Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Over My Kitchen Sink

"Who can find a virtuous woman?
for her price is far above rubies."
Proverbs 31:10
(KJV)

A Virtuous Woman Series - Part 1 of 8

I love being in the kitchen.
I would say it truly is the heart of our home.
After all, it is where we gather often...
to eat,
talk,
 pour out our hearts,
cook, bake, make soap, do crafts, and make gifts,
do school,
play board games,
and enjoy life.

I truly love everything we do in there....
and yes, I even love to clean and do dishes.

I enjoy the work.
It gives me a sense of peace...
and deep contentment to keep things clean and neat and orderly.

Once my Uncle Donnie asked Mom,
"What's wrong with this girl?",
when he was in our home and heard me speak of how much
I enjoy cleaning!

I even enjoy being on my hands and knees cleaning the floor.
I talk to the Lord while I'm down there. :-)

We have a mop.
And one of those nice Swiffer Wet-Jet gadgets.
Sometimes, I use one of them, if I am in a hurry.
But, I prefer the slow way....
cleaning it by hand.

To me, there is nothing like sitting in my favorite recliner,
positioned caddy-corner near the kitchen....
reading the Bible or looking at Country Sampler...
while every now and then taking a sideways glance 
at the shine of the newly-washed kitchen floor
as I inhale the aroma of something yummy baking in the oven.

The kitchen is a comforting place to me.


I do a lot of my thinking over our kitchen sink.
I spend a lot of time there.
God speaks to me as I wash the dishes clean.

He speaks to all of us...
if we only take the time to listen.

As guests watch me run dish water in the sink after a meal, 
they often look at the dishwasher next to the sink and ask,
"Doesn't your dishwasher work?"

I tell them,
"Sure, it does.
It works great."
Then I proceed to open it...
 and reveal my secret stash.... 
of bowls and lids in there.

I seldom use it for anything other than storage.

I just enjoy the work...
and the stillness....
and hearing what God chooses to reveal....
as I look out the window over the sink...
my hands in the water...
all sudsy and warm.

I've received inspiration for many of these devotionals...
standing in that very spot.
Sometimes, God will speak and the words will begin to flow so quickly...
I have to leave my spot and grab a pen...
or come to the computer to record my thoughts...
before they are gone.

I think the reason I love being a homemaker so much...
the reason it fulfills me...
is that within my heart there is a deep-seated desire...
an undeniable yearning....
to be like the woman I read about in Proverbs 31.
It seems an unattainable goal....
a far-off, distant dream...
because I fall so dreadfully short.

But, no matter how far off I am from the goal,
I still long for it.
I still reach for it.
My heart still yearns...
to be that woman.

I admire her....
more than any woman I know.
She is my role model...
the one I aspire to emulate...
even though we are so far apart.

Did you ever consider that this woman was described and written about...
by a man?
He recorded and shared with the world...
the words of none other than his own mother.

In verse one, we read,
"The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him."

There is some controversy over whether or not King Lemuel
and King Solomon were one and the same person.
I researched several commentators,
and though there are some who are uncertain,
most agree that Lemuel and Solomon were the same person.

In the Geneva Bible, we find this notation:
"That is, of Solomon, who was called Lemuel, that is, of God,
because God had ordained him to be king over Israel."

If King Solomon were indeed writing these words,
(since it is generally agreed-upon by Bible scholars,
for the sake of this writing, we will assume that he was),
we realize that his mother was Bathsheba, the wife of King David.

I must say, that when I first think about the woman described in Proverbs 31,
Bathsheba is not exactly the first person that comes to mind.
Actually, at the point of her indiscretions,
she would probably be the last woman Bible character I would think of....
to fit this mold....
to hand out such wise counsel...
to women of all ages.
Based on the standards here,
and based on the first connotation that enters my mind when I hear the mention of her name,
I wouldn't consider Bathsheba to be virtuous,
and definitely not the woman described in this chapter.

Isn't it sad that we so clearly remember the bad things people do?
Isn't it unfortunate that, as human beings, so quick to judge and condemn,
we seldom take into account that someone can actually repent, change,
 and, by God's grace, do a complete turnaround?
Scandal seems much more outstanding and easier to remember
than the good deeds we hear about.

