of laziness, being overwhelmed by my small daily tasks that many women in other places of the world would dream of having instead of their labor. I am also guilty of spreading evil with my tongue, and not gentle, kind wisdom.  Oh and yes, I tend to cry at the days to come out of worry, and not laugh because I trust completely in my husband and our heavenly Father.

Here's another thing I really loved.  In the study notes it mentioned that her appearance was not mentioned, and that her attractiveness was all from her character... you may be interested to know, however, that a few of the poetic devices used mention words about dressing and clothing and jewelry (all things used to enhance our appearance)... I don't know if I'm making myself clear, but here are some examples: 

- 7  She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
- 25  Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.

- 30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

My mom and I talked a lot yesterday about how women (and some men) are so sidetracked by "being attractive" and all the lies we tell ourselves to cover up our obsession with outer beauty.  This passage really highlights how we ought to perceive beauty.

It's true that charm and beauty can trick you, but what I notice most, is not so much it's deceiving nature, but it's shallowness.  Yes, I know, "skin deep," is cliche, but really, it is, isn't it?  For example, the women that I admire most in life aren't always the most beautiful ones.  Yes, there are some who are beautiful, and who have a knack with fashion, but really what I admire them for is their wisdom, their perseverance, and their hearts.

I've spoken about this group before, but I will again... there's a group of women who meet for a bible study in 70 Mile House once a week, that I absolutely love.  They are all so beautiful, and yet, style and outer beauty may not be that important to them.  They love the Lord, and they serve Him in such tangible ways.  One woman who used to be a school teacher takes a young girl who lives with her grandma to dance lessons out in 100 Mile House once a week and dances with her.  Another woman has a beautiful garden that provides her family with vegetables and has chickens for eggs, and tends to them daily.  Others keep strong healthy relationships with other women as their ministry, while they trust wholeheartedly in their husbands to provide for them.  Others make do with what they've been given, and still give generously.  It's also interesting to note that these women haven't had easy sheltered lives, a lot of them (most) have come from really hard back grounds, and now have a gentle, kind, giving, faithful spirit, that I admire so much.  They really understand this passage.

This is turning into two blog posts... oops.

It may be their disconnect from the coast, that allows them to let style and outer beauty rest on the back burner so easily, but I don't think that because we're on the coast and closer to an urban center that it should stop Christian women from trying to be more like this.  Of course, only through God will we ever understand how this passage should be lived out in each of our lives personally.

This is a lot to think about, however, I'm very inspired to be a more gentle, loving, resourceful, peaceful, trusting woman... and with that I'd like to leave you with a hilarious song taken from this passage... it's from 1992... DC talk style:
This may or may not have started a day long DC Talk nostalgia session...


Friday, August 19, 2011

fear and faith and fear and faith.

What I want more than anything is to have a faith in God that never quivers, that stands strong in the face of adversity, and that stands strong in times of plenty.  I want a faith that never falters or falls into fear. Sometimes I feel like my faith in fear is stronger than my faith in God to provide.  I trust that I'll be afraid, but not always in God's plan, His provision, His power.

Do I believe that God has a plan for our lives, for the lives of my family members, for everyone?  Do I believe that He will always provide for me, no matter what? Do I believe that He is all powerful, and that nothing is impossible for Him?

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: (Jeremiah 32:17 KJV)

Lately when my heart has gone to fear, fear that we won't have enough, fear that I'll lose people I love, God has reminded me of His plan.  He has a plan for each of us, and His plans are to help us and to build us, not to destroy us.

Earlier this week we had a bit of confirmation that Tal's job would be a bit more certain, and then yesterday we heard something different, and then about an hour later we heard some good news again.  As a woman who feels the best in times of security... my emotions were flying every which way.  I wish that my faith could have stood strong even just for those few hours when things were up in the air, but I know that Jesus has forgiven me for my human qualities, and will continue to build my faith through these tests.

I know it has grown, even in the past six months.  I remember having such little faith, that I really didn't think Tal and I could get married, because I didn't think God would provide.  Now I still doubt, and have fears, but I'm quickly reminded of how God has been with us in the past.

Now, as I write this, I'm being reminded of how my purpose on earth is to show the love of Christ, not to be perfectly comfortable in my life.  He will provide for us, but to be perfectly honest, that's not where it ends.  Provision is really just the beginning, it's miraculous to be provided for, but it's the tip of the iceberg.

Where's my heart? Myself, my life, my husband, my home?  It's selfish. Bah. Now I feel funny about writing the first half of this blog, however, I'm not going to erase it because I think it's interesting that God decided to speak to me right in the middle of it.

I hope that my gaze can be redirected, trusting that we will be provided for, and reaching out to the world that needs Jesus.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Delicious Dinner.

I'm not completely out of the closet yet, but as of tonight I will be.  I've been eating meat for about 2 months now :S  There's a number of reasons why, which I won't go into, but in the long run it's easier for me to cook for our little family if we put both vegetarian and non vegetarian meals into the recipe box.

