the noble journey

A journey to become the wife of noble character…

Slay that spirit! August 13, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 8:43 pm

The noblechildren have settled in to their new school, I have started my third semester of graduate studies, thenoblehubby is snoring, and this blog has, unfortunately, become forgotten.

By me.

I knew that the start of school would be hectic, but now that things are settling, it’s time to get serious about this project I have committed to. I enjoy the writing, and I also look forward to the reflective spirit that sitting down to write brings me to. More importantly, however, is the commitment I have made to this project. It is not always easy to keep the commitments that we make. This one comes with a certain level of built-in accountability, since some of you have been dear enough to inquire when the next post would come. Thank you for your encouragement, because it means a lot.

Tonight, I would like to update you on a commitment that I made about a month ago. I committed, quite publicly and nervously, to remove certain websites from my browsing list, in an effort to waste less time and spent more time productively.

Well, there is good news and not so good news on that front. The good news is that I have not logged in to any of those websites since I made the commitment. But before you applaud me and tell everyone you know how awesome I am, let me clarify that I am still spending too much time reading on the Internet, so this is still a work in progress. But I am seeing progress, which definitely encourages me to now set my goal a bit higher. We all have our own battles, and this is one of mine…but I am not done fighting.

I wanted to share with you something that happened to me in church today. It helps me process things by writing through them, and I am also asking for some accountability from my friends today for another battle that I am fighting. And that is the battle of irritability.

This morning in church, I found myself struggling with that spirit. I don’t want to step on any toes by going into details, but I will say that I struggle with feeling distracted when I should be praying, listening to a sermon, or even worshipping, at times. Just about anything can distract me, from the sound of someone opening a purse, to the conversations of children, to even the faint creak of the doors opening as someone enters or leaves the sanctuary.

Believe me when I say to you that I wish, more than anything, that I did not have this struggle. When I come to church, I want to be there. You know where there is. It’s The God Zone.

I want to settle into my seat, open up my Bible, and feel the Word just pour over my flesh. I know how it feels to be saturated by the Spirit, and this morning, I was looking forward to being in Sunday School and wallowing in that Word. But unfortunately, I could not disconnect myself from the things that I should have been able to disconnect from.

People coming in late. Fidgeting in chairs. Phones going off.

And, the king of all distractions for anyone who has ever been responsible for an entire classroom of students…yes, you guessed it.

People talking when the teacher is talking.

(Yes, the adults do it, too)

I say this dramatically not necessarily because it truly is dramatic, but because I want you to understand that, to me, in certain moments, it is the most dramatic thing possible. And no amount of sighing, deep-breathing, mind-focusing or slightly-arched-in-irritation eyebrows can change it. Once my comfy place in The God Zone has been compromised, it is almost impossible to get it back.

It is very, very similar to what it feels like when I lay my head down on the pillow, feeling my eyelids begin to droop, hearing my breathing slow in preparation for slumber…and then sit up in bed wide awake.

The moment has passed, and there is no getting it back.

And once that has passed, once those physical distractions have been noted, I sometimes then find the mental distractions creeping in. Do you know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about not just being distracted by the person coming in late, but then allowing your mind to find some other fault or issue with that person.

What begins as a momentary, fleshly irritation can explode rather quickly into judgement and condemnation for any number of things that the mind now wants to bring to the forefront of my thoughts, and before I know it, not only  has my focus come away from the teaching, but it now fixes itself on negative, sinful musings.

Why can’t she ever be on time? And why did she take the last bottle of water out of the church fridge before service? She just had one right before Sunday School, too.

And come to think of it, why does she cut her hair short/bite her fingernails/park in my parking spot/wear that dress/talk so loud and…well, you get it now, don’t you?

It looks silly to read, sure. But in the moment of distraction, when my guard goes down and I allow Satan to skip through the playground of thoughts in my mind, it becomes quite serious. And suddenly, I am the right one, and somebody else is sooooo totally wrong.

This morning, after leaving my Sunday School class feeling distracted, I found myself immediately convicted by the Holy Spirit to pray away this negative, crappy attitude. I passed a note (yes, I passed a note…what a distraction) to a good friend who was sitting behind me, asking her to pray with me before the service was over. And when she came to me later, reaching out to take my hands and anxious to become that cord of two, I had to look at her sweet, smiling face and tell her that I was a jerk.

