Birthmothers: Christmas & Loss

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What’s new?

Well thanks for asking! I have not posted to here for awhile because I have been doing writing for other people. But I think it’s time to start paying attention to this place as well.

My husband had an accident and subsequent hip replacement in the earlier part of this year. So many opportunities for growth through that trial! I hope that I can get them into blog format before they fade away.

I am continuing to write at weekly or almost weekly.

I have also started writing for a couple of times a month. That has been very fun and a very new experience. It is really stretching me and I enjoy working with such a positive community.

So that’s what’s new on my end. I am working hard to update this site to make it useful again so stay tuned!

Aptly Spoken Words, Proverbs 25

Today we get going right out of the gate. Verse 2 reads:

  • It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is theory of kings.

My notes say that God gets the glory because his ways are too high for us to understand and we cannot possibly fathom his intent or his plan. A king, however, is able to rule more justly when he can rightly discern what the real issues are.

Verses 21 and 22 give us a picture of how to overcome evil with good:

  • If you enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

How hard is it for me to even be nice to someone when they have wronged me? This passage goes far beyond nice, however. This takes nice to a whole new level.   And I’ll bet the writer meant for us to do it with a non-judgemental, non-sarcastic attitude too.

Finally the last verse gives us a picture of self-control. Sometimes I think this is a hard concept to grasp, especially as a mommy trying to teach her children. While this exact picture may not help them, it gives me ideas for teaching them. Verse 28 says:

  • Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.


Wisdom and the Bandit

Today we continue looking at the ways wisdom impacts our lives. Remember that according to this book, wisdom is supreme. Let’s start in verse 3:

  • By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

I know as a wife and mother  want a home that is established, that is built to last. And while I love to shop and find beautiful things, I think this passage is talking about different kinds of things. The treasure my children make for me at school or on their own are definitely one-of-a-kind, which makes them rare. The trinkets and memories of spending life together make those things beautiful to no one else outside of our family.

Consider verse 14:

  • Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

I don’t know about you, but I want a future hope. Some days the hope of a better day, a better life is what keeps going. Remembering that this is not all there is helps me cope with the here and now.

Here’s one of my other favorites in this chapter. Verse 19 and 20 say:

  • Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

Did you catch that? The very hope that keeps the wise woman going can be taken away from the foolish one. I also like this verse because far too often it feels like the evil and wicked are the successful ones. I often come back to this verse to remind myself that life here on earth is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I need to stay focused on the big picture.

Finally, another saying of the wise:

  • 30-34 I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgement; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed a learned a lesson from what I saw:  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

This life is work. There are no shortcuts. And while this passage paints a vivid picture of financial poverty, there are other kinds. Physical, emotional, spiritual. We have to be intentional in these areas. Just as our yards and our flowerbeds need to be mowed and weeded, we have to work at all areas of our life.

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Mind over Money, Proverbs 23

After a long break, I’m back. I hope you are enjoying our journey through this book. It’s hard to believe it’s almost over. I could keep writing about these verses forever. Every time I read it something new jumps out at me and gets my attention.
Today it’s a set of parallel verses that I’m finding so intriguing.
Verses 1-3

When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.
Verses 6-8

Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.
Hmmm… I wonder what the point is here of contrasting a rich man and a stingy man.
Neither one really gets a favorable review. My note on verse 3 says that “perhaps the meaning [of deceptive] is that the ruler wants to obligate you in some way, even to influence you to support a wicked scheme.” Then the note on verse 6, where we read about the stingy man, defines him as “one eager to get rich.”
Over and over again we have read to fear the LORD. This kind of seems to be another area where we can do that. We can trust him with our riches, our finances, our portfolio. God can be trusted to care for us. From these two examples we see that a ruler uses his money to influence people, maybe not always in a good way. And we see that a stingy man is eager to get rich and maybe eager to impress on the outside, but his heart is not right with God.
We know from reading that monetary riches don’t matter, but our attitude about those riches does. I hate money, personally. I know it’s necessary, but money makes people do stupid things like lose sight of what’s really important.
Is a big house and a fancy car really more important than spending time with your children and your family? I really don’t think so. Children grow up so fast and our time to influence them is so short that we can’t afford to be distracted.
What is your attitude toward money today?

A Good Name, Proverbs 22

It’s interesting reading the Bible regularly. Just saying that makes me sound like some kind of religious fanatic, I know. But reading it each day is what keeps me grounded. And focused. It’s so easy for me to lose that.

This life is so full of distracting, shiney, pretty things that it’s easy to start looking at those things instead of looking at God. I find that if I will take a few minutes every day to read a small part of the Bible, something about those words sink all the way to my soul and keep me on the right path for another day.

In verse 1 of this chapter we read:

  • A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Let me point out that this is contrary to what we see on tv or in the movies. It seems everyone is preoccupied with making a name for themselves. It used to be that everyone was looking for that ’15 minutes of fame’ that seemed to come along every so often.

But now it’s so different. People want to be famous, and they don’t really care how they get there. A video on YouTube or Facebook or another social media outlet will do the trick just fine. It doesn’t seem to matter how the reputation is gotten as long as it’s out there.

