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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Transforming

Photo credit: Flickr/shutterbugchik

There have been hundreds and hundreds of books and articles written on the Proverbs 31 woman. Many of us have probably heard those verses too many times to count. However, like any scripture, it must be "chewed" on, meditated upon, and processed over and over so that it can permeate our daily lives. I want to work through some of these verses and share my thoughts on them...and as always, I look forward to hearing yours!

I have heard so many women get frustrated as they read these verses...feeling like they could never live up to the "standard" that is set forth in this passage for a godly woman and mother. But take heart and don't be discouraged! These are words of encouragement...to uplift and guide you in your journey...not a list of rules. So read on with an open heart and let God speak to you where you need it the most.

Bring Good, Not Harm

v. 11-12
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
v. 23
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
In the early days of my marriage, I decided that I would never speak harshly about my husband in the presence of others. Not even in jest. No matter how frustrated or annoyed I might be with a situation, it was between Matt, myself, and God. I didn't run to my girlfriends, my co-workers, my mom, or the message boards. I spoke directly to Matt about my feelings and also to God. And in 7 years of marriage, we have never had a "fight" that lasted more than a few minutes. We never go to bed angry. I attribute those things largely to the fact that I focus on "bringing him good, not harm". I don't talk to others about our home life and let harsh feelings brew and brew all day.

Of course, it goes without saying that if you are in a verbally or physically abusive relationship, you must speak with someone about it. And if you and your spouse cannot get past certain issues, you may need counseling with a third party. But those interventions are very different than speaking with others about him and bringing him "down" in their eyes. Build him up! Help others to see him for the amazing man that he is.

I also want him to be confident in my abilities to run our household whenever he is away. If he knows that he doesn't have to worry about what is going on at home, then he is free to focus on the other important things in his life.

Shop Wisely
v. 13
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
v. 16
She considers a field and buys it;out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
v. 18
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
In our consumerist society, we are constantly fighting against messages of "buy me!" and "pay later!". These three verses are each speaking against impulse spending and frivolous purchases and calling us to shop wisely with consideration, eager hands, and resourcefulness. We can apply these verses to our life whether we are grocery shopping, browsing eBay, or trading services. A few ways that we can do this:
  • Make a grocery list and menu plan before going to the store.
  • Stretch what you have and "make do".
  • Plan ahead.

Rise Early
v. 15
She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and
portions for her women servants.
I've posted about this before, but for my own sake, I need to talk about it again. This is something that FEELS almost impossible for me to master. When I was in college, I went through a phase of about 6 months where I was getting up every day at 5:30 a.m. and reading the Word...preparing for the day ahead. It was an amazingly sweet time of fellowship with Christ and I benefited greatly. However, since getting married and having a child, this discipline of getting up early has eluded me. There is just no comparison between having your quiet time in the early morning hours and having it later in the day. It is a battle with my flesh to get up early...especially if I have stayed up late.

This verse doesn't speak directly about getting up early to pray or meet God, but I am assuming that this is a given. She gets up while it is still night (BEFORE) the rest of her family and feeds HER soul first so she can then feed her family (body and soul).

E.M. Bounds, a pastor who was born in 1835, wrote one of my favorite passages on the discipline to rise early:

"A desire for God which cannot break the chains of sleep is a weak thing and will do but little good for God after it has indulged itself fully. The desire for God that keeps so far behind the devil and the world at the beginning of the day will never catch up.

It is not simply the getting up that puts men to the front and makes them captain generals in God's hosts, but it is the ardent desire which stirs and breaks all self-indulgent chains. But the getting up gives vent, increase, and strength to the desire. If they had lain in bed and indulged themselves, the desire would have been quenched. The desire aroused them and put them on the stretch for God, and this heeding and acting on the call gave their faith its grasp on God and gave to their hearts the sweetest and fullest revelation of God..."
This man is completely amazing. The "chains of sleep"? Oh yes. I can realate. Read more of his thoughts on prayer here. Several other authors have fueled my desire to rise early over the years. Becky Tirabassi, author of Let Prayer Change Your Life (you all must read this!), made a vow to God that she would get up early and pray for one hour every day for the rest of her life. She has an amazing story. Another woman, Laine, is a beautiful woman of God and she writes "letters of encouragement" to other Christian women. She speaks extensively on this topic...in a very convicting fashion!

Jesus modeled getting up early to pray over and over...along with other disciples. This is one of the disciplines I am actively working on in my life right now, and I would love to hear those of you who have "mastered" it! I take comfort in knowing that because it's something that is God's will for me and that He will be pleased with, He will not hesitate to answer my cries of "HELP ME GET UP LORD!".

Work Vigorously
v. 17
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
The definition of "vigor" is "energetic activity; energy; intensity". I want to apply this to my life immediately. When it's time to do dishes, I want to do it with INTENSITY! When it's time for
laundry, I want to do it with great ENERGY! Not only will it get done faster, but it will be a great workout, which completes the rest of the verse. My arms will be STRONG for my tasks. If I can do housework in a speedy fashion, I will have less need to work out every day because it will come naturally. I like it.

Be Generous To All
v. 20
She opens her arms to the poor and extends hands to the needy.
A generous woman is a beautiful woman...one who is constantly looking to help people. Looking for opportunities to bless others. When it speaks about the "needy"...it doesn't necessarily mean someone needing money. It could be a friend who just needs a word of encouragement. "Extend your hands" today to someone who needs help...whether it be someone on the street or someone in your family.

Clothe and Take Care of Your Family
v. 21
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothes in scarlet.
Basically, take care of the needs of your family. Clothe them. Feed them...be prepared FOR them. Make sure there is enough food on hand. Have a plan for the day. If you see clothes that will fit your child next year for 25 cents...buy them. If they are "scarlet"...that's even better. :) hee hee...

Be Crafty and Make Your Home a Haven
v. 22
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothes in fine linen and purple.
v. 24
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
Not everyone is blessed with the desire to "make" things...but I think these verses go beyond just "sewing" and making things. Just the fact that she is making things leads me to believe she is concerned about the "feel" of her home. We are called as wives and women to make our homes inviting, cozy, and wonderful to be in. It's part of the way we can bless our family and our husband...creating a haven for him to come home to every night.

