Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Hands of a P31W

(Quick note before the start of this post: I haven't yet finished the section on what we can do to "do our husbands good all the days of our lives" yet. It's a bit hefty, a hard topic and I'm not sure I want to tackle it on a co-ed blog (Don't worry-it's not bad, just deep.) I'm still thinking on what I should do...but we'll see. For now, I'm moving on.)

I heard a story years and years ago. I don't remember who told it and I don't even remember the details. I just remember the point of the story, which is good. So I'll make it up and try to fill in the gaps (I'm really going to make it up cause I don't remember anything about it.). There was a group of women who were preparing themselves for the groom. A man was coming to pick a bride form among them. They all went into a frenzy and started making themselves beautiful, doing their hair and wearing fine clothes and making sure their bodies were in tip top condition, so the groom would pick them. When the day came, one lady was a little embarrassed because her hands were very beat up and she didn't have nice clothes. Her nails had little nicks on them, scrapes and her nails were different lengths. The groom came and choose his bride. All the women were anxious to hear who it would be, and to their surprise he chose the lady with the beat up hands and old clothes. "Why?" they all wanted to know. The groom explained that this woman's hands showed her character; she was not afraid of hard work and dove into it, despite what it made her look like, what it did to her reputation, or how it made her feel. Her hands showed that she was a woman who sacrificed her own comfort to suit others' needs. They held more promise than any nail design or latest fashion.
Proverbs 31:13 "She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands."
 This verse says so much about the P31W. If we want to be one, this is a great place to start - being a servant and working hard. It is so hard to put aside every one of my desires and needs to serve other people - especially when no one notices.

I'll admit it, I can be pretty selfish. There have been so many times when I have let something go unfinished or undone in hopes that someone else will take care of it. Or times when I haven't extended the emotional care/comfort that someone needs in a time of trouble. Or when I wasn't a friend when I should have been. Or when I should have done the dishes for mom, but chose to do my own thing instead. All those instances are forms of service and we pass them up every, single day. I would much rather him/her take care of it, or better yet, take care of me!

When dealing with service, this passage come to mind. Sadly, the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest when the Lord Jesus was in their midst. Jesus rebuked them.
Mark 9:35 "Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all."
Notice that Proverbs 31:13 uses the word, "willingly". If it just said, "she works" it would lose a lot of the meaning and instruction. The key is that she willingly works with her hands. She doesn't complain and she doesn't have ulterior motives. But being willing is hard. God has really been teaching me this. Let me tell you the answer: PRAYER. Now, I wish that I was, but I can honestly say that I am not a prayer warrior. Prayer is very hard for me. But, trust me, whether praying is like pulling teeth or breathing to you, it does not go unheard or unanswered. I have prayed, "God, make me a servant today." And boy, He gave me an opportunity to serve. If we ask God for opportunities He will send them - whether we dive in or hem and haw about the situation for a while.

When it comes to hard work and service, I don't think we are capable. Not you. Not me. But, God is. I found out that I have to stop putting the pressure and stress on myself to serve while managing a smile, but rather, let God just be God through me. If I want to be a servant, I have to stop acting like the strength to serve comes from myself and give credit - all of it - to God. If I try to do it any other way, the acts of service just become meaningless blobs of...nothing. They get tainted by my pride (which ruins literally everything we try to do) and all misconstrued by my motives. In order to truly be a servant, I have to "set down my cross (all the earthly things with no lasting impact that I am so obsessed with) and follow Him (Christ)." Service requires me to point people to Christ, humbly accepting that I will never do the job like Christ does, but determining to do better every time.

Wow. That's a hefty demand. One time, I had a little note on my door that said, "Make me a servant." I took it down eventually...I don't know why...but it reminded me that "servant" isn't something I decide to be, but rather something God transforms me into, little by little. I can say, "God, use me." And He will, even when I feel inadequate, stupid, or incapable.

Now don't get me wrong, forcing yourself to serve toughens you - even if you do grumble. Kinda like lifting weights. I mean, who actually LIKES lifting weights the first time? But then you start getting muscles, you like the results and it gets easier and easier. HEY! What do you know? You could be a professional weight lifter someday. Same goes for service, it's hard at first, but as you serve you will develop a love and passion for it.

A P31W will always be looking out for the needs of others and actively meeting them. Whether the needs be emotional, physical, mental or spiritual.
Galatians 6:9 "And in due season, we will reap if we faint not." 


