My Oracle for Luke

This morning, we had Luke’s baby dedication at our church. It was such a sweet time for our family to pray over our littlest boy and over us as we publicly promise to teach him about, show him, and lead him to Jesus.

Four short years ago, when my biggest little boy was a baby, I was inspired by an oracle in Proverbs 31 that King Lemuel’s mother taught him. For Bennett’s dedication, I wrote him an oracle — my heart’s burden for him. Today, I shared my heart’s burden for Luke.

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in Him is the light

the true light

the only light of life

but His people have not known Him

loving, clinging to darkness,

those made in His image reject Him

but He shines

and our darkness cannot overcome His light

so–

not everyone hides

you, O my son, what about you?

son of my womb, son of my vows–

created for Light

named for Light

dedicated to Light–

know who you are!

leave foolishness for fools,

worldliness for the world

seek Wisdom,

Truth and Goodness

receive Him

believe in His name

cling to Him

and He will give you the right to be His,

not born merely of me,

but of our Majestic Messiah-God!

be a Light-receiver

and a Light-giver

O, my son,

join with those ancient and eternal citizens

who, with Him and for Him,

SHINE

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Proverbs 31:1-9

John 1:1-5, 9-13; 3:19-21

Matthew 5:14-16

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She is Blessed

Her children rise up and bless her.
~Proverbs 31:28a

There is no shortage of blogs dedicated to motivating underappreciated mothers. You know what I’m talking about: the kind that remind you that changing your child’s vomit-soaked sheets for the third time in the third watch of the night has eternal weight. The kind that draws tears down your nodding face as it applies inspirational Scripture to your triumph in NOT locking your bedroom door and burying your head under your pillow as your two-year-old mashes poop into your carpet whilst in the throes of the worst tantrum this side of the Pecos. And that side, too. Way to go, Momma — that little monkey will surely rise up and be the next Mother Teresa because of your patience through The Crap Catastrophe of 2014! 

I appreciate these types of posts as much as the next mom; truly, I do. Tears stream down my nodding face when I read them, too, because it really does remind me in those mundane moments that I’m sowing eternal seeds — that anyone would be hard-pressed to think of a more important mission than shepherding little hearts and teaching them big truths about the God who loves them with a love even bigger than Momma’s. The vomit and poop aside, there is no greater job.

And of course, my little goose rises up every morning and blesses me, just like the verse predicts.

He says, “Thank you, Mom, for always being there. I know you work hard to make me food five times a day, and to keep my environment clean and enriching. Oh and I know that cleaning my booty isn’t fun. But it’s so great that you do those things, because I’m just a little kid and otherwise, I’d be hungry and bored and stinky and really upset all the time. Oh and the best thing? I LOVE it when you tell me about Jesus! Tell me more about Him, Mom! Right now, while you change my diaper!”

(Or some variation thereof. This is just a general idea.)

Or, maybe it’s more like this:

I hear him call, “Ma-ma! Ma-ma! Ma-ma!” through the monitor when he wakes up. He knows he can trust me to be there.

If he’s feeling happy, he smiles and laughs when I open his door.

If he’s feeling grumpy, he whimpers and cuddles in close when I pick him up.

He tells me all about his dreams as I change his diaper, and then he sits sweetly with me as we watch Imagination Movers before breakfast.

He shows me every day that he’s learning new things, like words and letters and numbers colors and how to follow directions and — oh this one’s the best — how to pray with me. (“‘Sus, kank oo. Wub oo. Mama. Da-ee. Bobo. Mahmen.” Which translated is “Jesus, thank you. Love you. Bless Mama. Bless Daddy. Bless Bobo. Amen.”)

He trusts me. He knows I’ll help him when he needs it, and he knows I’ll kiss his boo-boos. He comes running up to me for no reason, says, “Mama!” and hugs me.

His eyes sparkle when he looks at me.

He rises up and blesses me — every morning.

All kids do, in some way. We’ve got to cling to those precious gifts — those little affirmations that it’s worth it. We must persevere through the defiance and the attitude and everything that makes parenting hard and remember that every morning that they rise up and look to us, trusting us for whatever they need, they are blessing us. They can’t help it.

It’s our job, then, to recognize every victory — no matter how small — as the blessing it is. If you look out for these blessings, you’ll see your child(ren) blessing you even on the most difficult of days and through the most difficult seasons. Persevere; keep doing what the Lord has called you to do, keep learning how to do it better and how to be more faithful, but don’t miss how your child(ren) already bless you, despite your mistakes and theirs.