Laugh At The Future
v. 25
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Wow. This is one of my favorite verses. To be clothed with strength and dignity is an amazing picture of a Godly woman. Think about the Christian women in your life...I'm sure you can pick out a few that embody this description...I know I can. Even amidst life's difficult times, they can still LAUGH at the days to come. I recently heard John Piper speak about this verse...and he said that this type of woman is not naive...she KNOWS that there is difficulty ahead, but she can still look to the future with HOPE. Here is an excerpt from his sermon (which you all should go listen to or watch). Powerful stuff:

The deepest root of Christian womanhood mentioned in this text is hope in God. “Holy women who hoped in God.” A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or in getting a husband. She does not put her hope in her looks. She puts her hope in the promises of God. She is described in Proverbs 31:25: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” She laughs at everything the future will bring and might bring, because she hopes in God.

She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever he pleases. She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows his promise that he will be with her and help her strengthen her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakable root of Christian womanhood. And Peter makes it explicit in verse 5. He is not talking about just any women. He is talking about women with unshakable biblical roots in the sovereign goodness of God—holy women who hope in God.


Speak With Wisdom
v. 26
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
I went to the commentaries for this one...
Matthew Henry: She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue.

John Wesley: She is neither sullenly silent, nor full of impertinent talk, but speaks discreetly and piously, as occasion offers. In her tongue - Her speeches are guided by wisdom and grace, and not by inordinate passions. And this practice is called a law in her tongue, because it is constant and customary, and proceeds from an inward and powerful principle of true wisdom.

The tongue is a powerful thing...especially one wielded by a woman. It's very easy to use it for harm and not for good. I pray that my words would be full of wisdom and grace, not "impertinent talk". Every word is counted in heaven...have I said anything today that I would not want to have "counted" by Christ?

Watch Over Your Household and Don't Be Lazy
v. 27
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Another great commentary by Matthew Henry: Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world.

Wow. It is possible to be overwhelmingly busy running your household and still have a heart focused on God. I love the phrase "watches over the affairs of her household". A woman of God will know what's going on. She knows when she's out of dish soap and she does something about it. She knows when her children need her undivided attention...she knows when something needs to be taken care of...she just KNOWS.

Now...for the next part. Eating the bread of idleness. An interesting word play for me...because I LOVE bread. Bread is tasty. Bread smells good. Bread is warm. But too much bread is bad for my body. Just as too much idleness is bad for my household, my spiritual life, and my family. Two other verses come to mind regarding this:
Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:17
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us...yes, establish the work of our hands.
God wants to help you be productive. He wants to help you effectively "run" your household. He wants to show you HIS plan for your day...but you must let Him. Pray that He will reveal that plan...even if it's at the expense of YOUR plan.


Be Praised
v.28
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
If you are striving to be a woman of God...focusing on all of things things talked about here...your family should be happy! They will be happy because they will be taken care of, fed and clothed...and the household will be running smoothly. There is no greater joy for me in earthly endeavors than to have Matt praise me for how I am doing as a wife and mother.

Beauty Is Fleeting
v. 30
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
We live in a nation obsessed with looks. Hair, nails, clothes...how much time did you spend today making sure that all of that was how you wanted? I hope that we can all spend MORE time with God each day than we do getting ready in the morning. Piper had wonderful words on this from the same sermon that I linked to above:

And this leads to a third feature of Peter’s portrait of womanhood, a focus on internal adornment, rather than external. First Peter 3:5 begins, “This is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves.” This adornment refers back to what is described in verses 3-4:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

We know this does not mean that all jewelry and all hair styling is excluded because then all clothing would be excluded as well, because it says, “Don’t let your adorning be external . . . the clothing you wear.” What he means is: Don’t focus your main attention and effort on how you look on the outside; focus it on the beauty that is inside. Exert more effort and be more concerned with inner beauty than outer beauty.

And he is specific in verse 4. When a woman puts her hope in God and not her husband and not in her looks, and when she overcomes fear by the promises of God, this will have an effect on her heart: It will give her an inner tranquility. That’s what Peter means in verse 4 by “the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

I bolded the part that I really like. Our MAIN attention in life should be inner beauty: getting to know who your heavenly father is...learning His will and studying His word. If you can do that, it will transform you from the inside out and will affect much more than just you. It will affect your family, your friends, and everyone you come into contact with.

There is a book that I have been reading consistantly over the years and it has had a profound impact on my views of womanhood and motherhood. It's called "A Woman After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George. I am going to devote an entire post to this one book because I know that many will benefit from her words. If you've ever wondered or struggled with the "submission" part of a Christian marriage, stay tuned :) In the meantime, I will leave you with a passage from that book called "The Heart of the Homemaker". My post on the book will go into more depth, but I felt that it coincided well with my desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman:

The Heart of the Homemaker
  • I will get up before my family, in order to prepare myself spiritually and physically.
  • I will prepare breakfast for my family and sit with them while they eat.
  • I will work diligently to send every member of my family off in a good mood.
  • I will consult my husband every day to see if there is anything special he wants me to do for him.
  • I will keep a neat and orderly home.
  • I will respond positively.
  • I will meet my husband's needs.
  • I will put my husband before my children.
  • I will personally meet and greet each family member as he or she returns home.
  • I wlil be predictibly happy.
  • I will prepare special, good food for my family.
  • I will make dinner a special time.
  • I will grow DAILY in the areas of Lord, marriage, family, and homemaking.
She wraps it up by saying...
Is yours the heart of a homemaker? If not, ask God for His transforming touch. As He empowers you to obey, He will give you JOY at the task to which He calls you and enhance the beauty of the tapestry you are weaving.
I'm off to ask God to TRANSFORM me and make me JOYFUL about my alarm clock ringing at 5:00 a.m....wheeeee! Bring on the coffee!



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82 Comments:

Blogger Sonja said...

Thanks for sharing this! What a challenge...

4/28/2007 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post on an interesting bible passage. If you come up with any good techniques for getting up early I would love to know. I am not a morning person and I really love my sleep. If it is not 7:00, my body just will not get out of bed. Also the verses on idleness always prick at me because there are a lot days that I waste my time instead of using it for my family.

Patricia

4/28/2007 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your site, Sara! This post is wonderful and thought-provoking. I admit this passage has alternately given me confidence and made me feel guilty . . . You inspired me to go have a "chew" on it myself!

Due to reading your blog, I bought some reusable shopping bags today--wow, that felt good! Thanks for your encouragement! My family is slowly learning as I learn . . .We are pretty new to this.

Roz

4/28/2007 7:53 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Sara...I think Proverbs 31 is just as much a call to men as to women. I see it as a challenge to encourage and uplift my wife so she feels empowered to live out the principles in this passage. It is my job as a husband to love my wife as Christ loves the church - talk about a high standard!

4/28/2007 8:08 PM  
Blogger Starphish said...

Sara - Thank you for a wonderfully thought provoking post. The timing for me was excellent. It's always good to know we are not alone in our struggles as women (and men). Blessings!

