Wise-Worded Women

Lately, I've been contemplating all kinds of things...
And other things too...

...and I keep coming back to the idea that I, as a young woman, need to be actively and carefully pursuing wisdom. Not for wisdom's sake... but so that I can "SERVE with joy" as is advised in the video linked above. So that I can wisely COUNSEL my husband when he needs it, in order to assist him and propel him in the way the Proverbs woman does. So that I can JOYFULLY speak truth and remain faithful in hard times, as the wife & mother of young children who is dying from cancer has done. So that my words become DEPENDABLE and STEADY... that I might never be that woman who is as annoying as a constant dripping sound... that I might never drive my husband insane with incessant nagging and impossible expectations. So that I can OFFER wise teaching and influence in the lives of my growing children. So that I might really and truly LOVE.

FLIMSY, DRIPPY, UNWISE WORDS
Last week, I really blew it. Though there was undoubtedly a mix of hormones, culture stress, sadness at Doug's impending week away, and honest frustration, I was anything but steady. My words were not solid words of wise counsel. They were flimsy and faithless. What was I lacking? Self-control? Surely. A long-term perspective? Absolutely. I was lacking wisdom.

It is so easy to write off our sin as "hormonal". Or the effects of a bad day. Or as a natural response to something really rotten. But the truth is that as women, one of the things we will be later called to teach to other women is "self-control". So we ought to be learning it while we're younger, it seems to me.

Instead of adding to what should be a growing reservoir of dependable wisdom flowing out of my mouth, so that my husband could be confident in his trust of me, I acted like the drippy wife. Grumping. Griping. Throwing words around.

Oh, how much I want to be a woman who speaks wisely! A woman who keeps her mouth shut when foolish things would try to escape from her lips (or fingers, if writing!)... and a woman who speaks when prompted by the Spirit of God. A woman who knows and skillfully wields God's Word as a balm to the hurting, an encouragement to the discouraged, a help to the searcher, an exhortation to the wanderer, and instruction to the young. A woman who does not seek after her own glory or what will be the most comfortable and attractive... but who seeks after the glory of God and works towards the good of others.

And it always comes back to:
IN ORDER TO DO THAT, I NEED TO KNOW GOD'S WORD.
So what am I going to do about it? Each day, I spend time cooking. Cleaning. Reading-- for myself and to my children. Learning a language. Spending time with my awesome husband. Playing guitar and dancin' with the kiddos... and none of it is bad. But if I neglect the main things-- knowing Christ, knowing His Word, spending time in prayer so that He might change me... it will slowly (or maybe even quickly) erode away at what I am able to live out. I may get the externals right-- but it will be hollow-- propped up by only my own ways & thoughts rather than the ways & words of Christ.

God tells us-- EXPLICITLY TELLS US-- that if we need wisdom, HE WILL GIVE IT.

That verse has been a life verse for Doug & I. When we need wisdom in our marriage, we ask for it. Before we have dinner with friends that have acted wisely in some area of their lives, we ask for God to give us wisdom through the conversation. When we need to know what to do, we ask for wisdom. When we don't know how to pray, we ask for wisdom. And He so faithfully gives... and a large portion of that is through the things He's already written to us.

THE ANSWER IS IN THE WORD; THE ANSWER IS THE WORD.
The Bible is powerful and active... but we have to be meditating on it. It won't bulldoze us over as though it's a magic spell-- we have to let it work in us and through us. I don't have it all figured out, but I know this:
IF I WANT TO BE A WISE-WORDED WOMAN,
I NEED TO BE A WOMAN OF THE WORD.


I've gotta be reading and meditating on Scripture. And so that's what I'm off to do before bed tonight.


How are you doing in the area of knowing the Word and using it wisely-- in your own life and in the lives of others? What parts of Scripture have been meaningful to you in dealing with the drippyness of our complain-filled mouths and minds as women? Please, share-- anything and everything you think might be helpful for me or others facing tough days and pursuing wisdom.

