Saturday, April 13, 2013

{From the Journal: The Wise Woman Builds}

In my last post I mentioned that I've been working my way through the Psalms and Proverbs this month. It's been quite a feast, I tell you. There is so much going on here.

One of the methods I've used lately in studying my Bible is simple yet meaningful. Although I'm reading through the Bible from beginning to end, my goal this time around has been quality over quantity. In other words, sometimes I read just a chapter or two and really mull it over, and other times I swallow several pages in one gulp. Either way I've feasted and come away feeling satisfied and blessed. 

After I've read, I go back over the verse or verses that really jumped out at me, comparing them in different versions. (I'm currently reading the NIV but refer often to my well worn NAS, which has been marked by my hand since I received it at age twelve.) I then jot that verse down in my journal and the scribbling begins. It's amazing what can come from one verse. I pray over that verse, around that verse, with that verse, through that verse (forgive me -- Aidan and Avery are studying prepositions) and ask the Lord to teach me.

Yesterday I read Proverbs 14, but didn't get very far. In fact the very first line stopped me in my tracks:

The wise woman builds her house . . .

My mind did the pinball thing, and I realized how much was packed into these six words. It was both inspiring and daunting. When I picture a wise woman building her house (and naturally I want to be that wise woman) I think of my dad's days in construction. Building requires a number of things, but this is what I came up with when thinking about how we women can build our own homes.

Walter Langley: Mother Love (As shared over at I Take Joy)

1. Building takes time. Building is a process, not something that just happens. We must continue to nurture our children, to build them up, to train them, to love them . . . forever. This verse is written in the present tense. A wise woman builds. It's an ongoing project.

2. Building takes patience. Because it takes time, and because we (and those for whom we care) are flawed, we need a whole lot of patience to make this thing work. Again, it's an ongoing process.

3. Building takes effort. There's so much emphasis today on "taking care of yourself." Of course I understand that it's wise and necessary to take time to refuel and to make sure that our tank is able to efficiently run. Please do that! But parenting requires sacrifice, too. Years ago I heard a wise, godly woman in our church break mothering down into the simplest terms: "It's my life or theirs." Daily we have to choose, which isn't always easy. However, we have the comfort and example of knowing what our Lord chose while He walked this earth. Thank God He did -- and His spirit ministers to us as we, too, make little (and big) sacrifices throughout our day.

4. Building is most successful when the builder follows a blueprint. You'll forgive the obvious analogy, but unless the Lord is building our house, dear mothers, we are laboring in vain. His Word is our infallible blueprint and it contains all we need for life and godliness. We don't need scores of parenting books, we need wisdom. God's Word and Spirit are ready to provide it to willing hearts and ready hands.

5. Building is rewarding. Building is exciting because we can see things take shape right in front of our eyes. We can see our plans coming to fruition and, if we've received them from the Lord, they will turn out so much more beautifully than we expected. Again, it takes time and patience, but the shaping does happen. 

When my children were learning to speak, we used simple sign language to help them communicate their basic needs. One of the first phrases they learned to sign was thank you. (I see gratitude as an essential need!) It was so cute to see their little hands extend from their mouth forward as they attempted to say thank you through out the day. They all caught on pretty well, but even after they had the speaking part down pat I realized that little people still needed to be reminded to express gratitude to others. It seemed as though I was forever gesturing to them with my own signs, reminding them to say thank you

But I know now that that's a part of the patience required in building. The teaching and building is continual. It takes time to teach not only the "signs" our children need to use throughout their lives, but it also takes time to teach them when and how and that they must do so with perseverance. 

A few years ago we were at the beach, and Aidan was digging a hole with a pathetic little plastic shovel. He wasn't making much progress, and a man nearby offered the use of his metal shovel. I caught Aidan's eye and made the quick sign for thanks as a reminder to him, and he immediately turned to the man and said, "Thank you!" 

At first I found myself wishing that he had thought to say it on his own, but then I realized that we were building together. It became a beautiful moment where I was seeing firsthand the rewards of our work: He knew to look to me for guidance, he understood my hasty sign, he responded right away and was blessed because of it.

And so we mamas continue to build our homes. It can be hard, sweaty work that requires lots of hours and tears, and sometimes we'll see days go by with little reward. But if we keep the blueprint before us, we'll know that we're right where we're supposed to be, doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing. Our homes will grow and take shape, and we'll marvel at how the Lord delights in using a mama's willing hands to accomplish His glorious work.
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you (with the hand covering mouth, then extended with blessing poured out) for your example and encouragement in looking to the Lord's example and grace to build the house He's entrusted us with.



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