Category Archives: Following lead and need of others

Can Free Choice and Predestiny Coexist?

Awhile back my partner and I were discussing the topic of free choice and whether it truly exists. Many of us have struggled to come up with a definitive opinion on the matter, with my partner and I being no exception. While he is of the mindset that God gave us a free will, I am of the mindset that “everything happens for a reason.” This debate is amplified beyond the home front, with many faiths preaching from the pulpit the concept of pre-destiny or preordained destiny. Simply stated, a higher power has already defined a path for each of us and that every event in history was planned ahead of time. Given this scenario, how can free choice possibly exist? After all, free choice and preordained destiny are opposing ideologies, or are they? Is it possible for free will and preordained destiny to co-exist? Or is that we may think we have a choice, but in reality we really don’t. That every choice we ever make is actually based on a script a higher power created and we are actors playing out a specific role.

As much as I am a firm believer that “everything happens for a reason”, I find this idea unsettling. After all, I would like to think that I have some choice of how my life turns out. If free will is lacking and our life is scripted, then why be here at all? My partner will tell you though that I often contradict myself. In fact, this topic is proof positive of that for as much as I enjoy expressing free choice, I also entertain fate. There are times when I actually find comfort in knowing that people come into my life for a day, a year, or a lifetime for one or more reasons. I also find solace in knowing certain events are meant to happen to teach one or more lessons. I can cite numerous examples of people coming into my life at just the right moment. This is one point where my partner and I actually agree for he came into my life at a time when I really really needed someone like him in my life. There have also been a number of events in my life that seemed insignificant at the time, but discovered those events triggered other events that culminated into something magnificent.

Understandably there are doubters among those who read this post. Even my partner says from time to time that I place too much emphasis on trivial events; using mere thoughts to create something extraordinary from the ordinary. But is that really so bad? After all, it is with this mindset that I seek my potential and my life purpose in creative ways. All I hope is that pre-destiny does not get in the way of all that I wish to accomplish.

Then one day God placed the answer before me as my partner and I were making dinner. My partner started to talk about his day and how he read an interesting article on how video games were made. Over the years, they have become very complex and sophisticated; not only in terms of graphics, sounds, animations, etc. but also in terms of the endless choices the player can make during the course of the game. Not only that, even more choices were possible each time the game was played, resulting in a different experience each session. I thought to myself, that is absolutely brilliant! When asked how this was done, my partner said that the creator of a very popular video game summed it up by saying that his programmers give their fans an “illusion of free choice”… meaning… while a player may be given what appears to be an endless array of choices, the truth is all those choices were thought about ahead of time and based on each choice, a different path was laid out. Bingo. A higher power is among us to give us the answer. It is with preordained destiny that we are given endless possibilities to exercise our free will.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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Reaping Rewards

This is the final post in the series illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:31
Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

What better way is there to end this series of posts and the book of Proverbs than with a reward? The book of Proverbs is truly about wisdom and the rewards that follow when you choose to take this narrow path. In the first chapter, we are first introduced to a Woman of Wisdom. With the exception of God, she is the most important (and compelling) character in this book. In addition to being wise, she is known for her purity, strength, honesty, boldness, generosity, and compassion. A woman after my own heart, she walks among the people in the public square, reaching out to whoever will listen and offering lessons in living a long, prosperous life – all the while holding onto her good reputation. It’s not until the last chapter of Proverbs, Chapter 31, that our heroine, the Woman of Wisdom is beautifully expressed in the form of a Hebrew acrostic. It is in this beautiful biblical poem that wisdom is personified as a woman to illustrate wisdom at work. In reaching her full potential, the Woman of Wisdom is praised, with her value far greater than rubies.

What is truly remarkable about this book is that not only was it written thousands of years ago, but realizing the role culture plays in it. Think about it. In today’s world, no one would have trouble visualizing a Woman of Wisdom. In fact, why shouldn’t Wisdom be a woman? It doesn’t matter whether Wisdom is a man or a woman. What’s important is what he or she is saying. Right? But in the culture this book was written, this image was considered shocking to say the least. Back then many would ask…”Where is this woman’s father or husband?” Or, “Where is the man who is responsible for her, to whom she has to answer? Why is she out in the streets trying to teach men, when she should be at home, minding her own business? And why should any man be at all interested in anything this woman has to say?”