 

♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, Not only are you blessed, but you are a profound blessing to me. Every single day, even the hard ones. Thank you for being you. 

My Love, Thank you for all the support you’ve given me in this journey of parenthood. This post is about Bennett, but you bless me every day, too. Your post is coming soon. 🙂

My God, What a magnificent array of blessings You’ve bestowed on me through my guys. I am so thankful and so humbled that You gave them to me. Give me the strength and the wisdom to be for them the wife and mother they need and deserve!

♥ ♥ ♥

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

She’s a Spy!

She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
~Proverbs 31:27

Before becoming a full-time homemaker, I taught middle school for six years. We moved twice during that time, so my experience comes from three different school districts in two states, and I served students from many different backgrounds (including religious, racial, socioeconomic, national, etc.). A sadly common thread:

So many parents have no idea who their children really are, what their children really believe and value, how their children spend the majority of their time, or with whom they’re spending it. (Or they’re in denial.)

We could go down a road here talking about why that is, but that would be a never-ending road. There are so many factors, including the child’s own will and the enemy’s active work in his life. Not all of these children had lazy or careless or absent parents.

This is scary to me. It’s scary to look at my charming 18-month-old son and realize that I cannot ultimately control his choices or ultimately ensure his joy. Does that mean I’m powerless?

No!  

It means I have a lot of work to do! The verse above says that I am to look well to (look out or about, spy, keep watch, observe) the ways (goings and doings) of my household.

We’ve got to be spies, y’all! And what’s the first rule of being a spy? Well, I don’t know because I’m not one, but I’m going to say that it is this:

You must not accept what is merely apparent as being the full picture. (She looks well to the ways of her household.)

Accepting things at face-value makes for a terrible spy. “Well Mr. President, I personally met all the people on this list you gave me. They are all really charming, hospitable people. Some even bought my dinner and chatted with me about the merits of our country. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.” Someone’s going to end up dead if that spy is trusted! I submit to you that we need to take our roles as mommy spies just as seriously, because “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

We’ve all heard of those families that seemed to “have it all,” or that were “so happy,” or that were “Christian,” but that ultimately fell apart. Or the children strayed and never embraced the values and beliefs of their parents, bringing them much grief and heartache. Well, what’s merely apparent is not really ever the full picture. We must have our eyes and ears open; we must be alert. This doesn’t mean we need to be creepy stalkers and control freaks. It simply means that we should be active students of our husbands and of our children, so that we know when something is amiss. We may not know exactly what is wrong, but we should be perceptive enough to pick up on the fact that something is.

This brings me to the second rule of being a spy:

You must pray your knees off. (She does not eat the bread of idleness.)

(This would be rule number one, except that it’s easy to have your head in the sand, taking things at face value and praying shallow or misguided prayers. How often do we pray idle prayers just out of habit? You need to have some understanding of what’s going on around you — as well as the gravity of what’s going on — before you can pray anything useful about it.)

The Power of a Praying Parent   -     By: Stormie Omartian

I have been reading and praying through The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian for a few months now. Every day during nap time, I pray through one chapter for my son. In this book, the author mentions a few times how she prayed regularly that God would reveal to her anything about her children that she needed to know in order to be a good mother to them. She has several stories where those prayers were answered, and areas of sin or struggle were revealed to her in unexpected ways. She was then able to pray more specifically and also to take specific actions when necessary. I very strongly recommend this book to parents of children of all ages; it’s never too early or too late to start praying specifically for them!

Christian ladies, we have the God of heaven and earth in our hearts. There is amazing power in that! He is the source of all wisdom and all truth, and our prayers through His Spirit are mighty! We must not be lazy or idle with our time, for “laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15).

So many people are asleep spiritually. They are blinded to what’s happening in their hearts and in their homes; they’re oblivious to the active work of the enemy, who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may destroy. The idle man suffers hunger, and hunger can and does lead to death. Let us then be diligent, watchful spies!

♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, I’m watching you! 

My Love, I’m watching you, too!

My God, thank You for watching over all of us. Make me an excellent wife and a wise mother, who watches not to be in control, but to be effective. Help me to love my men well and to see when something needs special attention. I know this is an immense responsibility — this wife-ing and mothering — but I also know that never once have I ever walked alone.

