An Excellent Wife

October 31, 2009 at 1:24 am (Flowers of Thought) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

flowers-of-thought-2
Lauryn and I, well, we’re both free spirits—independent thinkers. We get together and discuss important and fresh things: like marriage. Are you laughing at me? Why shouldn’t we discuss marriage? Perhaps it’s not a fresh topic, but it’s sure important. I’m convinced that nobody’s ever ready, considering simple things like lack of experience, but I’m doing my best. I dove into Proverbs 31 to study out what I should be working on—really to be an excellent woman, daughter, wife or whatever the Lord has in mind for me—and came up with an interesting bit of a list. But what really stood out to me was the virtuous woman’s purpose: all of these virtuous things she does, not as a pursuit of charm, beauty, vanity, money or power, but because she pursues the Lord.

Lord, may I never so seek charm
As to bring my Bridegroom harm
And may my beauty never be
A thing that could tempt eyes from Thee.

May my diligence prove more
To freely give to all Thy poor
That I can live my life content,
For Thee, my time and talents spent.

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No Decrease in Increase

June 30, 2009 at 2:43 pm (Godly Living, Marriage, Meditations on Proverbs 31) (, , , , , , , )

virtue is valuable

Proverbs 31:11 “The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.”

The heart (inner man/mind/will) of her husband (lord) trusts (has confidence) in her.

This is a secure trust because she is reliable and he knows it. He can entrust the management of his home and money and children to her because he is confident in her ability to care for these things and see that in each area there is an increase. She not only maintains their home and possessions, she beautifies them, improves upon them. She not only refrains from spending money carelessly, she makes a good return on it by using it wisely and even investing it so that it increases. She not only cares for the basic needs of her children, but she trains them to be a blessing to their father. This woman is not a minimalist when it comes to her responsibilities. She is what we might call an over-achiever. What her husband entrusts to her she will not only be careful to preserve, but will also improve upon it!

This concept is expressed again in the second half of this verse: “And he will have no lack of gain.”

The Hebrew word for gain here refers to spoil, goods taken in victory. Basically, she makes him successful. He has no decrease in increase. Because of her careful management, he is not limited in growth potential, but is actually set free to succeed beyond his current sphere. He may have limitations on his time because of the work that he does, but his wife makes sure that she has no part in slowing him down. He is able to dedicate more time to God’s word because she has taken care of the physical, practical needs of their home. He has more time to invest in his children because he does not have to baby-sit his wife. He has more opportunities to serve and to lead because he can safely trust that his wife has taken care of what he has entrusted to her. He should even have more time and motivation to dote on his wife, deepening their relationship, because she is such a blessing to him. And more than just sparing him time and energy, this godly woman allows her husband to move forward in confidence because he is not at all worried about things at home—she creates a worry-free environment for him by managing her responsibilities well. He may have to deal with undependable people all day at work, but when he comes home he is at ease because of the faithful, fruitful labor of his wife. Being in her presence is a great comfort to him.

I think that this verse pretty well sums up the rest of the passage (aside from the statement at the end that she “fears the LORD”). We see the virtuous woman’s character and hard work and over-arching goal presented in this verse in very general terms. As we move on from here, we will see how this specifically works itself out in her day-to-day living.

It’s hard for me to let this sink in. This kind of idealism isn’t popular today—we don’t like to think about such a woman because her example reveals that we need to change! And what an example this woman is for us—what an example she is for me! May God prune me, taking away my selfishness so that I can serve and thrive like this godly woman. I must seek to be all that God has called me to be so that I can prop my husband up and help him to be all that God has called him to be! Oh, do I ever need help with this! May God grant us grace that we all would grow in our service to Him—from the inside out.

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Virtue is Valuable

May 4, 2009 at 1:04 pm (Godly Living, Marriage, Meditations on Proverbs 31) (, , , , , )

Posted by Lauren

virtue is valuableI’ve begun recently to pour over Proverbs 31 and have been richly blessed by my time in God’s word. I don’t see myself as especially qualified to teach Proverbs 31 (I have much to learn!), but I thought perhaps my meditations on the passage may be of some encouragement to you ladies. What I’ve reflected on so far has been a great challenge and encouragement to me! So enjoy, and feel free to share your thoughts as well!

Proverbs 31:10 “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.”

