Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Proverbs 31 Study--Days 1 & 2

Yesterday, I started a 14-week Bible study about my hero--the woman of Proverbs 31. I've had a longstanding relationship with her, starting with memorizing the 21 verses that describe her, when I was just a teenager. (I've also read this hilarious book and done this study--anyone read the teen version? I'd love to read it and possibly do it as a young ladies' Bible study with girls at church, sometime.) This year, though, I've been convicted that I really have a long way to go in emulating her. I've made some pretty major strides toward being a more diligent home manager so far in 2012, but I still have a looooong way to go! (You can see some ideas I've implemented on Pinterest, if you have interest--ha!)

When a friend from high school put a shout out on Facebook about forming an online accountability group for this study, I jumped at it. The fact that that friend was one who modelled Christian character and the fruits of the Spirit to me at a young age made connecting with her even more appealing.

Our little accountability group includes former classmates and both former and current church sisters of mine, a one-time co-worker of Eydie's, and even a former student of mine, haling from IL, MI, MN, OH, OR, PA, TX, & WI! Life stages range from the single to young moms, moms of teens, and even empty nesters. I love the diversity!

To be quite honest, I really lack discipline in many areas of my life, including daily Bible reading. I'll do fairly well for a while, and then sluff off. I know this is terrible--I'm a pastor's wife, for heaven's sake! I've also been a beliver since I was a young child, and I do love the Lord and enjoy spending time with Him and studying His Word. I'm just more of a "binge" reader than a regular, steady student of the Word, like I yearn to be. The opportunity for accountability and community surrounding this study isn't just a bonus for me; it's a necessity.

Without further adieu, I'll link up and do my journalling. Here are links for Day 1 (Monday, May 14):
*When you sign up, you'll get an e-mail with the daily blog posts, along with the ebook, at some point. Since you won't get the ebook right away, though, as long as you did sign up, feel free to download it right away with this direct link.
Monday's S-O-A-P:

  • Observations:
    1. In the NIV, it's translated/interpreted as "listen," which seems more natural to the way we talk than the "what" in my usually preferred translations (NASB or ESV), but the fact that it's repeated gives the idea that she's really trying to get her son's attention on this one. Like most of us, King L.'s mom probably had plenty of instructions she gave her children (if she had more than one--anyone know?), but she really wanted to emphasize this one.
    2. The fact that she calls him "the answer to my prayers" is just beautiful! She's wise in reminding him of her love for him, as a precurser to her instructions.

  • Applications:
    1. I've realized in my parenting lately that by highlighting everything, I'm emphasizing nothing. If I have the same serious (or, let's be honest, LOUD) tone when telling my boys not to splash me with the bathtub water as I do when they run dangerously toward the busy street, I'm doing them a disservice. Even though right now, we're dealing primarily with safety and simple obedience issues, I need to be cautious about determining what really deserves my getting. their. attention.
    2. Sometimes it's good to remember how many answers to prayer we enjoy on a daily basis. In my busy mommy-ing, I sometimes yearn too much for quietness--which I enjoyed profusely during the years in which I ached for a husband and children.

  • Prayer: I'm not much for scripting prayers, but the prayer of my heart today goes something like this: Lord, you know that I begged you for years for these little people that regularly interrupt my meager attempts at having "me time" and make each task on my to-do list take much longer than I feel like it should. Help me to remember that they're the ones for whom I prayed and to be thankful for them, like I should. Please forgive me for my impatience and for failing to appreciate your many good gifts in my life. Please help me to emphasize what's truly important--not what inconveniences me, but what will equip my sons to ultimately prioritize that which honors you best.
Tuesday's (today's) Link from Courtney--If you haven't watched the video of her on Rachael Ray, you need to check that out! More thoughts on that and her blog post tomorrow--I've written far too much already,  for today!

Tuesday's (today's) S. O. A. P.:

  • Observations:
    1. The parallelism of verse 3 seems to imply that some women (most women?) are ones who destroy kings. I think of Samson in the Old Testament, and even the way would-be first women in the U.S. either make or break their husbands' reputations and candidacy.
    2. The idea of true masculinity is quite counter-cultural. Many men today see drinking alcohol as a sign of being a man, but King L.'s mom warns him that drinking something that would compromise his reasoning powers is not befitting of a leader.

  • Applications:
    1. Like Dannah Gresh points out in her excellent book on modesty (I so wish I'd been exposed to her Scripture-saturated approach, rather than the rules-based approach, as a young woman!), we have power as women. We need to use it for good, not evil. Although I am happily married, I'm never "above" being tempted toward impurity.  (By the way, Dannah Gresh has another great one out there about growing in purity, whatever your past. she does an amazing job of weaving the concepts of pursuing purity with God's forgiveness for past sins.) 
    2. I'm reminded that the principles with which I want to raise my sons is counter-cultural and will be criticized--that goes with the territory. I need to be "thick skinned" enough to be ready for that criticism, when it comes, maintaining a balance between being ready to answer others' questions about my parenting choices and sometimes just letting it lay.

  • Prayer: Lord, please help me to continue to grow in purity and to model for my sons the kind of trustworthy woman who will edify and support them, rather than ruin their lives. Please show me any areas where I need to be more cautious about my own purity and to be braced for the reactions that come from being counter-cultural in my parenting.

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