"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hard & Helpful Words

I just read this post from Nancy Wilson, the wife of Douglas Wilson, one of the founders of the college our son attends, and I just have to share it.

Heart-tenderizing Words
Published by Nancy Ann on July 26, 2011 in Mothering. 25 Comments One day when I was feeling particularly like homemaking and child-rearing were exercises in futility, I called my mother-in-law to get a little pep talk. She had married Jim when she was 33 and he was 26, and her first of four children (my husband) was born when she was 34. Before her marriage, she had spent several years on the mission field, and she was a first-rate Bible teacher. So I called her up and told her how I felt that morning: like each day I grabbed my shovel to start moving the pile and by evening it was still there, maybe even higher and bigger.

So I was expecting a nice little word that would cheer me up. I was expecting a little sympathy. But here’s what I got instead. She told me about a missionary who was imprisoned for his faith and hung upside down in a cave. His wife had to bring him food and feed him in that condition. She brought him his books so he could continue to study while he was hanging there. Hmmm. I certainly did not have it that bad, not even on the worst laundry days. You can imagine, that was not what I was expecting to hear. I remember reacting a little bit on the inside. “Oh come on! That’s not relevant to my situation! See if I call you next time I need a little cheering up!”

She also reminded me that I had three in my congregation, three in my little Bible school at home. Now that was a new image for me. I wasn’t just running in circles. I was teaching by word and by example, every day, all day. That was both convicting and exciting for me to think about.

The unspoken message (which out of tenderness, she never would have said) was that I was having a little pity party, and I needed to get back to work with more of a vision of my calling, a renewed sense of the great potency of my calling. And a cheerful attitude. A little more gratitude. After all, my husband was standing on his own two feet. Life was not nearly as hard as I thought it was. It could be much, much harder. I needed to adjust my attitude, not my circumstances.

That was thirty years ago. If she had just patted me on the head, I doubt that I would even remember that conversation today. But I think of it often still. As her husband has said, and we have quoted often before, hard teaching makes soft hearts. Soft teaching makes hard hearts. If she had simply said, “Poor you! What a rotten life you have! You don’t need to do that. Why don’t you farm those little monsters out?” that would be soft teaching. “Take the first escape hatch! Don’t wear yourself out!” Hard teaching is about laying your life down and taking up your cross and following Jesus. Those hard words are heart-tenderizing words.

We often get this wrong. We want soft words, easy words, and not words that step on our toes or mess up our hair. Those words turn us into hard-hearted women. If you don’t believe me, look at the abortion industry. It gives women soft, easy words and creates monsters of them. Soft words can be soul-destroying.

But the hard words are the ones that get us to our knees and give us tender hearts. They remind us that God has promised us far more than we ever believe. Samuel Rutherford said that he hoped to over-hope and over-believe all his troubles. Faith gives us the will to back up and try again, full speed, to clear the hurdle. One more time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where's the Instruction Manual?: Wearing Skirts?

Here's a thought-provoking post I'd like to share.

Where's the Instruction Manual?: Wearing Skirts?

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

From The Winding Ways Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts Series #12)     "'What people won't tell you, because they can't put it into words, is that children will bring you more joy than you every suspected existed in the universe. Even when they're driving you crazy, you'll fall in love with them again and again. I've never laughed so hard or found so much beauty in simple things since becoming a mother. It's an impossible contradiction. They're frustrating and glorious. They throw your life into uproar and they teach you contentment. You'll remember every mistake you make as a parent and yet your children will love you anyway. I'll tell you something: Nothing on this earth can compare to a spontaneous, heartfelt hug from a toddler."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Musing - The Search for Wisdom & a Scripture Memory Challenge

This morning I started a Bible study guide entitled The Beauty of a Disciplined Life: 10 Studies on the Book of Proverbs by Rebecca Gates. I found it at a book sale recently. I'm not sure yet if I'll like it, but this morning's study was very insightful and much-needed. Each chapter focuses on a particular discipline covered in Proverbs, ie. wisdom, martal faithfulness, energy, quietness, speech, etc. and since I'm seeing a particular need of growing in wisdom lately, I thought this would be a help.

Today's study concentrated on chapters 1-4 of Proverbs, looking at the value of wisdom and how it is gotten. It was good to see the many synonyms or parallels to the word "wisdom," such as understanding, justice, judgment, equity, prudence, knowledge, discretion, discernment and righteousness. Wisdom is to be pursued, received, treasured, inclined to, applied, cried out for, and sought diligently. How many of us can say that we seek wisdom as we ought and as Proverbs tells us to? Hmmm.

Some of the benefits of attaining wisdom are:
*long, peaceful life
*respected by God and man
*clear direction
*strength and health
*having plenty
*safety, confidence and security
*confidence in God and His ability to keep us from falling

Wisdom also helps us avoid pain such as:
*the opposites of all the benefits
*being cut off from the earth
*being cursed by God
*being scorned

So, how is wisdom attained? According to Psalm 119:97-112, it's by learning, meditating on and keeping God's words. I shamefully admit that that has not been a very high priority lately. We've been kinda hit and miss in our family worship time and my own delighting in the law of God has also been hit and miss. So, today that changes. I hope to begin memorizing Scripture more consistently with the girls and would like to challenge you to join us.

This week I want to start with Psalm 103:1-5 because, although there are many wonderful Scriptures to learn to help us walk the walk, I want to start by focusing on who God is and how to praise Him and talk of His wondrous works. Want to join us?

Because He is so patient, I

Friday, July 15, 2011

What We're Reading

Just in case anyone is in need of some light and fun summer reading, I'm here to tell you about Once Upon a Marigold and its sequel Twice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris. One of the things we liked most about the first book was one of the main characters, Ed, who says such crazy things as "You've buttered your bread, now you must lie in it." The story is fun, too, being a non-typical, yet somewhat predictable princess love story.

We've only just begun the second book, but it already has its share of laughs and interesting predicaments. We're all enjoying it in between trips to the summer art classes, swimming in the river, having church fellowship gatherings, finishing a belated graduation quilt, perusing the library shelves, gardening and thrilling to summer lightening storms. Give them a try!