Character Study: Measuring Up

  I am a working girl, not a mommy blogger.  On Mondays it’s back to the trenches for me — fleshing out my faith in the middle of piles of paperwork and wondering when I am going to deal with that mass of laundry that keeps growing in the closet.  Will my house ever really be clean?  Will I ever see the bottom of my desk?  How do I find time for ministry in the midst of answering a million e-mails in my 9 to 5 and then coming home to feed my husband?

Questions like these cause me to wonder if I will ever “measure up.”  Do you know what I mean?  In my head, there is this woman — the one who has it all together.  I haven’t actually  met her, but I know she is out there — taunting me with her perfection.

To try to make sense of it all, I make myself stop self – obsessing by sitting down for a spell with my Bible and a journal.  This past Sunday, I slowed down my pace and dug into some Scripture for a much needed re-adjustment of my perspective.   In Acts 16, I read about a woman who “worked hard for the money.”  She was a single sister named Lydia. There are just five short verses devoted to her story in the pages of Scripture, but I gleaned so much that has helped encourage me to skip with a lighter step this week.

First off, this sister was diligent in business.  She worked hard with enthusiasm, singleness of purpose, and she had “smarts.”  Her work life was characterized by competence and character, which created influence.

And what was she doing with her hard earned success?  We see her in community with other women, using her powers of persuasion to point others to Christ.  Lydia was a woman who

  • worshiped God freely with abandon
  • understood the importance of setting aside time for her Savior in the midst of a demanding schedule
  • dedicated herself to intercession
  • acknowledged that her source of strength was her Savior
  • hungered for truth, listened attentively, and responded in obedience
  • opened up her heart and home to others and shared generously
  • lived and worked “in” the world, but was not “of” it

Lydia was a seeker — a passionate person who was others focused.  Her life gave me hope this week — work and faith can fuel each other if my heart is settled on the Savior first.  May my heart be prayerful and my desire to sit at His feet never wane.

How do you flesh out your faith in the midst of your crazy schedule?  What about Lydia’s story is an encouragement to you?  Do you know a “Lydia” whose walk has encouraged you?   I would love to hear your thoughts!   Let’s sit for a spell and strike up a conversation below.

Joining Sarah for Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives.

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Character Study: Her Ministry-Minded Marriage

My husband is a hard-working business owner. His nickname for the company is “3D,” as in three-dimensional. The dictionary explains that the third dimension implies being full of life and depth. Daily, as a “3D wife,” I am still learning about how to be a purposeful Helper to my Mr. 3D man.

This week, I discovered a woman of depth and substance who provided some insight. In Acts 18, Priscilla fleshed out her walk with God by meaningfully choosing to support her husband. Her life centered on her ministry and her marriage — the two seem synonymous. The church actually met in their home. Aquilla, her 3D husband, worked as a tent maker, but his heart obviously beat passionately for Christ. Her graceful spirit provided a striking portrait of a 3D wife who:

  • complements her man’s work efforts by coming alongside him as needed.
  • capitalizes on her husband’s strengths and frees him to be the man God created him to be.
  • creates a home environment that is warm and inviting to others in his circle of influence
  • couples with her husband to teach others about Christ and encourage them in their walk
  • cultivates close friendships with others in ministry
  • cares about causes that her husband is passionate about and gets her hands dirty working hard beside him
  • considers her husband her first priority — where He goes, she follows

A 3D wife understands that her faith is fleshed out as she makes her marriage her ministry. Proverbs 31 challenges:

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

In Romans 16, Paul recognizes Priscilla and Aquilla, calling them his “co-workers in Christ” who had risked their very lives for Him. What a testimony! Do you know a 3D wife? Feel free to share her story below and recognize her worth.

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Character Analysis: Mary and Elizabeth

   Women who defy the odds capture my attention.  Despite  overwhelming circumstances working against them, some women flourish — flowers growing out of cement.  Their stories serve as inspiration for others to stay resilient during a dark season.   So, from time to time here on the blog, we will be spotlighting the lives of  Biblical women who were faith-filled.

Recently, in Luke Chapter 1, I discovered a precious gem of courage.  Elizabeth devoted herself to her husband, Zechariah, but she had no children of her own.  Her joyful resilience in the midst of barrenness did not go unnoticed by her God.  One day, when she had passed the point of hope, God took notice and acted.  He gave her a dual role — mom and mentor to Mary.

Our identity is not set in stone or based on our present circumstances — I love how Luke 1:36  captures this truth when the angel tells Mary: “… Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!  People used to say she was barren, but now she is in her sixth month” (NLT).    God used Elizabeth to encourage Mary that “nothing is impossible” for God to accomplish (v. 37).  God chose an unwed mother and an elderly, barren woman — He did the miraculous in the lives of two obedient servants full of godly character:

  • Elizabeth was obedient (v.6),  prayerful (v. 13), discreet (v. 24), worshipful (v.25), yielded to the Spirit (v. 41), humble (v. 43), joyful (v. 44), hospitable (v. 56), and steadfast (v. 60).
  •  Mary was a humble servant (v. 38), yielded (v. 45), praise filled (v. 46), joyful (v. 47), God-fearing (v.50), and discerning (v. 51).

Two women, yielded to their God, helped shape history by walking forward in obedience. Their stories live on as a daily reminder of God’s faithfulness to us.   Verse 58 shares that when Elizabeth’s “neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.”  So, how has God changed your life?  What did people “used to say” about you that NOW God has spoken into and brought life?  Share below in the comment section so that others can rejoice.

Be blessed.  For with God, absolutely nothing is impossible.

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