Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Virtuous Care of Heart & Home

"...know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, 
which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  
For ye are bought with a price:  
therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
I Corinthians 6:19,20
(KJV)


A Virtuous Woman Series - Part 7 of 8

(If you wish, to better understand this study, please read
Part 1,
Part 2,
Part 3,
Part 4,
Part 5, &
Part 6
of the Virtuous Woman series first.)

In order for you and me to be able to be to our husbands and children
the virtuous woman God seeks,
we must take care of ourselves.
We cannot optimally perform all that is required of us
if we are stretched so thin that we are barely functioning.
Something will suffer.
Someone will suffer...
including ourselves.

There are common sense things we all know we need to do in order
to be 100% there for our families.

Aren't you glad God lets us start fresh every new day?
If we failed today,
what a blessing to know that if we see tomorrow,
we can start anew...
with a clean slate.

Every day we live, we need what I call a "Redo".
                                    Rest
                                    Exercise
                                    Diet
                                    One-on-one time with God

I believe the one-on-one time with God to be of utmost importance.
I also believe it can be incorporated into the other three...
while we are resting,
while we are exercising,
and during mealtimes.

We live in busy times.
We think we don't have time to take care of our bodies...
those temples in which the Holy Spirit dwells.
We think we don't have time to nourish our souls.
I believe we do.
I believe we must.

Getting enough sleep is important.
So is getting enough rest.
We need time to unwind..
every, single day.
While resting,
instead of reaching for a novel or your favorite magazine,
why not reach for your Bible?
There is no reading...anywhere...that is more peaceful.
Nourish and nurture your soul...
that inmost part of you that craves God.
Ponder on what you read in His Word.
It will steady you when calm is replaced with chaos.

Our bodies need exercise.
We lose what we don't use.
There is nothing like a quick walk to clear the mind
and sweep out the clutter of our day.
Instead of hooking up your walkman or mp3 player,
why not listen to some One else?
Why not pray while you walk?
Talk to God.
And listen for His voice.
He will talk back to you.
He won't scream.
You can't hear Him if His still, small voice is continually being overpowered by other noise.

We all know we need a proper, balanced diet.
It is imperative that we eat right...
and on time.
Otherwise, our sugar levels will be imbalanced,
we will become irritable with those around us,
and our health will ultimately suffer.
Pray over your food.
Thank God for it before you eat.
Jesus did.
He always blessed the food before He ate or fed others.
Use those moments before mealtime to create a quiet atmosphere...
and pray to Him...
communicate with Him.
When we don't, we have missed a golden opportunity...
to connect with Him.

Worship can be incorporated into every part of our lives.
While we are cleaning,
eating,
doing laundry,
teaching our children,
shopping,
resting,
visiting others,
exercising...
whatever we do, we can do all to the glory of God.
We can keep the lines between our souls and Heaven
completely open and unobstructed at all times.
This is what it truly means to "pray without ceasing".
Even the mundane can be enriched and enhanced 
by saturating it with prayer.

However busy your life is....
however hectic your schedule...
make it a priority to take care of you.
And in the process,
make every possible moment God-soaked.

When we take care of ourselves,
spiritually, physically, and emotionally...
we are so much better prepared to take care of the others
whom God has entrusted to our care.

It doesn't have to take extra hours out of our day
to keep our relationship with God current.
It can be simplified and incorporated into
what we already do every, single day.

The Proverbs 31 woman took care of herself.
She realized the value of it,
and she implemented its wisdom.

"She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms." Verse 17

She prepares herself for the worst.
She stays in a state of preparedness, so she is not caught off-guard.
She nurtures her relationship with God.
She stays close to Him...
so that whatever happens, she is fortified to face it.
She takes care of herself and her own body.
She exercises....
not so much for her own personal glory,
but so she will have necessary stamina....
to be stronger, healthier, more capable,
and more accessible to the ones she loves to serve.

She realizes that to be what she needs to be to them,
she must take care of her own needs first.
Her arms are important.
They reach, give hugs, prepare meals, clean, comfort, and love her husband.
She must be strong, in order to be there for them.
She takes time for herself, 
so she can give quality time to the ones she loves.
She realizes that time spent resting is not wasted time.
She knows that rest is necessary and the path to renew her strength.
So, when needed, she pulls herself aside....and rests...quietly waiting on the God of her salvation.
She allows Him to restore her...
physically and spiritually...
so she is not found wanting when her family needs her.