While drawn in accordance with the customs of Eastern nations, the moral teachings of Proverbs 31 remain timeless. One of the greatest lessons we can learn about Wisdom is that she doesn’t always come to you in the way you expect. Within this lies a very fundamental truth. Wisdom will not always come from someone you like or respect, much less want to listen to. If you truly value Wisdom though, you will ignore her exterior, take a closer look, and most of all… listen to all that she is willing to share.

Will you recognize Wisdom when she presents herself to you? What if she comes to you as a small child? A homeless man? An acquaintance, a co-worker you can’t stand, your boss, a handyman, a former love who betrayed you, or your spouse? Will you recognize Wisdom during a heated argument, at the height of passion, or in the middle of being bored out of your skull? If we really want Wisdom to come to us, we need to get to a place where we recognize God’s voice no matter who He’s speaking through.

So where does the Woman of Wisdom reside? Take a real close look. Her words and actions define her.  Living among us, she walks down your street, and may even be found at the store or living with you at home. For the Woman of Wisdom is everywhere and right where you least expect to find her.

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Thank you for the opportunity to share these personal posts in such a public forum. In studying Proverbs 31 this past year, the rewards have been many, with the sheer abundance being truly humbling. In learning about the Woman of Wisdom along with her strength, beauty, dignity, and wisdom, I’ve come to rely on my own inner strengths; have come to see an inner beauty within my own self that leaves me in awe; come to feel a confidence and grace that only dignity knows; and have come to know the difference between knowledge and wisdom. What’s more, in learning how to back up my words with actions, I’ve become the woman I am meant to be. The greatest reward though this past year was presented to me during my study of the Woman of Wisdom.  It was then this Proverbs 31 woman came to know man of true integrity — a Proverbs 31 man named Justin. No words can ever adequately express my love or my appreciation for encouraging me to learn about the Woman of Wisdom for in her I discovered myself.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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True beauty lives within

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:30
Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

In the first verse, “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain”, the word “favor” refers to a woman’s outward appearance and form. Meanwhile, “beauty’s” vanity vanishes all too quickly. Often deceitful, what you see is not always what you really get.  On the surface, it may appear as though you are viewing a very special person, but then all of a sudden the beauty fades as they open their mouth startling everyone with their expletives and negative comments.

Indeed, outer charm covers up a multitude of sins. Case in point… have you ever opened up a nut with a fine looking shell, only to discover that when you crack it open, the meat inside it is rotten and undesirable? The same holds true for beautiful actors, pop stars, and models. Upon a closer look you realize that they are known more for their broken marriages, substance abuse, and personal problems than they are for their beauty or talent. Beneath the external shell, there lives a very troubled individual who desperately needs God’s transforming grace. Without God’s grace, external beauty and talent are fleeting with life eventually becoming meaningless and empty.

In spite of this, there’s a great emphasis on external beauty today. In fact, beautiful people are often more popular, recognized more frequently, and get better jobs. Makeup is used in abundance. All kinds of supplements and health products are offered with the promise of making people look younger and more attractive, only slowing down, but not preventing nature’s natural deterioration. Surgical procedures are performed with alarming regularity to change, enhance, reduce, or “improve” a person’s outward appearance.  Companies offering diet programs and exercise programs report record earnings from people who want to look beautiful and feel good.  One does not even have to leave the comfort of home to get hooked. How many times have you seen a TV show devoted to “extreme makeovers”? You know the ones that transform a plain or unattractive person into an outwardly attractive person with makeup, new clothes, hair styling, weight loss, exercise, surgery, and more. There’s no end to the creative ways in which mankind tries to beautify, preserve, and idolize the outer body. All without ever changing what is going on in the inside!

True beauty in the sight of God is not the product of cosmetics, but rather the shining forth of the indwelling Christ. When asked about the secret of her beautiful complexion, a woman once said, “I use truth for my lips; for my voice, prayer; for my eyes, pity; for my hands, charity; for my figure, uprightness; and for my heart, LOVE.” The best part? You can receive a lifetime supply of these heavenly cosmetics for free when you invite God to live within your heart, mind, and spirit!