But that is so opposite of what this verse says.

Verses 24 and 25 say:

  • Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

And even though we’re not specifically talking about verse 1 anymore, this one seems to be related to it, doesn’t it?

My mom used to say to me when I was young, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your character.” I find that still holds true in my adult life. I still have to be careful who my friends are. If I shooting to be a woman of character and integrity and to have a good name and be esteemed, then I have no business hanging out regularly with women who are contrary to that.

Just some food for thought.

All a Man’s Ways, Proverbs 21

All a man’s was seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.

This verse reminds me frequently that even though I am a follower of Jesus and am considered righteous because of his death on the cross, I still live in a sinful body, in a sinful world. What that means to me is that I am not always able to see myself from God’s perspective.

  • I may think my motives are right and pure, but only God knows for sure.
  • Other people may think my motives are right and pure, but only God knows for sure.
  • Some would say I’m some kind of a saint for homeschooling our children, but only God knows the truth.

See where I’m going with this? Left to our own devices, our choices are right and

  • our grudge against our friend is ok,
  • our divorce from our spouse is fine,
  • our dabble into pornography is acceptable.

But we have to appeal to God’s higher wisdom rather than our own. We have to fully submit all of our dark places to him. It’s a painful thing when the true light of Jesus shines into a dark room of our heart where we have been storing up hatred  or resentment or a sin we thought no one knew about.

I wish I could tell you that after being a Christ follower for X number of  years, that would all go away. But the truth is the more I get to know Jesus and the closer I get to him, the more clearly I see my own faults and shortcomings.

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Deep Waters, Proverbs 20

So many of the themes in this book repeat themselves chapter after chapter in different words and paint slightly different pictures of the same thing. Which is so good for me. My thick head needs to hear these things over and over before I finally start to understand. Today is no different.

Verse 4 says:

  • A sluggard does not plow  season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.

Even though I’ve been a grown up for a few years, there are times that I will see something in my home and think to myself, “Somebody needs to do something about that.” Eventually of course it dawns on me that I am that somebody and if I don’t do anything about it, it will stay the way it is.

Verse 5 says:

  • The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters but a man of understanding draws them out.

 I have this friend who is far different from all my other friends. She has known me for many years and sometimes I think she is the only one who really gets me. From my perspective, my motives are always good, but sometimes the way I go about things is not always right. But this friend, she seems to understand that. 

The follow up verse seems to be verse 11:

  • Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.

As a believer in Jesus, others are not always going to understand or see my motives. They are going to judge me and the depth of my professed faith based on how I act, how I treat others and how I love my family.

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Zeal and Knowledge, Proverbs 19

I hope you are getting something out of my ramblings. This has been a lot of fun for me, and a good test of consistency. Even though these aren’t posting every day, I have only missed six days of blogging this month, usually on the weekends. That’s more than I’ve ever done!

So today there’s lots more to talk about. Verse 2 says:

  • It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

How many times have I let my zeal get ahead of me? I can remember new jobs where I was so excited to jump in that I didn’t take the time to thoroughly understand the goals. Or road trips where I was anxious to be in charge and prove my navigational skills,  yet I had not idea where we were going. That’s what this verse is talking about. Zeal is excellent and important, but unless it’s coupled with knowledge it does us no good.

I love verse three because it has so described my life at different times:

  • A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD.

Oh yeah. I can remember times when I was living contrary to my professed belief in Jesus yet blamed him for the stress and strain in my life. Times I would shake my fist at the sky and blame God for bringing those things into my life. Yet it was my own self that was causing the stress.

Finally, another verse on disciplining our children. As a mommy, I’m always looking for advice for how to discipline them now so they are successful later in life. Verse 18 says:

  • Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.

Back in 13:24 we read that he who spares the rod hates his son. My footnote on that verse says, “Parents are encouraged to apply the rod of punishment to drive out folly so that the child will not follow a path of destruction.” Wow. What’s interesting is that parents who give their child everything they want truly believe they are loving their child. But not according to this verse. Crazy how the wisdom from the Bible is counter to what we see in society, isn’t it?

There’s always more, but that’s it for today. Have a great one!

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Strong Tower, Proverbs 18

I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life, some I regret more than others. There have been times in my life that while claiming to be a follower of Jesus, I have just been going my own way, doing my own thing. And I know during some of those times, God mourned for me, my choices, my decisions. I know he was praying for me, along with his angels. I know he was showing me kindness in hopes of drawing me back to him.

Verse 10 says:

  • The name f the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

I can remember one time in particular that I was going my own way and I caught of a glimpse of myself. You know what I mean: The reality of who I thought I was in my head versus the reality of who I really was by how I was living. It was not a pretty sight. I immediately called out to God to save me. I immediately ran to the name of the LORD. Now because I had accepted Jesus as my LORD and Savior, he saw me as righteous despite my current choices.

I begged him to save me from myself, from the ridiculousness of my own choices. While he couldn’t make me start making right choices, he loved me along the way, even when I felt the crushing weight of consequences from those choices.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t make us make good choices. But when we make a bad one, Jesus is there waiting for us, waiting to help us get back up and pick up the pieces.

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