4/28/2007 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks. This was interesting to read and contemplate, as your words usually are.

One thing I'm not sure about though is the part about putting your husband's needs above your children's.

I'm not sure I understand that one. I'll keep thinking about the other things. I like the comment about how this is a challenge to men and women.

4/28/2007 9:01 PM  
Anonymous rebecca said...

Sara, thank you for this encouragement toward embracing and acting upon our God-given femininity. Thank you for reminding me that it is a huge blessing to BE A BLESSING to my husband. I'll have been married for two years in July, and I still have *much* to learn. This is just what I needed to hear tonight. Now, I'm off to tidy up our little house, and I can do it with joy because I know my Scott will be blessed by my efforts.

4/28/2007 11:26 PM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

What a good and thought-provoking post. I am an early-riser, but often I use my time before I have to leave the house for other things, so my time with God gets hurried anyway... I really want to change that.
Looking forward to your next posts!

4/29/2007 1:01 AM  
Anonymous melanie said...

thanks for the encouragement sara. :) that was a beautiful post.

4/29/2007 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Sarah!

4/29/2007 6:10 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Sara,
You did a excellent job in explaining those verses, thanks so much for sharing.
My opinion, since we had our husband (wife) first before our children and we are to love our spouse as our ownselves...that is why we put our husband (wife) before our children.
I struggle a lot in having my time with God in the morning whereas spending time with my husband and meeting his needs is easy and a joy. But I did have God before my husband and I need not to forget His love for me and to show Him that I love Him by spending time in God's Word and prayer.
Sara, please keep me in your prayers.
-Christina-

4/29/2007 6:28 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

Great post Sara! I have had Elizabeth George's book for years now and keep going back to it, I think I'll make time this week to go through it. Regarding early morning rising, I get up at 5:30 to be with Dane (he leaves generally around 6:30) and unfortunately a lot of the time I make the choice to check email, bloglines, the news, etc. Well, the Lord has convicted me and continued calling to me and the past few weeks we've so felt him calling us on a new adventure. That calling has led me to reevaluate and begin putting my focus on seeking His word every morning. I can't give any tips as I guess it simply comes down to a choice. You do, or you don't. You can find 101 reasons not to...the flesh is like that... but as Jesus told Martha, there is only one thing needful. My pastor wrote a song recently that is all about that and it so convicts my heart and reminds me fo the treasure we have in God's Word.

The words to the first verse go:

I long to worship you, but I get lost somehow. It seems this world gets in my way. In all my busyness I laid your treasure down. There is only one thing needed now. There is only one thing needful now.

My prayer today is that all of us seek that one thing that is needful. God bless you sister!

4/29/2007 7:18 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

This is an excellent post, exactly what I needed. I already get up at 5 (some mornings 6 because my body just can't bear it) and start my day. But I had not thought of taking that time before everyone else is awake to study the Word.

I think the passage is a great set of goals to work towards and learn from. There's nothing better than feeling wonderful about your family and home.

4/29/2007 7:33 AM  
Anonymous nikki said...

I really appreciate your comments about speaking well about one's husband. When I first got married I was too critical, even in front of others. Then I had a realization that my husband and I are on the same team, we are to be working together -though we both have different roles. The Lord has been working with me on the issues of submission and respect. Really when we look at Jesus-our Saviour-we have the perfect model on how to serve others.
I know reading Proverbs 31 sometimes really stressed me out :), but really it is such a good word to receive to establish a Godly home.

4/29/2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger Calamity Jean said...

Sara,

I wanted to tell you how happy this post made me today! I have portions of Proverbs 31 posted throughout my house. It has special meaning for my life recently. I have been married for six years and my husband and I have both been pursuing our careers. Our hobbies and travels require both of our salaries and I take pride in my career accomplishments. Last summer I started reading Proverbs 31 and I became convicted that I needed to put my Husband and house first. So I started praying that God would show me how I "could have it all". God is so good and he opened the door for me to work from home. I still struggle with juggeling my housework and my career but the joy that I have experienced in having my husbands breakfast ready and doing his laundry and cleaning his bathroom. (we always did our own laundry and cleaned our own baths)is the best feeling that I have ever had. Thank you for your interpertations and encouragement. I am putting this post in my prayer journal to read along with this verse daily.

In Him,

Kyla

4/29/2007 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm actually a little shocked that someone as open minded as you are is assuming that the roles in a family will always be that the woman is the primary caretaker of the household. In our family, I have important work to do outside of our home and my husband shares the responsibility of making our home a haven for us all.

4/29/2007 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think that SARA is the one assuming that the roles in the family will be that the woman is the keeper of the home...I think it's GOD. That's kind of the point of the chapter (Proverbs 31), and you can look further in Titus 2, to see what the older women and men are to be teaching this generation of young women and men.

4/29/2007 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Rachel C said...

I've been reading you lately, and I really enjoyed this post. I think I will have to come back and read it again a few more times, to soak it all in :) thank you for taking the time to share it.

4/29/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if GOD expected women to be the primary caretaker of the household, HE would not put so many women in the situation I am in. Surely HE sees that I am doing his work as well.

4/29/2007 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend at all. You are absolutely right that you are doing God's work no matter what situation the world has put you in, especially if you are serving Him in your heart. I am just simly saying that the scripture DOES say that the woman's place IS to take care of and serve her home and family, and that may look different in many families. That doesn't mean you have to be a SAHM or even a WAHM, know what I mean?

4/29/2007 3:13 PM  
Blogger Mama Monk said...

Great post! It's great to hear some of the timeless wisdom of Proverbs coming alive again through your perspective and integration.

Thank you for your reflections and honesty.

4/29/2007 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Sara, that's a lot to think about. Although I agree with some of what you say (like never going to bed angry at your spouse), I think I probably found more to disagree with in this post than in anything else you've ever written on your blog.

First, I want to speak to Patricia or any other night owls who may be reading. Those passages in Proverbs were written down in the context of an agrarian society without artificial lighting, shift work, and so on. You rose with the sun, because that's how the work got done. You went to bed when it got dark, because candles and oil lamps were luxury items.

Sleep researchers now know that some people are naturally "early birds" and others are naturally "night owls." If your circadian rhythm is set for staying up late and rising late, you are unlikely ever to transform yourself into a person who gets up easily at 5:30 or 6:00 am.

I don't think the "gates of heaven" are ever closed to prayer, so if someone finds it easier to study and pray late at night, after the kids are in bed or whatever, why not just do that? Why struggle to live up to an "ideal" of rising early? Light a candle if you don't want to use electricity for your Bibly study, or pray in the dark if you want to.

