Posts Tagged ‘proverbs 31’

Fun Friday: Pinterest.com

Have you discovered pinterest.com yet?  I’m really enjoying it.

Think of it as a electronic “bookmark” of things you like that the whole world gets to see.  But you also get to see the whole world’s bookmarks.  Things from websites or blogs. You can upload your own things or you can “pin” the things that others have liked.

I’m loving it!  I’m finding recipes that I want to try.  I’m finding crafts and sewing projects that I want to make.  I’ve found decorating ideas that I’ll employ in our soon-to-be house.  Ideas for the future when we have kiddos.  Dreams that might not ever come to pass, but are fun to dream about. Hair styles that I’d like to try.  Sayings that make me smile or laugh.  Ways to wrap Christmas presents.  Ways to manage my home and life better.

I do have to say that, sometimes, these kinds of things can be dangerous.  They can help you want too much for the things you don’t have.  And that’s not good.  Be sure to guard around that.  But in the case of pinterest, it really has been way more fun than a burden.

Here are some of the more “fun” things I’ve encountered because of pinterest.

“I solemnly swear I am up to no good” coffee cup.

When filled with something hot, it says “Mischief managed”

Candy Corn Pretzels

Wouldn’t these make fun gifts for your neighbors or co-workers?

Way to store curling irons

Wise sayings

Fun Hair Dos

Ways to wrap gifts

Great dresses

Door mats

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As a follow up to Friday’s post on “While you date: What you both should read”, here is a list of recommendations from me on what you should read while you’re dating.  Now, there isn’t anything that says a completely single, no-boyfriend-in-sight gal couldn’t or shouldn’t read these books; it’s just that this list is meant for you, as a woman, not for both of you as a couple.

Some of these are more practical about marriage and would great for even married women to read.  Some of them are general about being a woman in general.  My goal would be for you to have a biblical idea of what marriage is.  What it might look like for you to be a wife.

(These are in no particular order).

Uncommon Beauty: The 7 qualities of a beautiful woman

Sacred Marriage: What If God Meant Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy  (I have some thoughts on whether he’s right or not, but it will definitely make you think).

Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George

The Best Thing I Ever Did in My Marriage by Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby  Real life stories from real life wives – great for giving you ideas

Rocking the Roles: Building a Win-Win Marriage  About the roles in marriage.  You know men aren’t the same as women and they have different roles.

Every Woman’s Marriage: Igniting the Joy and Passion You Both Desire

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The last one!  Have you made it all the way?  Have you read a chapter every day?  If so, you’re up to Proverbs 31.  As I’ve written a lot on the Proverbs 31 woman, I won’t attempt to take the many postings and put it into one.  But feel free to read those posts.

But Proverbs 31 isn’t only about a woman.  The first 9 verses are instructions to him separate from finding a great wife.  My favorite instructions are found in verses 8 and 9.

Open your mouth for the mute,
   for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
   defend the rights of the poor and needy.  (Proverbs 31:8-9)

There are those who can’t speak for themselves in this world.  Some are deaf.  Some are handicapped.  Some are poor.  Some are unborn.  There can be a myriad of reasons that a group of people aren’t heard.  This mom is charging her son, a king, to be the person that speaks for them.  He isn’t supposed to just speak for the wealthy, the good looking, the popular.  He’s supposed to defend those that would otherwise be defenseless.

Who is defenseless in your world?  It might be the homeless.  It might be the poor. It might be the unborn.  But it might not be as obvious as that.  It might be the neighbor kid who everyone is picking on.  It might be the classmate that people tease.  It might be the co-worker that no one is listening to.  It might be the mom on the PTA committee that isn’t being heard.  There could be all kinds of people around you that you need to defend.

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After I had written all these Proverbs 31 posts, I came across this article from “The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”.  Fancy name, eh?  Basically, they’re a group of theologians and church leaders who write on the topic of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman from a biblical perspective, not a worldly one.

This article was how a Superwoman who looks to be a Proverbs 31 woman might not really be.  That being a Proverbs 31 woman is far less about actions and far more about heart.

You should read the entire thing, but some quotes that I liked are:

I was new  to marriage, taking summer school, cooking dinner 3-4 times a week, working out every day, involved in church ministry, working 40 hours a week, reading 200 pages a day for class, trying to be a friend, daughter, and the perfect wife. I was exhausted and didn’t even have kids yet! But after working 10 hours one Saturday afternoon, I finally broke down.