We don't know when this advice was given,
but it is my opinion it was several years after she had lived
and reaped the results of her own wrongdoing.

Listen to her heart in verse 3.
"Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings."

Was she, perhaps remembering the day David, the king, directed his attention
towards her...
a married woman?
That he, being so intent to have her,
gave his strength and energy into making her his own?
Was she thinking of the path that followed
and how close their indiscretion came to completely
destroying the life and future of King David?

As she instructed her son,
was there remorse in her heart, as she remembered her first husband,
the steadfast, intensely loyal Uriah,
and the way she had betrayed him through an adulterous affair with the king?
Did she still feel the pangs of guilt as she recalled that the repercussions
of her careless affair eventually caused Uriah's death?

Could it be that her words were wrenched from
the realization and confession of mistakes she had made in her own life....
that she was not this virtuous woman she described,
but someone she only wished to be?

Or is it possible that after all of her failings, shortcomings, and bad decisions,
she had learned the hard way...
what it meant to live and be this woman?
That the redemptive grace of God had turned her mess into her message...
that we are still reading about and aspiring to become...
recorded in Proverbs 31?

We don't have a lot of information about Bathsheba's life
after she married King David or gave birth to the son
who would later trace his father's footsteps to the throne.

I wish we did know more about her.
What we do know, is if these words were truly written by King Solomon,
Bathsheba was directly responsible for influencing this writing
since she was indeed his mother.

Beginning with verse 10 through the end of the chapter at verse 31,
we find a list of the qualities and attributes of a virtuous woman.
Lemuel speaks of her as a rare find whose worth is far above the value of rubies.

Don't we all aspire to be this woman?

I believe God created a woman with a need to nurture the ones she loves...
to give of herself...
to seek the joy of others...
to find a sense of fulfillment, joy, and deep satisfaction...
in being in the center of His will for her life.
I believe that deep within the heart of all of us,
we long to be virtuous...
good wives,
good mothers,
Godly women.

So what does a modern-day virtuous woman look like?
How can we break down Bathsheba's advice, recorded somewhere around 350 B.C.,
into practical guidelines to follow and fit into our everyday life in 2012 A.D.?

It really isn't difficult to adapt her wise instruction to our lives today.
The basics aren't any different now than they were when they were written.
Women are still women.
Men are still men.
We are all still created with the same inherent
needs, desires, and emotions.

And though the day in which we live and the day in which Bathsheba lived
are vastly different and worlds apart,
the formula for greatness....
for successful womanhood...
for finding and living a virtuous life....
still works....
perfectly.

By God's grace and inspiration,
and with your patience and bearing with me,
I'd like to analyze the last 21 verses of Proverbs 31,
break them down verse-by-verse,
and explore God's message for us today.

It may take more than one devotional to cover it,
but I feel inspired to try.

God will show me the way...
I trust Him to give the inspiration....
over my kitchen sink.  :-)


6 comments:

  1. Thank you for this! I too pray over my dishes. I have often said my dished get washed in special water mixed with my salty tears. I feel this is where the Father speaks to me the clearest!
    Also, thank you for the insight of Prov 31. I never thought about the fact that it was Bathsheba. It gives me a whole new insight.
    God Bless You!

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    Replies
    1. Michelle, Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving encouragement behind! May God bless you with a wonderful day filled with His abiding peace! Love, Cheryl

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  2. Hello Cheryl, Wonderful words filled with wisdom, and a big heart for Christ! I love my kitchen also, it is the heart of my home. Please stop over one day soon so I will have you show up if you leave me a comment. I feel like I would love to chat and see His hand move in our blogs and our days with Him. Have a wonderful week-end!
    Blessings, Roxy

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    1. Hello, Roxy! I am so happy you stopped by, and I so appreciate you leaving encouragement behind! What a blessing to receive your comments! I look forward to reading your blog as soon as I can. Please keep in touch! God bless you. Love, Cheryl

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  3. I love stopping by and reading some of your old posts. The Proverbs 31 women is one I've always loved reading about but wonder, "how can any woman measure up?" I love your way of making her so much more human and easier to relate to:)

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    1. Oh, Bernadine! You bless me SO much each time you stop by and comment! Thank you ever so much. I am so thankful for your kind words, and you just don't know how much I needed that encouragement tonight! God bless you!

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