♥ ♥ ♥

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

She is Not Nice

She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
~Proverbs 31:26

Now this verse is one of my favorites! While I have struggled with something to say about previous verses in our Proverbs 31 journey, I have no shortage of options here. I could talk about James and his famous treatise on the tongue, calling it a restless evil, or about Jesus and His keen observation of our words reflecting the state of our hearts, (along with His promise of judgment for careless speech). I could write all day about how fools rush to speak, while the wise weigh their words, or I could simply ask the question, “What is wisdom?” and be here until I die trying to answer it sufficiently.

I could talk about any of those things, but I won’t. Instead, I want to tell you why this beautiful verse is one of my favorites, along with some things that God has been teaching me about it. Why do I love it? First because its obvious exhortation makes it a great reminder to commit to memory, and second because God has used this verse to teach me what being kind isn’t:

KIND ≠ NICE

We always teach kids to “be nice,” right? When they hit someone, or say something mean, or snatch a toy from another kid, we say, “That’s not nice,” as we correct their behavior. All kids, I’m convinced, hear “Be nice!” an average of 172 times per day until they’re at least 12. As girls especially, learning manners and how to be nice and polite were moderately high priorities (at least in my generation and those prior). It’s no wonder that it’s ultra-ingrained in so many of our brains to try to be nice all the time!

Here’s the problem, though: By definition, being “nice” means that you’re concerned with pleasing others by being delightful, pleasant, and agreeable. Think on that for a moment. Should we, in all situations and at all times, be concerned with pleasing others by being delightful, pleasant, and agreeable? No! This is why I submit to you that “kind” is not exactly a synonym for “nice.” The two may be cousins, maybe even siblings, but they are NOT twins!

I have wasted so many opportunities by trying to be nice. For me, that means keeping my mouth shut when I shouldn’t have. Skirting around the truth. Even outright lying to avoid hurt feelings, awkward situations, and inconvenient drama. Too often, I have chosen to steel myself against the Spirit crying out inside me, and have gone the “smile and nod” route until I could extract myself from the situation. No hurt feelings this way. No arguments. No angry rebuttals to deal with.

How is this in any way a kindness? The other person may walk away feeling good because I resolved to be completely agreeable, but they are also walking away deceived. They think they have my approval or support when they don’t. They think things are okay between us when they aren’t. They think what they’re doing is right when, according to God’s Word, it isn’t. And I lied to them for the (ultimately selfish) sake of being “nice.”

Kindness is quite different.

Kindness is never selfish. Kindness is concerned less with one’s own outward behavior and more with what is truly the very best thing for the other person. Kindness is wholly true. Kindness is compassionate. Kindness is never a farce.

Being kind is quite akin to dying to yourself, forgetting what you think is owed to you (whether what is “owed” is as simple as an agreeable and trouble-free social experience with another person, or as serious as the healing of a deep wound previously inflicted by that person). The Hebrew word for kindness used here, in fact, is more often translated as “mercy” in other parts of the Bible.

Now mercy is wrapped up in truth and is an outpouring of oneself. Look to Jesus: He did not simply leave mankind to his own depravity, destined for judgment and eternal hell, because it’s not “nice” to say what needs to be said. Instead, He showed mercy — He showed kindness — by coming to tell us the truth about who He is and who we are. This is the only way to paradise, the only way to God.

A good bit of what He said wasn’t “nice” — in fact, much of it was quite offensive — but it was kind and merciful because He told the necessary truth in a way we could understand, and He gave all of Himself, covering us with His love.

Isn’t that our calling? As moms surely, but as Christ-followers in general. Thinking less of being “nice” to keep things pleasant, and thinking more of being kind, merciful, and truthful to keep things real

Let us weigh our words; are they wise?

Let us examine our teaching (for everything we say is teaching someone something); is it kind and true?

Kindness and truth are inseparable, and meant by the Father to be intimately known:

Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
-Proverbs 3:3-4

♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, oh how I wish I could take all of the foolishness in the world and create a vaccine for you! It is too easy to be a fool, and too easy to fall in love with a fool who is a “really nice girl.” Of course, politeness and courtesy are good qualities to look for in a woman, but they are just scratching the surface. These things may help you notice her, but I pray that you would look deeper. Examine her character and take the time to get to know her heart. Is she being nice merely to make life more pleasant for herself and for those around her? Or is she truly concerned with being kind and true? With being merciful and compassionate? Is she courageous enough to gently and reverently say what needs to be said, even if it’s not received as being very “nice”? Has she recognized true wisdom, and is she striving to walk not as the unwise do, but as the wise, making the most of every opportunity? Now this woman, if you find her, is a rare treasure.

