Every now and then I have a “Why Me?” week. Can you relate? I had three important meetings scheduled this week and I missed each one of them. Last Saturday night I had a bad flare up of diverticulitis. In pain all night, with accompanying fever, feeling nauseated as well, I had to miss church on Sunday. I just tried to stay hydrated, but I thought, “why me?”, two words I whine whenever things don’t go as planned for me. I texted my friend, Jeff, to take the lead for me in a church committee meeting. Without hesitation he agreed, texting, “We are a team, we look after each other!…Rest…”
That’s so comforting to know that someone steps in and handles things when I’m unable to. It was a miserable day for me health wise, but at least it was a worry-free day.
Tuesday, still feeling the effects of diverticulitis, I also started to get a sore throat and the start of a cold. So, I had to miss our small group study that evening. Wednesday, I was just starting to feel a bit better tummy-wise, when a rotten cough would not abate. Between fits of coughing, I texted another committee lead at church to tell them I was not going to be able to attend. She emailed me back advising me to get better and rest. Today, my ribs hurt from coughing and I’m physically wrung out!
I have a list of to do’s, but no strength to do them. My husband takes up the slack as he does each time I have one of these “Why Me?” weeks. He tells me to rest, but usually I can’t let go of things I had planned and I get stressed out thinking about the catch-up work that still needs to happen the following week.
In our entranceway, a scripture verse hangs on the wall. A friend of mine hand-crafted the dried flower arrangement around the words she had beautiful written out in calligraphic lettering. I usually walk past the framed artwork without a glance, but this morning I stopped before it. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
This week, several well-meaning friends have told me to “rest” to get over these nagging ailments. It’s good advice. Sometimes rest is the best medicine! I’ve spent time in the Word. I’ve been quiet and contemplative, not hurried or rushed to get things done. This week of rest has given me time to read a great new book penned by a young friend of mine, “Anything But Ordinary: Finding Faith That Works When Life Doesn’t”. I highly recommend it!!
I am thankful for friends who have prayed for me, and covered for me in meetings this week! I’m still not 100%, physically, but this week of rest has been good and just what I needed!
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I honour some incredible women in my life. My two daughters, and my daughter-in-law are perfect examples of young wives and moms working inside and outside the home. The hectic days of juggling careers while raising their own children, they model what it means to be “Proverbs 31” women!
I honour “Titus” women who have raised their own families and now teach and encourage younger women. The grey hairs on their heads are well-earned! I honour their wisdom and years of devotion to the Lord!
I also honour those women who courageously walk hard roads. As you lean heavily on the Lord for daily strength, I applaud your bravery in the midst of tough circumstances!
I pray that these scripture verses will inspire women of all ages, in all walks and circumstances of life, to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. He loves you. He cares for you. He has a magnificent plan for you as you seek Him with all your heart!
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.” 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:1-4
“In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” 1 Timothy 3:11
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
“A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth.” Proverbs 11:16
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45
“Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Psalm 46: 1-5
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-8
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
“You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.“ Isaiah 62:3
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31: 10-31
I have prayed lately whenever I am in a conversation with anyone that my words soothe and heal, rather than wound and scar. It is not by accident I pray this regularly because Scripture talks of the tongue as having the capabilities to sin, to be deceitful, boastful, devise mischief, to flatter, to be wicked, break a heart, and create a poisonous wound that can fester forever.
James 3:6-10 (ESV) “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
I have been on the receiving end of a good “tongue lashing” from time to time. Admittedly, there were times as a child and a teen, I needed a good talking to. My parents had to discipline me to teach me obedience and to prevent me from making mistakes, but they never intentionally scolded or used their words to break my spirit. The words that cut and festered were oftentimes just casual comments my parents made without any idea they were actually damaging my tender heart. The fault wasn’t necessarily the words themselves but the fact I would misinterpret or completely misunderstand what my parents were trying to say to me. Like comparing my abilities to another one of my classmate’s to somehow motivate me to perform better at school. It had the opposite effect than they intended. I interpreted it as “I’m not good enough” so why try?
I understand only too well how my words have wounded as well as encouraged. I’ve spoken idle words that have hurt my kids’ tender sensibilities. My tongue has lashed out in anger, frustration and even in jest to cause unintentional scarring. Thankfully, my kids have been gracious to forgive, not sure if they will ever forget though. I just pray I have spoken more words that have healed their hearts; words that have built them up, and encouraged them that vastly outnumber those misspoken words I regret even uttering.
As I’ve matured, I would pray I’ve grown wiser with my words, but there are still times I speak out of turn, say something without thinking, put my foot in my mouth as they say. I sometimes don’t even realize the bruising impact my words have caused. I have learned that once words are spoken, good or bad, they can never be unsaid.
Scripture speaks to the damage a tongue can do, but also the fact that speaking words of encouragement, Truth, wisdom, praise and love gives life! “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23. Taming the tongue is an act of spiritually maturing. For me, it’s a daily prayer to ask that my words be the balm that heals, rather than cause the scars that fester.