Rags to Riches

     My husband, Stephen and I have three kids at three different ages in very different seasons of life. We are blessed with a 7th grader, 3rd grader, and a 4 year old. It is completely overwhelming to me at times that The Lord chose me to be their mother.  There are many moments where I wish I could have a second chance to just get it right. In the wake of losing my mom to cancer in 2012, if I am honest, there are times when I wish that I could just bypass Mother’s Day. As always, God’s grace is sufficient; however, it is still hard to see the mother’s day cards in the store, the cakes in the bakery, and the flowers declaring “happy mother’s day.” For some, it is just not happy. God led me to share this devotion from Proverbs 31. I hope that it will encourage you in whatever season you find yourself this Mother’s Day weekend!

      The first time I studied Proverbs 31, I honestly laughed a little. The words listed below are not typically ones heard in the day to day aspect of being a mom:

  • Far above rubies (verse 10)
  • Girds herself with strength (verse 17)
  • Her household is clothed with scarlet (verse 21)
  • Strength and honor are her clothing (verse 25)
  • She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness (verse 26)

     Let’s just be honest for a moment. How many times have you and I opened our mouth without kindness on our tongue? The moments in our house that seem to be the most frantic are in the morning. Backpacks. Lunchboxes. Last minute homework review. Everything is done in a hurry to attempt to rush out of the door at 7:10 am so that everyone can be where they need to be on time. My four year old, Ruthie, calls it the “hurry, scurry, Murray” moment. I am not sure who Murray is, but the hurry and scurry sure are right.

     Take a moment and read Proverbs 31, and as you do make a list of the women who have impacted your life. This passage has much to see about being the woman God has called you and I to be – whether as a mother, daughter, niece, cousin, sister, grandmother, or aunt. As you look at the list of the women, one thing I am sure of is that in order to impact your life they had to ABIDE in The Lord. I took each letter of the word ABIDE and have made an acrostic. I pray that this might be of help to you as it has been for me.

A = Abundant Life

     God wants us to live a life that is abundant and full.The definition of abundant is “existing in large quantities, plentiful.” Abundance also means rich, lavish, generous, overflowing, and ample. Do these words describe your spiritual life or would you describe it as depleted, empty, or defeated? In order to abide in Him and experience His abundance, we have to be willing to focus on the BEST that He has to offer. There are a lot of good things that demand our attention. The question is – where does God want us to focus? In order to do that, we often have to get rid of distractions that are keeping us from being all that God has called us to be. I would encourage you to spend a few minutes asking The Lord:

  • Is there is an area where I need to scale back?
  • Is there an application on your phone that I need to delete?
  • Is there an unhealthy relationship that has formed that I need to end?
  • Is there any GOOD thing that is keeping me from a GOD thing?
 
B = Binds Her Tongue (verses 8, 26)

      I did some research this week and found that the average woman speaks 20,000 words a day, while the average man speaks 7,000. I would say that I am probably well above average in this category – lol.  Once our words come out of our mouth or after they are posted on social media, there is no retrieving them. I can still remember my 4th grade Sunday School teacher explaining the above with a tube of toothpaste. She proceeded to squirt a whole tube of toothpaste out onto a plate and then asked us to place it back in the tube. We couldn’t complete that task. It is the same way with our spoken words. Think about what words are “oozing” from your mouth. What you are sharing with your children? What are you posting on social media? Does it glorify The Lord? I have to constantly keep a watch on my tongue.

 

I = In His Strength (Verse 17)

     Verse 17 says, “…she girds herself with strength.” In order to be the woman that God is calling us to be requires that it must be done in His strength and not our own. I heard something once that I have never forgotten. It was stated that in regard to parenting- the goal should be for your children to move from dependence on us to dependence on God Satan loves when we gird ourselves in OUR own strength. He knows that when he can get us to accomplish something on our own, that most times it will fail miserably. In His Strength, not in ________________ (write your name) strength! Isaiah 41:10 is one of my favorites. Claim it this week in regards to your family.

 

D = Dressed in Riches (verses 21, 22, 25)

      In verses 21, 22, and 25 you will find several words relating to how we should dress. Scarlet. Fine Linen. Purple. Strength. Honor. I love to shop. I always tend to gravitate toward the same style and color of dress when I go shopping. My husband, Stephen will often say, “That looks like one you already have.” Honestly, I tend to buy it anyway if I like it. It made me think this week that I do have a lot of outfits in the same color. God nudged my heart with the fact that I often get comfortable and gravitate toward a similar pattern in my relationship with Him. Think about your wardrobe spiritually speaking? Does your physical wardrobe look pristine while spiritually you are dressing in tattered rags? Are you falling apart on the inside when in Christ we have access to fine linen and royal purple garments? God wants to take us this week from rags to the riches that He offers!

 

E = Extends Equipping Grace (verse 20)

     Verse 20 talks about extending a hand to those in need. I want you to think about how Jesus invested in his disciples for a moment. He lived with them, taught them, instructed them, fished with them, and traveled with them. Although Jesus ministered to and loved on the masses of people that followed Him, he primarily devoted himself to the work of a few in order that the masses may be reached more effectively. He invested in them with an intent focus to train and equip them for when He was no longer there. He corrected them when needed and then sent them on their own journey. As a mom, we have to equip our children by giving them the tools they need and then at some point extend that grace by sending them out. I am not in that season of being a mom but pray that God grants me the time to get there. You and I are not promised another moment, day, or month. God reminded me this week that – Spiritual investments will never return void! Sometimes though it’s hard to see our impact in the day to day routine of life. But, verse 28 reminds us that there is a day when our children will thank us for our investment. Aren’t you glad that what we do truly matters to our family, and to the Lord? 

 

Go back to the beginning of this devotion where you wrote down the women who taught you to abide in The Lord. If it is possible, write them a note this week expressing how thankful you are for them. I guarantee you that it was an intentional act of investment and focus on ABIDING in HIM! And on a week that is difficult for many including myself, let’s be the Proverbs 31 woman God intended us to be!