Category Archives: Proverbs 31

Clothing Loved Ones in Scarlet

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 31:21
“When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.”

This is such a simple yet beautiful verse depicting how the virtuous individual provides for their loved ones – both physically and spiritually – by anticipating their needs ahead of time.  By planning ahead with purpose and a firm goal in mind, the virtuous individual is prepared to protect the well-being of their loved ones from cold weather, financial hardships, or any other difficulties that may arise.

Further, the virtuous individual does not fear for their household regardless of season or circumstance as they do not honor or give reverence to any challenge they face. All are viewed as insignificant in light of their preparedness. In this particular verse, the virtuous individual plans for the physical warmth and comfort of their loved ones by dressing them in warm clothing of “scarlet.” While the color scarlet of itself is not inherently warm, its use in this verse has significant meaning. In biblical times, scarlet clothing was often made of wool, thereby preserving warmth. What’s more, the clothing’s color provided desired ornamentation as the  scarlet color was considered royal or dignified.

As for the “scarlet” color … it was “derived from a cochineal-like insect known as a Tola. When crushed, the Tola produced a fine deep red, or rich crimson dye, much admired by royalty and Asians alike. Upon closer examination, I  learned our Lord often compared himself to this cochineal-like insect or ‘worm’. For example, in Psalm 22:6, He shared, “Yet, I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned by humanity and despised by people.” It is then that “clothed with scarlet” takes on a new meaning – a spiritual one. While Moses may have referred to scarlet wool as providing much physical warmth within the Old Testament, the  New Testament refers to “scarlet clothing” of blood Jesus shed on our behalf to forgive and protect us from our sins.

Regardless of challenge, be it physical or spiritual in nature, the virtuous individual is well-prepared to protect the well-being of their loved ones. Through faith and prayers, they do not fear for their household.  Rather, dressed in the “scarlet clothing” of Jesus, they are not only confident in their abilities, but also in keeping their family and extended family safe, warm, AND loved.  A most colorful and formidable attire to wear indeed when presenting our selves to the world, don’t you think?

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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Helping with a Loving Hand and a Compassionate Heart

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 31:20
She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

This verse is a wonderful example of parallelism. Often found in Hebrew poetry, parallelism refers to the presentation of two similar ideas; in this case, the second phrase basically saying the same thing as the first, with only minor variations: help the poor and needy. With “poor” and “needy” both meaning “afflicted or humbled, the terms often describe those who are physically and/or materially poor. Yet, the terms may also refer to believers who recognize their spiritual poverty. That is to say, they realize their spiritual growth is dependent on acknowledging their desperate need for that which only the Lord can supply. When He supplies us with whatever we lack, we are rich indeed.

During the days of His humiliation, our blessed Lord was also referred to as “poor”: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). It is for this reason, God asks us to reach out and help the poor and needy in the same way He has helped us. When we do, we honor Him in the same way He honors us.

Luke 12:48
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and

from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

With this in mind, the virtuous individual demonstrates compassion with concrete deeds toward the poor and needy. S/he loves the poor, not in word or in tongue only, but also in deed and in truth. The words, “she stretches out her hands to the needy” in particular conjure up an image of a mother reaching out to her children in time of need.  It in fact reminds me of when my children were young. When either of them cried after being hurt or disappointed, my hand would automatically reach out to them and without deliberate thought.

Along with an image of a mother “stretching out her hands to the needy”,  I also envision a virtuous individual who wants to do more than just give of his or her time, resources, or money. With a mother’s natural instinct, the Proverbs 31 individual wants to show true compassion, nurturing all those who are in need. When s/he does, s/he realizes help comes in many forms; not just monetarily. In fact, s/he realizes there are times when the right thing to do is to NOT give any money. For example, in the case of a man who deceptively begs for money for groceries, only to spend it on alcohol. Or, in the case of a woman who routinely goes around church to church looking for free meals and financial gifts. Supporting this kind of behavior does not teach long-term personal responsibility.

Using wisdom and discernment, the Proverbs 31 often nurtures others using creative, and often alternative, means. While s/he realizes giving of resources is a valuable and much-needed thing to do, s/he is also mindful to give of his or her heart too. For example, if a person is truly hungry, and s/he believes it is proper to help, the Proverbs 31 individual invites him or her into their home. They sit with them; share a meal with them; include them in as part of their family; and most of all… ask them to stay long enough for some words of encouragement, whether from the Bible or another inspirational work. The end result? The Proverbs 31 individual not only feeds their guest’s tummy, but their heart too.

Hebrews 13:2
Let us be mindful to be as charitable with our hearts as we are with our resources.
And remember… “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

In closing, when extending a helping hand to others, ask God for guidance; specifically, wisdom and discernment in how best to meet the needs of those with whom He has placed in your life.