The second verse, “But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised”, expresses that inner beauty can never be achieved without having a meaningful and intimate relationship with the Lord. When you do, His glory shines brilliantly outwardly in the form of words and deed for all to experience. Sad to say, many do not seem to realize this, sacrificing goodness and godliness in the pursuit of the latest trend or whatever makes them appear more beautiful. Yet the truth behind beauty resides in those who choose to pursue godliness rather than fashion for   “beauty in the heart puts beauty on the face”.

It is our words and our deeds that draw inner beauty outward. They are expressed in many ways such as helping an elderly neighbor prepare meals or volunteering your time to your community. It is the LOVE that you demonstrate to others that radiates your inner beauty. HOPE is also an expression of inner beauty with the belief of a positive outcome regardless of the event and/or circumstance of one’s life and the lives of others. COMPASSION towards another who is in pain or suffering is a form of inner beauty that constantly tugs at your heart. While you try to ignore it, it never goes away for deep down it’s always there.

But what about outer beauty? Can’t someone view a beautiful waterfall, a majestic mountain or the brilliant stars in heaven without inner beauty? I think not. It is only when you take a long, lingering look that you truly pay attention and appreciate its inherent beauty. A beauty that resides below the surface and beyond first impressions. While outer beauty is fleeting, inner beauty is strong and resilient. It leaves an indelible, lasting impression on one’s heart, mind, and spirit, transforming your life for the better. Knowing this… I am going to seek out inner beauty in everything and everyone placed in my life. How about you?

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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They are called blessed

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:28-29
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

These two verses express beautifully just how blessed both men and women are when they embrace the roles they are meant to hold; that of cherished spouse and loving parents. While these roles are often challenging, they are also the most rewarding. Much hard work goes into being a Proverbs 31 individual. It not only requires a verbal commitment to be and do good, but to serve as a daily role model to others in deed. As a reward for this commitment, their loved ones praise them in word and deed in return. Their children are grateful for their early training as it sets the tone for a lifetime; owing all that they achieve to their upbringing and to the parents who loved, guided, protected, and shaped them. Their spouse praises them too saying, “many have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

On a more personal note, I cannot tell you how truly blessed I feel when family and loved ones appreciate me as a friend, partner, parent, and more. This has not always been the case though. During my first marriage, my former husband would come home after work very tired. It was then that he would often be critical of the work I did professionally, how I maintained our home, and how I cared for our children. I cannot tell you how crushed I was because I was sincerely doing my very best to balance a full-time career with marriage and family life. While I received much praise from friends and neighbors, I was seeking, but rarely received praise from the man who meant everything to me … my husband and father of our children. While I did not realize it back then, I was trying so hard to embrace a Proverbs 31 way of life without a foundation; without a partner who valued and appreciated it. We eventually divorced, with my spending the last 15 years as a single parent of now two grown kids.

Then eighteen months ago, I met a wonderful man who changed my life forever. During the past year, he has been there for me as I experienced some of the most painful times of my life. He helped me through a former friend’s betrayal, as my business fell on hard times, as I became very sick with the flu, as my resources dried up, and as I was on the verge of losing my home. Every step of the way, he not only showed me through words, but also in deeds what unconditional love truly looks and feels like. It was then he re-introduced me to Proverbs 31. I say, “re-introduce” because like many of you out there, I had preconceived notions about Proverbs 31 along with its “following the lead and serving the needs of others” lifestyle. In fact, we shared numerous discussions about how a woman would not want to serve a man who did not love and cherish her; and that, if you read in between the lines every Proverbs 31 woman had a Proverbs 31 man who loved, cherished, encouraged, and protected her. Then one day he challenged me to study Proverbs 31 verse by verse to learn their true meaning. During the last few months, you – my readers – have been beneficiaries as this blog has been about sharing what I have learned. What is the biggest thing I learned? To my surprise… my life works much better when I follow the lead and serve the needs of others and when Proverbs 31 and a Proverbs 31 man are a part of it!