It feels like that. After all, it’s easy to ask someone to pray for you when you are sick or just stressed about life’s normal day to day issues. But it’s not the easiest thing in the world to ask a friend to help you pray that you would stop being so irritable to the people that you love, or having irritated thoughts about them.

She didn’t call me a jerk, thankfully.

She just prayed.

Thank you, Lord, for friends who don’t judge, who accept me with all my faults, and who don’t run when they see me coming.

thenoblewife

 

Open Arms August 7, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 4:20 pm

“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy…” Proverbs 31:20

The first time I heard about the Wife of Noble Character was when my grandmother passed away nearly 15 years ago. At her eulogy, my aunts read a beautiful piece they had written about the Proverbs 31 woman, and how my grandmother exemplified that character in so many ways. I had not been raised in the church, knew nothing about the Bible, and certainly did not know or understand the concept of being a wife of noble character.

But as I listened to my aunts tell stories of the many ways my grandmother had taken care of them and their home, I found myself drawn to the passage and fascinated with the stories. My grandmother was remembered for sewing dresses for dolls out of flour sacks, preparing huge pots of homemade chocolate pudding and freshly baked bread for dinner, and opening her home to strangers in need.

I longed to have been a part of that type of existence, sitting at my grandmother’s table as young child, watching as her wooden spoon laboriously stirred the chocolate concoction, and slathering butter across a chunk of warm bread. Or perhaps learning to make her famous blackberry jam from backyard berries.

Because my dad was the baby of the family, my brother and I did not get to know my grandmother as well as our older cousins. By the time we were in elementary school we had moved far away from her, and by the time I was in junior high she had begun to suffer from dementia. So in some ways,  memories of my grandmother that others have  are precious to me, connecting me to the woman she was in her prime, before her mind began to deteriorate.

My dad and his sisters have told me other stories of their childhood, of how “bums” traveling the rail system would stop in town looking for a warm place to sleep, or a hot meal to fill their bellies. History books tell me how hard times were in the early 1940’s, but some stories can’t be found in textbooks. Like how at times, my dad and his siblings would come home and find my grandmother had invited one of these transients into her home to sit down at the dinner table.

Apparently, there was some sort of system, a sign that would tell others looking for food and shelter that a home was a friendly one. My aunt said that often the transients would put some sort of mark on the house, or perhaps snap a branch on a shrub, to let others know that this was a friendly home. When I think of that, I imagine one of the large peony bushes in my grandmother’s front yard, with a snapped stem dangling as open invitation to those in need.

As I prepare for a new chapter in my life, this year of grad school and unemployment, I know that the Lord is calling me to give some of my time in service to others, in His name. I can’t be sure yet exactly how much time that will be, or what that time will consist of, but I have a few ideas.

As much as I love to cook,  I know that there will not be a snapped branch at the end of my driveway inviting the homeless to dinner. In another time and place, that would have been me. But in this day, I ask the Lord to show me clearly how I can open my arms and extend my hands to those in need, using the gifts and abilities He has blessed me with.

And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.” I Corinthians 12:28

This morning, I decided to spend some time looking for those opportunities. I had read an article in the Houston Chronicle yesterday that publicized some volunteer opportunities in the Houston area, which then led me to a website that matches volunteers with organizations that need their assistance.

And this is the list of possibilities that I am praying about:

1. Working with a women’s shelter as a Life Skills instructor, teaching women about things like balancing checkbooks, preparing healthy meals for their family, and training themselves for future employment.

2. Helping to deliver meals to home-bound senior citizens

3. Mentoring local exchange students

4. Serving as a spiritual volunteer with local hospice organizations

5. Visiting those with no family connections at local nursing homes

In less than two weeks, my children will begin school. A week later, my classes begin in full force. But even when school begins for me, I will have two full days a week that will be “open” to these opportunities. And I have to tell you, I am excited to see how the Lord is going to lead me in this.

Those who know me know that I have been somewhat anxious this summer to see how my family’s financial needs were going to be met while I stepped away from the work force. There have already been several money stones overturned, so to speak. But more importantly, even as I wonder today where all the money will come from, I have peace that it is coming.

And I think that one of the best ways I can reflect that peace is by saying, “Lord, take the time that I have and use it for YOU.” Instead of scrambling for a part-time job or biting my nails to the quick every time the refrigerator gets empty, I need to embrace this time and look for ways to bless others. I want to walk in confidence each day knowing that my needs will be met, so much so that I can focus on others whose needs far, far outweigh mine.

