The Pursuit of a Virtuous Life as a Virtuous Wife

Over the next few weeks I will be participating in a bible study entitled “A Virtuous Life” by Darlene Schacht (AKA: Time-Warp Wife.)  Throughout the course of the study I am going to share what I am learning along the way and the insight I am gaining to becoming a more Godly woman and wife…a woman of virtue.

I came across this study as I have been seeking out more knowledge and resources on the subject of being a wife of noble character.  You see, I have not exactly been a star example of this myself.  I never really thought much about it…until I almost lost the chance to be a wife all together (more of that will come later), and that’s when I realized God needed to change me.  He needed to change my outlook on marriage, on my husband, and on myself.

As I have been searching for other Christian women and wives teaching and encouraging other women to be the wives we were called to be I am coming into some amazing insight and knowledge and am developing a deeper desire everyday.  I want to begin sharing what I am learning and experiencing with others as well.


WEEK 1:  Prudence

According to merriam-webster.com prudence is using careful good judgment that allows someone to avoid danger or risks; the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason.

Prudence/wisdom is an important virtue to understand and have because this will determine how you move forward.

DAY 1 READING:  Esther 4:6-5:8 “Esther is Prudent Under Pressure”

WHAT I LEARNED

Esther was one smart cookie!  And SO brave!  She was faced with making a move that could potentially cost herself her life.  And yet she moved forward with that decision anyway.  BUT not without consulting with God first on how she was going to do that!  She was strategic in her approach to her king, her husband.  Scripture says that Esther fasted for 3 days prior to approaching the king, and she had her maids and others join her in this fast.  I assume she accompanied her fast with prayer and meditation with God seeking guidance, wisdom, and direction for what she was about to encounter.  On that 3rd day she put on her royal robes and entered into the king’s court.  It says “she obtained favor in his sight” and the king welcomed her in and told her whatever it was she wanted she could have it.  Even with that open offer Esther did not reveal her ultimate request.  Instead she invited him (with Haman) to a banquet that she was going to prepare for them.

Esther was very strategic and purposeful with her actions, words, and thoughts.  She started with prayer and fasting, she appealed to her husband’s eye and attraction for her, she didn’t jump the gun with sudden demands…she was courageous, smart, beautiful, gentle, and patient.  She did not crack under the pressure.

my prayer…

Lord, help me to have prudence like Esther.  When I am faced with a pressing situation or find myself feeling like I am about to be crushed under the pressure, help me to have the wisdom to devise a plan and strategy…to not think rashly, react abruptly, or speak harshly.  Give me insight as a wife to know how to appeal to my husband’s compassion and passion so that I too may obtain favor in his sight.  Continue welling up the desire in me to get closer to you and to constantly be listening to your voice.  In the name of Jesus I pray this ~Amen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Salt Seasoned God-flavors and Brilliant God-colors

This week a “landmark” announcement and ruling was made that has erupted so many emotions, feelings, thoughts, and debates.  Every one of which are full of passion and reason.  I tend to steer clear of social media postings in response to most trending political or religious debates.  Not because I don’t have an opinion or because I am ashamed or shy about my own thoughts and beliefs, but because I don’t feel it is an appropriate or effective forum for it.  Also, I don’t believe that I should have to answer to anyone else about my opinions or beliefs on such topics.  This week, however, has stirred up a whole new level of emotions and has caused my spirit to dive to new depths of thought.

Let me first say, this is NOT a hateful, condemning debate on what I believe is right or wrong or what I believe others to be doing as right or wrong.  The preceding week’s events have simply opened my eyes and heart to a world full of hurt, blame, hate, misunderstanding, intolerance, and hypocritical judgment.

This week I also happened to receive a package that I have been looking forward to all year…my annual missions trip package!  Contained in this special package was our trip shirts.  As I pulled out my shirts I was anxious to read the message.  Last year we were going to “Do Something”…this year we are to “Be This…Matthew 5:13-14…”

” You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (14) You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”  NIV

Now, I have pretty much heard my whole life (growing up in a Christian home and being a PK) that we should be the salt and light of the earth.  I always just kind of agreed with that “profound” statement but truthfully never fully understood it.  I get the whole light part.  Being a light in the darkness, a beam of hope, good surrounded by bad.  But salt?  Why would I want to be compared to salt?  Light is bright and beautiful and colorful…salt is…SALT!  It’s a rock, you put it on food, too much of it is bad for you…I just didn’t get that analogy.  Until recently.