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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Protecting Loved Ones and Home Life

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

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

She watches over the affairs of her household … The Proverbs 31 individual supervises every detail of their home, taking care to watch over the household and to protect loved ones. This includes paying special care of what is going on in a child’s life regardless of their age. While not easy by any stretch of the imagination, it is our job as parents to constantly “tune into” what our children do, where they go, who they keep company with, and yes… even monitor what they watch on television, the music they listen to, and the places they go online. While some parents may view such a watchful eye as spying, or worse yet…invasion of privacy…. our children, in fact, rely and thrive on love, guidance, and protection. Without love, children feel abandoned, become angry or bitter, and learn hatred. Without guidance, children lack direction, become confused, and get into trouble. Without protection, children wind up ill, injured, or worse. One does not have to go very far to find distractions; not all of them positive. Our world is full of them, all vying for our child’s attention. There are countless examples out of Hollywood of what happens when a child is raised without love, guidance, or protection. Without love, Britney Spears’ life spiraled out of control with attempted suicides and a nervous breakdown. Without guidance, Miley Cyrus posed semi-nude by 15, lap danced for middle-aged men by 16, and constantly exploits herself in scantily clad attire as a means of “expressing herself” in front of the media’s ever-gazing eye. And without protection, Lindsay Lohan’s life at 24 is out of control.  Once a poster child for Disney wholesomeness, she has since experienced multiple stays in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction, has been cited for a number of car accidents, and was sentenced just today to 90 days in jail!

Our children do not know enough about the ways of the world to have the forethought or the insight to know whether they are placing themselves in harm’s way with their words and actions.  It is for this reason that they rely on us to love, guide, and protect them the best we know how. In a biography, Jackie Kennedy was once quoted as saying, “If you can’t be a good parent, nothing else in life matters.” No truer words have been spoken. Good parenting requires us to take an active role in our child’s life. What’s more, it requires us to be “unpopular” at times so that we learn what is REALLY going on with our child. As painful as this may be for all concerned,  it is only then we can sufficiently guide, discipline, protect, and restrict the activities (if need be) of our loved ones so they are directed towards positive and enriching endeavors.

And does not eat the bread of idleness… A Proverbs 31 individual is not one who looks and says, “What happened?”; rather, they are full of energy, well-occupied, and a real go-getter in terms of making things happen. They cram as much as they can into their busy lives whether it is keeping the household running smoothly; helping family members achieve their goals; working in a full-time job; fulfilling a voluntary role; or doing something else. With a life so full, there is no room for gossip or talk about so-and-so; there’s no room to be discontent or envious of so-and-so for what they have; and there is no room for feeling sorry for one self because so-and-so gets all the breaks in life and you never do. The Proverbs 31 individual’s life is so full with positive activities that they are genuinely happy for other people’s successes. What’s more, they know that if they haven’t yet “come into their own”, they realize it’s just a matter of time and use their time wisely.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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From Wisdom Kindness Flows

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:26
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

Throughout Proverbs 31, it speaks of an individual who leads an examplary life for others to follow. They not only inspire and offer guidance to others with their words, but they also back up those words with actions that heal and clearly demonstrate the unconditional love they have for others.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom
When the Proverbs 31 individual speaks, they are mindful of what they say and the impact their words may have on others. Native Americans are very wise. They respect rather than fear silence. In fact, by remaining silent, they are aware of the abundant knowledge that can be gained from mindful listening. When they do speak. they choose their words carefully, taking special care to only speak positively and of what really matters to others in the present moment. Through mindful listening and well-chosen words, they can offer guidance that blends past experiences with the company they choose to keep. The same holds true with the Proverbs 31 individual. By spending time in silence with our Lord on a regular basis and reading His Word, the Proverbs 31 individual seeks, mindfully listens to, and has a chance to reflect on His wisdom. Once this wisdom instills into their heart, they can live life accordingly to His plan and ultimately become the person they are meant to be. What’s more, from the wisdom gained, they have a wonderful opportunity to share faithful advise to those entrusted in their care … spouse, children, relatives, co-workers, friends, and acquaintances… based on real world experiences.

and in her tongue is the law of kindness
When the Proverbs 31 individual speaks, they are not only mindful of what they say, but also of the manner in which they speak. As my mother used to say, “it is not only what you say, but also how you say it.” The Proverbs 31 individual speaks kindly and tenderly towards everyone. Whether they are speaking with loved ones, or adversaries, they do so with love. Further, they back up their words with actions that clearly demonstrate to others patience, respect, mercy, and most of all… unconditional love.