"She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:  
her candle goeth not out by night." Verse 18

She sees herself as a daughter of God...
a masterpiece of His creation.
This doesn't make her proud...
or boastful.
but thankful...
to Him...
and confident....
in Him....
for making her who she is.
She knows He values her,
therefore she realizes that she should value herself.
She recognizes her own accomplishments.
She views herself through the lens of God and His Word,
which enables her to acknowledge her own self-worth.
She puts her all into what she does,
she cherishes the sweet sense of accomplishment after a hard day's work
and a job well-done....
and she acknowledges the value of a project she has seen through to its completion.
She perceives that what she does is of good quality,
worthwhile, and important.
She doesn't allow the opinions of others, whether critical or complimentary,
to sway or dissuade her from her God-given purpose.
She is steadfast in who she is.
She is complete and whole in the God Who created her.
She is always available.
Her candle always glows.
There is never a time that she is not there for her husband, children, and loved ones.
She doesn't give up in the hard times.
She always keeps the glow of hope alive.
The light of her relationship with God shines forth to all who are around her.
It never goes out.
Its glow gives her husband courage and instills security in the hearts of her children.
They look to her for love and a consistent flow of light,
and in her they always find what they seek and what they need to keep going.

"She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple."
Verse 22

She cares about her home.
She makes it as beautiful and pleasing and inviting...
as her means will allow.
She realizes the worth of creating an atmosphere of peace,
and tranquility...
a place for her husband and children to take refuge...
and feel a sense of relief.
She knows the world outside is cold,
and home should be warm.
She cares about the details.
She is in tune with her husband's wants and preferences.
She tries her utmost to please him.
To make his home a place he looks forward to coming back to.
The word "tapestry" here literally means,
"cloth for hangings and bed covers, covered with ornamental needlework".
She puts great effort into making sure the bedroom she and her husband share
is presentable, attractive, clean, neat, tidy, uncluttered....
and a desirable place to be.
She takes pleasure in using her hands to create things that
decorate and accentuate the beauty of her home.
Could it be that our Proverbs 31 woman loved quilts,
dainty linens,
pretty curtains,
and things that are homespun....
as much as we do?
Absolutely.
Without question.
She enjoyed and took great delight in making her home comfortable,
inviting,
warm,
welcoming,
and beautiful.
She is wise enough to know that even without financial abundance
she can use what she has on hand to make things as beautiful and pleasing as possible.
She makes no excuse for uncleanness
and maintains order and beauty in every aspect of the home.

The second part of this verse lets us know that the virtuous woman
takes care of not only her home, but also her own appearance.
She is neat and clean and presentable.
She is covered.
She is not immodest,
nor does she exude a persona that suggests cheapened womanhood or immorality.
Her clothing does not reveal,
but rather conceals.
She realizes that certain parts of her womanhood should be shared only with her husband.
She does not dress to attract or excite the lust of men.
She is noble...and faithful to her husband in every sense of the word.
"Silk" in this verse means "fine linen".
It is thick enough to adequately cover her body
and to keep her sufficiently warm.
"Purple" was a color that denoted royalty in Bible times...
a queen-like, regal color.
The virtuous woman acknowledges and respects her place....
as the queen of her home.
Her home is her castle.
She is gracious.
She carries herself with dignity.
She holds her head high and exudes an inner strength.
She has enough self-respect to take care of her own body.
She appreciates beauty...
and the multi-faceted, glorious colors God created.
She realizes that the image she portrays...
both in her personal appearance...
and in her home...
 is a direct reflection upon her husband,
and she honors him enough to put her best foot...
and effort...
 forward.

The more I learn about the woman described in Proverbs 31,
the more I understand why I harbor certain desires....
why my heart bends the direction it does....
why I long for the things I do.

God gave us these womanly desires.
He created us.
He made us the creatures we are.
He instilled our feminine nature.
We are fulfilled as we seek to follow our natural,
God-given instincts.