What if a woman works nights and needs to sleep in the morning? In our economy, with so many jobs being shift labor, we can't demand that all godly women rise early.

I'm also with "anonymous" regarding putting your husband's needs before your children's. Your husband is an adult who can reason and empathize, and his needs are often less immediate than the needs of a child, especially a small child. I think putting your husband's needs before your children's in all cases could make mothers less responsive to their children.

I have a cousin who is a child psychologist. He has told me that while no rule is universal, in general mothers will be more in tune with their young children's needs than fathers are. Of course, there are exceptions. But in most cases, mothers have a better sense of what children need. If all these mothers are deferring to the will of their husbands all the time, then the children's needs may not be met.

I have a huge problem with saying women need to submit to their husbands as an analogy to how all people should submit to God. Men are not gods. I consider men and women to be equal heads of the household.

I like cooking myself, but I know happy couples who have the man do most or all of the family's cooking or baking. Why should this be women's exclusive responsibility?

The verses in Proverbs were written down several thousand years ago. There are lots of customs from that era that found their way into the Bible but are not practiced now by anyone. Does anyone sacrifice animals as is described at length in Leviticus? In Deuteronomy it says that if your brother dies childless, you must sire a child by your brother's wife, and that child must be named after your dead brother. In other parts of the Old Testament there are rules about how you have to treat your slaves.

We don't need to take all of this literally. We no longer believe that God demands animal sacrifice as proof of our devotion. We read that part of Deuteronomy to mean that if our brother dies, we should feel some responsibility to help care for his widow. We don't read passages regarding the treatment of slaves to justify slave-owning anymore. We read them to mean that laborers should not be exploited.

I understand where you are coming from on never speaking harshly of your husband. I respect your commitment to this principle. However, I don't think this approach is right for all people or all marriages.

I think it's ok to lean on friends for support if you are frustrated or upset or even just confused about something your spouse says or does. People who are seeking help from a therapist should also feel at liberty to speak honestly about issues that may be troubling their marriage.

I hope this does not offend you. I think that whatever approach keeps your marriage and your family strong, and makes you happy, is right for you. I worry about women who feel that they need to live up to standards that may not be possible or realistic for their families.

If morning prayer or meditation gives the best start to your day, more power to you. But if rising early is a struggle, it's really hard for me to imagine God valuing early-morning prayer over prayer at some other time of the day or night.

Laurie

4/29/2007 5:44 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Joy said...

Hi Sara,

Your post is beautifully written. Thank you for speaking so clearly. There are many who have not yet experienced the blessings of following God in all aspects of their life. I still have much to learn myself, but I am thankful for every little thing I have transfered into my life. It doesn't pay to disagree too much with my car's owner's manual. And in the same light it doesn't pay to disagree with how our creator teaches us to run our life.

Thanks again for speaking out. I've added your blog to my bloglines list.

Elizabeth Joy
www.homeschoolblogger.com/morninglight

4/29/2007 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

Hi Laurie, thanks for all of your opinions, I think it's great that you are unafraid to speak your mind! :O) I would just like to encourage you to read more about the subject and really research New Testament vs. Old Testament covenants to address your issues with the "literalism" in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. In regards to some of your other comments about things being unattainable in today's society, especially since "Science" has shown that it isn't realistic...well, I would just remind you that we are living in a fallen world, and we are not to be of this world, we are to be set apart for Christ. Careful of making the Bible say what you want it to say, read it exegetically and it will say what it's supposed to say.

Sara, I think this was a great post and I personally agree with your thoughts on the message. But, I want to also say that I'm glad that there are others who read your blog that create this great dialog for us all to read which encourages us to look deeper into why we believe the things we do, which is what God wants to begin with. We wouldn't be serving Him in the best way possible if we weren't constantly growing, questioning, learning and living our faith! Great post and great topic!
<>< Cassandra

4/29/2007 6:16 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Bless you for being so bold for your Savior - this was an awesome post!

4/29/2007 7:03 PM  
Blogger Lazy Susan said...

Awesome. I am going to have to link to this!

4/29/2007 7:18 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you, Sara, for using this oft read passage of Scripture to reinforce my belief in what God is trying to accomplish in my own life. Biblically sound and needed. I remember when I read, "The heart of her husband safely trusts her" and I knew that was what I wanted more than anything in my relationship with my husband.

You are a true treasure.

4/29/2007 7:55 PM  
Anonymous shawn said...

Thank you for this! I wholeheartedly agree that it is what we are to strive for, according to the scriptures. Elizabeth George is my favorite author, I read A Wife After God's Own Heart frequently, and Life Management For Busy Women is like a guidebook for me. Thank you for the reminders from the Proverbs 31 woman.

4/29/2007 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I just found your blog today and am really enjoying it! Here is a website you might enjoy if you haven't found it already: www.aboverubies.org. They have wonderful books along the same lines as Elizabeth George - The Power of Motherhood, The Family Meal Table, What? Me Submit to Him? etc. Thanks for sharing your walk with us!

4/29/2007 8:40 PM  
Blogger Schuyler said...

I just found your site, very interesting. Challenging is how I described it on my blog, but I enjoy that :D

Thank you for your thoughts, dialogue should always be encouraged.

4/29/2007 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Cassandra, thanks for your thoughts. We are going to have to agree to disagree on theology, since I am Jewish. :-)

I am not as knowledgeable about the New Testament as anyone on this thread. I have noticed, however, that some spiritual leaders like to cite passages of the Old Testament to support certain social norms (like women having to submit to their husbands), which are at odds with modern Judaism.

I know they draw a distinction between the Old Testament rules that we supposedly don't have to follow anymore and the Old Testament rules that are supposedly God's road map for how everyone has to live.

I would be cautious toward anyone who claims to have the one true interpretation of any passage in any part of the Bible.

In most cases we are reading translations of passages written thousands of years ago, and we do not always understand the context in which these words were written. The story of the exodus from Egypt may have been originally written to try to discourage people from harming Jews--don't mess with the Jews! Their God will send plagues to afflict your people!

We read the same story now, but we understand this story very differently today when we celebrate Passover--it has many meanings, but one that I like is that we who are free must never forget that we were slaves before God freed us. We are obliged to help those who continue to suffer from slavery and oppression.

Ten theologians could read the story of Adam and Eve without coming to any consensus about what it is "supposed to say." One might take the story literally to mean that everyone on earth really did descend from the same two human ancestors, who lived in God's garden until a talking serpent led them astray. Another might say the story is a warning to men that women are sinful and that men should listen only to God. Another might find spiritual meaning in the story as a metaphor for the idea that no one on earth has superior lineage to anyone else; all human life has equal value.