A beautiful example of this is the wisdom that my partner demonstrated to me. Early on in our courtship, Justin spoke of the love he still had for his former wife. He explained to me how their life together was not all bad; that they in fact had two wonderful boys and shared many beautiful memories during their 20 years together. Only the final moments of their marriage were bad. I was totally amazed. Not only with the compassion with which he shared it, but that he demonstrated this regularly, writing to her even though she abandoned him and their boys in favor of a new life with someone else in Sweden. He also demonstrates this with the loving friendship he shares to this day with a past girlfriend. When she has a problem, he often lends a listening ear and offers emotional support. I have to tell you that I was very uncomfortable with this “arrangement” for a very long time. I would ask myself, “how is this possible? or “if that is the case, why isn’t he still with them?” I eventually realized though the wisdom behind his words and his actions. So many of us… myself included… tend to focus so much on the negative surrounding one single event, that we often loose sight of the many positive events in our life. Then one day, I finally woke up and asked myself… “Isn’t this how I would want him to treat me if we were to part ways?” It was then that it all made sense. He opened his mouth with wisdom, and from his tongue the law of kindness flowed.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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Do Clothes Define You?

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:25
Strength and honor are her clothing;
and she shall rejoice in time to come

Life in the 21st century is not easy; in seeking acceptance we are often self-conscious about our image and our appearance. So much so that many of us allow our clothes to define who we are. If our clothes REALLY do define us, then perhaps we are all overdue for an extreme makeover. The makeover starts with knowing what not to wear. Like the show on the TLC network, perhaps we should all throw out our existing wardrobe in favor of finer fabrics; fabrics that our Creator provides to all believers… STRENGTH, HONOR, and BEAUTY!

STRENGTH. We often think strength is found in an individual who always speaks their mind and never asks anyone for help. Or that strength is found in a man or woman who runs their household like a tight ship, fearing that all will come undone if left in their partner’s care. Still there are others who believe strength is found in the corporate CEO who did not give into the need for children and family in favor of climbing the corporate ladder. Rest assured physical, emotional, and mental strength all come into play on these as well as a host of other occasions. True strength, however, is spiritual in nature. It can be worn in many different ways … as seeking out faithfulness in prayer; holding steadfast to one’s beliefs against the grain of the secular world; not giving into social pressure or secular standards; or standing up for what is right in the face of opposition. Spiritual strength is also worn by spending quality time “in the moment” with the ones you love. Case in point…how many times have you heard a friend or co-worker complain that their partner spends so much time at work trying to provide for them that they have little to no time to spend with the family?  Even though their loved one works long hours to provide for them, they say they would rather have more alone time with them. God actually feels the same way as you do about this. While the work you may be doing is for Him, He would much rather have you spend more quality time with Him reflecting on the moment so He can clothe you in all the virtues you need to be the person He designed you to be. When we wear clothing our Creator provides; ones that flatter our physical, mental, emotional, AND spiritual well being, everything in our life fits perfectly. Or, at the very least, we are well-dressed to handle our life when it doesn’t.

DIGNITY. As ambassadors of the Gospel, we wear clothing that advertises how we feel about God and our faith. Scrutinized by others for all that we do, we are asked to dress and behave with dignity and honor at all times. If for some reason our manners, dress, or speech are undignified, then it is God who is insulted. We are not meant to live life entirely for our own selves; rather, we are meant to live our life for Him. More importantly, we are asked to be aware of our behavior and to wear openness, honesty, reliability, integrity, and trustworthiness in all our relationships with others.

BEAUTY. The attire befitting our beauty is not the shallow variety driving much of our society today. Nor is it about spending huge amounts of time and money on cosmetic products to enhance the skin and designer clothing to accentuate the figure. In fact, having wrinkle-free skin and wearing fashionable clothes does not guarantee inner beauty of an individual! True beauty begins in the heart, and is a “gentle and quiet spirit”. As St. Peter so aptly phrased it:

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel ~  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.” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Finally, the wardrobe the Proverb 31 individual wears is not available at your nearby marketplace or shopping mall. Rather, the garments of strength, dignity, and beauty are found in individuals who have a believing heart in the Lord. When looking to Him for unconditional acceptance, walk with Him wearing your finest attire and radiating strength. Speak to others in a voice of quiet confidence to exemplify dignity. Most of all… rejoice in your future. It is bright, beautiful, eternal, and secure as your industry and planning have provided you with the finest.  Then savor your past with a smile!