Maybe that is why I felt so good inside the other day
when I pulled the last stitch through the quilt
Aunt Joyce has been helping me make.
She taught me the pattern,
was kind enough to rip out a part I did wrong...
correct my error....
then put the back on it for me.
I have added the finishing touches...
and now it is done.

It is not perfect, by any stretch....
my part, at least....
but it is complete....
and very warm.
The flaws and imperfections just add to its character, I think. :)


I used one of Mom's blankets for the filling
instead of traditional quilt batting.
When I wrap up in it, 
I sense Mom's presence...
and it adds to the element of comfort.

As the temperature drops with the change of seasons,
I appreciate its warmth.

I call it my "Quilt of Many Colors".
There are pinks, purples, browns, blues, reds, blacks, and greens....
randomly...
in no particular order...
sewn together to make something useful...
and to add something lovingly-handmade to our home.


Taking proper care of ourselves...
and our homes...
making sure we do what is necessary to thrive,
and placing our desires and energy into the parts of our lives
that matter the most 
will bring the much-desired sense of peace we all crave.

The Proverbs 31 woman was a lady...
in every sense of the word.
She had learned that true happiness and a deep fulfillment comes
from doing what is right.
She was a living and breathing pattern
of nobility and grace.

I believe it is worth every stitch of effort we make
to follow the admirable example she left behind.

Don't you?

14 comments:

  1. Thank you for this beautiful post. I love reading about being a virtuous wife. I followed you over from Proverbs 31 Wife today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love studying and reading about being a virtuous wife, too. I got so much good out of dissecting it and analyzing it. I don't feel like I ever skimmed the surface, even after I was finished! The Word of God is so deep and profound and His ways are past finding out! I am so happy you came by and left encouragement behind. God's peace be with you, my dear friend! Love, Cheryl

      Delete
  2. We are currently working just to survive... but also to figure out a way to allow me to offer lactation services from home (I sat for my IBCLC this summer and should know my results by the end of this month! The sad thing is I know I won't get the results until the last couple of days of October but I check their website daily anyway! LOL) so that I can be home full time with the kids. Until then, at least I have managed to get my schedule to the point where I only work weekend nights and get to be home with them to homeschool all week long. (It will be nice once I can make it to church more regularly, too, I really, really miss that.) Thank you for reminding me so beautifully what it is really all about!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You brought me to tears and blessed me so much by stopping by here! I will be praying that God will bless your every effort to stay home with your precious children and that you will be able to attend church more regularly, too. God placed those desires within you, and He is more than able to give you those desires and make them a reality. I pray your IBCLC results come back exactly the way you want them to, & may you see God's hand clearing the path to where you long to be. How wonderful that you can stay home and homeschool now. You are getting there, and this will all work out. With God all things are possible! You will be in my prayers, and if you get a chance to stop back by to let me know when the victory comes, I will be most grateful! Thank you ever so much for your encouraging words and for sharing your story with me and others. God's peace be with you always, Cheryl

      Delete
  3. This was a lovely interpretation of scripture. You've inspired me to get up and get moving this morning!
    Laura
    Harvest Lane Cottage

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Laura! You inspire me so often, as well. So thankful for your sweet encouragement today! Love, Cheryl

      Delete
  4. I have been neglecting myself - physically, emotionally, and spiritually - lately. Unfortunately, not only have these taken a toll on my body, but also on those around me. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of taking care of myself, especially spending time in the Word and in prayer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bless your dear heart! I surely know what you mean. I think we tend to put ourselves on the back burner, and we convince ourselves that our needs are unimportant. God is so faithful! I am so happy you stopped by. You blessed my day! Love, Cheryl

      Delete
  5. Beautiful words and the quilt is beautiful.

    Thanks for linking up with Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jenifer! Thanks so much for stopping by and for providing the link-up! You are a blessing, my friend. Love, Cheryl

      Delete
  6. Thank you for sharing here with at "Tell Me a Story" your lovely study on how to BE the woman, wife, mother that God is pleased for us to be. WOW, I fall short at time (many times) but God is still working on me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean...I fall so short, too! Thank God for His amazing grace! And how blessed we are that He never gives up on us. :) Thank you for stopping by today! Love, Cheryl

      Delete
  7. What a beautiful quilt and wise post! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words and for stopping by! So happy to have met you today. Love, Cheryl

      Delete