In the case of the New Testament, we are reading English translations of Gospels written in ancient Greek, which themselves were a translation, since Jesus and the apostles spoke Aramaic. So readers are not always going to agree on the meaning.

Sara, I am sorry if I hijacked your thread!

Laurie

4/29/2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

Hello Laurie,

just my two cents: I agree that we do not have to follow all the Old Testament mandates (I can only speak for Christians here though). But e.g. the submission of a wife to her husband is not only emphasized in the OT, but especially in the New Testament too (e.g. Ephesians 5). I therefore believe that God still today wants wives to be submissive to their husbands. Which is an image of our submission to God and to God's ordained authority.

4/29/2007 10:26 PM  
Blogger angela said...

When I first was married someone gave the book by Elizabeth George; I go back and revisit it every few months. Truly a great book.
Thanks for breaking this down for us. I will pray for you as you get up so early; the Lord has placed this on my heart as well in the last few weeks. I'm rising at 6AM. 5AM, Sara!! You are a good woman. =)

4/30/2007 6:13 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Very interesting thoughts on this passage, and how to make them relevant to your life. I can't say they all would work for me--the greatest challenge I've found in this passage (and, really, in basically every book I've ever read on how to be a godly woman) is how to play these things out in your life when you have no husband or children. And that's something I still haven't figured out, since the usual Christian culture can have a way of making people like me feel like we've missed God's calling for a woman because we don't have those things (especially difficult when you're not single by choice.) So it's something I'll have to explore further myself and come to my own conclusions, but your post gave me some starting points, at least. :)

4/30/2007 6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sara, for this inspiring post.

And thanks, Laurie, for sharing your wisdom. This is where I think Catholic spirituality is much more in sink with Jewish thought than with Protestant, or at least the varieties which are often called bible-based or evangelical.

These are certainly living, powerful texts which contain wisdom. But as texts, they have contexts and histories and reflect cultural norms and literary conventions that are not universal. But their foreignness doesn't mean we can't glean wisdom that applies to our lives today! That's the beauty of it.

I think this is why I felt a real disjunction between, on the one hand, the Proverb quoted and Sara's meditation on it, and on the other, the more recipe-like how-to-be- a-good-wife-and-mother list at the end of the post, which is one particular (and rigid) interpretation of the Proverb, among many possible Christian (or Jewish, for that matter) readings.

4/30/2007 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops, sorry, that's "in sync", not "in sink"...Freudian slip reminding me to attack the dirty dishes like a god godly wife!

4/30/2007 6:37 AM  
Blogger Mariah said...

Beautiful. And thanks, by the way, for much inspiration in general to this lurker! I love the way you've scaled down. I will be needing to to that soon, and I've been inspired by reading your archives on the subject!

I've linked to this post on my blog...is that OK? If not, no prob, let me know and I'll remove the link! (I'm new to the blogging thing and not sure what the protocol is!)

~Mariah

4/30/2007 9:12 AM  
Blogger km said...

What a wonderful woman God is continually making you to be...thanks for sharing and encouraging us!

Miss you friend!

4/30/2007 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Erica said...

I love reading your blogs. It seems to be weird, because everytime I am working on something, when I get time to read your blog, it seems like you are thinking about the same thing! Right now I am reading a book by the author you talked about, except it's all on the proverbs 31 woman, have you read it, "Beautiful in God's eyes"! It's a great book and goes verse by verse!
Thanks for the post

4/30/2007 10:37 AM  
Anonymous dorothy said...

I so appreciated this post, Sara. These very issues have been in my prayers for myself recently. I'll keep you in prayer as I pray for myself to be disciplined to get up earlier. One question, I know that you co-sleep. How do you sneak out without waking up Bella? My youngest sleeps in our room (Bella, too) and she winds up waking as I leave the room half the time!

At one time, these verses sounded so foreign to me and very difficult to want to believe and imitate. As I trusteed the Lord, read His word, and allowed the Holy Spirit to renew my mind, I now see the absolute joy in living in the way that God created me to live. There is order in all created things. Likewise, there is order in the family and home. Sometimes that can be hard to chew on, but obeying God brings the sweetest of blessings to our lives!

4/30/2007 10:40 AM  
Blogger Marieke said...

I think what's important is that we take the core value at the heart of each verse in this passage. Obviously, we don't live in the exact same circumstances as the "Proverbs 31 woman" did. You can't take it 100% literally, otherwise we'd all be expected to spin wool and plant vineyards.

Many of us have completely different circumstances, but I still think that the passage applies to every woman, albeit in very different ways.

In my case, it would be impossible for me to be a SAHW because I am the primary breadwinner and we have a very tight budget. I'm also in school parttime on top of a fulltime job, so it is not possible for me to make dinner every night, and my husband is often on his own. We have to share the load otherwise I'd go nuts! :)

But, I still make sure that our home has food available that is healthy by pre-cooking things when I'm able. I always give him a kiss when I see him after work and let him have some time to de-compress. I make it a point to praise and encourage him as much as I can.

I may not get up very early, but I make sure we're up on time and that my husband has food for breakfast and lunch.

I view my job as my "vineyard" and I do my darndest to make sure that our home is taken care of...even if part of that is asking for help when I need it.

What this verse reminds me at this moment, is how I need to remember to keep my trust in God and make sure that I'm spending time with Him and growing in righteousness and truth - and how important that is for my marriage and home, as well as my own personal spiritual journey.

4/30/2007 12:04 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Gorgeously written, Sara. That passage from Proverbs is one I have "chewed on" for years and will continue to do so. At different seasons of my life, different parts of that passage speak to me.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful and encouraging words on this. I know many women find this passage to be a prescription for exhuastion, but I think you are so right that meeting with the Lord each and every morning and asking Him for strength, energy, and grace to be the woman He desires for me to be helps me to keep the spirit of this passage with me all day.

Thanks again for the thoughtful post!

4/30/2007 12:27 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Praying for you and looking forward to talking about what the Lord is doing in our lives when we get together...Soon!

4/30/2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post.....I've kept it on my screen for the past few days, looking at it over and over...such good food deserves to be chewed slowly and thoughtfully! :)
Janice

4/30/2007 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, please do not put your husband before your children. I am childless, however, my parents "put their marriage first" on the advice of a Christian counselor. They are currently divorcing. My brother and I did not have a good childhood- in order to get our needs met by one parent we had to compete with the other parent.

