19 January 2016

Voice of Wisdom

Biblical Womanhood

The women here at Jacob's Well have been talking about Biblical Womanhood.  We've used our retreat last April, Rooted, and the last few gatherings to discuss how we as women have the following  roles: helper, life-giver, nurturer, image-bearer, and voice of wisdom.  Tonight our focus will be on the identity of voice of wisdom.

Proverbs 8: 1-11 says
Does not wisdom call out?    Does not understanding raise her voice?At the highest point along the way,    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;beside the gate leading into the city,    at the entrance, she cries aloud:“To you, O people, I call out;    I raise my voice to all mankind.You who are simple, gain prudence;    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.[a]Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;    I open my lips to speak what is right.My mouth speaks what is true,    for my lips detest wickedness.All the words of my mouth are just;    none of them is crooked or perverse.To the discerning all of them are right;    they are upright to those who have found knowledge.10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,    knowledge rather than choice gold,11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,    and nothing you desire can compare with her.

As I thought about this voice of wisdom I thought about who in my life I look up to and admire and who do I feel are wise women.  I thought about how they are patient, calm under stress, good listeners, encouraging, thoughtful, speak with kindness, how they are disciplined and they have an inner strength that shine through.

Then I thought about myself and I said, Wow, I am a hot mess!  I don't feel like a woman who possesses this voice of wisdom!  I'm not very patient, I freak out under stress, I'd rather talk than listen, and I used to be disciplined, thoughtful, encouraging and kind, but then I had 4 kids and I don't feel I'm that kind, sweet girl anymore!

In fact I often tell my husband, "I used to be a nice person!" to which we laugh and realize just how difficult life has been the past 8 years with kids.

So maybe I am being too hard on myself but I wonder if any of you out there feel like you are a hot mess at times.  I think it is good to come together with a safe group of christian sisters and admit we all have strengths and weaknesses and that we need each other to spur each other on and share our stories, and goals and ideas with.  How do we become a woman who has a voice of wisdom?  It's simple.  We spend a whole lot of time with Jesus.  Through bible reading, and prayer, God gives us wisdom, discernment, strength, love, patience, peace, the list goes on and on. 

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.."

 The hard part about reading God's word and praying more is committing to it.  We all know we need to read the Bible more.  We all know we need to pray more, but we are just  so busy all of the time.  And if you are anything like me, squeezing in 20 extra minutes of Bible study and prayer when your life/schedule is already completely full is a huge balancing act.  But how many of you have ever regretted spending more time in the word?  Have you ever come away from a bible study or your quiet time and thought "Now that was completely a waste of time?" Nope, me neither.

For the past 8 months John and I have been mentoring/counseling a newly engaged couple.  (I used to babysit Becky Lambertson when she was little and the fact that she even asked John and I to be her mentors was a huge honor) It has been the highlight of my month.  Meeting with them on Friday nights, praying with them, sharing our love story with them has brought back so many amazing memories of 14 years ago when John and I got engaged.  It helps me to remember my love story and it is so cool to see their love story grow and unfold before our eyes.  Do you think about the time you first became a believer and miss the way you used to spend time with your Savior?  Were you on fire for the lover of your soul?  Are you on fire now?  Did you enjoy reading the Bible and praying?  How is that now?  Does it sometimes feel like a chore?  

My 8 year old daughter and I are starting to read through the bible together each day.  We are doing it chronologically so we started with Genesis and then went to Job.  We read about 3-4 chapters a day.  It will be extremely exciting next January to be able to say we read through the whole Bible.  It has brought up so many great talks between us.  She asks such great questions.  Just the other day in the car on the ride home from church she was asking us how did people in the olden days read the Bible when the Bible was first written.  John explained that it was first written on scrolls and then how many people couldn't own one because they were so expensive and precious that they would go to synagogue and memorize what the rabbi spoke since they couldn't take it home with them.  How blessed are we that we can carry our Bibles back and forth wherever we go? Many of us own several different Bibles, study Bibles, and even different translations.

We read God's word because we need him.  We pray because we love Him.  This world is so broken.  We have so many struggles.  Sin is everywhere.  We need God's perspective constantly.  We need His words to uplift us.  We need hope! We need encouragement.  We need to remember the truths that are in His Word. 

Do you eat one meal a day and then hope that that meal will last you for the next week or so?  Or do you eat everyday because your body needs the nourishment?  Of course we eat everyday!  How silly to suggest we could last on one meal for a week or so.  Same with how much we need his word and yet how often do we run on empty?  How can we expect to pour wisdom into the lives of others when we may be empty?

One of my favorite speakers, Pastor Steven Foster, who used to teach at Sayre Woods Bible Church in Old Bridge gave a wonderful illustration of how when we meet with God it is as if we are going to a special room in our home like let's say an attic or a loft.  That is our private place to read the Bible and pray and be with Him.  Well, when we get to busy to meet with God in our special place He is still there waiting for us, wanting to be with us, He isn't angry at us, He is just there, patiently waiting, loving us and willing us to draw near to Him so that we can be filled.  That time with God is so sacred because that is when God speaks to us.  He gives us the wisdom we need for the day so that we in turn can then pour out and give our absolute best to others.  Instead of being impatient He gives us the strength to be patient.  Instead of being angry, He helps us to forgive and show love.  Instead of being arrogant and bossy he humbles us and teaches us meekness.

As a mom I am constantly giving to the people in my home.  I make meals, I clean sinks, I wash the dishes, I bathe little hands and feet, I change diapers, I do laundry, I teach reading, and writing, and grammar, I pour out all day long.  I speak words into my children's lives to honor God, to be kind, to share, I speak words of affirmation my husband when he is at work.  When friends reach out to me online, on the phone I give advice, and encouragement.  How do I do this?  How do we do this day in and day out with graciousness?  How do we do this with voices of wisdom?  We can only give and pour out what God has given and taught us.  This is what inspires and encourages me to meet with God.  I want to be a woman that has a voice of wisdom.  I want my children and husband to be blessed.  I want to encourage my friends and family members.

Proverbs 9: 10-11 says The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you, if you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff you will bear it alone."

Proverbs 31: 26-30 "says she opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her; many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.  Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

All the glory goes to Jesus.  When we are that voice of wisdom we honor and glorify a God who changes us and renews us by His word.  And the outside world can tell that we are somehow different!  They can see the light in us which is really Jesus!  When we spend time with him he helps us to be more like his perfect son Jesus.  None of us are good on our own merit.  It is all because of a mighty and gracious God who is always there.  He is patiently loving and waiting for us to meet with Him.

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