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Modified bed rest has its perks!  Like long (and quiet) devotions!  And I’m off to the doctor this afternoon, and I expect to be “cleared” and allowed to go about my normal way of life.  At least that is what I am praying for.  And if you’re wondering why I’m at the dining room table instead of in bed, it’s because I can’t lay down for ever and ever.  And because I love and intend to make full use of the word “modified.” 🙂

So, I must warn you, this is a little long, but the Lord is teaching me much.  And I love it.  Recently my mom gave me this advice: “Stay in the Proverbs!”  And it has been serving me so well.  I’ve been taking my time and focusing on a few verses a day, really unpacking what they mean.  This morning I read Proverbs 19:11-14

(v.11) Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
(v13b-14) …a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.  House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

I’ve read those verses so many times.  But I don’t always comprehend how it applies to me.  So I went to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and looked up quarreling vs. prudent.

Definition of PRUDENT:
– marked by wisdom or judiciousness
– marked by circumspection
– characterized by, arising from, or showing PRUDENCE
Definition of PRUDENCE:
– the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
– skill and good judgment in the use of resources
– caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

VS.

Definition of QUARRELING:
– to find fault
– to contend or dispute actively
– to be QUARRELSOME: apt or disposed to quarrel in an often petty manner

I can’t tell you how helpful this was.  I usually think I’m only quarreling if it’s an active argument.  And to be honest, I didn’t have a working definition for prudent, though I thought I did 🙂
What stood out to me the most:

– to be prudent means for me to exercise wisdom.  Where do I get wisdom?  God’s Word.  It also means to govern and discipline myself by employing REASON.  God’s given me a brain, and I’m supposed to use it.
– to be quarrelsome can be as simple as finding fault.  And finding it often.  And pointing it out continuously.  And you know what?  Yeah, it often is PETTY.

I want my words to be prudent, not quarrelsome.  I want Mike to feel encouraged by me, not attacked and torn down.  I want to be a BLESSING from the Lord, not a persistent dripping of water.

This is an area I want to grow in; and I know God is showing me this not to be condemned by where I’m weak, but to see that what He has for me is infinitely better!  That if I do what seems right in my eyes (lash out), it’s a foolish choice.  But if I listen to wisdom and advice (use wise words), God will make straight my path.  (Prov. 12:15, Prov. 3:6-7)

So often I think quarreling will get me what I want.  But you know what?  It never does.  Pointing out my husband’s faults won’t make him change into what I think he should be.  Just recently I’ve been amazed at a particular area of growth in Mike.  He wanted to grow in rising early so he could have time for devotions and working out.  So I took that to mean I would nag him every morning at the crack of dawn.  And as I was doing so I would remind him that he needed to learn how to do this himself; that I was NOT the resident rooster.  (though I could give any rooster a run for his money.)  Guess what didn’t work AT ALL? ;)  So one day I prayed.  I just prayed that the Lord would give him grace and motivation, and specifically a workout that he enjoyed. (a very practical request!)  And don’t you know, Matt told Mike about P90X, and sure enough Mike loves it.  So guess who’s up at the crack of dawn before yours truly?  WITHOUT any of my help.  I’ve just marveled at how often God doesn’t use me how I expect Him to.  And how prayer and encouragement work infinitely better than nagging and pointing out flaws.

Alice Lee gave me some of the best advice ever.  I asked her, “How do you bring correction to your husband but not be argumentative?”  She said, “Pray.  Before you do anything, pray.  Because unless God changes his heart, nothing you say will.”

It makes perfect sense too.  Just as God alone can change me, God alone can change my husband.

Sometimes people think it’s a sign of weakness to not say much or anything at all.  Scripture is teaching me the opposite – it takes much God-given strength to “overlook an offense” and instead be wise and judicious with my words.  There’s a way to correct that builds up rather than tears down.  And since it’s not ultimately my words that will change my husband, shouldn’t I submit them to God and use them as he instructs me to?

Proverbs 14:1
The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.

I want to build, not tear down.  So if you think of it, ask me how I’m doing with my words.  I have a little ways to go before my words are serving me and not vice versa.  But I’m grateful I have a God who is faithful to finish the good work He began in me. 🙂

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