Your husband is an adult. He chose to marry you. Your child is bound to be needier, and she did not choose you- you chose her.

Love and family are not competitive sports. No one needs to come first. Love is no more than love.

If anyone should be put first, it is God and God alone.

4/30/2007 2:39 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments. I know that this is a "sensitive" topic...and I am thankful that you all have remained kind to each other in the dialogue. When we are all coming from different backgrounds, it may be hard to come to agreement. Like Laurie said, we can agree to disagree.

One thing that I would like to clarify...the part about putting the husband's needs before the children's. I did not expand on this...so I understand why some might be confused.

There is a plaque on the wall of my parents house that reads:

"The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother".

Turning that around...I completely agree with the statement that the best gift I can give my children is to love their father. And loving him encompasses many things. Encouraging him, uplifting him in prayer, providing a cozy home, providing meals, being physically affectionate...

We, as a married couple, are responsible for having a marriage focused on God...and focused on each other. We also need to take care of our children and love them. BUT...if we are not focused on those first 2 things, the children aren't going to get our best.

This is not a matter of CONSTANTLY ignoring our children to wait upon a spouse. That would be crazy. However, it seems that some of you might think that's what I meant.

Here are a few practical ways that I can put my husbands's needs before my child's:

*Having a regular date night to reconnect with my husband. This allows us to have those good conversations that need to happen in order to have a healthy marriage. And beacuse we do that, it makes for a better home life and therefore, makes for happier CHILDREN. So in the end, it's good for them too.
*My husband has had a long day at work and comes home exhausted and starving...so I decide to dish up his food first and allow him some quiet time to unwind. My child might be "needing" me to do something (i.e play with them, etc.) but in that moment, my husband's needs were more critical.

I cannot think of one time where I have had to make a "hard" decision between my husband and my child. It's not as if this is supposed to be a "husband versus child" battle. In a healthy, godly marriage, it should naturally work itself out in your life if you are putting God first, then your spouse, then your children. There should be no extremes.

I hope this makes sense to those of you who are questioning this line of thinking. There are a lot of divorces happening today because the woman is failing to give enough attention to her husband...she constantly giving all of her energy to her children and other activities. There has to be a balance...and for me, my husband comes first.

4/30/2007 3:16 PM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

Nicely put Sara. :O) And yes, agreeing to disagree Laurie, is oky doky in my book! That's what makes the world go round baby! ;O) (Well, that and God spinning it of course, lol.) <><
Cassandra

4/30/2007 5:05 PM  
Blogger Deeapaulitan said...

Sara, I love you. You encourage me in so many ways. This was a beautiful, but provoking post. God is working so deeply in you right now. What a blessing for me to be able to watch it all happening.
You're the BEST!
I'll miss you in May.

4/30/2007 5:15 PM  
Anonymous LilacMoon said...

A thought provoking post. I printed a copy to read at lunch today and was forced to make copies for a couple of co workers. Your approach to your path and place is inspiring. I am too often guilty of speaking first and thinking later. Your contemplative nature is a gift I would pray to have bestowed. Blessings.

4/30/2007 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Jenni said...

Sara, a very thoughtful post. One thing I can say about rising early is that, as a mom of 11, sleep has been inconsistent over the years. Often I would rise early, be incoherent in prayer, fall back to sleep, and then feel guilty all day.

This is not the Lord's will. He comforted me greatly when He reminded me that "like a shepherd He will tend His flock. In His arms He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom. He will gently lead the nursing mothers"

He has compassion on us when we are wiped out from caring for these little ones. He is gentle with us. He knows our hearts, and whether we are ignoring him out of sloth vs. exhausted from rising six times a night to tend a nursing or sick child.

I hear from mother's sometimes who express regret that their prayer life has suffered since they had children. God does not want us to begrudge our children for the time they take from us. I was complaining to Him once about how I could never fully enter into worship during church because I had to deal with the little wiggly beings in the pew with me, and He spoke very clearly that "When you minister to the needs of your children, you minister to Me"

So I try to keep that in mind. The seasons of our lives will change, and if we keep our hearts fervent towards the Lord, then our prayer life will always reflect that. Some day I plan to be a little old lady in a shawl who does nothing all day but pray for her thousands of descendants. LOL!

Proverbs 31 is incredibly challenging to speak on, but you did an amazing job! What a blessing to read!

4/30/2007 8:08 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Jenni...thank you for putting it so perfectly. I also appreciate your words about wiggly beings in the pew :) I can relate and I appreciate hearing how God spoke to you about that.

Blessings to you mama....as you raise your wonderfully large family!

4/30/2007 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, just to clarify, I don't think anyone would begrudge you date nights with your husband, and obviously if he comes home hungry and tired it's not going to hurt Bella to wait for a few minutes while you get him some food!

Balance is essential for a happy family life.

I am fortunate like you to have a husband who is fully on board with the philosphy of parenting that makes sense for our family. However, here are a few examples of cases in which I think a wife is morally obliged to advocate for the needs of her child, as opposed to submitting to her husband.

These are not scenarios I made up--these relate to real-life families I am aware of:

1. The husband demands that the wife not breastfeed their child, because her breasts belong to him.

2. The husband pushes for early weaning because he is tired of his wife's breasts leaking milk.

3. The husband jokes with a colleague at work that he "practically has to chain his wife to the bed" at night because when their baby wakes up crying in another room, she wants to go comfort him. She sits in bed with her husband, crying because he won't let her go pick up her infant.

4. The husband favors methods of discipline that either injure a child physically or humiliate the child. Millions of adult survivors of child abuse could tell you how confusing it was that their mothers never intervened to stop the abuse.

5. The husband demands that the child play a competitive sport even though the child does not want to play and does not have particular talent in that area.

6. The husband refuses to pay for the child's education at the college of her dreams, to which she was admitted; then, during the child's freshman year at the less-expensive university, the husband buys a new Cadillac (yes, this happened to my best friend from high school).

I urge every woman to feel empowered to challenge her husband if she truly believes that what he wants is not in her or her children's best interests.

Thanks to Becky for raising an important point about how these biblical prescriptions for women seem to negate the value of women who are not married and/or do not have children. I have recently become president of my congregation's Sisterhood, and Becky's post reminds me that I need to make sure to reach out to all women in our congregation, regardless of their family situations.

To the anonymous Catholic commenter, yes, I agree that the Catholic and Jewish scholarly traditions have a lot in common when it comes to finding meaning in ancient texts. In light of these traditions, I think it is no coincidence that in the secular world, a disproportionate number of judges and legal scholars are Catholics or Jews.

Laurie

4/30/2007 8:32 PM  
Blogger Zayannee said...