It is clear that the Wife of Noble Character, no matter how busy she must have been taking care of her husband, her children, and her home, doing things by hand that our lives of convenience can’t even comprehend, was still able to give to others outside of her home. And part of my noblejourney has to include that.

Scripture is clear in that the older women are called to teach the younger. I am blessed to have had those women in my life. And while my grandmother is gone, the teaching is still there.

All three of my aunts, Ruth, Juanita, and Shirley, exemplified the wife of noble character in many ways. But it was Shirley, whom I spent a lot of time with when I was young, who had the greatest impact on my life.  She is my grandmother’s youngest daughter, and the best example of a wife of noble character that I have today.  Some of the best memories of my childhood involved being in her home. Looking back, I wonder where she found the time to do all the things that she did. She worked outside of the home, but also worked diligently in the home. I don’t think I have a single memory, probably because it never happened, of her just sitting idle. If she wasn’t cooking or serving, she was sewing clothes for her family, or crocheting, or doing something constructive with her hands.

When she did sit, I can remember her quickly reaching for the basket next to her chair, overflowing with yarn and stitching needles, or perhaps some cloth with a needle waiting for her to resume stitching. Her dinner table was always overflowing with vegetables from her garden, including sweet corn and the most amazing pickles I’ve ever eaten in my life.

I knew at an early age that Aunt Shirley loved the Lord, even though it would be many years before I would come to know Him. Once I remember my younger cousin, James, being very sick, and soon the house was filled with people I did not know, laying hands on and praying over his weary body.  It was always clear from where her strength came.

I’ve always looked up to Aunt Shirley, amazed at the many things she has done for her family over the years. But once, several years ago when her sister, Juanita, was dying from breast cancer, Shirley confided in me that she had always wished that she had been more like Juanita in some ways. My aunt Juanita taught Sunday School at her church for many years before getting sick, and I think that Shirley looked at that and saw such an admirable ability, that she was not able to see her own. She did not believe that she was a teacher.

At the end of our conversation, she mentioned needing to leave and run errands. (She never sits still for long!) When I asked where she was going, she casually mentioned, in a very off-handed manner, that she was delivering homemade bread to some elderly shut-ins.

I won’t say how old my aunt is today, but I will tell you that she still hasn’t slowed down, even though the vast majority of women her age have probably come to that place where they embrace rest. Each time she comes to visit, she is quick to show me her latest craft project, whether it is making jewelry or homemade greeting cards. I know that many of the things she makes end up as gifts for friends and family, blessings to others. And the greatest thing of all about her servant’s heart is that she is so unaware of it. She serves with a spirit of total humility.

Shortly before my grandmother passed away, at the age, I believe of 85, I helped to sort through some of her things at her apartment before she moved into a nursing home. Sitting next to her chair was silver tin filled with quilting blocks. Poking out from one of them was her needle, waiting to be picked up. Elsewhere in the house we found boxes of partially finished quilts. The tops were all finished, but abandoned.

My aunt explained that grandmother continued to make lap quilts “for the old people” at the nursing homes. But as her eyes failed and her fingers became less coordinated, she had been unable to do the more difficult finishing. Comparing these unfinished tops to the finished pieces that I own, I recognized a wider stitch, less perfect measurements, and a few more ragged edges.

But I know that is not what the Lord saw. He saw, even until the end, that servant’s heart. Those open hands and extended arms, just like Shirley’s, reaching out at all times to do something beyond herself, for others, for Him.

A servant’s heart can not be manufactured. It is a calling from the Lord, led by the Spirit. And I am so thankful today, as I seek ways to serve, that I have had such wonderful examples of the Wife of Noble Character teaching me, leading me, and encouraging me, even when they are gone or far away.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9

thenoblewife (in training)

 

When the sea billows roll July 30, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 3:36 pm

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me,  and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare…” Isaiah 55:2

I love being able to flip through the pages of my Bible and see the notes and comments that I have made in the past. I try to label them according to the date and according to who was speaking or preaching. Sometimes these notes come from personal study, but usually they come from a sermon or conference.

I love going through my bible and seeing notes from the important pastors and teachers who have blessed me with their wisdom and discernment. There are many entries credited to my first pastor, Pastor Terry Gibson. He was the pastor of the church the Lord directed me to when I was first called to Him, and Pastor Terry’s name is found in many places. Others whose name comes up often include Pastor Darrell, my current pastor. Pastor Darrell’s notes remind me of his insightful sermons, which not only tickle my ears, like some sermons, but also prod me to action.  You will also find notes from Pastor Greg, a dear friend who leads us in Bible study every Friday night in his home. Every now and then I come across Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer, and even a few entries from Pastor Jerry in Botswana.

