I don’t know what changes will be on my horizon for this next year, but I do know one thing: There will be changes! As much as we might try to say, “NOW my life is perfect. God, can I just stay right here?” that is unlikely to happen.
She’s that illustrious goddess of domesticity. Her husband is crazy about her, the kids adore her, she is business-savvy, Martha Stewart, Paula Dean, Mother Theresa and Jackie Kennedy all rolled into one. The epitome of poise, her house beautifully decorated, her table laden with healthy and delicious foods, her family’s needs all met, and her entrepreneurial spirit bringing in a little extra cash. At least, that’s how we usually picture the Proverbs 31 woman.
The air was a bit close in the room where they all sat, stuffed around a low table, relaxing as the meal came to a close. The candlelight flickered off the walls of the little abode, and the conversation has dropped to a low murmur. The door hesitatingly creaked open, and a small woman slipped in, carrying a vessel in her hands. Eyes followed her movement across the room, past the men, and to the head of the table. She was intruding in a man’s world, this small woman with her small box.
I’ve been thinking about the two-fold meaning in the verse, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23)
Down through Bible history, we find women who waited. Should we think it strange when we have to wait for what God has for us?
It was Corrie ten Boom that said, “God has no problems, only plans.” How wise for us to remember, as His much-loved children, that what we perceive as problems, pains, trials, and temptations, are merely God rearranging events to fit His plan, orchestrating lessons for us in the school of faith.
When we use the word ‘hope’ today, we usually mean that we ‘wish very hard’ for something to happen, although you might have varying degrees of intensity to your wishing. “I hope it doesn’t rain.” “I hope they put chicken on sale.” “I hope to get married one day.” The Bible use of the word ‘hope’, however, is vastly different.
Armed with her GPS, her glovebox stuffed with backup maps, and a full tank of gas, Sheila headed for the turnpike. “Ah, I love road trips!” she said, windows down to the spring breeze and her favorite artists singing through the stereo. Entrance ramps ahead, she glanced in her mirror and changed lanes. “WAIT! Where am I going?” she thought.
The wind shakes my windows
Startles my focus
Makes my heart shiver…
And thus begins February, the month of love. Chocolates, flowers, hearts, everything pink and glittery and romantic – all pointing to one particular holiday that some of my friends like to call “Single Awareness Day.” Perhaps the most depressing day of the year for a single girl, one might feel like all the married people are taunting with their relationship status. Every decoration, every bunch of roses, every couple with starry gazes just reminds you that you are yet single and unattached. There’s no one to send you chocolates and flowers.
The whole family is gathered together. Twinkling lights reflect in children’s eyes as they gather around and Grandpa reads the Christmas story. There is hot apple cider to sip and fresh cookies to munch. Then the fun begins – it’s gift time! The gifts are distributed, and soon it is your turn. You open a soft, lumpy package from your Great Aunt Martha. It’s a… sweater! Yes, a sweater in a color that you despise, in that odd 90’s style that is definitely not modern, but not yet vintage, and hence, a style you would not be caught dead in. Worst of all, there are rabbits embroidered around the bottom edge. Too kitschy, too outdated, too childish, too UGLY. Now what happens?
She lived a simple life. She wasn’t flamboyant; she wasn’t boisterous. She loved a good man, and their modest plans for a life together filled her waking moments. She had a happy past, a joyful present and a bright future.
And then her life was turned upside down.
I think one of the hardest things that a single woman struggles with is the whole issue of security. It is a many-faceted problem, and one that we often think would be solved by getting married. “If only I had a husband, then I would have someone to take care of me, someone to share my burdens. If only I was married, I would have financial security, a place to live, someone to love me unconditionally, and someone else to just be in charge and make the decisions for me!”
In John chapter 5, we read of another miracle of Jesus Christ. The setting was the pool of Bethesda, a place of miracles as an angel came at a certain season to trouble the water which would heal the person who first jumped into the pool. As one could imagine, the area was always crowded with all sorts of infirm folks, waiting for that troubling of the water. Jesus came by one day and in His infinite wisdom and knowledge of all hearts, spoke to one man in particular.
“But he promised,” she whispered. “I know he’s going to come.”
There are few things as sweet as a little girl’s trust in her loving father. When she has a daddy who has cared for her and is extra careful to always tell the truth and always keep his promises, in her mind, there is nothing her daddy cannot do. She doesn’t understand that even fathers have limitations. He might make a promise, and circumstances out of his control would prevent him from keeping that promise, no matter how he tried. That is the limitation of being only human.
Have you ever felt like some looming circumstance was preventing you from doing what God wanted you to do? Have you ever felt second-rate, just because you didn’t have a marital status? Have you ever wondered how you can be an influence when you don’t have a child? Have you ever felt you couldn’t be a witness when you don’t have a secular workplace?
“All I want is to feel safe and secure.”
Have you ever heard that before? Have you ever said that before? We value our security; as Americans we pride ourselves in it. Security can be found in independence (I can meet all my own needs) and it is also found in dependence (I will trust this person to meet all my needs). I think, as women in particular, we value our security in life (knowing that everything is going to work out okay in the end). But what exactly is security and how does it relate to my relationship with God?
Do you have a favorite verse that depicts the Christmas season? I have one verse that has been coming to mind as we’ve been preparing for this December. It’s not very typically quoted as a Christmas verse, but it was the one that the Lord has been bringing back to my mind. Perhaps a deeper study would be in order!
In every turn of the day, I can sense Him there, waiting. Waiting for me. I busy myself, doing those things I know I should do. He stands off in the shadows, patient. I hurry to the next thing, anxious to move in and accomplish. He must sometimes sigh when I push Him off once again, deeming those other things more important.
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