22 comments:

Dani said...

God has been putting some of the same things on my heart and allowing situations to test me.

Thanks for being so open and sharing, it is always great to know you are not alone :)

Anonymous said...

Wise words Jess.
I haven't finished watching that video yet (which is amazing - the video that is), but I wanted to pass on one of my own. My mother recorded some words of wisdom in the last few weeks of her life, which you may enjoy. It is in 3 parts, with the first part found on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tGBKWfqOEs

Simone in Oz

Barbara H. said...

Jess, could I have permission to reprint this in a ladies' ministry newsletter that I compile for our church? I have one monthly section titled "Women of the Word" where I try to encourage ladies to keep in the Word of God, and this would be perfect. Feel free to e-mail me at barbarah06@gmail.com or contact me on my blog.

I've been reading here for several weeks (I think maybe through a link at The Common Room) but I am not sure if I have ever commented before. I enjoy your thoughts. :-)

Denise said...

I have recently begun a study on prayer. I've decided to dedicate most of my reading time the remainder of this year to this topic. I am reading a book highlighting how to become a woman of prayer. A lot of the issues with my mouth and my attitude can be changed so easily when I have the right perspective. I had not been very motivated to 'get up with the sun' to have any kind of personal prayer time. With 3 kids under 5, I cherish my shut eye. I feel like I was doing all the right exterior things and 'talking with God' all day in my heart and then at our family worship. It just wasn't enough and I knew it. I have felt like I was hanging on to life with a string, ya know? Anyways, long story short I have continued studying and being very motivated. I have been getting up early to meet with the Lord...the only time of day I can be alone. It has been so refreshing and it really sets my mind straight and seems to help me keep a tie on my mouth much better than before. I even could tell a difference during the most hormonal part of my month. :) I've been using Psalms to word many of my prayers and they have been so appropriate. God is using them to temper my heart and spirit. Press on friend! God bless you!

Courtney said...

I also wanted to get into God's word. I felt like I had been using the Bible as handy reference by looking up issues I was facing and seeking a Biblical answer. I wanted to know the Lord better and really get his word into my heart.

Last year our church offered a Bible-in-a-year outline and I took it and approached some bloggers I read to go online with it--kind of like a book club. I have enjoyed insight and honesty from other Christians who are further along in their walk with the Lord than I am.

Instead of viewing this as a daily to-do to check off, I find I look forward to spending time in his word, even if it's only to read the day's reading online. I know when this year's journey is over, I'll want to do it again and again, because his word is living and will show me something new. I have also enjoyed community and accountability with the other writers.

(You are welcome to follow along at www.66books.wordpress.com.)

Robin said...

This is a really great post. I really struggle with contentment and lack of self-control in what I say and do. And, that is all a result of spending virtually no time in the Word. I'm so busy with the kids and the house, which is always a cluttered mess, that I never spend time with the Lord. I keep hearing people say that, if you only spend time with the Lord in the Word and in prayer, you'll have more time to do other things. Kind of like tithing. We always have money enough to do what we need to do. I don't know why I don't make time to spend in the Word.

Anonymous said...

Are you really a "young woman" in a Biblical sense? You would have been considered an adult at age 12, more than half your life ago.

If I'm not mistaken, life expectancy would have been around 35 years at that time. I think someone living to age 50 would have been relatively unusual.

In our cultural frame of reference, a woman who's 28 or 29 is still young, but in Biblical times that would have been a mature woman.

On a different note, I like the saying from Pirke Avot: "Knowledge is important because it leads to wisdom; wisdom is important because it leads to deed."

Laurie B

Jess said...

Dani,
It's hard but worthwhile to keep walking in those times of testing. Do not grow weary!


Simone,
I'd love to check those out if I can ever re-gain access to youtube here. If they're in any other format, I'd love to know.


Barbara,
Sure! I'm glad it can be of use to encourage the Body.


