Several weeks ago, Lori mentioned that she would like to put together a group to read through and comment on the book Creative Counterpart by Linda Dillow. Well, I am always game for reading and I had looked at this book several times over the years but had never read it. So, now it's September and we've completed the first two chapters. (No, it didn't take me several weeks to read a couple of chapters. We were waiting til September to start!)
I have to confess, with all my brilliant powers of observation, I did not realize that this was a study on the Proverbs 31 woman. My least favorite person on earth. Because she is so...perfect. And I am so...not. And truth be told (because we are being honest here), I'm not sure I want to be. Too many times I still wrestle with my own selfish desires (I'd rather be reading a book than cleaning up cat vomit). Oddly enough (and who says God doesn't have a sense of humor!) I find myself doing not one but two studies revolving around that woman. So I figure this is the direction that God wants me to go for now. (kicking and screaming all the way.)
I read chapter two several times this past week (kind of hoping that I could absorb her traits through osmosis). And while I would still rather be reading a book than cleaning up cat vomit, I did find several interesting points.
The thing that I found most reassuring was this: Linda points out that she has grown children. Which means that she is of a certain age herself. Which tells us that this was not something that happened overnight. "Her inner qualities did not appear overnight but were hammered out in the trials of life as she trusted God and obeyed Him." (p19) I think one of the reasons that she frustrates me so is that I don't feel like I am like her. As a matter of fact, I know I am not. But, the question of the day is, "am I more like her today than I was a year ago?" And I'd like to think the answer is yes. One other thing that Linda mentions along this line is,"God would not use her as the example of the 'excellent wife' unless we, too, could grow to become like her." (p19) So that's our reassurance that all is not lost. Since the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (or something like that) I am going to think of these studies as my first steps.
There are several subsections in the chapter "beautiful blueprint". Lori broke each one down and commented on all of them. I'm not quite ready to do that. One thing did strike me as I read her recap of the chapter though and it came from the other study that I am working through. Donna is having us memorize Proverbs 31:10-31 (and I've memorized 10-15. Woo hoo!) and the portion of the verse that caught my eye was, "her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value." For some reason this touches me each time I read or recite it. I want my husband to lack nothing of value. To have full confidence in me. To know that I am going to clean up the cat vomit. Or call the delivery place or have all the ingredients to fix dinner. To know that his home will be managed. And right now, that's a hit or miss kind of thing. Which is why I am in the midst of two different studies dealing with the same issue, How to be the wife that God wants me to be. One that blesses her husband and children.
Linda finished the chapter by pointing out that "the key to her success was that she feared the Lord." And our key to being like that woman is to begin as she did, "with a vital relationship with God." (p20)
Our homework this week was to read and reread Proverbs 31. Linda also asked us to be specific in listing personal goals for this year in six different areas. My goals are as follows (and I am hoping she's not referring to the calendar year.):
a) Your relationship to God---to get up earlier and spend more time with Him.
b)Your relationship to your husband---to serve him more (with a happy heart!)
c) Your relationship to your children---to listen more attentively
d) Your homemaking abilities---to be better organized (house, meals, etc.)
e) Yourself as a woman---to be more fit, eat better, exercise more
f) Your outreach to others (through outside activities)---I really feel God is calling me to be more hospitable...to offer more of my home to others...and this will probably be the hardest thing on my list to do. I always feel my house isn't clean enough or my life isn't organized enough to open it up to others. (and yes, I am probably harder on myself than others would be...)
So, here we are at the end of week one, chapter two. If you'd like to join us, please stop by Lori's and check it out. (and that girl has a way with words. She can teach!)