Love with a Compassionate Heart

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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Doing Good Deeds with Great Love

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 31:19
She layeth her hands to the spindle,
and her hands hold the distaff

The Proverbs 31 individual’s hands are rarely, if ever, idle. They use their time and hands wisely, faithfully, and skillfully to provide clothing, bed linens, and other necessities for family and others. In particular, this verse describes an ancient method of spinning fiber into thread. Prior to the advent of a spinning wheel, a spinster used a distaff (a staff) to hold flax, wool, or other fibers while a spindle spun fiber in a circular twisting and turning motion into thread.

An arduous undertaking, an individual who held a distaff and spindled fiber at the same time possessed great physical, spiritual, and mental strength. Further, they possessed much patience and endurance as it took much time to complete. An individual demonstrating these characteristics was considered a great blessing to all those in their life.

The New Testament describes such a woman. Her name was Tabitha – Aramaic for gazelle. Much like a gazelle, Tabitha was beautiful, nimble, and well known for her skilled artistry. Many smiled and felt relief in her presence; it was as though a heavy burden lifted. She was well loved, respected, and surrounded by those who clearly saw and felt the work and character of Christ within her.

In modern times, qualities such as strength, patience, and endurance as well as skills such as sewing, knitting, and quilting have become lost in favor of instant gratification and disposable wares. Yet there is so much value in creating something with your own hands; not just sentimental value, but financial value too as it costs far less to make your own clothing and quilts, for example, than to purchase them. What’s more, great satisfaction and pleasure can be derived from the work. Most of all children can learn so much from watching their mother and father work, allowing many qualities and skills to pass onto future generations.

Whether at home or away, truly following the lead and needs of others does not occur overnight; nor does such service diminish over time. Rather, it takes time, commitment, and effort to develop the patience, strength, and endurance to serve God and others. When performed with great love, the effort of one’s service grows more beautiful as time passes. An effort that requires investment in our self and in the relationships we have with others and with God.

It starts by asking God to bless our hands, making them skillful and successful for Him. With His blessings, we are then capable of doing amazing things with our hands. Next, believing in His Word gives us the strength, patience, and endurance to commit to following the lead and needs of others. “Servant leadership” as it is called – and its many forms – is a beautiful tapestry created with threads of strength, patience, and endurance woven with God’s Word, unconditional love, and acceptance. Laying His hands wisely and faithfully onto a spindle while skillfully holding a distaff, we become a most treasured masterpiece with God’s refinement. What’s more, created in His image, we have been given hands in which to create and share the most beautiful masterpieces of our own. The blessedness of our hands and of the work our hands produce comes from creating something with much love, much in the same way our Heavenly Father did when He used His Hands in creating us.

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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Working Hard is Profitable

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 31:18
She sees that her trading is profitable;
her lamp does not go out at night.

She sees that her trading is profitable
The Proverbs 31 individual is confident and assured, viewing their work as being with and for God. With their whole life – personality, time, talent, influence, material substance, everything – dedicated to God, their confidence and self-assurance do not come from what they are capable of doing, but rather from recognizing their work as inherently good. For this reason, they carefully monitor all their work, ensuring their motivation is pure rather than out of selfishness.

Financially, the Proverbs 31 individual strives to live their life on a balanced budget. Being mindful not to spend beyond their means, they purchase quality items for their business and for their family without causing undue hardship. While they may experience setbacks along the way, they are not discouraged. During the lean times they make do with what they have or go without. With a little creativity, they’ve learned to create things with little or no value into something useful and of great value. Much like sea merchants who take many risks in pursuit of godly pearls, the Proverbs 31 individual is determined to forge ahead even in turbulent times as they know the ultimate reward is of great value and well worth the trouble.

Realizing this life choice requires perseverance and a great deal of hard work, the Proverbs 31 individual takes time to reflect on and feels a sense of pride in their many accomplishments. This sense of pride is not out of arrogance; rather, deep down they know they are good and it is this pride that encourages them to continue working hard. They are also very mindful to keep their egos in check as it is so easy to go astray. They do so by reminding themselves often that it is only through God’s good grace that they’ve been able to accomplish so much with their life and are most appreciative of the gift He has provided.

As a result of this appreciation and from having performed good works for and through the Lord, the Proverbs 31 individual is at a great advantage when compared with their peers. They grow abundantly richer as their good work is garnered with much Wisdom – far more precious than fine gold or silver.
Her lamp does not go out at night

The lamp of the Proverbs 31 individual is always burning. Working diligently, they rise early in the morning and stay up until very late at night, never weary of doing good work. While at times, their spiritual prosperity may dampen, they are able to withstand even the darkest of times without ever extinguishing as they are rooted and grounded in God’s Word and Unconditional Love.

The light illuminating the Proverbs 31 individual’s lamp is Jesus as He is the light of the world. The oil fueling that lamp is the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the Proverbs 31 individual becomes the instrument through which Jesus’ light shines ever so brightly for all to see.

