Women: A Different Standard

“My son, I gave birth to you.  You are the son I prayed for” (Proverbs 31:2).  King Lemuel’s mother wanted a son, she prayed for one and God answered.  What’s your desire?  Have you ever thought it would be a selfish prayer?  Maybe God doesn’t see it that way.  Will you believe Him for your answer?

 

“In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. …  She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. …  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:19, 22, 27).  I must confess I find these some of the most daunting verses in the whole Bible and, reading this blog-post yesterday, I can see I’m not the only one.  I can totally identify with Ginger’s unfavourable comparisons, E.G. this Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t eat the bread of idleness; I’m sometimes still in my dressing-gown at 10 am.  This woman holds a distaff (a tool used in spinning to keep fibres unknotted), and a spindle (used before a spinning wheel).  She makes coverings for her bed; I can’t even sew a button on, but comparison isn’t wise or helpful, so what about these verses?

 

Let’s take them one by one:  First, the distaff and the spindle.  When I think of sewing, I think of dressmakers and the like.  If every good wife made bedcovers and clothes for their families, how would they stay in business?  Could it be that we all have different gifts, and not all of us have the gift of sewing?

 

The Proverbs 31 woman is ‘Clothed in fine linen and purple’ or, as the NCV puts it, “linen and other expensive material”, but are expensive clothes really that important to God?  If they were, why would Paul and Peter encourage women to be more concerned with what’s in their hearts than the clothes they wear?

 

It seems to me that as Christian women, we have a different (and more attainable) standard than women did in the past.  We’re still responsible for watching over the affairs of our household (teaching our children; keeping those we love in prayer), and we can all choose not to give in to laziness, but to make the best use of our time … so if I’m not going out till later in the day and I want to read my Bible in my dressing-gown some mornings, maybe God doesn’t mind all that much.

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Thank you for your likes and comments this month, and especially if you’ve taken up the challenge of reading Proverbs in 31 days.  I know I’ve found it very helpful – not only reading the chapters, but mulling them over and finding something to write about them.  I hope these posts have inspired you to spend time reading God’s Word and to know Him better.

My Beautiful Week

The week started off well.  It was the first Monday of the school-term here in the UK, so I looked forward to ‘Opening the book’ again in the school assembly.  We acted out “Jonah the Groaner”!  I narrated and one of the team had made a big fish out of tubes with material draped over-top, so our Jonah could be sucked into the fish’s mouth.  The kids loved it!  They were laughing so much, I had to wait half a minute before carrying on with the story; I knew I wouldn’t be heard otherwise.  How special.  But do they know?  Do they know how precious their laughter is, how beautiful they are, and did the team know how much I valued working with them?

 

It’s not easy to talk about beauty.  Not easy to say to a friend as she stands with you at your front door:  “When I spend time with you, it reminds me to appreciate life.”  My friends and family are beautiful – the one I haven’t seen for ages who gives me a hug; the one who comes to my rescue when the power’s off and I’m too short to reach the trip switch; the ones who take time to phone or E-mail or talk face-to-face.  Sometimes I tell them, sometimes I don’t.

 

It’s not easy to talk about beauty, but did an encouraging word ever do anyone any harm?  This week’s “Coffee for Your Heart” prompt is to let someone know they’re beautiful just as they are.  I don’t expect everyone I’ve mentioned to be reading this, but to those who are, I hope you get the message.

31 Days of Song: “Something Beautiful”

Well, here we are at the end of this series.  Thank you if you’ve stuck with me throughout.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it and the length of the posts has been about right, but if you’ve got any ideas on how I could do another 31 Days series differently, please comment.

 

Proverbs 31:30 says:  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised”, and in her latest devotional, Gwen Smith hits the spot when she says:  “True beauty begins when we hold tightly to the truth of God and allow the truth of God to hold tightly to us.”  When a woman pours very expensive perfume on Jesus, one translation words His response this way:  “She has done a beautiful thing to Me. …  Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Matthew 26:10, 13).

 

You will have gathered by now that I like story-songs, and this tells the story of the woman with the perfume.  Gwen has written quite a few songs, but this was the one that impressed me from the first time I heard it, and I thought it would be a nice end to the series.  Let’s go into November, and the rest of our lives, looking for opportunities to do something meaningful for Jesus.

31 Days of Song: “Fingerprints of God”

I’m thinking today about beauty.  Do you know you’re beautiful?  The Bible says so.  Psalm 45:11:  “The King is enthralled by your beauty; honour Him, for He is your LORD”.  Are you honouring Him?  Because He honours you.  “You are precious and honoured in My sight” – Isaiah 43:4, but the world won’t tell you that.  Its message is different, right from when you’re a child.

There was a kids’ programme I used to love about 7 dolls and they all had something wrong with them.  One had its head on back-to-front; another, Dotty, was in the reject bin because she’d had paint splashed over her, etc.  If you grew up about the same time as me, you might be about to start singing the theme tune, but wait a minute.  ‘Raggy dolls … made imperfectly’?  I want to tell you you’re not made imperfectly; you’re made wonderful.  You’re made in the image of God, and whatever imperfections you think you have aren’t imperfections at all.  His fingerprints are all over you.  That’s why I’m sharing this Steven Curtis Chapman song – as a reminder to anyone who doesn’t feel beautiful or precious:  “You’re a Masterpiece, that all creation quietly applauds”, so if you want to know how it feels to see a stunning piece of art, look in the mirror.

Who are You?

Cindy wrote to me this week, and I’m very grateful to the staff at her Compassion-project.  They’re teaching her an important lesson – that she’s beautiful on the inside.

 

I don’t know about you, but when you meet people, doesn’t it feel more comfortable if you’ve got a title to attach to yourself?  “I’m a secretary”; “I’m a teacher”; “I’m a mum”.  It seems people pay so little attention to who we are on the inside, and yet that’s the most important thing:  It’s what makes us … us.  If when we met someone for the first time we had to introduce who we really were, I wonder what we’d say.  Why don’t you get a piece of paper and try to write it down?  Any negative traits will be things you can ask for God’s help with, and the positives are things to hold onto.

 

So, how did you do?

5-Minute Friday: Beauty

Lisa-Jo has been doing this on her blog for a while now, and I think I’m gonna join in some weeks! It’s fun if you’ve got a few minutes to spare. The idea is, you set the clock for 5 minutes and just write, without worrying whether it’s just right.

This week, the prompt is: Beauty. So, here’s mine:

Go

I see beauty in those moments when I feel so close to God that I don’t have (or need) any words.

I see beauty in those people I admire – a woman walking the London Marathon, because the doctor said she couldn’t run. She didn’t give up.

I see beauty in the loyalty of friends who stand by me – they’ve seen me at my best and my worst, and they’re still there.

I see beauty in a baby snuggled close on your lap, tiny finger curled around your hand.

I see beauty in an old lady, telling stories in her lovely Welsh voice.

I see beauty in a fountain trickling, birds singing, and the sun in the sky.

I see beauty in the One who created it all.

Stop