Sara,
You are a very special person. My sister and I enjoy reading your post! I feel that you are right about your husband coming first. i am 23 and married now but I have seen how a relationship that is not cared for affects a child through my own parents. Some day your sweet daughter will grow and start her own life, be glad then that you still have your own life with your husband!

5/01/2007 6:49 AM  
Anonymous Nichole said...

Sara, I admire your boldness in sharing the Word of God. In this day and age of political correctness, it is refreshing to read something that is not "sugar coated". Yes Proverbs 31 is a very challenging passage, especially if one reads in from the "flesh" point of view. However when one reads it with some spiritual insight, it is so powerful. The woman of Proverbs 31 show us just how important a role the woman has in nuturing her family. This nuturing enables her spouse and children to face to world. How powerful is that? What an awesome responsiblity!

5/01/2007 6:54 AM  
Anonymous laura O said...

So amazing...You really spoke to me on this one. Even tho I don't have a family...I have a pseudo one :) I know I can use what you just talked about with the kids I nanny for, and I need to more often. Thanks beautiful sister! Love you and miss you!

5/01/2007 6:56 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

It's like you've been inside my head...reading my thoughts and knowing my heart's desire. Thank you for listening to the Lord's leading and sharing your heart with us. He is using you in my life. God bless you and your beautiful family.

5/01/2007 8:48 AM  
Blogger Sara Kay said...

Sara, I just found your blog today, and I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND! :)

5/01/2007 10:47 AM  
Anonymous MelanieMC said...

Sara, I loved this post! I'm so glad you expanded on "putting your husband first". I know there are many who do not understand. Like sara said, it's not a battle between your husband and your children, its about balance. By putting God first, then your husband, you are not ignoring your children or neglecting them, nor are you choosing your husband "over" your children. You are simply putting you marriage needs first so that you are able to have a strong relationship which benefits your children. I wish that my parents had put each other first instead of my sister and I. Instead, my mom put us first always and my dad put work first. The result was constant fighting and yelling and eventually divorce. I feel that if my parents would have worked harder on putting each other first we would have been much happier and they may still be together.

Melanie

5/01/2007 11:18 AM  
Blogger Serena said...

I just wanted to comment on the early rising: As the nightest of the night-owls, I can attest to the fact that it IS possible to train oneself to get up at 4 am. It's hard at first, of course, but once you're in the habit, you just do it. Of course, you can't stay up until 2 am if you're getting up at 4 am. (Why 4 am? I used to work at a coffee shop, and that's what time I had to get up to open--until they changed the opening time, and then it was earlier. I wouldn't actually recommend getting up at 4 am every morning. 5 am is quite early enough.)

5/01/2007 2:09 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Hey Sara, I came across your blog randomly a few months ago (looking for simple living sites) and I was surprised to notice today that you've got a link to my home church. Are you from Nebraska? By the way, I love your blog, and this last post about Proverbs 31 was great.

5/01/2007 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Wow. This just makes me glad both my DH and I are Atheists. I had no idea people actually still thought this way.

FYI: the Bible was written by MEN in a world that was MALE oriented and viewed women as second class citizens, if not worse. Things like RAPE are condoned in the OT (I can quote passages, if you like - I was raised Bible thumping Christian). In case this has escaped notice, the world has evolved since then and (fortunately) women are now considered EQUAL. It's no longer necessary to follow an outdated book that basically tells women to shut up and take care of their master.

5/01/2007 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you feel that way Kate. I'll be praying for you. <><

5/01/2007 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bible is not an outdated book- it is so relevant, perhaps even more so in todays world. It is hard to intellectualize faith because it is something requires complete trust in the Lord-which to some makes no sense. Surely I base my belief in God according to what He has done for me (for all of us) in my life. I see Him working constantly. Please do not equate modern progressive thought with intelligence. They ways of the Bible offer more wisdom and insight than all of the scholars of this modern age.

5/01/2007 3:08 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Erin...yes! We lived in Lincoln for a couple of years and we went to Lincoln Berean. We still listen to Bryan's sermons online! We loved it there. We worked with SportReach, which used to be based in Lincoln, but is now in Colorado Springs. We'll be at Maranatha Camp at the end of this month doing worship for their staff training. AND...we may even be in town in June and will attend a Sunday service. We still have good friends there...Do you know Paul and Kristin (Smith) Mayo or Ashley (Sparks) Hustad?

Kate...thank you for offering your opinion, just as others have. I'm thankful to live in a free country where we can all have different opinions and not be persecuted. I hope you will stick around despite our differences in faith.

5/01/2007 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Sara - I'll stick around. I love your posts on the environment and organic living. I'm all for that. I'm sorry if my post came out negative or judgemental. I was just a little shocked in reading this blog entry, and wrote the first thing that popped into my head. I need to remember to think before I write. My apologies.

5/01/2007 3:54 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Hey Sara,

I've met Ashley Sparks, but don't know her well (and don't know her since she got married) - i grew up in Nebraska but haven't lived there for the past 8 years. Maybe you met my sister - Michaela (Gerrard) Mueller - she's in that age range, lives in Lincoln, and was actively involved in Berean.

Like you, i listen to Bryan's messages online - they're great!

Keep up the great work,
Erin

5/01/2007 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another atheist here who appreciates elements of Buddhism and Pantheism.

I too was shocked at this view of a woman's subservient place in the family, especially coming from a young woman. I suppose many religions in the world place the woman in that position though. Equality, girl!

Anyway, I too will continue to read your blog for the simple living and environmental topics, and will ignore the religious opinions.

5/01/2007 7:02 PM  
Anonymous TV Free said...

Thanks for the inspiration! I am looking forward to your blog about being a "submissive" wife. I have always struggled a bit with that one.

Getting up before the rest of my family may be tough - my husbands schedule lately has been to arise at 4:30 and leave the house by 5:30! Yikes!

5/01/2007 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read your posts for a while now and found them most interesting. I have to agree with the commenters who were surprised by this post. Someone will have to explain to me how this works in the real world. I have a mind of my own, and when I disagree with my husband, I feel that I have a responsibility to take a stand. I thought that this was what marriage is all about. Give and take. Learning from each other. Taking turns leaning on each other. Taking turns getting up early. Contributing... Help?

5/01/2007 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspiring Sara. I feel that the proverb shows how kindness and Honesty, love, respect and hard work makes a wonderful marriage. I've found throughout my 18 yrs of marriage that if I'm kind and loving to my dh then he is kind and loving back. And he is kind and loving even if I don't deserve it, lol!

