Friday, March 30, 2007

"A True and Godly Woman" - From "Maidens of Worth"

Anna Naomi Lofgren of Maidens of Worth wrote this beautiful poem:

A True and Godly Woman
Today the roles of men and ladies
Are often blurred or shared
Leaving one to wonder,
"So, what has God prepared?"

Some people would try to tell us
That we're the same in every way
That girls should strive for equal rights
And not be stuck inside all day!

But I want to be a lady,
Following after God.
Striving to do what pleases Him
Though it might look rather odd!

I want to have noble character
Like the women in God's word
Worth far more than rubies,
And living by trusting in the Lord

I want to learn to bring my future husband
Good, but never ill
Honoring him in all I do,
Learning to submit my will.

I strive to teach my hands eagerness
In all the daily tasks
Working hard from dawn 'til dusk
To make a home where nothing ever lacks.

Learning to sew and cook and clean,
To make a home lovely.
Learning to be an excellent wife and mother,
So that everyone shall see

A woman delighting in the gift
Of graceful femininity,
Clothed with strength and wisdom,
And possessing dignity.

Dressing with grace and honor,
Radiating modesty,
Letting there be no doubt that I
Am a girl of propriety.

Knowing and showing that
True beauty comes from within.
Not caught up in my outward appearance,
But praising God with all I am.

Learning to develop a spirit
That is quiet, gentle, and kind.
Shunning gossip and idle chatter,
But speaking with wisdom in mind.

Glorifying God with every
Word, thought, and deed.
Living as God would have me live,
Helping everyone in need.

And as I live each day,
I hope that it'll show,
That I am a true and Godly woman,
Delighting that it's so!

Friday, March 16, 2007

What Is "He" Looking For? - Part 3

Introduction * Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5 * Part 6 * Part 7 * Part 8 * Part 9 * Conclusion

3. "[Another] thing to look for in a prospective wife is cheerfulness.... Everyone has trials and adversities. The happy, cheerful girl has learned to deal with them and still enjoy life."

Cheerfulness might be defined as the outward manifestation of a contented heart. On the other hand, a lack of cheerfulness is often the result of discontentment. True cheerfulness is not contingent upon surrounding circumstances, but is the resulting attitude in a woman who has learned to be content "in whatsoever state" she finds herself. She is uplifting to her husband, and cheerfully fulfills her God-given role as his helpmeet.

We are all familiar with Paul's amazing statement in Philippians 4:11: "for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Paul went through many, many "whatsoever states" in his lifetime: shipwrecks, imprisonment, verbal abuse, persecution for the cause of Christ.

My family has a dear friend whose circumstances are less than ideal. She lives alone, far from family, and has many health problems. Although she is in pain frequently, everyone she meets is always greeted with a cheerful smile and an encouraging word. She has determined to have a good attitude no matter what her circumstances are. What an encouragement and inspiration to all of us!

Vibrant cheerfulness is infectious! There are some people around whom it is almost impossible to be sad or cast down. What man would not want a wife who is positive and uplifting, who always greets him with a cheerful countenance? Imagine the value of being able to come home after a long day's work with the confidence that one will be met with a bright smile and a cheerful, uplifting attitude!

Mr. Pearl contrasts his picture of a cheerful woman with one of a discontented woman. He writes, "No man can make a discontented woman happy." Discontentedness comes from the heart, and is not remedied by outward circumstances.

A woman who says, "I have had my way in this area. Now I am truly contented" is not really contented. Instead, she is merely temporarily satisfied. The next time she cannot buy that item she wants, or her husband does not act in a way that meets with her approval, her discontented spirit will show itself again.

How does one develop a spirit of cheerfulness? Mr. Pearl outlines this briefly: "Everyone has trials and adversities. The happy, cheerful girl has learned to deal with them and still enjoy life [Emphasis added]." Paul, too, does not merely say that he is content in whatsoever state he finds himself. He says that he has learned to be content in whatsoever state he is in. Literally, in this context, learned means "to learn by use and practice" or "to be in the habit of, accustomed to." A spirit of cheerfulness is something that we should be cultivating daily.

Cheerfulness is an attitude of the heart, and must be dealt with at the heart level. One who is always brooding, thinking of things that did not go her way, will find it impossible to become the possessor of a cheerful heart. She is on a road heading to discontentment and misery. One who makes it her practice to think on "whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report (Philippians 4:8)" will find that her whole attitude and demeanor will undergo a dramatic change. A girl who looks for ways to serve, instead of thinking of all the ways others should be serving her, will learn to be content in all of the "whatsoever states" she finds herself.

Proverbs 15:13 - A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 17:22 - A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Introduction * Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5 * Part 6 * Part 7 * Part 8 * Part 9 * Conclusion

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"The Age of Obedient Parents"

People ask me how it happens that my children are all so promptly obedient and so happy. As if it chanced that some parents have such children, or chanced that some have not! I am afraid it is only too true, as some one has remarked, that "this is the age of obedient parents!" What then will be the future of their children? How can they yield to God who have never been taught to yield to human authority? And how well fitted will they be to rule their own households who have never learned to rule themselves?

-Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss; page 352

Monday, March 5, 2007

"Stepping Heavenward," by Elizabeth Prentiss

Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss

Written in the form of a personal journal, this is truly a unique work of fiction. Although the story takes place in the 1800's, the main character, Katherine Mortimer, faces many of the same issues that young ladies face today: honoring her parents, loving God, controlling a quick temper, keeping her emotions in check, honoring her husband, loving her children, applying God's Word to every area of life, trusting God through difficulties, and surrendering to God's will. Kate's "journal" chronicles her struggles, triumphs, discoveries, losses, and joys, from her sixteenth birthday through her forty-third year. When I finished the last page of this book, I felt almost as if I had lost my best friend. I say almost, because the lessons learned from this friend are valuable, inspiring, personal, and - I hope - lasting.

"According to Elisabeth Elliot, Kay Arthur, and Joni Eareckson Tada, Stepping Heavenward will encourage, inspire, and challenge your walk with Jesus Christ in a dimension that few have entered" (from the Testimony, by editor Mark Hamby, at the beginning of the book).

A Wish, A Prayer

I want to see little children adorning every home, as flowers adorn every meadow and every wayside. I want to see them welcomed to the homes they enter, to see their parents grow less and less selfish, and more and more loving, because they have come. I want to see God's precious gifts accepted, not frowned upon and refused.

- Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss; pg. 344

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Stakes Are High!

Surely too much is involved, too great a responsibility, too many and too precious interests, to venture upon wedded life without Christ. The lessons are too hard to learn to be attempted without a divine Teacher. The burdens are too heavy to be borne without a mighty Helper. The perils of the way are too many to be passed through without an unerring Guide. The duties are too delicate, and the consequences of failure in them too far-reading and too terrible, to be taken up without wisdom and help from above.

- Home-Making, by J.R. Miller; page 29