Today I am looking at notes made September 18, 2010, when I heard Pastor Homer Allison speak near Magnolia, Texas. Homer has spoken to my kids a few times at summer camp, and some very good friends of ours have taken us to visit his church and to attend some of his ministry functions. I have always felt drawn to Pastor Homer and moved deeply each time I hear him speak the Word, so I was delighted to come across these notes this morning as I sit with my Bible in my lap at…Starbucks.

Pastor Homer spoke that night about the three types of people that he knew were in the audience.

The first type was the type of people who hear the Word and are deeply satisfied with the Lord. Those people knew Him intimately and walked with Him closely, and they were the most satisfied souls.

The second type was the type of people who hear the word, then grit their teeth and insist they are satisfied…but really were not.

And the third type was the type who had not a satisfied bone in their body.

Each of those types represented the state of a man’s soul, and I found myself that night, as I find myself this morning, wondering which category I fall into.

My Aunt Ruth told me a story many years ago about when she was a young girl playing the piano for her grandfather, the Reverend J.E. Bankson, as he spoke under revival tents each night. She was about 12 at the time, and I can see her sitting there at the bench, with her perfectly coiffed hair, legs crossed demurely, looking up at her grandfather expectantly as he would open his sermon in the same fashion each night.

“Ruthie, how is it with your soul?” He would ask his granddaughter.

And Ruth would look up and say, “It is well.” And then her fingers would take to the ivory keys, and the words would come forth:

 

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

when sorrows like sea billows roll;

whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul…”

 

So, I ask you today, how is it with your soul? How are you when the sea billows roll?

When peace attendeth, we are great. We are, in Homer’s words, those who hear the Word and are deeply satisfied. It speaks to us intimately, comforts us completely, guides us unfailingly.

But when those storm clouds began to puff up, growing grayer and denser against the once blue sky, then what do we do?

Do we retreat back to the heathen behaviors of our surly past, finding comfort in our addictions, our indulgences, and our solitude? If so, then perhaps we are merely gritting our teeth, pretending to be clinging to the cross when we are, in actuality, turning our backs on it.

Or even worse than temporarily turning away, have we yet to ever give ourselves completely to the Lord?

How my heart breaks for those who simply smile at the word with their faces, but refuse to open the folds of their heart to its sweetness, its revelations, its cleansing power. I would not go back to that empty life for all the comforts of the world.

But I would be a fool if I never re-examined my soul, if I never asked myself which of these categories I fell into. I have confidence in my saviour, but I am not ignorant of the flesh. And there are times when that flesh causes me to grit my teeth. Only with a constant re-examination of my spirit can I keep my flesh completely in check, because this, my friend, is a daily process.

 

“Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

and hath shed His own blood for my soul!”

 

I am so thankful for the Pastors of my past and present. I am thankful that God gives revelation to those blessed with the gift of preaching His Word, so that on days like these, with nothing in particular tugging at my heart other than a desire to hear His voice and know what He has to say to me today, I can open my Bible, reread these notes, and watch as the teaching seeds planted two years ago come alive once again, and then grow as they are enriched with new revelations and the leadings of the Spirit for this one, solitary day.

Any other day, and my fingers may be led to another page. But for this day and this moment, the Lord says, “Come back to this place with me, dear daughter…remember these words? Remember this message, and hear this new thing that I now want to add to it…”

A few weeks ago, I posted a video link on my facebook page, and I think I will post it here, also. It is a clip from my favorite movie of all time, The Color Purple.

Shug Avery, the honky-tonk tramp, grows weary of living in banishment from her family. Her preacher father has turned his back on her and her wild ways, and when she returns to the town she grew up in, she walks past his church with a catch in her heart. How she desires to be back in the fold, to be back in her father’s arms. But guilt from her sin keeps her away in fear, and pride and judgement  in her father’s heart prevents him from reaching out.

But our God, a God of reconciliation, will not stop speaking to the hearts of his children. He will not rest until all is well with their souls. And one Sunday, Shug Avery and her ragamuffin band of prostitutes, drunks,  adulterers, bastard children, and gamblers comes bursting through the pretty white doors of her daddy’s church, her sinful flesh for all to see, and her repentant heart longing for that peace like a river.