Dh comes first in my marriage. My dks know that they are loved by both their parents. Dh was/is just as active in their upbringing as I was. You never saw a man rinse a cloth diaper, clean up puke, give baths, read books, play endless games or even be the stern one when needed. He is God's gift to me and I am always grateful!

I am NOT an early bird, lol! I talk to God all day long and do my prayers at night before I go to sleep. While I've had many trials in my life I've also had many blessings. God listens anytime.

Yes, I'm still a sahm to my 15 and 13 yr olds.

5/01/2007 9:55 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This is a fantastic post, Sara. I love reading your blog and it is your heart for the Lord Jesus that keeps me coming back. I choose to live as a Proverbs 31 woman and your posts (religious or not) are all about that. Thank you for sharing your journey and by doing so teaching me. :)

I long to have that perfect balance that God has established between men and women. According to Dr. Emerson Eggerich (Love and Respect) Men see, hear and speak through blue glasses, hearing aids and megaphones. Women through pink. When we learn to love and respect each other it becomes purple - the color of royalty - a symbol of Christ and His bride the church. Some may not understand that but those that do see the awesomeness in His plan.

5/02/2007 4:57 AM  
Anonymous Christina said...

Wow, a lot of comments and opinions on this one. I really appreciate this post, I thought it broke down the verses very nicely. As a SAHM I have found a constant balancing act for every member of our family to be the biggest challenge of our lives. My husband always comes first, the kids will all be grown up and move on to their own lives and families but my husband and I are here to stay for the long haul.

5/02/2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger Bonny said...

I like your clarification re. husband first, Sara. I've felt "comfortable" going with simply: God first, family after. I think it's *really* common among ap/pp types (or perhaps more generally speaking, even) to focus too much on the children, at the expense of both ourselves and our marriages.

Re. the sleep - after my twins were born, I found that when I changed my "please, God, let me get more sleep" to "please let the sleep I get be enough to sustain me each day," God was always faithful, and I was sustained each day.

5/02/2007 11:14 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Great post! I printed it and have gone back to it several times. :-)

5/02/2007 1:08 PM  
Blogger KimProbable said...

Wow, what a post! It took me two sittings to read through it, and I think it will take me a few more before I've fully digested it. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to live up to an example such as this, but I know it's important not to let perfectionism stop me from taking little steps every day.

I've thought before of buying the Elizabeth George book, and I think your post has convinced me to do it. Since being introduced to the idea of following my husband's lead in life, I've come to see the many gifts that come with it. I don't see submission as a way of giving up my rights but rather as a way of taking advantage of all the benefits the role of a wife has to offer.

To Jenni: your comment brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful way of looking at the service we do as mothers. Thank you.

5/02/2007 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think in order to have this idea work, a wife would need to be married to a husband who understood his commitment to God and to his family.

If it's one-sided, then a wife might be doing a disservice to her children and herself by putting the husband first.

Interesting, though and in the cases of harmonious, Godly marriages, maybe it works well. But, in marriages where there is disharmony, disrespect, and disregard on the part of the husband to live up to his responsibilities, I don't see it working.

5/02/2007 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Malva said...

I always enjoy your posts on your faith. Although I don't share your beliefs, it's always thought provoking and fascinating to see how we come to the same conclusions in spite of those differences.

5/03/2007 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been lurking silently for a couple of months now and have been inspired. Your blog is AWESOME. You have really caused me to think about how my family lives and how it affects our enviroment. I really enjoyed your post about Prov 31. God is using you to get people thinking. I also struggle with getting up early and having my quiet time with God. I am naturally an early riser but I struggle to actually get out of bed. The days that I get out of bed early there are so many things I need to do to take of of my 3 kids (age 5 and under) and my sweet hubby that before I know it everyone is up and demanding my attention. But your blog has renewed my desire. Thanks you so much for your willingness to share your thoughts.

Sending lots of blessings your way,
Melissa

5/03/2007 3:56 PM  
Anonymous MelanieMC said...

Anonymous said...
I think in order to have this idea work, a wife would need to be married to a husband who understood his commitment to God and to his family.


I think this is exactly right! I hate hearing people talk about women submitting to their husbands or putting their husbands first without mentioning what the husband is supposed to do. A few years ago my colleg minister explained it like this: The verse that says "wives submit to your husbands as he submits himself to christ" means that we are to follow the lead of our husbands as he follows the lead of God. Then it goes on to say "husbands love your wives as Christ loves the church". Husbands are to love and care for their wives as God loves all of us. If a man is truly comitted to God and submitting himself to God he will treat his wife the right way. Christ would never belittle or cause harm to His believers, nor should a husband to his wife. I am a single Christian woman. I will "submit" to my husband if he is submitting to God. I do not believe that God wants us to submit to men who harm and disrespect or abuse us. That's why I try not to discuss submission too much. I would never want a woman to think to be a "good Christian" she has to submit to someone who is abusive to her.

I also wanted to add that there are verses all over the place in the Bible that tell us how to live or what we should do to please God. I don't think anyone should try to live up to one ideal from passage in the Bible. I always remind myself that God loves us all the same, no matter what sex, color, or age we are. I think utimately God wants us to be in marriages that glorify him and that are built on faith, love, and and trust. I don't think you have to believe in wifely submission to be a good christian wife. You just have to love God and let Him be first in your life and have a husband who does the same.

Melanie

5/03/2007 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melanie,

Excellent post. Thank you. I like how you phrased your last point... "You just have to love God and let Him be first in your life and have a husband who does the same."

I struggle with the idea of submission for the same reasons - that a wife might be submitting to a husband who is and will not follow God's direction or even just a peaceful, spiritual approach to life.

Thanks again for the post. This discussion is very thought provoking.

5/03/2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

Melanie, I don't think that a woman's submission to her husband is supposed to only happen when her husband fulfills his part of loving his wife like Christ loved the church.
BUT let me say right away that I agree that situations with abuse are something totally different. I think these situations are so difficult (and hurtful and just horrible) that I rather wouldn't advise anyone on what to do in such a situation in general.
In other situation though, where a wife feels that her husband is not acting according to Biblical standards, I think, the call to be submissive is still applying. (This doesn't mean that a wife then couldn't discuss this respectfully and lovingly with her husband.)
Hope this ramble makes some sense...

5/03/2007 11:17 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Just a note to the last 7 people who commented here...your comments were received after we imported the blog to WordPress (see newest blog for details)...so your comments are not there. If you would like it to be...please cut and paste it to the "Transforming" post over there (www.walkslowlylivewildly.com). Thanks so much!

5/04/2007 12:20 AM  

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