My Love, you know my weakness here. You know that I struggle with how to speak the truth in love, and when to keep my mouth shut. Usually, I keep my mouth shut, but that is not always the answer. Encourage me to obey God, for I need courage! Help me to seek wisdom, for I am too often unwise. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give me words, for mine are feeble and often too harsh. Thank you, Love, for loving me despite myself.

My God, oh I need help, help, help!!! Enable me to hear You, fill me with courage in obedience, pour out mercy, kindness, and truth through me. Help me to die to myself and to completely serve You. You are the only source of kindness, truth, mercy, compassion, tenderness, wisdom, and understanding. Give me Your eyes and Your words in my every dealing with all of your creation. I want everything about me to point to You, and I know how miserably I fall short. Help, help, help!!!!

♥ ♥ ♥

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

All Smiles

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
~Proverbs 31:25

Today, I wanted to watch a TV show not geared toward toddlers. Just for five little minutes. So I scrolled through the guide to see what one could see, looking for something not FOR toddlers — as previously stated — yet still not INAPPROPRIATE for toddlers, since Bennett was around. Something interesting. And not a soap opera or a talk show or a reality show or a televangelism broadcast — I quickly discovered that these are very stringent criteria. Finally, I settled on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (which I guess is a reality show). I did end up watching for just about five little minutes. And I cried.

They’re always really tragic stories, you know? This one was about a dad and two very young boys — preschool age. Mom had died, but I missed the back story there. When I tuned in, one of the boys was blowing kisses at this huge picture of Mom’s beautifully radiant face, while Dad reminded him that she really, really loved him so very much. Ten seconds in, and I lost it.

What if I die tomorrow? Or next week? Or when Bennett is seven and he has a little brother or sister running around, too? What if they have to live their whole childhoods without my kisses and their whole teenage years without my encouragement and their whole lives without my prayers?

What if all they have is a picture of me, while their memories grow cobwebs with each passing year?

It makes smiling at the future really difficult when I imagine how much bad could happen. Some days, it’s difficult to smile when there is so much to FEAR.

Yet…

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

Surely Jewel recognized the same basic realities we face as well, yet she remained strong and optimistic. She trusted that God really is good, and that God really did plan good things for her and her children. This woman intentionally put on strength and dignity every day — she wrapped herself in these qualities, and there is no mention of fear. The question then becomes: How do you do that? I am not strong. I cannot look at the possibility of Bennett being motherless and smile.

God reminded me as I typed the question above that I already knew the answer:

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
~Ephesians 6:10, 11, 14-18, emphases mine

How do you put on strength and dignity, so that you might smile at the future, scared mama, sister of my heart?

  • Let God be your strength. Daily ask Him to fill you and to strengthen you.
  • Be grounded in the truth, so that you can easily identify and dismiss lies.
  • Keep your heart righteous and true by keeping it close to God, ever at His bidding.
  • Let the Gospel be your driving force as the Spirit directs your feet.
  • Never lose faith in the Mighty One who treasures you.
  • Fill your mind with eternity. Your life does not end when your body stops working.
  • Know the Word of God.
  • Pray constantly. Persevere and keep asking God for all good things.

That’s how. It’s all about having an eternal perspective and knowing that God can be trusted, even when the enemy is scheming against me and my family. God is bigger, and greater, and wiser, and more compassionate, and more invested in my boy than I could ever be. I’m smiling already, because as the old tune goes, “I know who holds tomorrow.”

♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, it’s a completely overwhelming thing to imagine that God loves you more than I do. I can’t even begin to explain that, because it seems impossible. You are my heart, you are my flesh, you are part of me, and so I feel bound to you. Your hurts are my hurts, and your joy is my joy. Yet our great God is so much higher, and He adores you so much more! It is because of this that I can trust God when I fail you. I can trust Him when I fall short, when I’m not there, when I set a bad example, when I show you anything less than perfect love. He fills the gaps and then some, so He will care for you. I pray that as I care for you in the best way I can, you will see me looking to Him and learn to look to Him, too.

