Once upon a time, in a church far, far away, there lived a not-very-attractive middle-aged woman who was terribly insecure. She seemed to both resent and fear any and all attractive women, and she also considered herself to have “the gift of rebuke.” Because of this happy combination of character traits, her duty was clear. She appointed herself as the Modesty Sheriff, and she diligently and patiently informed the women in her church whenever she felt that their skirt was too tight. Or when a slip or a strap was showing. Or if they needed to be more careful about their posture. Needless to say, no one liked her much, and behind her back she was called Cranky Fun-Buster.
But she doesn’t come into this story at all.
In a different church (your church actually) there was a very young and very cute girl. So cute, indeed, that whenever she went to the mall, random pimply teenage boys would ask for her phone number. When she walked down Main Street, truckers honked and whistled. She kinda liked it. Well ok, let’s be frank. She really liked it. Continue reading ‘Indulge me in a parable . . .’
So there were a couple questions raised on the subject of girls being constantly told to “guard their hearts.” Ok yes, I know that the questions were actually addressed to Lizzie, but I am nonetheless horning in with two of my cents.
First: I’m sure all you girls are tired of hearing the older women say this. But as Lizzie astutely pointed out, once girls actually start listening to the advice the older ladies will no doubt stop offering it. The trouble, however, is that no matter how often people offer you this advice, it doesn’t actually make it any easier to do, does it? That’s where the real problem comes in.
Quick aside: If you don’t actually see the point of all this, if you’re thinking to yourself, “Guard my heart? Why on earth would I do that?” then hark back to the old truism about the tape. The first time you stick a piece of tape to something it’s good and sticky. If you then peel it off and stick it to something else it may possibly still stick. The third time, the corners are probably not staying down. Fourth time it’s only limply clinging on in a pathetic sort of way. Do this too many times and you find yourself with nothing more than a dirty, linty piece of cellophane. Similarly (in case you missed the inference), the more times you give your heart away, the less likely it gets that your heart will be capable of staying put. And it’s not just that something in you gets weakened each time this happens. As a matter of fact, something in you gets strengthened as well . . . your ability to switch the object of your affection. You have trained yourself to have a roving eye – and that habit will certainly not stop simply because you get married.
Right then. Having thus established my street cred as someone in favor of urging girls to guard their hearts, I am now going to promptly switch teams and take issue with the phrase “guard your hearts.” Continue reading ‘Heart-Guarding (and other ways to whitewash a tomb)’
Proverbs 12:4 says that an excellent wife is the crown of her husband. Literally, (my New Geneva Study Bible says) this is a “wife of valor.” A valiant wife is a crown to her husband.
This is interesting because so often we think of femininity as something soft and sweet (not that it shouldn’t have those aspects). But a godly femininity includes fearlessness and strength. A manly courage. It has a back bone. It will stand up for what is right, even when no one else will do it.
What a sharp contrast to the silly women who are “always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.” Or the women who go house to house with the latest chat. Or the idle ones who are tearing down their homes, one brick at a time.
A valiant wife looks at her duties and assumes them with grace and dignity, and a brave heart. She does not faint or lose heart at the prospect of hard work over the course of many years. She sees the long-term impact of what she is doing and sets herself to the tasks that God has given her, like bringing up children, lodging strangers, washing the feet of the saints, and all those other things that fall neatly into the category of good works.
A valiant woman is one of the means that God uses to remake the world. She is the glory of the man. She takes what he gives her and glorifies it. He gives her a house, and she glorifies it and makes it into a home. He gives her a table, and she glorifies it with food, nurturing and feeding the faces around it. A husband makes love to his wife, and she mysteriously glorifies it, and a child is born. This is what God has made women to do. A valiant woman glorifies and beautifies. And it overflows.
One of life’s embarrassing characters is the screamer, and screamers show up in various settings.Â Let’s say you are at an outdoor picnic and someone gets stung by a bee, and thus begins the screaming and flopping on the ground. No one really knows what to do even though everyone knows the unspoken cultural expectation to rally round and offer comfort and what not. But with the over-the-top screaming and shrieking, no one feels compelled to offer the comfort because what is actually needed is someone to tell the person to grow up and blow it out, it was only a bee sting after all.
On two-year-olds we all look at the parents and feel a mix of sympathy and criticism. No one likes to have their child flip out and melt down in public like that, so we feel sorry for the poor parents. At the same time, we wish the parents would step in and correct the child. It is not wrong to be hurt; but it is wrong to throw a complete fit about it. Learning good conduct, even in pain or fear, is a godly discipline.
When a teenage girl falls down and skins her knee in the volleyball game, we expect her to jump up and keep on playing. When she curls up in a ball and starts wailing, we feel ill at ease, wishing she would reel it in. Even if a bone is sticking out of her arm, there is a difference between legitimate cries of pain, and uncontrolled sobbing and yelling, cussing and kicking. You know what I mean. We delight to see courage and self-control because we admire it wherever we see it. But bad temper and cowardliness are always shameful,Â no matter what the age of the screamer. Continue reading ‘Screamers’
In one of the books I was reading recently, there was an offhand comment about how there are really only two kinds of women: the princess and the pioneer. I was struck by the wisdom and insight in this observation, and the more I thought about it, the more it seems to really sum up how women generally handle life. We either are the kind who are willing to roll up our sleeves and dive into the business at hand, even if it is something we have never done before; or we are looking around for the people who are going to be taking care of us.
The world’s definition of wisdom is the power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action, based on knowledge, experience, understanding, etc.; good judgment; discretion; sagacity.
Though this is a good working definition, the Bible has far more to say about wisdom, and it takes wisdom to understand wisdom. But let’s give it a go. If you just read through the book of Proverbs and take note of every reference to wisdom, you will learn a lot about it. Here are just a few things from Proverbs.
We are to get wisdom, pursue wisdom, seek wisdom, find wisdom, love wisdom, exalt wisdom, take hold of wisdom, and keep wisdom. All those who succeed in finding wisdom find life and grace, for wisdom is precious (better than gold, silver, or rubies), her ways are pleasant and peaceful, and she bestows safety, preservation, long life, promotion, riches, honor, and happiness on those who find her. Proverbs 19:8 sums it up: “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul.”
That sounds pretty appealing to me. What in the world could hinder us in finding such a Continue reading ‘Get Wisdom’