Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 3-The Calm After The Storm?

I survived another morning of 5 a.m. eggs and toast and coffee. This is getting easier. I can feel your prayers through this! Thank you so very much. My hubby was extra affectionate last night, and this morning. I can feel that my intentions through this are coming to fruition. My husband is feeling TREASURED! It's a wonderful feeling to know that the man I love, the man that goes to work every day, working long hours in and out of the intense Florida heat, then coming home and doing whatever I need him to do around here, and getting up and starting it all over again the next day, well, he KNOWS I love him. Not because I SAY it, but because he FEELS it. Thank You, Lord, for helping me to see what has been missing in my marriage! As I pour my love out on him, he does the same in return, and I am feeling treasured! How wonderful is that? God is really doing something here, and I soooo can't wait to see where He goes with it!

But, true to my nature, let's keep it REAL. Yesterday was a DISASTER. My littlest one, Nate, has been dealing with an infected toe for days. We don't have health insurance on him yet (working on it) and our financial situation is BAD right now, so we couldn't take him to the doctor or urgent care. I'm just not the type of person to run to the ER for non-emergency things. So, I was ignoring advice from family and friends to do so for this. I had a ROTTEN attitude yesterday. I was angry, bitter, tired, emotional, and just NOT a Proverbs 31 woman. I looked nothing like the woman portrayed by Solomon. I mean, verses 25 and 26 were some far off fairy tale compared to my actions and attitude yesterday. With the mixture of my son's ailment and my deep stress over our financial burdens, I did NOT honor God at all with my actions, attitude, or demeanor.

Thankfully, our God is a god of grace and mercy. I spent some time this morning after my dear hubby left for work just on my face crying out to Him. Crying out to Him, as the pastor where we are attending church calls it, "Crisis Style: Pray like you've really ticked some people off, they're chasing you and now you're trapped with no way out---your life is in danger." So, I did. I cried out to God about our critical and disastrous financial situation. I cried out to Him about my horrible example of His heart yesterday. And I begged Him to help me to be content with whatever plans He has for my family. As a laid there, on the floor, face to the ground, pleading for a miracle, and pouring my heart out to my Creator, you know what happened? He met me there. He took my tear-stained face in His hands, and told me "Daughter-I have overcome the world!" I love that :) I love how the God, THE ONE TRUE GOD, the One who created the universe, the One who holds heaven and earth in the palm of His hand, loves me, little ol ME, enough to come down from His heavenly throne, take me in His arms, and just LOVE me. He loves me like a Daddy loves His brokenhearted little girl. How cool is that? My prayer for the rest of this day is that I continue to walk in THAT MOMENT. To remember that, even though my situation looks bleak, He is STILL in control. I'm going to believe Him for a financial miracle for my family, but more importantly, I'm going to believe Him for a much BIGGER miracle: a miracle in my doubting, wounded heart. Will you pray with me today?

I leave you with a scripture that I read in Isaiah last night:

19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,
you will weep no more.  
He will be gracious if you ask for help.     
He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.

Isaiah 30:19 (N LT)

And another of my favorite songs:

How He Loves
David Crowder Band

(Verse 1)
He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realise just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

And O how He loves us
Oh, O how He loves us
How He loves us all

Yeah He loves us
O how He loves us
O how He loves us
O how He loves

(Verse 2)
We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 2 of 5 a.m.!

Well, I survived day 2 of crawling out of the bed at 5 a.m. I TRIED to go back to sleep, but my mind is apparently trying to get me out of that habit, so here I am! I did manage to get up a few minutes after 5 this morning, cook my hubby 4 eggs over easy and two pieces of toast with jam, and although neither of us were in a good mood this morning, got my hubby off to work with a kiss and a smile. The boys are still sleeping soundly, and I am in no hurry to wake them! Silence is golden! (but duct tape is silver, right?!)

I do have to admit, however, that I did NOT do it joyfully or willingly this morning. I was up late searching the internet for information on a medical issue with one of my children, and had a hard time falling to sleep last night because I was worrying over it. Yep, there it is. I'm human! I told you. Am I supposed to worry? Of course not. But do I? Yep, you bet. It's one of the many things God is working on in me! I had a good cry out to Him session this morning, so I am feeling slightly better :) But, when my alarm went off, I hit snooze. If my hubby hadn't rolled out of bed when he did (later than usual) I would have gone back to sleep. However, God kept tugging at my conscience to get up and do what I should be doing. (Thanks for those prayers!). When all was said and done, I trudged to the kitchen, made our breakfast, and sat down and ate with my darling hubby. We're both weighted down with some worry right now over some things, so it was a quiet breakfast. I wish I had simply taken his hand and prayed with him, but I let the moment pass, and I cried out to God after he left.

But, I'm still on track. I do appreciate your prayers and encouragement! It means so much to me! I'm praying for you, my readers (all 2 or 3 of you!) also! I do hope that some of you are taking this journey alongside of me! God  is so good, and faithful to love us, even when we fail Him! I feel like sharing one of my absolute favorite scriptures with you this morning. The song that came from this scripture has been running through my heart and soul for the past hour.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NLT)

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

And then there is the song, that I think I need to get playing over the speakers this morning! I always get moving and joyful in the Spirit when I hear this song!

Trading My Sorrows
Darrell Evans

I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

I pray you all have a beautiful, blessed day full of God's great love and grace! I pray that we all walk throughout this day imitating the moon, reflecting the light of the Son!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Step One

Ok, so where do I begin? Well, I feel like I've got verses 10-14 down pretty good, so I'm going to start in verse 15.

15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day's work for her servant girls.