LoVizzle said...

I'm the first comment? That's not cool. This post deserves more views!

I really like this one, too. A pet peeve of mine is when people never work. There's a saying, "Those who complain the most are those who work the least." And I agree. In my youth group, there's a few teenagers who spend a lot of time complaining about each other, the lessons, the youth pastor, school, parents, and it goes on and on. And (no duh), they're the ones who contribute the least, either spiritually or physically. And those who are the happiest, who enjoy church the most, who can't wait for the doors to open, who love being around other Christians? Yeah, we're the ones who do most of the work. We don't mind being go-fers. We won't complain if we have to wipe up someone else's spill. We are willing to do behind-the-scenes work and getting no credit. Why? It's what God calls us to do. God created a tiny little whole in our hearts that can only be filled by serving others; that's why it feels good to help someone else. I love to serve; by serving, I obey God, I get closer to God, and I feel happier at the end of the day.

LoVizzle said...

Haha, I don't know why, but I always write a mini-post for each of your posts lol! :p

Ashley said...

Well, I get a bunch of views...35-60 when I post a lot, but no one ever comments. *shrug* At least, people keep visiting...

But I get your point. But it should be that way. The purpose of the church is to love and support, serve and encourage and rightfully, the people contributing should be the ones benefiting. (But, really everyone can benefit from that lesson, especially the White House...but that's not relevant.) And there is no happier feeling, than ending the day knowing that you gave of yourself to others and God, even if it did require "elbow grease".

HAHA! You do, for real. But it's okay. You always just tie together some good points I hadn't thought of. I can't judge you anyways because I just left a big-un' on your post. *giggle* I love blogging, reading your blog, commenting and all of it. Feedback from other bloggers just makes the experience greater. :)

Ashley said...

I hope your not a "natural editor" because my punctuation is bad...really bad.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for checking out my blog and leaving such an encouraging comment!

You also have a great blog with a vital and Godly message. I got a lot out of this post as recently I have been striving to be like the Proverbs 31 woman and put all of my resentment on things related to it behind. I have discovered that the willingness you talked about is definitely key but also very difficult.


LoVizzle said...

You bet I is a natural editur! ;) Seriously though, I'm methodical when it comes to editing. I critique and delete and add and rearrange and mess with my writing until it molds into the form I want. Yeah, I'm an editor. In writing class, people always wanted me to critique because I always did a great job of editing and they loved that. But don't worry; your punctuation isn't bad! I actually hadn't noticed it that much! It's your random thoughts that kinda makes me smile lol ;) haha jk!

But yeah, I get some views, but not many comments. It's kinda disappointing, but whether or not dozens of people read it, I'm growing and becoming stronger from my blog, and I'd like to think the few faithful who tune in grow as well.

I know I've gotten a lot out of your blog since the P31W posts started! I think you've really taken off since that series started. You're doing an EXCELLENT job intrepreting Scripture and applying it to being a Godly young woman or wife. Even though I'm a guy, I'm probably getting more out of it than any other reader! I love reading these posts because it just makes my heart leap to read of at least one young lady who's building herself into a Godly young Proverbs 31 woman! And your posts make me excited as I look forward to marriage myself, and my expectations for my future wife are growing as you continue to post. Thanks for writing!

How's that for (how do you Southerns' say it?) a big-un' comment? :)

Ashley said...

@Elizabeth: Thanks for coming by and following! Thanks for the sweet comment!!

@LoV:I can tell! Your posts are always perfect. I'm thinking, "For real, he puts a ton of time into this!" Believe it or not, I'm actually very capable (not that I'm bragging) of writing a formal paper or something. I guess, when I'm just talking to my friends and stuff I don't worry about it as much...not to mention that most times the stuff I write in English is BORING so I have no reason to have some fortuitous thought process. So, I can be, when I want to be. You know? I really should try harder at that! But yeah, that's really good. Props!

Heh. Am I really that random when I write? It's sad. It's a true picture...only it's worse in real life. *end of the world music*

HEY! That's a great way to think about it! Me too, I have grown more than ANYONE from my blog and that's the way it should be, whether I get comments, or readers or anything...

*gets teary* Now, YOU just made MY day. Thanks so much for the encouragement. It...it really means a lot to have Christian supporters and faithful,nice-commenting readers.

That seriously made me laugh out loud!! It was a relay big'un. But I'm not southern. I just kinda made that up. LOL!