My Love, fear about one of us dying has always lurked, but these fears intensified when Bennett showed up. It’s such a heavy thing, to look into his trusting little eyes, isn’t it? He looks to us for everything now, so the thought of one of us disappearing is pretty devastating. I pray all the time that God would let Bennett grow up with a Mommy and a Daddy. For almost his whole life. (Because I really want to die before him, but I really want us all to be pretty old when it happens!) Still, I know this isn’t promised. I’m just asking — persevering and petitioning. If His plans are different, it is a great comfort to know that we are both dedicated to raising our children to love God. I am so thankful that despite my many mistakes, God blessed me with a godly man. You are the best. Ever.

My God, I trust You. Help me to trust you more. I have in my head what seems right and fair and good, but these are not promises You have made to me. You have given me today, and I am to be faithful in it. I don’t know what you have in store tomorrow, but I can smile because I know that You will be there, with your big heart and your tender mercies. I trust You to guide him, to protect him, and to love him. (P.S. But please don’t let Justin or me die yet! I’m just being real!)

♥ ♥ ♥

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

She Works

She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
~Proverbs 31:24

Y’all, this verse has been driving me crazy for weeks. I have mulled it over, consulted several commentaries, and gotten really frustrated about one-sided interpretations about the message of this verse. Think mommy wars. You can manipulate this verse to argue either side of the fight on working in or out of the home, but I’m just unsettled on all of it. While some would be bold and say that this is proof that you *can* work outside of the home and still be a great homemaker, others would be equally bold and say that *obviously* she only worked at home, and that fact is what enabled her to be a great homemaker.

Ugh. I have no desire to weigh in on that fight here. Frankly, here’s the truth about me:

I do not receive financial compensation for any work that I do, be it in the home or out of it.

There are three verbs in (this version of) this verse: “make,” “sell,” and “supply.”

So, I’ve got two out of three. I’m a homemaker, and there are lots of little things that must be “made” in order to make a home. Supplying is a major part of my job, too; I’m constantly finding things someone is about to run out of and trying to restock it before panic ensues! But selling? I don’t sell anything anymore. I used to sell my skills and talents to a few different school districts, and they bought them, and I taught few hundred kids over the years in exchange for a monthly direct deposit, but not anymore.

This puts me in a weird place with this verse.

Am I doing something wrong? Should I be desperately trying to figure out a way to do SOMETHING that will make a little money? Will that make me a better wife — a better woman? 

For me, the answer is no. Here’s another truth about me:

At this time, I know that my entering into some sort of money-making venture, no matter how part-time, would negatively impact my ability to do my main job in life right now, and that’s taking care of my guys.

We can gather from this verse and from the greater context surrounding it that Jewel does not have this same problem. Maybe her kids are older. Maybe she lives in a culture where extended family lives together or in close proximity, so she has lots of help with the kids. Maybe her husband’s job is such that he’s around a lot. (Well, it’s possible that he’s a king, so, who knows!)  I can’t say how she does it, but somehow she’s able to run a business without neglecting her primary calling, which is to her family. Many women do the same thing.

Looking at my life, I cannot relate to that. I know that if I personally tried to do anything like that right now, it just wouldn’t work for us. I know myself and what I can and can’t do. I know that when I was teaching, I was stressed a lot, my house was a mess all the time, and I barely ever cooked — and that was with no kids!  What then could I possibly have to say about the verse above when I know I cannot hold down two jobs effectively?

At the end of my frustration, and after wondering whether you’d even notice if I just skipped this verse entirely — I bet you wouldn’t! — here are my thoughts for anyone who is interested:

Making money or not making money was never meant to be the measure of a mother. Making every effort possible to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples? Yep, that’s it. (Oh yeah, and praying your knees off!)

♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, it’s considered normal right now for men to expect their wives to bring home a paycheck. I think this reflects our materialistic culture, though many would definitely disagree with me. Hear me out, though. Your wife may go back to work outside the home after having kids because she wants to! If so, then consider it a bonus! Invest! Go on trips! Build an orphanage! Do awesome things with the extra money. On the other hand, it could be that you will end up with a woman who is more like me. I want and need and yearn to be there for all those million moments with you while you’re mine. I would be dying inside if I weren’t. My heart has come alive in ways it never has before in this new “job,” and I know I couldn’t possibly take on another one. I would not be able to do both well. My advice to you, since you don’t know what your wife will choose, is to relax about the money. Give her the freedom to choose her path without guilt by planning your finances conservatively; setting yourselves up to “need” two incomes might really break her heart, and a broken wife and mama is a great tragedy. It may just leave your whole family broken-hearted. You want your woman’s heart completely full so that she has much to give. Let her have the freedom to follow God’s leading on this without feeling financial pressure.

