Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Are You a Titus Woman?

I am blessed with many positive people in my life who encourage me, support my efforts and know just the right thing to say.  When health struggles plague me, when fear and doubt creep; I am grateful for the reminder I am blessed to be a work in progress.  I am grateful God continues to refine me to be the woman he calls me to be…

I stumbled on a blog which talked about the qualities young women should learn from older women.  I guess in years – I would be the older woman but I am still a work in progress.  Here are the qualities as they are listed in Titus 2:3-5 which says:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

1) Self-Control – definitely a work in progress here.  She is self-controlled with her spending habits, her words, her temper, her appetites, her priorities, and her use of time.   Yea, I would have to stay this is a HUGE struggle for me.  I call out for help when I am in a weak moment or in a crisis .  My prayer life is getting stronger as I some to God each morning.  As she pursues intimacy with God, her soul is satisfied and she finds contentment and strength through his Spirit. For me, contentment leads to self-control and with God’s help, I work on this daily.

2) Purity.  By God’s grace, this is something I obtained over the years.  The greek word for purity here is ‘hagnos’ and is referring to moral and sexual purity.  Unfortunately this was not the case growing up, but with a gift from God – my daughter Belinda, I was able to work towards this.

3) Working at Home.  A Godly woman is not lazy – she is to be a hard worker.  Okay, I am sure God did not mean for me to be a workaholic, unable to put down the “gadgets” and stop working.  The passage does talk about being skilled in our homemaking abilities as well.   We should shine like lights in a dark world. We should love maintaining a warm cozy home for our family and those passing through.  I have never professed to be good at the homemaking abilities – dust bunnies can count on a home for a little while BUT we are always neat.  I love to care for my family at home and am really more of an introvert.  I am a work in progress..

4) Kind.  A kind woman is a woman who is careful with her words, generous, thoughtful and compassionate. She is cheerfully helpful and gracious when wronged. Without sounding like I am bragging, I would say I am kind.  This is why my career in social work was a success.  I pray each day I am able to apply the same principles to my Thirty One business.  Yes, I can look back on the work I did and say “you did well”.

5) Submissive to their own husbands.  There’s just one specific relationship where God has called us to submit and it is to our husband.  She stands out in this modern world as a woman who allows her husband to take the lead.  This is definitely a work in progress.  On most days, I am okay with this and am willing to let hubby take the lead. Then there are those days when the independent woman kicks in – and he will let me know about it.  I am grateful he understands it is not intentional but comes from years of being an independent single mom.

I talk a lot about being a Proverbs woman as Thirty One is based on Proverbs 31 – The Virtuous Woman but the description in Titus made it a little easier to see myself as a work in progress.  I am a work in progress and JUST FOR TODAY, I will continue to work on this.  What about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Homeland Security

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

“A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman, who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels, and her value is far above rubies or pearls,” ~ Proverbs 31:10

I just got back from seeing the 9/11 Memorial. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

After the horrific events of that devastating day, President George W. Bush appointed the new cabinet position of Homeland Security. It is defined as the deterrence, prevention, and preemption of, and defense against, aggression targeted at United States territory, sovereignty, population, and infrastructure as well as the management of the consequences of such aggression and other domestic emergencies.

In a speech on July 16, 2002, in the Rose Garden, he explained how Homeland Security would deal with the threats of the 21st century in our country. “Our unity is a great weapon in the fight. And by acting together to create a new and single Department of Homeland Security we’ll be sending the world a signal that the Congress and the administration will work together to protect the American people and to win the war on terror.”

As I read President Bush’s description of homeland security and the perilous dangers that threaten our country, I was reminded of the danger that threatens our homes as well. There is a war going on to destroy the God-ordained institution of marriage in this country and around the world. Interestingly, Webster’s dictionary defines marriage as “the institution under which a man and a woman become legally united on a permanent basis.” Almost every word of that definition is under attack today. We need our own “homeland security” to establish the deterrence, prevention, and preemptions of, and defense against, aggression targeted against our marriages.

For a man to guard his heart usually means he must guard his eyes. For a woman to guard her heart, it means she must guard her emotions. “My coworker really listens to me,” Barbara mused. “My friend, Peter, truly cares about my problems,” Clare reflected. “Bob at the post office likes me in this red sweater,” Mary pondered. Each of these thoughts sets off the “homeland security alarm.” Homeland security begins in our own hearts.

Homeland security also means that we work to protect our families.

The Proverbs 31 woman has represented an ideal for women throughout the ages. While she intimidates some, all would agree she is a role model worth emulating. Scripture describes her as smart, skillful, thrifty, and strong. She’s a good cook, a savvy money manager, a contributor to the community, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a blessed mother, a faithful friend, a loyal wife, and a devotee of God.

As Proverbs 31:10 states, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” The New International Version calls her “a wife of noble character.” But I personally like the Amplified version that describes her as “a capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman.” The Hebrew word that’s translated “excellent” or “virtuous” can also mean “wealthy, prosperous, valiant, boldly courageous, powerful, mighty warrior.