Sometimes it seems hard to find an older woman who I can look up to and imitate. There are many women who do well, but few who are truly excellent, few who fit the description of this Proverbs 31 woman. And so it’s easy for me to compare myself with those around me—especially others my own age—and think that I’m doing alright. The reality is, however, that I have a lot to learn! An excellent wife—an excellent woman—is hard to find, especially in a culture that devalues her. But her worth is far above jewels. And so I ought to seek out such a woman as though seeking a great treasure (perhaps one reason I’ve had a hard time finding this kind of woman is that I haven’t been looking very diligently!). And I ought to seek to be this kind of woman with the same fervency.

It’s easy to be discouraged as a homemaker. No one really recognizes what I do (though I have been blessed by a husband who does see and appreciate it—he’s a rare find!). Society as a whole scorns me for staying home when I could be working out in the “real world”. And even many of my brothers and sisters in Christ think I’m allowing my God-given abilities to waste away—I could be a political activist, a school teacher, or have some other position that would allow me to be a “world changer” for God. So I’m a poor steward of the grace of God because I’m seeking to obey His command to be a worker at home. Sigh…

Then I come to God’s precious word. And what does it say of the Proverbs 31 woman? It says her worth is far above jewels (or perhaps in modern terms, a second paycheck). Basically, what this wife and mother does is priceless—it is of the utmost value and it is beautiful to behold. The thing is, I fall so short of that kind of valuable character and work because, though I stay at home, I still have much to learn about what it truly means to be a worker at home, and to allow that good work to spill over and bless not only my husband and children, but also those in the world around me. That’s why this woman is so valuable, so rare. She makes a priority of serving her husband and family, of running her household effectively for the glory of the Lord, and in so doing, she is able to bless her entire community and adorn the good news of her God.

So this first verse on the “excellent wife” is both an encouragement and a challenge for me. It tells me that what I am pursuing is of great value—the time that I invest in serving the Lord by serving my husband is not wasted. I shouldn’t allow the world’s opinion to sway me in my pursuit of what God has called me to be and to do. At the same time, I shouldn’t be content with simply being at home, as though the decision to not take a job outside the home makes me godly! Or as though as long as I’m keeping up with the basics (getting food on the table, making sure the house is presentable when we have company, doing the laundry before we absolutely run out of socks, paying the bills on time) then I’m a good homemaker! All too often I am content to merely get by. A complacent woman will never be an excellent woman. A phrase used several times by the apostle Paul comes to mind: “Excel still more.” When I think of the excellent wife of Proverbs 31, and when I think of just how far I fall short of her strength of character and commitment to good works, it helps to remember that she is a rare and priceless jewel. I’m not alone in my “falling short”. But I should also be encouraged to be that kind of woman, to excel still more, and to seek to abound in these kinds of good works to the glory of God. And perhaps what is most encouraging of all is that by God’s grace at work in me I can become this kind of woman. No, not perfect, but one who thrives where she is planted and who excels more and more in her service to the Lord and to others, reflecting the character of her Savior in all that she does.

May God have His way with me!

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A Review for Chosen Brides

August 18, 2008 at 7:48 pm (The Book Shelf) (, , , , )

His Chosen Bride by Jennifer Lamp (now Neef)

Book Type: Teen/young woman, singleness/relationships, godly living

Rating: 10 out of 10

Recommended? Especially for single girls, age 13 and up

Overview:

At the time of this writing, Jennifer was a single lady approaching thirty, living with her parents and sister and serving women through a ministry called Grace Works. A short time later she began serving a family who had just lost the mother to cancer and wound up stepping in as a new mother and wife—marrying an entire family! In her book Jennifer speaks as a friend, exhorting young women to seize the season of singleness to serve the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:34). She leads through an in-depth look at the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, unveiling the beauty of character and devotion and challenging single women to live out these qualities to delight their Divine Bridegroom.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

Nothing offensive, requiring “maturity” or parental caution. Of course, if you’re like me, you might have preferred something other than a pink cover. 😉

Praises:

Through her humble and friendly style, Jennifer proves herself to be teaching only what she has striven to master. So much more than pat answers, scripture slinging or lofty observations, this book is chock-full of practical advice for applying scripture, inspiring examples of women who have been “His chosen bride” and thought-provoking questions for further study and personal evaluation.

Concerns:

Why would I be concerned about a book that refocuses our hearts on our Divine Lover?

Tips for getting the most out of this book:

Grab your Bible, a pen and a notebook and study the scriptures, scribble evaluations and get involved. There are plenty of activities! When you come to a tough spot, stop and work on implementing what you’re learning. Be sure to check out some of Jennifer’s suggested resources. Challenge yourself to practice the character of the Proverbs 31 woman, diligently working because she “fears the Lord.” Don’t forget, a bride spends time just being with her groom, as well as busily serving Him.

Visit Grace Works

Buy the Book from Amazon

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