A few weeks ago I did a children’s lesson that introduced the idea of being the salt and the light.  Now here I had to present a lesson in an understandable way to kids on something I didn’t fully grasp myself as an adult.  The only way I could think to relate this idea was with food.  Salt is a seasoning.  It makes food taste better, makes it more enticing to eat, it enhances the flavor.  We should be that way to other people when it comes to God!  We should be making life as a Christian more enticing by enhancing the flavor of God’s word and Jesus’ teachings!  Life with Jesus isn’t meant to be bland and boring.  It should be full and exciting and passionate!  And I got it!  I finally understood what it meant to be salt.  Honestly, I guess I have always just thought it couldn’t be that simple.

I revisited this scripture a couple days ago as it was starring back at me from my new T-shirt.  This never felt so relevant for me and for Christians in general as it does now.  God put us all in this great big world together for a reason.  He did not separate believers away from non-believers in existence.  Jesus didn’t even separate himself from non-believers during his life on earth.  There is going to be disagreement and disbelief.  It’s not going to be easy and there is not always going to be success.  But our calling still remains the same.

“Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?…You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept…”  (MSG)  What an amazing insight!  How are we supposed to entice souls if we ourselves are hateful and full of bitterness spewing condemnation and wrath at every person who so publicly sins?  How are we supposed to convince the lost that God loves them no matter what if we are not willing to show love ourselves?  How are we supposed to convince of God’s unquestionable forgiveness if we do not admit our own forgiven sins?  (Oh, but that would mean admitting we sin ourselves and are not above others!…self-check!)  Showing love, respect, and kindness regardless of the choice of an individual’s lifestyle is not a compromise of personal faith and convictions or Biblical teachings and scripture.  In fact it is directly in line with what scripture guides us to do and what Jesus himself practiced.  Embracing sinners does not equal embracing sin!

I am saddened by how much disrespect and hatefulness has emerged from all sides, all religions, all genders, all races, all leaders.  For “love winning” this week there seems to be an awful lot of hate filling the air.  But love did ultimately win.  Love won a long time ago when a man willingly sacrificed his life so that an eternity of mankind could have a chance at an eternity of happiness and life.

“Greater love has no one than this:  to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:13  Love Wins.

To Infinity…AND BEYOND!

Last weekend I experienced one of the greatest events in my ministry history.  Not that I really had a whole lot of ministry events to compare it to, or that my ministry history has been all that exciting or extensive.  But still…it. was. AMAZING!

I attended an international children’s leaders training conference that quite frankly I was not completely prepared for.  What I was prepared for was light-hearted teaching sessions, possible networking opportunities, and hopefully some good ideas to come back home with.  What I actually got was empowering training sessions, new and re-kindled friendships, and a new vision!  I was wrapped in the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit and for the first time since I (reluctantly) stepped into the role of our church Children’s Leader I felt like I was being equipped to actually be a Children’s Minister!  And anyone who knows me knows I do NOT claim to be nor do I have any desire to be a “preacher” and the word “minister” kind of makes me cringe.

So many words spoke so loud and clear to my soul through these 3 days and 2 nights of intense God time.  I FINALLY heard God’s voice speaking to me about my current role in ministry.  I heard that I am where I am supposed to be.  I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.  And I was NOT doing all I COULD be doing!  So many times I felt inferior.  I didn’t feel prepared or equipped for the “job.”  But when I finally gave in and told God I wanted Him to take over I realized I really wasn’t prepared or equipped because it wasn’t a job, it was a call.  A call to step out, step forward, and step up.  I have been cowering (or trying to cower at least) into the background and God was calling me out on it!  So, I took an initiative to attend this conference so that I could finally begin to prepare and equip myself through resources and people who were already available, willing, and able to provide it!  God was dangling it right in front of my face…all I had to do was grab ahold of it.

One thing that spoke so clearly to me was something Bro Tony said about the calling of a Children’s Ministers.  Children’s Ministry is NOT a stepping stone ministry!  It’s not the first step to become a Youth Pastor, and it’s not a bridge to become a Pastor of your own church.  Children’s Ministry is a calling all to it’s own.  It is a unique, specific calling and ministry, and those called into it are unique and purposed for it.