Denise,
I really appreciate your comments here-- I, too, go in phases where sleep is so very critical (like after having a baby, or when everyone in the family is going through random sickness/flu)... but we're back into an upswing of that, and you've rekindled an old desire to get up early and use that time wisely. Thanks for the good word!


Courtney, that sounds great! I've done the read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year thing before several times and it's always been good. The past few years, I've been doing roughly 1 book/month... but the past couple weeks I've been slacking. I just need to jump back in and press on.


Laurie,
Well, I'm 29, and I still have very young children. So I do think I'm a "younger" woman... in that culture, I would have done this much by about 10 years earlier maybe... but in the state of how things are now, I think yes-- I am a "younger woman". To some people, I'm an older woman, and I hope that this blog helps serve and encourage women in that situation.


Thanks, everyone, for thinking these things over with me.
~Jess

Britt said...

Ouch! This hits close to home. Especially the nagging part :( And I agree...I need to spend more time in the word.

Charlotte said...

I read an article by Nancy Wilson a few years ago entitled 'Being a woman of the word'
I think you can find it through credenda/agenda.com and searching through the 'femina' articles

Also, on the theme of rising early to read and pray, I took great encouragment from the Girl Talk book by the Mahaney family called 'shopping for time'

I started the 5am club after having no excuse for infants disturbing my sleep now (the youngest of my 5 are both aged 6 now!!) It was such a blessing to have that true quiet time in a usually very noisy household. The days I took time to do this were joyful no matter what came my way as I'd put the Lord first. It all falls apart when the children are on school holidays tho' as we are all out of routine with later nights and time away.

Recently after having got back into the 5am club I had a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia which required me to start meds to help with pain and sleep. This has totally thrown me again and at the moment am spending the day quite zombified while the effects of the tablets wore off. It's been wonderful to have sound sleep after a few years of broken nights but my husband has to nearly drag me out of bed. I'm hoping the tablets will settle in my system to allow me to have that time again early in the morning (before the summer hols start!)

It's important to remember tho' that if for a period of time in your life you are not able to rise early to read, pray and meet with the Lord that you don't not do anything (as I have done, believing that the only quality time is first thing in the morning!)

Recently I've listened to the bible on cd while washing up, looked at Choice Gleanings online, read Morning and Evening by Spurgeon, Daily Light, all quick sources of encouragement to snatch inbetween all the duties of the day. One of my twins has been off school these last few weeks with a broken leg, needing much attention. Four of my 5 have been off with a stomach bug this last week but looking back over this week I can clearly remember those times the Lord has met with me using those things mentioned above and others too. He understands our situations.

PS- I'm 36 and still consider myself a younger woman taking great wisdom and learning (hopefully) from the older ladies I know. But with that recognise there are younger women I know who may look to me as an example- an awesome responsibility

Anonymous said...

Jess,

It takes a lot to even be aware of feeling this way, no less wanting to do something about it. I humbly offer what I've learned from my own "scraped knees" along the way.

1. When I feel upset, I take the time to write it out. Sometimes, that means writing the thoughts that come to me even when they've woken me in the middle of the night.

2. Once it's all out, I try to figure out if there's a way to ask for what I want.

Example: I'm upset with a friend for being chronically late. I could blow my top, or even quietly relay that I'm frustrated. Bottom line: All I really need to do is say, "I need you to be on time next time."

No criticism. No judging. At MOST, I could say, "Is something going on that's getting in the way of your being on time? How can I help?"

If the person continues to be late, then that means YOU have to change. Stop making plans with that person, or find a way to support the both of you, with the assumption that the person WILL be late no matter what, every time.

Get it? "Being late" is just an example. Insert what you like.

If you're grumping, griping, and throwing words around, something must feel frightening or unstable to you. What would make you feel more stable? Do you need help with the kids while your husband is traveling? An agreement that you'll be able to chat on the phone once a day?