“God is trying to tell you something!” she sings, and in an instant, her father opens his eyes. He reaches out to embrace his prodigal daughter, and the two are reunited.

Is God trying to tell you something? Are you in the midst of the sea billows, gritting your teeth and wondering where to find peace?

Or are you sitting behind the sanctity of those big white doors, closing your ears and eyes to the hurting world right outside those doors? If that is you and your church, then God is trying to tell you something, too. There are, after all, just as many prostitutes, drunks, adulterers, bastard children and gamblers on the other side of the door, as well…

Open up your Bible and seek the Word He has for you today.

Love the unloved. Comfort the lonely. Feed those who hunger. Give shelter to those with no shelter. Share your bountiful blessings.

Reconcile with the heart of a friend.

And know that in the midst of those billows, the Lord cares for your soul.

 

“And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

the clouds be rolled back like a scroll;

the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

even so, it is well with my soul.”

 

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near…” Isaiah 55:6

thenoblewife

 

 

 

It’s been such a long time… July 11, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 4:45 pm

Yikes. It has been two weeks since I last wrote, and since my last post was a bit prickly, some have probably wondered if I have already given up.

Nah.

I’m here for the long run. We were gone on vacation and then thenoblechildren were gone on vacation, leaving me a quiet house to enjoy. I just sort of vegged out, actually. But it was nice.

So, how is thenoblejourney going? It’s going well. In fact, phase one has been so successful that I am ready to embark on the next milestone. Now that I have a handle on the meal preparation, I’m ready to start tackling the hard stuff. You see, I enjoy cooking. It’s easy to make time for that. Put me in a kitchen with a well-stocked refrigerator and no dirty dishes in the sink, and I can have a great time. So now it’s time to get serious about the next issue.

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

Yes, this is the big one for me, because I rather enjoy being idle.

idle: not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing; not spent or filled with activity (www.dictionary.com)

Uh, yeah, that’s me.

Now granted, some idleness is good. I believe the Lord desires us to rest, especially when we rest with Him. But I think you all know what I am talking about here. I’m talking about those times when I can sit on the couch for hours on end watching television, or sit at the computer surfing Pinterest. Or even those times when I wake up early, like I did this morning around 5:30, then drift back to sleep when I could get up and be productive.

I think that I justify my idleness with all kinds of excuses, which are listed below, but not in any order of preference:

1. I struggle with insomnia, so i should take rest when and however I find it.

2. It’s summer and I need to unwind.

3. The dog is resting too, and if it’s good enough for her, then it’s good enough for me.

4. My back/foot/neck/shoulders/ankle/elbow/freckle hurts

This list could be further developed, but I think you get the idea. It feels good to do nothing. It feels good to not be physically or mentally engaged. It allows me to daydream, or be lazy, or indulge in guilty pleasures.

One of the things I am debating for us is getting rid of cable tv. It would certainly help with the finances, although we have already cut our service down to the most basic package available. Last night theyoungernobleson was watching something that appeared to be eliciting a great deal of laughter from deep within his belly. He made the comment that it “wasn’t really that bad of a show”, which was immediately nullified by the next few lines out of the actor’s mouth.

Now, my children are teenagers, so the days of hyper-supervision are gone. The oldest at 22 is well past my intervention, and at 15 the youngest will be entering that territory soon. So as a parent, I don’t feel that simply ordering him to turn the channel is sufficient. I need to pick his brain. I need to engage him in conversation that helps me understand why he doesn’t understand the need to turn the channel without my intervention.

I want my children to think for themselves. It doesn’t hurt any less when they make decisions that I know are not pleasing to the Lord. I have watched all three of them buck the Holy Spirit at one time or another, and that is part of their own personal walk. I want to give the Holy Spirit a chance to convict in His own way and time, and for them to learn to respond to it quickly, or suffer the consequences.

But in this case, the television is in my house.

After the channel was turned, I asked theyoungernobleson why he did not feel bothered enough by what he heard to turn the channel himself. A lot of it, I know, comes down to the younger generations’ definition of humor, and that was probably the reason that came through the strongest in this situation. But even as I used my best rhetoric to make a case against this type of entertainment, the hypocrisies of my own day to day life flashed before my eyes.

I have to set the example in all ways. I have to keep reminding myself that I must exude the excellence that I want my children to reach for in their own lives, to expect from their own spouses and children, and to be able to convey in their future ministries.