Why was I so upset, so exhausted? My husband was well fed, the house was clean, I was making good grades, and church ministry was going well. It seemed like I was doing what the Proverbs 31 woman is supposed to do, so why was I breaking down? What’s wrong with being Superwoman?

A lot of Christian women think of the Proverbs 31 woman as a type of Superwoman. She’s Susie-homemaker, smart, good with money, can sew, and her husband and children think she’s the best. She’s perfect!

God requires His daughters to be like that, right? Aren’t all those things in Scripture? They are and God does want them from us but there’s a big difference between Superwoman and the Proverbs 31 woman. The difference is: God.

You can do all the actions of the Proverbs 31 woman but if your heart isn’t God-centered then you’re just a Superwoman destined to fail. God knows that only He and His Son, Jesus Christ are perfect, so why are we trying to be perfect in every area? Is it so you’ll appear to be the most talented girl in the dorm, the best wife in your small group, or the most desirable single woman? Unfortunately, I’ve been guilty of all these “Me”-driven motives. The Superwoman complex is centered on: Self.

God does not value outward perfection, awards, or praises from man like we do. The only thing God requires is that we seek Him and fear Him, like the Proverbs 31 woman (Prov. 31:30). God doesn’t call us to be Superwomen; he calls us to be godly women.

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Proverbs 31: Phew!

As I said at the beginning of the series, I used to have all kinds of negative thoughts about this passage.  And as I studied this chapter when writing this blog, a lot of them resurfaced.

This woman does so much!  And I do so little in comparison.  My reactions:

  • I only make dinner 3-4 times a week.  And because I’m cooking for 2, we often have leftovers for lunches.  That can’t be creative.
  • I use a lot of butter in my cooking.  And bacon.  And italian sausage.  That can’t be all that nutritious.
  • I can’t make my own clothes if I had to. Maybe I could make a bedsheet now that I have a sewing machine.
  • I don’t work out or care for myself physically as well as I should.
  • I don’t care for the homeless or the needy-in-other-ways other than giving to my church and that can’t really count.
  • It’s really only because of Jeff’s counsel that I invest what I do.  If it were up to me, I’d be more of a short-term saver and kind of let the long-term take care of itself.  The problem with that is that investments don’t accidentally happen.  If you don’t take care of the long term, you’ll be an 80 year old asking “You want fries with that?”

And I got discouraged all over again.  Partly because I read a pretty negative commentary about how 90% of Christian women fail at even coming close to being a Proverbs 31 woman.  Man, that was discouraging!   I don’t think that’s true.

So I thought about it. And prayed about it.  Some of my ‘negative’ feelings were really conviction.  There were things that I was studying in this woman which should be a part of my life.  Conviction is good!  My reaction is to put some new habits into practice.

Some of my ‘negative’ feelings were because I wasn’t remembering that she couldn’t have done this all in any given single day or maybe not even in the same phase of life.  I pointed that out in the beginning of the series, but somewhere along the way, I forgot that.  I made an expectation for myself that I have to do everything all the time.  And that’s just not so.

I also failed to remember Jesus’s words from the New Testament – He came to give us abundant life.  He came so that we could experience grace and freedom.  Abundant life doesn’t mean a lazy life by any definition of the word abundant, but it also means that we shouldn’t be slave-driver of ourself.

My worth to God isn’t in what I do.  He doesn’t see my service to my family or friends or the needy and say: “Jayme is so much more valuable to me now”  or “Jayme could be so much more important to me if she’d just sling soup at the Open Door Mission”.  He doesn’t do that.  I serve God as a response to my love for Him, not to earn His love.

I’m Jeff’s wife.  Not this king’s wife.  That means the way I carry out these habits and character qualities are different from Suzy would have.  It’s different from the way you would.  I only cook 3-4 times a week because that’s the schedule Jeff and I want.  For me to cook every night would be to insist on what I want, not what’s best for Jeff and I.  I don’t have servants because we don’t need them.  We could afford to pay for a house cleaner, but that’s not needed for us.  Maybe someday that will change – maybe someday we’ll say that it’s worth it to hire someone else to do that in order to free me up to see to needs that only I can see to.  That’s just not today.  I work outside our home.  A regular 8-to-5 job.  And it’s not in a very feminine role.  I design software for cable and utility companies.  And I enjoy designing stuff.  It’s income that’s blessing us without getting in the way of my higher priorities.  Maybe some day I won’t work 40 hours/week.  Maybe I always will.  But today, I work and I’m glad to do so.

