Do you pray on the first day of the year, prayers for the wellbeing and growth of your family and self? Just after dawn on this new years day, hubby and I went for our early morning swim in the pool, and in the quiet stillness which surrounded us, we prayed together for our marriage, our individual lives and spiritual walk, and for our family whom we love deeply.
My prayer for you, such faithful and encouraging visitors and friends to my blog, is that this new year is bountiful in the things which matter most to God, and that you are able to shake off the unnecessary burdens of the past and look with hope and confidence to what lies ahead as the Father leads you in the way that you should go. Trust Him, learn from Him, hope in Him, study the Word and hold it steadfastly in your heart and mind. May His Holy Spirit fill you, lead you, guide you, correct you, and draw you closer to Christ each and every day of 2023. xxx
This month we're stitching block 3 of a sixteen-part quilt project, "The Virtuous Wife". If you've only just joined in you will find the first two blocks HERE. Each block is free throughout the duration of the project.
"The Virtuous Wife" runs over fourteen months, with a double pattern shared in two of those months. The requirements for the quilt are included with the monthly patterns.
Use the link below to download block 3...
The pattern this month features Proverbs 31:12-13, and if you read the study last month for verse 11, you'll see that verse 12 dovetails right in with it.
"The heart of her husband safely trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. (read my thoughts on verse 11 HERE). She does him good and not harm all the days of her life."
Many years ago, the Lord impressed on my mind the importance of living out verses 11 and 12 in my marriage every day. He made such a point of this that I have never forgotten and they became my 'life promise' as a wife.
Do I ever fail in living them out? Of course. My humanity and selfish nature will always rise up and want to have my own way or choose my own path...but the Lord is faithful, and whom He calls, He enables. When I surrender to God's Word, which is perfect in every way, and follow His teaching, abiding in His Holy Spirit prompting, I am able to rise above my selfish nature and choose what is best for our marriage. Even this past week as I was preparing to share this block and study, I was challenged more than I have been in a long time...but I chose to soak myself in the Word, in prayer, and in song. My attitude softened, my nature became meek once more, and I gave thanks over and over for all the goodness my husband has shown towards me these past thirty-one years. In doing this I allowed the Holy Spirit to take over, to correct me, and to 'set my mind on things above' (Colossians 3:2) instead of succumbing to an earthly selfish response.
In verse 12, the Word calls me to do my husband GOOD. The word 'good' in the original Hebrew is 'towb' (pronounced tobe) and has a wide range of expressions, so let me expand on how we might read this passage if we could encompass many more of the 'towb' meanings instead of our single English translation 'good'.
"She does him good - beautifully, bountifully, cheerfully, gives him ease, favour, glad, graciously, joyfully, kindly, lovingly, merrily, pleasantly, prosperously, and sweetly - all the days of her life."
Isn't that simply beautiful!? We could even pray for all those attributes to be increased in our hearts and evidenced in our relationship with our husbands. I will definitely be praying this!
The second part of this month's block is verse 13, and the key component I'd like to focus on is how this woman works 'willingly' with her hands.
The word willingly in Hebrew is 'chephets' (pronounced khay-fets) and speaks of delight, pleasure, desire, purposeful and willing. So let's read this verse in it's fullness...
"She seeks wool and flax, and works willingly - with delight, pleasure, desire, and purpose - with her hands."
There's real joy in this verse. It's not describing a complaining, discontented, whining wife who nags all the time (Proverbs 21:19) - it's describing a woman who gives and receives great pleasure in her homemaking, and in response she becomes a woman whose husband considers her worth far more precious than jewels (read more about that HERE).
This year I aim to enjoy my homemaking far more than I did this past year, giving thanks to God daily for the gift of being a wife, for having a home to care for, for experiencing the privilege and honour of being a woman and doing things which are specifically mine to oversee, things my husband gladly trusts me to oversee...and all will contribute to what I am instructed in this verse - doing my husband good and not harm all the days of my life.
Love to hear your own thoughts. I do realise we all have different life circumstances, relationships, responsibilities and beliefs, and just as I never want to compare myself to another wife, I encourage you to never compare yourself to another either. This is why it's so important to see God in all things, check if what you're doing lines up with His Word, and be open to His counsel always. I cannot count the hundreds of times the Holy Spirit has needed to correct my path, attitudes and responses. Praise God that He loves me so much that He never leaves me the same! :-)
I am a pilgrim still on the journey to live out the Word of God in heart, mind, strength, actions and spirit, so I expect to make mistakes, to act at times according to my selfish human nature, but more than anything I desire Him to step in every time I go off course and draw me out of myself and into His amazing grace so that I can repent and get my heart right again.
I know this can almost seem a rather heavy post for the first one of 2023, but we live in darkening times, where Christians are being pulled away from truth more easily than I can ever remember, so it's my hope that together we can look at the Word as truth, and live it out, even when the world (and other believers) mock us. Sisters-in-Christ, we are called to please ADONAI our God, and not man, and our Lord and Saviour Jesus has shown us the way by His own example. Let's be brave and faithful.
God bless you so very much,