For a very good portion of my 22 year marriage we attended church. I loved my church family despite that they, like myself, fall woefully short of perfection. It is the one thing I love when I hear folks say that Christians are hypocrites. We are, you know. Often times we over look our own imperfections because we are entirely too busy worrying about that blemish on another person’s soul when our own is a disaster of sorts.
In women’s bible study on Friday mornings we worked through a book called, “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace. It was a real convicting study to say the least. I also worked through her book, “Becoming A Titus 2 Woman“. Both are bible studies. Both often left me feeling hopeless.
The scripture passage that defines a Titus 2 woman, and others that are used in both books and dozens of others is as follows:
New King James Version (NKJV)
Qualities of a Sound Church
2 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
1 Peter 3
New King James Version (NKJV)
Submission to Husbands
3 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
Yeah about that.
If you were to ask my former church family, and the old ex-hubster, ‘quiet and gentle’ are two words no one would use to describe me. Ever. And yet, that is exactly what a woman who follows Christ is called to be. Heaven help me. No really, because that was the only hope I had! Then again, when you are waltzing through a lifestyle filled with immorality rivaled only by those described in the New Testament Corinth, one can hardly hope to really be much of an over achiever in the reverent behavior department.
Over these past almost 4 years (good grief time flies), I’ve had the chance to stumble on through the mud and muck, trying to claw my way out of the swamp and back on to the road that would lead to a life that honors Christ. And yes, I am fully aware that I’m no where near it yet, as I am ‘living in sin’ with the boyfriend. We’ll make it right, all in good time. Believe me when I tell you that is small potatoes on the lengthy list of things my Heavenly Father will address on judgement day. Pray now you aren’t behind me in the line or come prepared like you are camping for a week long wait for a 52 inch flat screen TV on sale on Black Friday. We’ll be a while to say the least. When it comes to getting things right, especially that whole quiet and gentle thing, I go kicking and screaming all the way sometimes.
I noticed something recently while in a number of talks with my mom…I’ve acquired, through trials, tribulations, and the grace of God: A quiet and gentle spirit. My heart became teachable somewhere along the path. It started to show itself when my ex found a new woman to share his life with, and rather than hate her or be jealous, I really liked her. She become a step-mom to my kids, and now grandmother to my grandchildren. When once I would have been insanely jealous, I now see the blessing she is to them all. She who never had the joy of having her own, now gets to be ‘mom’ in a unique and special way. And through the blessings of my being mom, and now sharing my children through God’s work in the circumstances, she is also a grandma. Things that went all sideways and wrong through sin and divorce, have now been turned around into something wonderful and special for many. Children are a gift from God, they are meant to be raised up to leave the nest. In other words, raised to be shared with the world. Grandchildren are even more precious, as without children you cannot have them. Unless, you marry someone who has those priceless treasures you do not, then you are blessed with gifts that can only come to you through others.
Never would I have imagined, when I gave birth to my children, what gifts and blessings they’d be to so many. And that in my acceptance of God’s plan for it all, and praying for everyone involved, my own heart would be softened and quieted. Praise the Lord and give thanks for ALL things, you just never know what is to come.