Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Week 3--Keeping it Together

I am going to entitle this post—IRONY.

The Tuesday before last, I posted an audio file and then in my written post, I espoused how Martha could not have been so busy for Jesus that she did know him, when in fact, she did have a relationship with him. I encouraged you, and myself, that busy was ok, if in fact, we still took time out to get into relationship with the Lord on a regular basis.

Our Proverbs 31 verses were:

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

In other words, the Honorable woman is one who plans for her household, and keeps it in order. This woman gets up before the crack of dawn—she is busy. But, we know she is honorable because she kept close to God.

OK…for two weeks I failed this lesson. Thus, you received no new material. Not because I didn’t have new material and study notes and all that. No, you received no new material because life got so hectic in my household, that plans went awry and time flew by. I’ve often heard respected women of the word say that they would have allowed their house to fall in—walls and all—before they will give up their quiet time with Jesus. I used to strive to get there. Of course, we believe that is the “thing” we as good Christian woman ought to have—at least 30 minutes at the crack of dawn with just Jesus and me.

Ladies, I, honestly, could not find two seconds to brush my teeth good, let alone 30 minutes in quiet, meditative prayer. The cool thing about this medium (online journaling and communications) is that I cant fudge my interaction. I can not tell you that everything is wonderful in a book that will be edited mercilessly and published a year from now. Nope. If I don’t write it, it doesn’t happen. And when life got hectic, nothing got written. I was Martha of Luke 10, and not without GREAT REASON. I mean, my reasons in a nutshell are (listed in no particular order): 1)son 1 2) son 2 and 3) son 3. Since my husband had been traveling for the last two weeks, I won’t add him to the list. But, as I’ve stated before, I also work, and do all the things that most of you out there do: clean toilets, find missing socks, and fill the dishwasher—all at the same time.

So, quiet time was out.. Although, really, we need to incorporate this in our lives the best way we can, as regularly as we can, I needed him with me 24 hours a day for the past two weeks. I needed him while I am brushing my teeth and thinking about my day. I needed him while I was putting two kids on the bus, and feeding the third. I needed him when I fell asleep on the couch with the baby son sleeping peacefully in my arms, while probability worksheets are in my hands in order to study with another and the third reading Little Critter aloud. (BTW—there’s nothing scarier than being tapped on the shoulder by one of your children.) I needed him when I walked into work, and I forgot my laptops at home, 45 minutes away. Finally, I needed him very badly as I put the alarm on each night, and crashed into an ocean exhaustion. (The baby began sleeping through the night during these weeks.)

Quiet time was out…but I needed him more than ever—and, I needed him with conviction. Martha needed Jesus to live not quietly with her, in her heart. No, she needed him out loud, every minute of every day. Martha did not live a quiet life. I don’t live a quiet life. I need Jesus to live out loud with me. I trust him to tell me when I need to sit down and be quiet. “Peace,” He says.

We want our lives to be quiet and peaceful and orderly, but life is messy and complicated and dirty. I would love to sit here and tell you, as many do, that with Jesus you find that life. But, you don’t. Life does not change with Jesus. It is still messy and complicated and dirty. But, what does change is our perspective—and our patience! We do gain the insight and the inner strength to be able to endure the marathon that we are running as mothers in modern society. God does not call us to be anything different that we are: complexly, motivated, nurturing women. What He does expect is balance, patience, love and mercy in spite of our busy-ness. The ironic thing is, those things only come with communing with the Living Christ,

Ephesians 5:8-10 (Amplified Bible)

8For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light].

9For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or [a]the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life.

10And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him].

Ephesians 5 (Amplified Bible)

22But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

23Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[a]that can bring a charge].

So, although I stick by my original analysis of Martha, I can so relate to it better now. When Jesus came into town after Lazarus, Martha’s brother had passed, she runs out to Him. She tells him basically, “Lord, I don’t know what you are going to do, but I know you are going to do something.” As I said before, I believe she does that because she has spent time with Him. She knows Him.

Inasmuch, finally, I threw my hands up in surrender at all the things that have been going awry in my life. I simply said, “Lord, I know you…”

I’ve learned the appreciate the quiet, peace of the 5 minutes taking off my makeup in front of the mirror after putting the last child to sleep. I’ve learned to appreciate the quiet, crack of dawn, cup of coffee, or the quiet 45 minute ride to work. I’ve started taking 20 minutes at work to close off the world, and sit quietly. These snatches of time may not be ideal for our Christian Leaders…but you know what, it is practical for me. And, I might add, Jesus says back to me, “He who believes in me, He shall never die,” just as he did to Martha. Well, I believe—and my Grandmother, whose wisdom is second only to Jesus, said, that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. So, between these two sayings, I might be the mighty warrior Deborah leading my troops into battle, only to end the day with a song of thanksgiving to my Lord.

So, I am back. I am back on schedule. I am back on task. And, most importantly, I am back with a resounding, “I know Him…” in a better way. I would apologize for my absence, but I know you understand.

Interestingly enough, the next two weeks we study the verse:

16 She considers a field and buys it
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

And, I again, I say, I love the bible! Why do we spend so much time planning our households? Why do we endure the struggle to keep it all together? We do it to set a good foundation for our family. We do it to leave a good heritage when we are no longer here. Verse 16 of Proverbs 31 is often talked about as the “working mother’s” biblical justification. Ok. But, I argue that this verse packs a more powerful punch. This woman is considering the legacy she is leaving her children, as she considers the field. This evening we will discuss the Daughters of Zelophehad, Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah in Numbers. We will also discuss Lydia of Acts. We will discuss our vineyards, and the importance of considering the one we are planting—the fruit we intend to harvest.

Again, it is great to be back, Ladies. I can’t wait until tonight.

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