Honor your needs. These feelings are a sign to you that you need to -- just as a sore throat is a symptom that you need to honor a need for good health, these feelings are a symptom that you need to honor your other health. See what I mean?

Take care and good luck.

Lisa

FancyHorse said...

Wonderful thoughts and ideas here, in the original post and in the comments, too. The devotional book that I have started using (Jesus Calling)is very encouraging in this area - listening when praying, reading His word, and journaling what He teaches us. I blogged about it recently.

Trinity Mommy said...

Beautiful, convicting post! Thank you so much for sharing... I needed to be reminded of so many of these truths!

Jill F. said...

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...keep a reverence of God in your life! Seek gratefulness. The wisest women I know are very grateful and so bitterness does not have an opportunity to spring up and defile many.

Shaunta' said...

Jess,
I would like to email you a personal question. What is your email address? Thx
Shaunta'

Jess said...

Shaunta,
You could send any questions/thoughts to makinghome@pobox.com

:)
~Jess

Ashley L said...

Thank you for this post. It really was applicable to some things that I've been thinking and praying about with regards to seeking wisdom. I appreciate your wise words!

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

Not where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I have learned the value of silence. It truly is golden.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.The thing about a fitly spoken word is that it requires thought beforehand. Thinking first sharply decreases the number of words that flow out of my mouth.

DKJAZ Santibanez said...

"Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Col 3:12-14
These verses have been constantly challenging me because it really is impossible without God! But reading them every day and meditating on them has been very good for me as I come out of what I think has been the lowest valley yet. Being a mum of 3 under 2, I know what it means to be tired and stretched to the limit.
Also now going to a Psalms only singing church (no musical accompaniment)different to what I grew up with, I have really come to appreciate singing God's word and storing it in my heart. So listening to Psalms on CD or singing the ones we know has been a daily habit, my 2 year old son has even memorised some and that is a great encouragement to know he is hiding God's word in his heart. (Cool to know that the next few verses in the Colossians section are the ones about admonishing one another with all wisdom as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs...)
Your blog has been a wonderful source of encouragement and challenge. Thank you Jess!

Jerilyn said...

I've been reading respectable sins by Jerry Bridges and that has been very convicting. There are definitely sins that I thought were okay. Or I could say one thing but really have a heart that thought something else.

I can see my unbelief (I believe Lord, help my unbelief) come out in a lot of ways- what I believe about God, how I am with my family, etc.

I don't even know if this makes sense- it does in my mind. ;)

darci said...

oh, this hit me! Thank you for sharing-I struggle so much with this. My sweet man has a REALLy busy job..gone alot, and when he's home, working working..I make up my mind (and pray and pray) that I will be supportive, gentle, and oh yes, have quiet wise words (!) but it all flies out the window in my lonely, overwhelmed evenings. (and yes, I'm sure some of those great hormones are in there). God is working on me-"He who began a good work in you WILL be faithful to complete it." I long to be the woman He has for me to be-thank you for the encouragement along the way.
I was just reading something by CS Lewis..about how it is 'dangerous' really, to have a good God, because He will keep chipping away, digging away with that surgeon's knife, until we are healed and whole. ugh. ugh but thanking Him that He sees me as worth chipping away at.
God bless you. darci

Christine said...

I don't have it all figured out, for sure, but I've recently come to a realization about knowing the Word, vs memorization of scripture. I seek to know God, but don't always remember the exact reference. This always caused me such angst! I felt like a lousy Christian without the neat index card box full of ready references that I could quote with ease. Instead, what works for me is that I read scripture on an almost daily basis and highlight verses that stand out. I pray them for my life, and often copy them in my journal. They stick, because they have something to say to me right then. Learning verses in a vacuum doesn't help me. If it's not in the context of my life, I won't remember it, but a verse about the "drippy faucet" sticks when I'm being like a drippy faucet!! You get the picture! I just posted about this here if you're interested. Have a blessed weekend!