Anyways, seeing as that's out of the way, I figure I'd share this recipe with you!  I didn't know what to make for dinner, because my kitchen, although well stocked in some areas, is lacking in others.  So I figured I had spinach, dry pasta, and chicken breast, what could I make? some sort of Spinach Chicken salad with Pasta.  I think it turned out really well :)


1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of walnuts
2 tbsp of soy sauce (try Bragg's liquid aminos)
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pasta (I made corkscrew pasta)
2 small chicken breasts cooked (or 1 large chicken breast)
4 cups of washed and chopped (bite size) spinach
2 stalks of green onion chopped

I started by roasting the nuts in 1 tbsp of the olive oil, once they were smelling delicious (as nuts do once they're perfectly roasted) I added the rest of the oil, the soy sauce, the red wine vinegar, the sugar, and the salt and pepper to taste.  While I was doing this I was cooking 1 1/2 cups of pasta.  Once that was all done I put my cooked chicken in with the pasta, and mixed the dressing on top.  I gave that a big stir (and tasted it) and put it in the fridge.  Let that chill for an hour or so.  Right before you eat, toss in the washed spinach and green onions.

Delicious... and really easy.


a bit of honesty.

On Saturday night I was trying to sleep, and all of a sudden a little spark of fear crept into my thoughts.  "What if Tal doesn't make enough money this month for us to pay rent next month?"  So I thought on this for awhile... and then, "What if the money we have now won't carry us from now until September 1st?"  Then I really started worrying.  I sat up in bed, and woke Tal up.  Tal wasn't amused.  He said, "I can't take care of this right now, I'll figure stuff out tomorrow, neither of us can do anything right now."

Sometimes I love masculine practicality, and although I understood the wisdom in what Tal said, I couldn't seem to shake it.  So I prayed, asking God to relieve my worries, and to remind me of all the times that he's provided for us, even in the past year.  Then I thought of how my dad always provided for our family, I never had to worry... it was never even a consideration in my mind whether or not we'd have enough money for the next month (and yet I'm sure my parents dealt with those worries :P).  Then I thought of how our future children would think of Tal that way, never worrying, because he'd provide.

Isn't that how I should think of my heavenly father?  Never worrying because he'll always provide.  It may not be how I think I should be provided for, I may not know where money is coming from 6 months down the road... but each day I know that I'll be provided for.  God's provided me with a responsible husband, and with so many times of provision in the past.

Life's not perfect, and we often have to go through times of need to strengthen our faith, but I'm so glad to have experienced the loving provision of God, yet again.  Tal's job is more secure than we thought it would be, his last cheque was larger than we thought it would be, and money in the mail is nothing to sneeze at either!

If you're worrying, rest, God's provision will come. (this may have to be my mantra for the next few years...)


first day of housewifery.

Tal woke up at 4:30 this morning to go to work to make money to pay our bills, to be a good husband, and I slept in until 9.  This was the first morning that I woke up alone since our wedding 2 weeks ago.  We've had a long luxurious vacation and today was not so much "back to reality" but "starting reality."  I really didn't know what today would be like at all. 

Being female and somewhat hormonal I immediately started to feel lost.  "What do I do with all this time?  You've wanted to be a housewife for so long, now it's here, and you miss your old house?"  So I googled "what should a good housewife do all day?" and surprisingly it showed me several blogs by Christian wives and mothers who were all trying to be good housewives themselves.  It was incredibly inspiring to realize that I wasn't alone, and that so many others are thriving in this vocation.  My lost feelings from the morning were replaced with excitement for becoming the "keeper of our home."

There was a great 6 (or 7) part article, written by 7 different wives/mothers on Titus 2:3-5 (one of the articles can be found here, with a list of the other articles and links at the bottom of the post http://www.oursimplecountrylife.com/) (you may want to turn the volume down on your computer if you check out that link though, because there is a repeating mp3 being played that gets a little... testing :S)  I was particularly inspired by the second part of the passage, "...train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." (Titus 2:4-5 ESV).  Of course I'm most inspired by those words that are so opposite from myself "self-controlled" "pure" "submissive," but it's good to be inspired by what you aren't and what you are striving towards.

Our culture teaches us almost the opposite of this verse, "train the young women to love themselves first, then consider their husbands and children (but they shouldn't consider marriage until they really know themselves and that love for themselves is strong), to know what they want, and be driven towards it, to do anything to get themselves where they want to go, working anywhere to get what they want, setting aside virtuous ways to get there way, and not letting anyone telling them what to do."  I'd say that was pretty accurate to what women my age are taught nowadays through media, school, and just life in general... and it's shocking to see that God's way is so opposite.

I hope and know I will find, deep satisfaction in following God, and learning to be more self-controlled, kind, pure, and submissive to my husband.  I know that the greatest joy in life is found in giving up yourself for others... it's the choosing selflessness over selfishness that's the hard part :P