Uncovering the beauty

Pr. 21:9:  “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”  Pr. 21:19:  “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”

The truth is that it’s better to dwell in those places than with anyone that’s angry and contentious (likely to cause an argument).  Relationships are hard enough without having someone always looking for a fight.

 

muddycoupleI was walking in the woods behind our house today and found this little figurine.  I couldn’t believe how applicable it was to real life.  Sometimes our relationships can resemble this…soiled, muddy, polluted, and defiled.  During those times, it can be hard to see through the muck to even imagine something that could possibly look better.

 

couplewipedoff

 

But I chose to wipe off the figurine, and do you see what I saw?  They were still holding hands.  With just a bit of effort, I was able to uncover the fact, that underneath it all, they were still connected.  Do you believe that’s true for our relationships?  I do.  Underneath all the mess, there are 2 people that were once connected, and with just a bit of effort, the fact that there is still a connection becomes visible.

 

 

allcleanedupInspired by what I saw, I took the figurine inside and cleansed it with some soap and water, and a bit of bleach.  The cleansing revealed a couple with a few scars, but look at their faces.  They look happy and content again…renewed and ready for a new life.

 

 

 

Sometimes, deciding to work diligently to wipe off all the offenses and grime to uncover a renewed relationship can be rough and it can definitely sting.  (Just as if being cleansed with bleach)  But it’s so worth it.  Those scars just make us stronger, and more able to testify to the Lord’s mercy and miracles.  Just like this figurine, there can be new life waiting underneath; we just have to be willing to uncover it.

I couldn’t tell you how long this figurine was buried in the mud.  It was pretty deep in there, and even under some other trash.  But that just proves that no matter how long our relationships have been in the mire, with just a bit of interest and care something beautiful can be revealed.

And the most beautiful part for us is that God is faithful to stand with us during the process.

Get out that scrub brush!

jamie

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Month of Prayer, Day 12

You are my portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Your Words.  I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your Word.

Let my truthful lips be established forever and do not let my tongue lie.  As my life and my hope are rooted in You, let it yield fruit that is pleasing to You and helpful to those around me.  Let not my root be moved.

Help me to be an excellent wife who is a crown to my husband, not causing him shame or preying upon him.  Let my thoughts be right and just, and based on Your Word.  Lord, Pr. 12:7 says, “The house of the righteous will stand.”  Thank You, Lord.  I am standing on Your promise in that verse.

Help my words to be good, bringing gladness to my husband’s heart and to the hearts of my children, as well.  Help my children to wisely receive my counsel as I teach and train them in Your ways, so that no grave trouble will overtake them.  Help my tongue to promote health in our relationships, and give us joy.

Lord, help us to choose our friends carefully so that we are not led away from You.  Help us to be diligent in all we do, honoring You.

Thank You for Your faithfulness and Your favor.  Thank You for Your mercies and for Your salvation.  You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created!

I love You, Lord, and I  trust in You.  I pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen.

How to prevent bone decay

Pr. 12:4 says, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.”

This rottenness in his bones means it preys upon him, and causes decay.  It consumes him.  That sounds horrible!!

I know a good way to prevent this from happening.  Read this question that author, Dannah Gresh, asks.  “Do you spend more time in front of the mirror making yourself externally beautiful, or do you spend more time developing your inner beauty through quiet communion with God?”

1 Peter 3:3-6 talks about women not letting their adornment be merely outward.  We don’t have to have the best make up or wardrobe.  We don’t have to have the perfect hairstyle or jewelry.  We don’t have to be the most ‘up with the times.’  Superior cooking skills aren’t required.

An excellent wife…or a wife of valor, as some translations say…is one who looks well to the ways of her household, and is pious and prudent.

Now, by all means, please fix your hair.  However, if for every minute spent in front of the mirror, we spent a minute or more with God, we will develop a true and deep relationship with God.  When we develop that relationship with God, we cultivate a spirit more like God’s.  This is the prescription to help prevent us from causing bone rot in those we love.

Striving to be truly beautiful,

jamie

Scheduling love

Pr. 31:14:  “She is like the merchant ships, she brings food from afar.”

Recently, while I was preparing a meal plan for the week and the accompanying grocery list, my brother-in-law sarcastically asked, “I wonder where Kaili gets her planning skills?”  ha!

My daughter is the queen of planning.  Ever ready for adventure, she can instantly gather pen and paper and prepare a list of fun activities, things needed, or people to invite within moments of you mentioning any activity or the desire to have one.  It always amazes us and/or makes us giggle.