My Love, I am so deeply grateful for the opportunity and the encouragement you’ve given me to stay home with our boy. Though it is a financial sacrifice, I know that it is also a priceless investment in our family that I am able to be fully present and not worried and stressed by outside pressures as I was before. Thank you so much for giving me that choice, and for always encouraging me to follow my dreams every time God gives me a new one. You keep slaying dragons for us, and I’ll keep the home fires burning. I promise. (Someday, I’ll be a famous author and make up for all the money I’m not making now. No worries.)

My Lord, all the glory goes to You in giving my husband and me unity on this issue! You knew what Your plan was for this family, and You gave us hearts to follow Your leading. You gave my husband the wisdom to plan for a long season of only one income, and you gave me a passion for my family that I didn’t expect even when I joyfully quit my job in preparation for the birth of our little Bennett. I had no idea how much You would grow my heart through this new adventure. I may not make, sell, and supply, but I definitely make, GIVE, and supply! Thank You for creating in me a joyful heart that’s willing to give. (And thank You for the gentle reminders when it’s not so joyful or willing!)

♥ ♥ ♥

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

Married to a Big Shot

Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
~Proverbs 31:23

Well, we don’t have gates, but we have a city limits sign. Should I send my husband down there? I guess that’s one way to get yourself noticed and become well-known!

This idea — gates — comes up periodically in Scripture, and it is a bit foreign to us today. In ancient times, judges and elders would hang out by the city gates and hear cases — it’s as simple as that. Apparently, Jewel’s husband was one of the elders, and that fact is included in this long list of reasons why she’s an awesome wife. She married a big shot; way to go and high five!

Some people like to say, “Behind every good man is a good woman.” I’m not interested in picking apart that saying here, but rather in just loosely applying the sentiment to this verse to help us, perhaps, contextualize it a little bit. As wives, we have very much to do with our husbands’ success or failure in business and in life. Really. We can make a huge impact.

You may disagree with that, but let’s try something. I’m going to negate everything we’ve learned about Jewel so far, point by point, and create her antithesis:

  • Her husband can’t trust her, and she lets him down every time he turns around.
  • She never thinks to do good things for him.
  • She is lazy and complains about work.
  • She expects everything to fall in her lap.
  • She sleeps in, letting everyone find whatever food they can dig up for themselves, and she fails to manage her home effectively.
  • She is thoughtless with her purchases and squanders her money.
  • She doesn’t exercise.
  • She has no concept of the state of her finances, and she goes to bed with necessary work left undone.
  • She procrastinates doing tedious tasks.
  • She ignores the poor and feels entitled to her wealth and status.
  • Every life circumstance is an inconvenience or a surprise, and therefore a sudden emergency. Her kids don’t even have clothes that fit.
  • She has gotten to the point where she doesn’t even take care of herself anymore.

Do you think this woman’s husband would be respected by anyone? And just how motivated and encouraged to succeed do you think he feels when he comes home to her every day?

Certainly, Jewel’s husband had to earn respect in his own right, but his wife clearly augmented his reputation. She was the kind of woman who, when her husband’s friends and associates got to know her, asked, “How in the world did he ever get a woman like you? What a lucky guy!” By proxy, their opinion of him rose, and they understood him better after meeting her. Even more, Jewel’s worth, her work ethic, and her righteousness inspired her husband to be a better man than he would have been otherwise.

Some find it sexist to say that we should make our husbands look good, but I do not. What’s the alternative to making him look good and inspiring him, and why would we want that? I sure wouldn’t.

So let’s do it! Let’s inspire our husbands and make their friends jealous that he’s got it so good!

(That’s hard to do from the couch with a bad attitude.)

♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, if your friends suddenly avoid you because of your girlfriend, that’s a bad sign. They should like you even better because she brings out the best in you. If she doesn’t, you should consider carefully your choice in dating her.

My Love, this is a tall order. For those times that I have failed to inspire — and I know I have — I would like to say that I’m sorry. Truly. You are an amazing provider for us, you’re the best dad ever, and I could not imagine a better husband. You deserve to be inspired, and I’m trying every day to make your friends jealous! 

My Lord, I’m getting a bit redundant here, but I doubt You ever tire of my thanking You for Your abundant grace! You have designed me to be my husband’s helpmate — to inspire him, to encourage him, and to make him look good. I know I fail in some way every day, but I also know that You are helping me every day to get back on the horse. Thank You for your patience! 

♥ ♥ ♥

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(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)