There’s a lot of stuff that I watch that I shouldn’t be, also. And it does not have to be blatant cursing, sexually explicit, or extremely violent. When I laugh at a character who is doing something immoral, then it doesn’t really matter if I agree with the action or not. If I find it entertaining, then I am accepting it in some way into my moral boundaries.

So as I embark on the next level of excellence, looking over all of the affairs of my household, it’s not just going to be about being productive with my time. It’s going to be about eliminating those things that zap my productivity. After all, isn’t it usually the case that the things that we fall into while being unproductive are also counterproductive to the Christian walk? Those guilty pleasures threaten to erode the excellence that thenoblejourney is all about.

You may find that some of the things that I have to “struggle” to give up are, well, ridiculous. But that’s okay, because they are my struggles, not yours. They are the things the Holy Spirit has convicted me to change, not you. And since I am married and do not make decisions on my own, you will also understand (and I will try to, also) that my husband may not always be experiencing the same convictions, so there may be some conflict on the way. I need to brace for it.

So, what are the things that I am currently being convicted to change?

1. Internet surfing…I like to read the news on my phone, as well as on the computer at home. This time of year, I check the National Hurricane Center’s website about 7 times a day for any tropical storm development. (I’m not kidding about this). I also read the two local newspaper’s websites, CNN and Foxnews,  People magazine, two local television news station’s websites, Craigslist, and Pinterest.

It only takes a few minutes to scan each website for breaking stories, which I do multiple times a day. So I am committing to lessen the amount of time that I spent “reading” online and also eliminating some of the websites. The websites I am now committing to stay away from include about half of those on my list. I am only going to keep the following: Craigslist, Foxnews, two local newspapers, one local news station, and Pinterest.

I am also happy to report that I have successfully given up surfing TMZ and The National Enquirer. I confess, I love keeping up with the celebrities and bizarre news. But there is nothing uplifting in this, and last month I felt convicted to give up the greater of the evils in these two websites. I feel like I need to get back into Celebrate Recovery to deal with this addiction! Is there a class for that???

2. Television…My entire youth was spent being entertained by the television. It has always been my go-to for solace. I know that some of you don’t relate to that at all, but it really is a big thing in my life. I am being convicted not just about what I watch, but how much time I spend watching. And in my desire to project excellence and foster it in my home, I am going to be restricting thenoblechildren and their access, as well. Be in prayer for me on that one, for sure.

I am also working on a list of things to replace the idle time with, which I will update you on in a future post. As I detox from technology, I expect some bumps along the way. But I also expect great rewards.

There is so much that could be addressed with this scripturally:

“And we urge you brothers, warn those who are idle…” I1 Thessalonians 5:14

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us…We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6 & 11

“…they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.” 1 Timothy 5:13

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Proverbs 10:4

And because physical laziness also leads to spiritual laziness:

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Hebrews 6:10-12

I look forward to my inheritance.

thenoblewife

 

Pity Party June 27, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 2:36 am

Sometimes, I get to the end of the day and I have to ask myself a difficult question.  As I sit in bed this evening preparing to end the day, the question in my heart is not a question that I really want to acknowledge. But if thenoblejourney is going to have any authenticity to it at all, the question has to be shared.

Tonight,  the question I ask is this: do you ever feel as though you are unseen?

Tonight,  I find myself wondering if anybody sees ME.

Sure, everyone sees my flesh waddling around the house. I say waddle because I’ve been limping for a week, literally, on swollen feet. Everyone in this family knows I have been in physical pain, not able to stay on my feet for long periods of time, and also not sleeping well. So, why would anyone choose to ignore the 10 things I did get accomplished today, only to vilify me for the 1 thing I did not?

Please don’t accuse me of being dramatic. I am a writer and an English major and I just happen to like to use words to my advantage. You may think I am exaggerating, so for the sake of proving my point, I am going to make a list of all the things I got accomplished today:

1. I woke up

2. I woke the children up

3. I drove thenobledaughter to her summer class

4. I waited patiently at Starbucks for thenobledaughter to get out of her class, during which time I accomplished the following tasks:

4a. Posted two new blogs

4b. Prayed for several friends

4c. Read from my Bible

4d. Enjoyed a grande Pikes Place and a large water with extra ice

5. Drove thenobledaughter home

6. Put $20 of gas in my vehicle

7. Cleaned some of the trash out of my car

8. Used up the last of that never-ending container of leftover taco meat to make thenobledaughter and myself some quesadillas for lunch