I guess I’m trying to say: Study this woman.  Desire to emulate her qualities.  She’s a fine woman indeed!  But what that looks like for you will be different.  Don’t become a “human doing” — be a “human being“!

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Proverbs 31:27-31 is the end of the chapter, but I will have some follow up thoughts tomorrow.

    She looks well to the ways of her household,
         And does not eat the bread of idleness.

I don’t have much more to say on this one that hasn’t already said.  She is not idle.  She’s looked at her family from every direction, sees what the needs are and addresses them.

    Her children rise up and bless her;
         Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 
    “Many daughters have done nobly,
         But you excel them all.” 
    Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
         But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 
    Give her the product of her hands,
         And let her works praise her in the gates.

There are probably a numerous different reasons that men decide to date a particular lady or to marry her.  Verse 30 gives a couple of bad reasons to marry.  Charm — some women are very charming, but falsely so.  They flatter, they encourage, but then they go psycho.  Or they do things that don’t match the charming exterior they’ve built.  That’s what dating is for – to see if that charming exterior is just a false front or the result of a “woman who fears the Lord”.

Another reason some men date a particular gal is because of her beauty. Beauty is great – God has created very  beautiful things.  But if that’s the basis for a relationship or the only attractive quality about a woman, a man will be sorry pretty quickly.  I’d love to be beautiful like some of the models out there, but not if the insecurity and worldliness come with it.

Suzy gets what she has coming to her — praise!!!  She’s been deemed the best of the best!  She’s praised by her children.  She’s praised by her husband.  How cool is that?!?  It’s one thing to get accolades from people who “kind of, sort of” know you, but so much sweeter to get praises from those that see you work every day.  From the people who know the real you.  Those that know first hand the impact you’ve had on them.  Admiration from others is nice, but a great compliment from a spouse and children are wonderful.

I’m sure she hasn’t done all this perfectly.  I’m sure there’s a day where she didn’t get the laundry done like she wanted. I’m sure there’s been a time where they ordered pizza instead of a homemade Chicken Pot Pie.  I’m willing to bet there’s been days where she’s cried in frustration.  She may have made a mistake or two in her investing or tried to learn a new skill that turned out to not quite be her cup of tea.  That’s life.  That’s what happens when you take risks.  But the people who have known her for years praise her!  They see the course of her life and admire her for it.

Praise doesn’t always come quickly.  In this case, it’s the woman’s children who are praising her.  I bet that took a few years for that to happen.  No one ever had a 2-year-old tell them “Thanks for raising me so well, mom!”  No, it sometimes takes time for the full impact of your deeds to be known.  You have to be patient with that.  Look at the long-term effects of what you’re doing. You may not be praised now, but hopefully, you’re the best of the best and you will get your praises!

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Proverbs 31:26 is da bomb too!

    She opens her mouth in wisdom,
         And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She’s wise about when (and when not) to speak.  She’s learned the skill of shutting up.  She’s also been made wiser by the experiences that she’s had.  When she speaks, you listen.  There are lots of other proverbs on the subject of controlling the tongue.  I’ll let some of them speak:

Proverbs 11:16 – “A gracious woman retaineth honour…”
Proverbs 17:27 – “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint…”
Proverbs 12:18 – “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Proverbs 22:11 – “One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.”

A woman who speaks kindly and wisely will have all kinds of friends.  She’ll be respected. She’ll be sought after.  She makes people better with her words.  Who wouldn’t want to be around her!?

Has anyone said that about you?  Or do they find you sarcastic and, at times, mean?  Do they find you overly talkative, stealing the show, wanting to give your opinion, gossippy?  If you want to change your reputation, try to just not talk.  Really.  Just sit there and enjoy the company of people.  When they ask you a question, answer kindly.  Don’t sit there and mope.  Don’t sit there and glare at people, daring them to talk to you.  Just sit.  Enjoy.  Learn.  Use your words to build up.

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