Well, obviously, I have no servant girls. I wish I had servant girls, but then I would be a princess and not a humble wife ;) So, I guess I could interpret that another way by planning my children's activities, chores, and school assignments. We're on summer break right now, so that job is simpler right now! But what I want to concentrate on this week, is the first part of that verse. See, I am NOT a morning person. I LOATHE mornings. My husband, however, is up bright and early, before dawn, every morning, to leave for work. He gets up at 4:45am, leaves the house at 5:45am, drives 45 minutes to an hour in order to pick up employees and be at the job site by 7am. Even on his days off, he's up by 8am at the very latest, and that's really sleeping in for him. So, my goal for this week is to get up at 5am every morning and make my husband breakfast and coffee, and see him off to work, and be awake and ready to feed my children when they wake up. I did it this morning, and my husband was so happy. The joy he felt made me proud to make him happy, and it felt really good to make him feel treasured. Shouldn't our husbands believe, without a doubt, that we TREASURE them? I've spent the last 5 years telling him how much I love and appreciate him, but have I made him feel treasured above all others? My 4 year old gave me precious snuggle time that is so rare between the two of us after his muffin breakfast. So, eggs and toast at 5am? YOU BET! Pray for me, because this is probably THE.MOST.DIFFICULT. of the tasks ahead for me. My husband likes to joke and say "You would like mornings if they came later in the day".

Wonder how long it will take me before he is no longer saying that?

What *IS* A Proverbs 31 woman, and WHY?

So, let's begin by taking a look at the scripture we will be following throughout this journey. Proverbs 31:10-31 gives us a roadmap of the type of woman that makes her husband happy, and respected. I will be quoting from the New Living Translation of the Bible. I find this version to be my personal favorite and easiest to understand while still holding the integrity of the original transcripts. Feel free to read any scripture I post in your own favorite translation :)

Proverbs 31:10-31 (NLT)
A Wife of Noble Character

10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies. 

11 Her husband can trust her, 
and she will greatly enrich his life. 

12 She brings him good, not harm, 
all the days of her life.

13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.

14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.

18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.

20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.

21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm clothes.

22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.

23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.

24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.

26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.

27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.

28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:

29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

I would also like to throw in here a few verses from Proverbs to cover what we do NOT want to be.

Proverbs 21:9 (NLT)

9 It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic
than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.

Proverbs 21:19 (NLT)

19 It’s better to live alone in the desert
than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.

Proverbs 27:15 (NLT)

15 A quarrelsome wife is as annoying
as constant dripping on a rainy day.

Why does it matter? Really? What does it matter if we are a good wife to our husband? I mean, he's not a perfect husband, for sure, is he?! Why should we work so hard to be such a great wife when he doesn't work that hard at being a great husband? This is what the Scriptures say:

Proverbs 18:22 (NLT)

22 The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
and he receives favor from the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1-6 (NLT)

1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 
2 by observing your pure and reverent lives.
3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 
4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 
6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.

Ephesians 5:21-33 (NLT)

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 
23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 
24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 
26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 
27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 
28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 
29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 
30 And we are members of his body.
31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 
32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Now that we've covered why I am doing this, what it is I am doing, and why I should do it, we can move into how I'm going to do it ;) Look for that post next!

The Beginning

I want to begin by thanking you for following me on this journey. Let me tell you a little about myself:

My name is Brooke.

I'm married to Philip, aka PJ, and he is truly the one God chose for me. I made mistakes in my younger years and married very young, at the age of 20, after having my precious JRay, to a non-believer. We were married almost 4 years before I decided that I no longer wanted to be a part of the emotional abuse that I received, and filed for divorce. I wouldn't change it now, but I am a divorced Christian. I'm not proud of that, but God makes beauty from ashes :) Now, I am going on 5 years with the man I love and the man I know God intended for me.

I'm a stay at home full-time homeschoooling mom to 2 boys. JRay is 11 and Nate is 4. I love my children with all of my heart, and want to be the best Mommy I can be to them. I want to show them, through my life, what it means to walk in God's love and in His Word.

I am a photographer, crafter, and just an all around do-it-yourselfer. If I can save a few dollars doing it myself, you can bet I will give it my best shot!

 I'm temperamental, selfish, and everything that a Godly woman shouldn't be. So, I'm allowing God to mold me, and to chisel me, piece by piece, into the woman He wants me to be. Hence, my journey to becoming a Proverbs 31 woman.  THAT is the legacy I want to leave, not the image I portray now. He's brought me a long way over the past year, but I still have a LONG way to go.

I am a Christian. That doesn't mean I'm perfect, or better than you. It means I'm forgiven, and am allowing God to mold me and shape me into a new woman, someone who shines with His love. I want to be like the moon, reflecting the light of the SON. I am not afraid to talk about my faith, and what God has delivered me from. I am passionate about sharing the TRUTH of God's Word with anyone I meet.

What This Journey is All About

Satan is constantly attacking my family. He doesn't like that we are choosing to seek God's will for our lives. In the past year we have lost a child to "the system", our home due to unemployment, got a job, a new home, then moved 325 miles away. All the while, God has brought us closer and closer to Him through numerous trials. Recently, we had some major unexpected legal expenses, and this caused a rift between myself and my husband, because I blamed him for not being vigilant about some things. I was up late one night, and God revealed to me that while I have been TELLING my husband that I love and appreciate him, I have not been showing him. I noticed my husband's self-esteem was suffering, and realized that it was MY fault. As his wife, I am supposed to treasure him and build him up, not bring him down. So, I made the decision that I wanted to begin this journey. I want to become the Proverbs 31 wife he needs, the Proverbs 31 mother my children need, and the Proverbs 31 woman this world needs. I'll share with you what I am working on at the moment, what God is revealing to me, how it affects my marriage, my home life, and whatever else the Lord lays on my heart to share with you.

Grab a cup of coffee, a Bible, a notebook, and pull up a chair. Let's take this journey together, shall we?