9. Threw away the tomatoes that went bad in my fridge because they somehow got frozen

10. Made half a gallon of homemade pico de gallo with the remaining tomatoes

11. Spent 30 minutes figuring out how to post a picture of my garlic-cilantro pico de gallo on this blog and on Pinterest

12. Washed and folded two loads of laundry

13. Made a great meal for the family: grilled chicken breast, orange-rosemary pork tenderloin (leftovers),  broccoli, and vegetable couscous

14. Picked tomatoes from the garden

15. Gave rotten tomatoes and an ear of corn to theyoungernobleson’s two chickens AND inspected construction of the refurbished chicken coop

16. Spent 15 minutes being encouraged by a good friend via cellphone

I’m going to stop here, not because this list is all-inclusive, but because I think I have proven my point. And that point is that I have not wasted this day. I have not been selfish with my time. I have achieved things, even if they do not seem monumental to others.  Some of those accomplishments were for myself. Some were for others. And some were for the Lord.

I won’t rank them in order of importance. But let me say the following to those who may not feel, at the end of this day, that I have accomplished everything I should have:

I’m sorry that broccoli is not everyone’s favorite vegetable.

I’m sorry that the appropriate laundry was apparently not done in the loads that I ran through the machine.

I’m sorry that I just can’t say with complete assurance that I will feel like going to the mall tomorrow afternoon.

And I’m sorry that I did not follow up with the important phone call that I made last week. Sometimes, when I am not reminded of things, I forget them. And they don’t get done in the window of time that others may like or need for them to be done in.

But please, open up your eyes and see ME. I am not to be judged, valued, or noted for the things I accomplish in the course of a day. At the end of the day, I am still friend, mom, and wife. If anyone is waiting for me to fill those shoes perfectly, it will be a long wait.

But if anyone is willing to love, honor, and respect me for who I am and not what I do, then I am here.

Open up your eyes and see ME.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-26

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30

“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9

thenoblewife

PS: I promise a more uplifting post next time, once the Lord has had some time to deal with me and my attitude…

 

Children, obey your parents… June 26, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 4:39 pm

When I began this noble journey, the first thing I committed to change was my lack of consistency as the family chef. Now that it’s summer time and I am on a bit of a vacation, it has been relatively easy to make sure that dinner is being planned and prepared in thenoblehouse and that there is always something available to throw together a good meal. I can say with confidence that at least 6 nights out of 7, I have been putting together a real meal and not just asking the family to fend for themselves.

Granted, that meal is not always what everyone would like it to be. Just yesterday theyoungernobleson began snooping around in the fridge, wondering what he could make for lunch. I don’t normally prepare lunch for myself and thenoblesiblings. More often than not, I use that meal as a catch all for the leftovers or for self-sufficient options, such as making a sandwich.

Theyoungernobleson was asking if he could prepare something using some meat from the freezer. He’s trying to bulk up and get conditioned for the upcoming football season so he is seeking out all forms of protein that he can get his hands on. He has even invested in two laying hens so he can have healthy, fresh yard eggs in his protein drinks. What a resourceful young man!

I know that what he was hoping for was to find some thawed chicken breast in the fridge. Quite the chef himself, one of his favorite meals is grilled chicken. (But please don’t tell the hens…they may stop laying in protest…) He even keeps a small container in the spice cabinet of his own custom concoction: a blend of  seasonings from the pantry that he has painstakingly mixed himself. It is a custom blend whose “recipe” has remained, to this day, top-secret.

Failing to find what he “wanted” in the fridge, he complained that there was nothing to eat.

Now, I took advantage of this complaint to teach theyoungernoble son about being a wise steward. I pointed out the leftover taco meat from two nights before, and the chicken fajita meat that was less than 24 hours forgotten about. I asked him if he would consider using some of those leftovers instead of making something “new”, because I am trying very hard to keep from wasting any food. I acknowledged that eating the same meal two or three times in a row might not be the most appealing; I have a palate that desires variety, also.

But I also have a pocketbook that demands wise choices.

I was proud of his response. Instead of rolling his eyes or whining, as has happened in the past, theyoungernobleson nodded in agreement. “Yeah, that makes sense.” And in a matter of no time at all he had created a couple tacos and was seated in front of the television eating contentedly.