I have been feeling for quite some time that I am being called out of my comfort zone.  I have been feeling the nudges toward the edge.  I have been given opportunities to step out and have been faced with situations that have challenged my comfort level.  You can’t grow if you don’t give yourself room.  You won’t build strength without pushing through that uncomfortable burn.  And you can’t go beyond the limits without breaking through the barriers.  Well, I want to grow.  I want to become stronger.  And I am ready to set my sights beyond because with God there are NO LIMITS!

Being A Mom Is Hard

I love being a mom, I really do.  But sometimes I just get so overwhelmed and frustrated!  I am now the “proud” mom of TWO teenagers, and I am convinced they are going to be either the death of me or the insanity of me.

Last night I had the first true scare of my life with my son.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s scared me before with his falls and jumps and trips to the emergency room, but last night was so much different.  I really thought I had lost him.  I don’t mean I misplaced him, or I “lost” him to the world or as my baby boy…I mean I thought he was gone…dead in the woods or at the bottom of the river.

Let me set this up…my son is a great kid for real.  He has a big heart, he is not a trouble maker, he makes friends so easily, but he struggles in school so much.  He’s not dumb, but he has “focusing issues.”  His grades suffer to say the least.  For the second time this year I get an email from a teacher that he is not doing well and on the verge of failing…again.  I just went berserk.  We just HAD this conversation with him!  He promised he was getting back on track.  He promised he was doing his homework. He promised, he promised, he promised…he LIED!  I was so angry!  I wanted him to know how angry, hurt, disappointed, sad, let down I was.  I wanted him to know that I basically give up on him.  I wanted HIM to be hurt…I succeeded sadly.

I hopped in the shower to calm down.  I told him not to go anywhere because when I get out we are talking about this more.  He is to come up with some solutions and I want some answers as to what exactly he is doing in class when he is supposed to be doing work but obviously isn’t.  I get out of the shower and have my daughter call my son upstairs…he’s not there.  “What do you mean he’s not down stairs?  Where is he?”  “I don’t know.  I heard the door open and thought he was letting the dogs out but when I came upstairs he was gone.”…my heart sank.

Now, my first initial reaction was “how could he just deliberately walk out of this house when I specifically told him not to?!”  But I just sat down and waited.  Afterall, I know he likes to run to blow off some steam…this was about 3pm.

My husband got home around 4:30 and my son is still not home.  I sent him out to drive the neighborhood to bring him home.  I told him we got into an argument over his grades and he just left.  My husband comes home about 20 minutes later empty handed and with no sight of him anywhere.  My heart just starts racing at this point.  This isn’t really like him, but I knew this was my fault.  He has no sense of time and didn’t have his cell phone, but I know he comes home when the sun goes down so I waited.

It’s getting dark and no sign of him.  I can’t just sit here and wait anymore.  I hop in the car and just start driving.  I hit all of his hot spots, drove the town, checked his friends house on the other side of town, and ended up just sitting at the park close to the woods where I know he likes to hang out…then a fire truck and an ambulance drive by.  I was sick.  So sick to my stomach, by heart was racing and felt like it was about to jump out of my chest, and I start sobbing.  I just don’t know what to do.  It is fully dark and he is not home.  So I start driving.  I pass another ambulance.

I call my mom in pretty much full hysteria at this point.  My son I missing.  I talk to my dad.  My son is missing.  I go to the police department.  My son has been missing for about 3 1/2 hours, it’s dark, it’s cold, he’s only wearing a sweatshirt, I just want to make sure there have been no reports of any accidents.  They immediately come to my aid and “a missing juvenile” protocol is put into motion.  I’m sick to my stomach, and it’s all my fault.

After 5 hours missing my husband gives one last ditch effort to search the woods down the street.  His picture and a reverse call to the community is about to go “live”…and then in they both walk through the door.

I can’t express enough the relief I felt seeing him unharmed.  There was no more anger, no disappointment, no feeling of giving up.  Only love.

I have done a lot of thinking and self-evaluation in the last 23 hours.  I only want the best for my kids.  I want to see them do more than just survive, I want to see them thrive and succeed.  I want to help them do just that.  But the last words I saw from my son were these:  “Medicine or not, stress and insults won’t help ME!”

I don’t REALLY want to hurt my kids and make my kids feel worthless, and yet I did exactly that and did it well apparently.  I didn’t help at all.  And now I know better.

Being a mom is hard, but being a GOOD MOM is the absolute hardest thing EVER!