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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Work and have a home life too

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:24
She makes fine linen garments,
sells them, and
supplies the merchants with sashes

As I mentioned in my last post, I had preconceived notions about Proverbs 31; specifically, that the verses were most likely written by male chauvinists whose fondest wishes were to confine women.  As I learned more about Proverbs 31 and about myself,  I was pleasantly surprised to experience first hand the true wisdom residing in these words. I was even more surprised to discover these words have been misrepresented by many over time – especially clergy – with unenlightened theology.  Rather than holding individuals back, these words actually empower both men and woman to take on greater responsibility within the world; many of which can be tackled from home!

Take for instance, Proverbs 31:24. In the first line, the Proverbs 31 individual is industrious, “making fine linen garments” from home. Doing their best to serve the LORD, s/he not only creates textiles from the finest wool and flax, but s/he also creates fine garments from them for family to wear.  Then in the second line, the resulting merchandise is so much in demand due to the quality of workmanship that s/he “sells them”, leading others to purchase and wear them.  The third and final line has the Proverbs 31 individual “supplying merchants with sashes” from home rather than from outside the home, freeing him or her to build and maintain a warm, nurturing home for loved ones!  As independent as I am, I have to tell you that this arrangement is far more peaceful than the hectic pace many experience nowadays. What’s more, the income generated from a home-based business may be put towards not only improving the home, but quality of life too.

Like many of you, I realize the economy is in a shamble with many out of work or underemployed. Now more than ever, the need to work outside the home is a necessity, not a luxury. If like me, this is your reality, then pray and ask our Creator to show you how to use your talents to generate as much income as you are currently making outside the home — or more — at home. While not easy by any stretch of the imagination, anything is possible with the help of our Creator. I’ve learned that all you have to do is ask.  In fact, some of the most successful businesses started from home and from a hobby or activity an individual was good at and really enjoyed, but never realized was marketable. For example, an acquaintance of mine sells custom-scented candles on the Internet. I know of another creative individual who designs and repackages fine chocolates for business events and special occasions. There are so many possibilities, such as those who give clarinet lessons; grow organic vegetables; tutor high school students in English or Math; sell homemade cupcakes; make quilts; or perform custom sewing and alterations — all from home.

On a personal level… when my sister married her long-time love a few years back, her flowers were arranged and her cake was made by women who worked from home.  I am another example with a home-based business promoting the community where I live along with area businesses.  I do this by developing a full array of marketing materials; everything from flyers, ads, and brochures to newsletters, booklets, and websites. Regardless of your talent or passion in life,  IT IS possible to create a marketable product or service from a hobby or talent you are passionate about. Once perfected with your signature touch, any product or service can be performed from home, sold from home, and even delivered to others for purchase or to “merchants” for resale from home just as the Proverbs 31 woman did. The goal always is to live life as a Proverbs 31 individual would…rather than leaving home to work elsewhere, allowing work to come to you from where you live… home. To achieve this is to experience a slice of heaven on earth. You not only have a more peaceful, more balanced lifestyle, but work and home are a pleasure rather than a chore.

Regardless of what you choose to pursue… be sure to touch base with our LORD regularly about your plans. He knows better than we do about what is best for us. Also, be sure to take time to study Proverbs 31. These verses are filled with so many hidden treasures on how to live a richer, more fulfilling life with your loved ones.  Finally… when you need to find a way to bring more money home, remember to ask yourself, “Is this challenge requiring me to supply the merchants, or to be a merchant?” The answer to this question provides much-needed direction.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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Submission … the ultimate in freedom

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:23
“Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders..”

This verse is particularly interesting. At long last and seemingly out of nowhere, the 13th verse finally references the Proverbs 31 man. Yet the reference only occurs after 12 vivid descriptions and just before 8 more about the Proverbs 31 woman. While such placement would seem odd at first, it makes perfect sense upon closer reflection. For when we believe in and act upon this passage in faith, we are actually using our work, our time, our influence, along with our talents, resources, and words to encourage and raise others up. As we do,  everything and everyone around us become better as a result of our presence. It is our goodness that inspires and frees others to excel to their very best.  As a result of our influence and encouragement, our spouse and loved ones are well-known and respected.  Isn’t this the true essence of submission?