She fights Satan on her knees in prayer, she fights her hectic schedule to keep her priorities in proper perspective, and she fights to guard her heart against ungodly influences of the society in which she lives.

In verse 27, we see that the Proverbs 31 woman “watches over the ways of her household,” or as another translation states, “she carefully watches all that goes on in her household” (NLT). The phrase “watch over” means to “hedge about as with thorns,” much as a mother bird might protect her young with the thorny rim of a nest. These same words are also used in the Bible as a military term, such as to watch over a city.

I envision the wife of noble character walking around the wall fortifying her home, fully equipped to take on any enemy that threatens to invade her marriage. But lest we imagine the enemy is always some outside force, I believe the greatest enemy can be what happens in our own hearts and minds.

Homeland security? I believe it begins in our very own hearts and homes.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel

The Power of One Word From You

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body – Proverbs 16:24 ESV

I was wandering around the tourist area of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Shelves with tacky little statues, snow globes with leaning towers, and $10 T-shirts crowed small booths for tourists.

Shifty men with cases of “genuine fake” watches swarmed like bees. Rolex, Cartier, and Infinity—all for fifty bucks or less. Flashing fake gold and flaunting fake brands; their swift feet were ready to run if the authorities were to show up.

“No thank you, no thank you, no thank you,” I sang as I swam through the men hocking their wares.

Then I spotted her. She sat on a bench with colorful scarves for purchase draped over her arm. A blue, yellow and red headdress wound around her head, and a purple full-length dress hung loosely from her shoulders. The bright colors shone against the backdrop of polished mahogany skin.

Tired eyes.

Tired feet.

Tired life.

What appeared to be her “handler” shared the bench with her. I walked over and bent low to look her in the eyes. “You are so beautiful,” I said.

“Deese?” she questioned as she held up the scarves for examination.

“No, not the scarves,” I replied. “YOU are beautiful!” I waved my hand from the top of her head to the hem of her dress and back up again. “YOU, all of you!”

sparkle

She turned to the indifferent man beside her for translation. When she understood, her face lit up like morning and her ivory teeth flashed like a slice of sun. She simply nodded as if to say, “Thank you.”

I walked back over to the group I was traveling with, and in a few moments I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the woman. Without words, she handed me a bracelet, one I’m thinking she had made herself.

It wasn’t anything fancy—just little white lettered cubes with alternating black beads strung together with elastic. But I wonder what it cost her to give it to a tourist.

I didn’t offer to pay for the gift. That would have taken away her pleasure in giving it. I did hand her a few coins for allowing me to take her picture.

I showed her the image of herself in my camera. “Beautiful,” I said once again. She smiled with a nod. Walked back to the bench. And handed the coins to the man.

Tears filled my eyes.

I don’t know what this woman’s life is like. I pray my assumptions are wrong. But I do know this: For one brief moment in her monotonous day of pedaling scarves, she felt lovely…because someone stopped and noticed her.

Oh how easy it is—this speaking a word of encouragement—this speaking words of life.

As you go about your day, look for opportunities to say a kind word. I promise, you won’t have to look very far.

Thank you to Girlfriends in God for today’s post.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Celebrate and Connect, Hope Wissel, So You Want to be a Leader?

Who is Stealing Your Joy?

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 

This was the focus of my devotional  on Crosswalk this morning.  WOW!  Talk about timing, this was perfect.  Coming off an AMAZING and inspiring weekend at Thirty One‘s National Conference had me pumped and ready to jump start my business for the Fall.  Then the comments and actions of others started to creep in and the questions started “What did she mean by that?” “Am I able to be a good leader?”  I know I am not the first nor will I be the last who have  had these thoughts creep in especially when we are tired, Satan can have a field day.  I didn’t realize how much words of others consumed my thoughts that stole my time and my joy until my hubby said – Can we change the subject?  SMACK!  My focus had been changed from the positive to Doubting Debbie

Then as I read through my emails, I received this video link from a colleague – thank you Lynette:

ccd-06f28d2b-ef7d-4481-ba82-0fe5c13cc580-v2Do you think God is trying to send me a message?  How many times have we compared ourselves to others?  How many times have you wondered if you are good enough? Smart enough? How often do we take someone’s passing comment to heart, letting it steal our joy?  Have you let someone’s words ruin the rest of your day, possibly then soaking in self-pity?  You know the infamous pity pot.

We have a choice – I can choose NOT to be offended (okay, so this is going to be a work in progress for me) but I will NOW listen objectively.  Here are some questions that may help in this process:  What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Or do they need something I am not giving or able to give? (this is my favorite). Starting today – I will LISTEN and chose NOT to be offended by people’s words or actions.   I will TRUST and BELIEVE in the plan that God has for me.

What about you?  Are you having doubts?  Are you letting the negative thoughts or actions of others steal your joy or your time?  Try repeating these words: “It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense.”  As difficult as it may be, let those words roll off you and continue to move forward.  I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!