It’s tempting at times to simply tell a child what to do. It doesn’t even matter their age, really. Whether they are 6 or 16, I find myself tempted to say “because I said so” more often than I find myself attempting to explain the decisions I make.

But when the maturity reveals itself in each child, no matter the age, I believe parents are required to help lead their child in exercising it. I’m not sure how I would have responded if theyoungernobleson had not seen things my way. Hopefully I would not have replied in anger, which is always my close associate, waiting to be released like a snarling lion into the arena for battle. I would like to think that I would have been one of those calm, cool, collected mothers that I know in my own personal circle. I won’t call them out by name, but everyone in my circle knows who they are! At all times they appear to communicate with their children in a calm, affirming, and respectfully authoritarian voice.

Me? Well, sometimes I scream. A lot.

Thank you, theyoungernobleson, for understanding the reasoning behind what may seem like an insignificant thing through your eyes. I promise I will not make you eat molded bread, stale cereal, or sour milk. I appreciate the fact that at 14 years old you can cook for yourself, do your own laundry, and work an 8 hour day in the hot sun like some men twice your age are still not willing to do.

I know that God is going to bless you for your respect and submission, as he has blessed me to be your mother.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother”-which is the first commandment with a promise-‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4

thenoblewife

 

 

Starbucks Ministry…yes, that is what I said June 21, 2012

Filed under: Journey Musings — thenoblewife @ 3:48 pm

One of the difficult things that I am dealing with right now is the loss of my ministry. For the past 10 years my children have attended the same Christian school, and for the last 6 of those years I have been teaching at that school. When the Lord began telling me to pull away, one of my first questions was “Why? Have I not been doing what You have called me to do? Have I screwed it up? Did I squander the talents you put in my care?”

It’s hard to walk away from a job you love, and even harder when that job involves the joy of ministering to others. Now I am left wondering what my personal ministry is going to be for this season in my life.

I know that part of my noble journey is to continually seek His direction in that area. I do believe that He has some things in the works, but this morning He reminded me that we can be active in ministry anywhere we go.

As I sit at Starbucks this morning writing, I have my bible open. (I’ve been reading from 2 Corinthians, ch. 2 this morning, about forgiveness) As I’m reading/writing, a gentleman sits down in the chair next to me and asks if I’m studying.

“Yes, I am,” I answer.

“The Bible?” he asks.

“Yes, sir.”

He smiles and nods. “The best book in the world.”

He then proceeds to tell me  how many times he has read the Bible all the way through, and how amazed he is at how each time he opens it to read, he learns something new. I start to comment on my own experiences with that, but then his cell phone rings and our moment is interrupted.

It reminded me of a book I read a couple years ago…amazing book and I will post the title when I remember it.  Anyway, this pastor was writing about the need for the church to change the way it approaches the unsaved. He does some very unconventional things in his church, but one of the things that I remember the most is how he goes about writing his sermon each week.

Instead of sitting in his church office, he relocates to Starbucks for the day. He finds a centrally-located table, spreads out his Bible and study/writing materials, and then proceeds to spend the day working on his Sunday sermon.

He is interrupted many, many times by customers and employees alike who casually ask what he is doing.

Sha-zaam!

He always takes a few minutes to explain what he is doing, introduces himself as the pastor of such-and-such church, and asks the inquirer if they are a believer. His recountings of some of the subsequent exchanges is fascinating. At times, he has found himself encouraged by fellow Christians, but at other times he is practically accosted by angry or mocking nonbelievers.

He says it is one of his most productive times of ministry.

(Sorry, but have to take a break here to tell you how disappointed I am to see that there was a subject-verb agreement error in the previous paragraph…I fixed it, but ah, the horror!)

Anyway, his story is encouraging to me right now because while I believe that my first and most important ministry is my family, I also believe that the Lord calls each one of us to some type of outreach ministry that extends beyond our personal circle. That ministry could be something as simple as preparing meals for families in need, or it could be as complicated as selling everything you own and moving to Africa.

Hmm….now that’s a thought.

So, while I sit at Starbucks waiting for thenobledaughter’s summer class to end, sitting here each morning because it is cheaper to have a cup of coffee than it is to drive all the way home and back in 2 hours, I need to have my eyes and ears open.

Perhaps someone sitting nearby is going to ask me what I’m reading, and perhaps they really, really need to hear just what it says.

“If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-if there was anything to forgive-I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Cor. 2:10-11

thenoblewife