“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience: the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, home-makers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
Titus 2 has always been a favorite passage for me. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE any opportunity I get to receive from women preceding me in life. There have been many influential voices that have taken the time to speak wisdom and encouragement to me. Today I wanted to share a few of the treasures that have been spoken into my life over this past year.
LOVE MY HUSBAND
As Andy and I celebrated our 15th wedding Anniversary this year, I received this text from a friend a few days later.
It was so timely. No one knows me better than Andy and he is the person that I am most comfortable being around. That’s because I can be completely myself with him. He has had the pleasure of experiencing the good, the bad, and the not so good. 🙂
So often I forget the character qualities he possesses that made me fall in love with him, and instead I criticize and get caught up in the frustrations that come from knowing someone completely.
As I read this text, it was one of those moments. I was frustrated and upset because he hadn’t met my expectation about how he should respond in a particular situation. Reading these words was extremely convicting because who am I to criticize him, when I mess up too? I fail, he fails…because we are not perfect. But, as these wise words reminded me, I need to focus on those qualities I saw in Andy many years ago, that I still see in him. It certainly changes my perspective and brings much more joy to our marriage. Because at the end of the day, I still feel so blessed that he chose me.
Every summer I tend to do the same thing. We are enjoying lazy days, playing, hanging out with friends, eating ice cream! So as I sit down to begin planning for our next school year my mantra becomes “I can do anything!”
During our previous school year I had once again been much too ambitious as I spent hours and days planning out what I believed would be our best school year yet!
Much of this trickled down from my time spent at the statewide homeschool convention I had attended that spring. I enjoyed three days, kid-less, listening to encouraging speakers share about how they have been there and done that, walking through the curriculum booths dreaming about all of the interesting new material I could introduce that year…oh, and did I mention, lounging by the pool? I was relaxed with no demands on my time and I was being refreshed by beloved time with fellow homeschool moms. So I began to plan.
I forgot the realities of coming home to a 2 and a 3 year old who desire and need much of my time. Then there are the two older boys who are not quite as enthusiastic about summer ending and school beginning so that they can dig into and experience my new and exciting master plan.
About a month into school I was drained! As I sat down with a veteran homeschool mom and shared with her she quietly said, “I think you’re doing too much.” I realized it was time to simplify. I needed that friend who was willing to gently say, “BACK OFF!” I went home and re-evaluated what was really necessary, beneficial and realistic during that stage of our life. The joy that came from simplifying created an atmosphere that was enjoyable instead of unpleasant.
IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW
Last month when I arrived for my hair appointment there was an older, southern lady who was finishing with her appointment. She was lovely! That is the only word I can think of to describe her. I have a feeling that everyone she comes into contact with leaves feeling they are her new best friend. As her appointment ended and mine began we struck up a conversation and we discovered that we were fellow believers. As soon as she made this connection she had a few things to share and she wasn’t leaving until she spoke these words. During my hair washing she came and stood beside me and told me the importance of being in the word EVERY SINGLE DAY! It was more than an encouragement, it was a plea for me to really hear the words she was saying. Over and over again, she said, “If I only knew then what I know now.” If she could go back, she told me, she would have been in her Bible so much more. She wishes she had understood the treasure that her Bible was and had taken the time to make the reading of the scriptures a priority. As she left I had two thoughts.
Don’t ever let myself believe that I am too busy to read my Bible. Even if it is only one verse.
Be bold for Christ and share with anyone who will listen about the importance of time with Him.
STONES OF REMEMBRANCE
Recently I was reconnected with a woman who I used to work with when I taught at a Christian school. I remember even now her sincere prayers for others, her Christ-like love that was evident to all, and her depth and love of the Bible as she led Bible studies and shared with others.
I was overjoyed to get the opportunity to visit with her.
I can’t remember ever walking away from time with this wise woman without gaining a biblical encouragement that I could apply to my life.
During this particular conversation I was catching her up on where my life has led and we began talking about homeschooling. In that moment she shared how I should treasure these days. She then told me 3 specific actions that I could implement at home. Don’t you love when people are specific? She could have just told me to treasure the days and enjoy my kids, which is something I still need to hear, but this night I walked away receiving wise counsel from one of the godliest women I know.
One of the things she shared was to create a place to write Stones of Remembrance. Throughout the Old Testament we see stories of how God has worked in a situation or spoken to someone and they built an altar to remember and to praise Him.
I immediately thought how we would need to look for the big ways that God would show us answered prayers, but before I said anything she said, “grab a piece of paper and tack it up on your bulletin board and as someone conquers a challenging school assignment write it down, when you have a morning filled with positive attitudes, write it down. Write down anything that demonstrated God’s goodness and faithfulness.”
It has been a wonderful addition to our home. We haven’t been consistent with it, but our Stones of Remembrance book is remaining out on a table so that it will jog my mind to record these moments. How encouraging it will be to reflect on these, especially on the hard days.
Today we got to write about how my child who really struggled with his math last week grasped a new concept and was diligent working on his problems with a wonderful attitude. Not only is that an answer to prayer, but now I know that we will be able to look back on that as other struggles arise and remember our answer to prayer.
Do you have someone who comes to mind who is “sound in faith” as Titus says? Someone willing to speak into your life? Reach out to them. Let them know that you are open to hear!
The women I have received from I trust, because at the end of the day they always point me towards the Bible, to scripture, to what God says. Even if they aren’t giving me a scripture reference, their words are “sound doctrine“.
Do you not have anyone in your life right now that is “sound in their faith“, who you can trust to be a “teacher of good things“? Open a Bible. It is filled with those who have walked ahead of us. At times we will get just a glimpse into someone’s life, and other times we will gain the full story. As I’ve been in the Old Testament this new year I have gained so much by reading the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. I’ve followed along as they walked with the Lord, made poor choices, sinned, repented, received restoration and blessings. Their lives have been an example to me in many ways and my eyes have been opened to truths I hadn’t seen before. That’s part of the reason the Bible draws me in.
The Word is LIVING as Hebrews 4:12 tells us. As I read God’s letter to us, I marvel at how in different phases, and in different stages of my life His Word will minister to me in a way I hadn’t understood before. Little by little I understand more and more of His story.
I am excited that in a few weeks our church is hosting a Women’s Brunch.
The topic? Mentorship! I can’t wait to hear what the speaker will share.
If you are local I hope you will consider attending. When I heard about this event I immediately put it on my calendar. I know the blessing of mentorship. I have experienced it time and time again and I am so grateful for those wise and mature Christian ladies who have been willing to speak words into my life that have truly changed how I live.
If you are interested in getting more information about the brunch click on the link below.