This morning, as I was reading through Proverbs 31, I was reminded what a great trait that actually is.  If she can plan like that in elementary school, by the time she has her own household, she will likely have her schedules running like clockwork.  I have every confidence that she will care for her household well.

Thankfully, we don’t have to be perfect planners to care for those around us.  We just have to pay attention to their needs and desires.  Simply planning to include others in our own personal schedules makes a huge difference in their lives.

More than ensuring every needed supply on hand and every thing is perfect, if we plan to include our family in our routine, they will know without a doubt that they are loved, appreciated, and cared for.  Sadly, those who are closest to us are often the ones who are pushed off the list first.

Today, let’s put our loved ones on our list in ink, planning to include one of their needs or desires in our day.  Talk about a good investment of our time!

Anticipating my day,

jamie

Don’t allow your labors and wealth to go to another

Pr. 5:10:  “Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner.”

I recall a particular sleepover my daughter had with her friend when she was a young girl.  The next night, as I tucked her in to bed, she was cuddling a stuffed animal I had never seen.  When I asked her where she got it, she told me that her friend’s mom had taken them to Wal-mart and bought it for her.  How sweet.

I asked her if I could look at the toy, and when I got a better look, I could see scratches on the eyes of the animal and raggedy fur.  I realized instantly that this was a well-worn toy, not a brand new toy from the shelf of the store.  With her elaborate story, it was clear that she had taken the toy from her friend’s house with every intention of claiming it as her own.

Because she had not only stolen the toy, but had taken the time to think up such a cover-up story to hide her deeds, we knew we had to punish her in a way that she would remember.  For stealing, she had to give the toy back in person, and give away 3 of her very own toys to people who did not have as many as her; and because of the lie, she was grounded from playing with the toys she had left.

Reading this verse about the consequences of adultery reminded me of the consequences she faced.  A marriage is an investment.  We do labor in a marriage.  We give hours, months, and years of our time to our spouse.  We build our houses together, and spend our money on new counter tops or lighting fixtures.  As a couple, we have friendships with other couples.  Maybe we even have a ministry within the church.

We risk losing all that we’ve built when we commit adultery.  Like my daughter, who had to give away some of her own things when she stole from someone.  When we take something that is not ours, in adultery, we risk losing what we have built within our marriage.  All the time we’ve invested into our spouses is now hard to remember, or now seems like a lie.  The houses and “nests” we’ve built with our spouse may be lost to us, given to another, or just sold to settle accounts.

Stealing from her friend, my daughter also risked losing that friendship, due to lack of trust.  The same can happen with our friendships if we risk adultery.  We may even lose our ministries.

The warning in this verse is very clear and very real.  Why allow someone else to gain what you’ve invested in?  We don’t need to invest in or claim things that don’t belong to us.  We must treasure what we have, care for it, invest more into it, and allow the rewards to multiply.  The gain we experience will be exponential and eternal.  🙂

Investing,

jamie

The harvest requires work

Proverbs 20:4:  “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.”

It is so easy for us to “go with” the seasons of our lives.  If want to reap a harvest in our lives; however, we have to put in the work.  When we stop trying or become less diligent, our harvest will not be what we hoped for… or it may be nothing.  God tells us that we reap what we sow.

Today is our 14th anniversary, and Donnie and I have certainly gone through many seasons during those years.  Here is a lesson we have learned that applies to the scripture today.  If it is a time of winter in our marriage, we have to think about the harvest we desire.  The winter is the time to till, plow, sow, fertilize, nurture all the more.  If we will sow life into our marriages, even during the winter months, we will reap a Great harvest!!  If we give up or give in, our marriage will bear no fruit and may even end.

Likewise, when it is a time of winter in our spirits, that is the time to remain diligent.  We must continue to plow through the Word, till up the soil with prayer and praise, and fertilize our spirits with the teachings of Godly men and women.  If we give in to the feelings of the season, and become lazy, our harvest will not be what we hope.  We will beg while others reap a harvest and we will have nothing.  We can miss out on all the blessings God has in store for us.  We will also neglect pouring the truth and hope of Jesus Christ into others around us that could bring them a harvest.  People are counting on us.

We can use this principle for almost any season of winter in our lives and it will hold true.  We all go through seasons of winter.  We just need to continue to plow…the harvest is coming and oh, how sweet it will be!

Happy Farming!
jamie

Happy 14th Anniversary, Donnie.  I love you!   🙂