Oh how I hear all the loud voices as I write this. “What submission?” “In this day and age?” “Not me, not ever.”In fact, just the sheer thought of submission has a way of sending a collective shiver up and down the spines of many. For in an age marked by feminism and personal freedom, many women would at least laugh at the word as though I were telling some kind of joke. Then there are those who find themselves on the other end of the spectrum; those who would not dare do anything without first consulting their husband for approval. Paralyzed by fear, they wouldn’t dare do anything remotely considered mustang-like. Admittedly, my partner would tell you I was once a part of the former crowd, laughing at the sheer prospect of submitting to anyone and totally embracing the mantra, “No one is the boss of me.” That is until recently.

I now truly believe that submission falls somewhere in between the two extremes. Submission is not oppressive as the feminists would have you think for it is not about losing one’s voice or one’s personal freedom. What’s more submission is not about another controlling your thoughts or actions as the latter would seem to imply. Rather, at the heart of submission is an attitude of service to others. A self-less, disciplined act, submission is the total surrender of our self and it is not done out of fear, but rather out of unconditional love we genuinely feel for others. No longer focused on our own needs and wants, submission is an act of unconditional love. It is in this goodness, in following the lead and serving the needs of others before our own that we have a real opportunity to touch and heal the lives of many, to inspire others with our words, to make a real difference, and most of all to create an atmosphere where others finally have the freedom to do their very best.  Submission is about glorifying others, and it is in glorifying others that we also glorify our Creator, with the same glory eventually returning to us a thousand fold and in the most beautifully  unexpected ways.  In lovingly surrendering our sense of self in favor of others, true submission is not at all confining. Rather true submission is about letting go and is in fact the ultimate in freedom. For we are finally free to do what we are meant to do… to  openly share our heart, mind, body, and spirit with others  – all without conditions.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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Dressing in God’s Blessings

This is one of a series of posts illustrating a beautiful portrait of humanity; of men and women who without even realizing it, strive to embody qualities Proverbs 31 embraces in all life areas – personally, with their family, professionally, spiritually, and in their love life too. Whether you’re a “Proverbs 31” man or a woman, you stand out from the rest; you’re a red rose among a field of yellow roses. You’re a man or woman of and for all ages, a role model of timeless strength and beauty, virtue and responsibility; a cherished life partner and a powerful entrepreneur too!

Proverbs 31:22
“She makes herself coverings of tapestries;
her clothing is silk and purple.”

The virtuous individual is diligent, enterprising, selfless, and practical; not only in serving the needs of family, but also in nurturing themselves and their appearance. Why? To ignore or neglect family and appearance, to look impoverished, shabby, or threadbare are not marks of spirituality. Rather, a modest level of material prosperity is in fact a sign that we are dressing in the rich blessings God has bestowed upon us as His sons and daughters. Therefore, the appearance of our home, however modest, as well as our own appearance are reflections of all those we honor and cherish: God, our spouse, and our loved ones. It is for this reason the virtuous individual strives to include both in their daily routine.

So how do we maintain a lovely home along with our appearance with limited resources? A virtuous individual maintains and prioritizes goals as well as uses their time wisely  so as to serve their family while being mindful of their own appearance. A creative individual, they create a warm, inviting home for their loved ones using elegant decorating ideas. They cover walls, furniture, and beds with hand-embroidered items, colorful paints, exquisite stencils, well-made fabrics, hand-woven tapestries, and more to ensure every room, including the bedroom, is a sacred, inviting sanctuary worthy of the loved ones they cherish.

Further, the virtuous individual spends their resources wisely, choosing only the finest fabrics such as cotton, linen, or silk and selecting only the most glorious colors to match their regal and godly character. Dressing well speaks a great deal about one’s true character and dignity for the outward garments that are worn is a portrait of the beauty and splendor found within. Most of all… and this is something we often ignore… the virtuous individual develops, rather than stifles, their sensuality to sustain a healthy self-image, a vibrant marriage, and a loving family life. For the sheer presence of a virtuous man or woman is not only pleasing to the eye and to all the senses, but also enriches the lives of many with their beautifully vibrant soul.  It all starts with creating a warm, inviting place and in nurturing ourselves so we can love and care for others.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa

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