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 Strength

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: 17
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

While one of the shorter verses, this one is incredibly beautiful. So much so, I share its richness with you in the form of a Trinity – in three parts.
  • She dresses herself. In a very literal sense, a Proverbs 31 individual is self-directing and does not need or expect anyone to lay out their clothes; dictate their mode of dress; provide a weather forecast ahead of time; or explain what is or is not appropriate for each day’s activities. In fact, the Proverbs 31 individual is well-prepared for anything, both literally and figuratively, as they are dressed in a strength not intended for the weak of will or the weak in intellect and are ready to walk with someone greater than their own self.  Further, counter to conventional wisdom, they are dressed in an attire often associated with a mustang – strong, mystical, wildly passionate; the essence of freedom that can’t stand still. For it is this very strength of will and fierce independence that has provided them with the endurance they have needed to withstand life’s greatest challenges. It is for these reasons they do not require, or expect others to make life easy for them. With a calling from God, they are equipped to live according to His Word. From hardships, they are now dressed in much humility and with an open, malleable heart; transformed into a beautiful image that is in His likeness – pure of heart, with a compassionate spirit garnered with self-control and wisdom. Regardless of weather, this wisdom allows them to cherish rather than fear the narrow path they have chosen. Intelligent and ready to place full trust in Him, they are very capable of discerning whether the outlook is bright and sunny; dark and gloomy; or thundering with fierce winds blowing their way. And yes… while much of the secular world does not fully understand or appreciate the rewards associated with this less travelled path, they willingly follow the lead and needs of others in spite of their fierce independence as rewards have been many. Unconditional love and acceptance has brought much peace, security, and freedom to a life once wild and out of control. From this contentment, the mustang heart of the Proverbs 31 individual has been tamed, awakened with new confidence, and still growing in so many beautiful ways with a new-found purpose of reaching and touching the lives of many in the same way they have been touched. Dressed in self-control, discipline, and wisdom, they are rich in the fruit of the Holy Spirit  – an “adornment” suitably worn for every occasion and every activity.
  • She dresses herself with strength. Strength comes in many forms, and is suitably worn for every occasion and every activity. Strength comes from understanding and living the Word of God; from wearing God’s armor to withstand temptation; and from wearing joy and abundance in having God living within their heart. Strength also comes from wearing the peace of Christ, freeing them from trouble and fear; from wearing the kind of humility that places the needs of others before themselves; and in wearing a contrite spirit from offering forgiveness. It also comes dressed as an attitude that comforts others in the same way they were once comforted. Wearing the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the Proverb 31 individual is pure, peaceful, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, impartial, and sincere. They are indeed dressed in a strength described in Corinthians 2:6,  as “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
  • She makes her arms strong. Having experienced incredible love and acceptance, the Proverbs 31 individual now takes excellent care of others, placing the needs of others ahead of their own. Tender and wise, they offer guidance and counsel to others, directing them in the Way they should go. Loving them enough to discipline when necessary, they do so without anger or frustration and always demonstrate their great love and self-control. In addition to tending to the needs of others, the Proverbs 31 individual also carries the burdens of others, garnering the required strength from faith, prayer, and good works. Most of all, they demonstrate their love for our Creator through the outpouring of love they have for their community. Striving to not contain themselves within a “bubble”, they effectively and intimately use their words and deeds to share God’s Word and Unconditional love to a lost and depraved world – for to separate the two, all efforts would be in vane.
So whatever you do to manifest your life’s purpose, be sure to put on your Sunday best, comb your hair, wash your face, and get ready for each new day that awaits you. And remember … when you do…. don’t bother putting on your shoes. Rather, walk barefoot among the people and work diligently with your hands all the while fully dressed in your “royal attire”!

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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Managing Family Resources

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 31:16 “She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”

From a modern day perspective, “She considers a field and buys it” illustrates a remarkable picture of an individual who has a great deal of freedom in terms of decision-making. Trusted implicitly by his or her spouse, s/he is given much independence in managing a wide range of affairs, including the purchase of land. This is contrary to conventional wisdom as much freedom may actually be had in submitting to the lead and needs of others.

Case in point… as in the first line of this verse, the Proverbs 31 individual “considers a field and buys it.” Regardless of gender or era, the purchase of anything…including real estate … requires careful consideration. In addition to location, s/he considers the advantages the land provides and how the land is to be used prior to purchase. Not irresponsible in anyway with family resources, the Proverbs 31 individual is not an impulse buyer. Rather, prior to purchase, s/he carefully considers whether the land is worth the money and whether the family can afford to take so much money out of savings for the purchase. Prudent, s/he does not rush to purchase the land; checks whether the title is good; determines whether the ground is fruitful; and ensures s/he has sufficient money to pay for the land without incurring debts. This is counter to many today, who get into trouble by making purchases without careful consideration. Such frivolous actions not only use up limited resources, but may ultimately plunge the family into insurmountable debt. How many times have we purchased way more than we need, or purchase items that are not needed to efficiently manage a household? The Proverbs 31 individual is well aware of their family’s limited resources and takes much care in respecting and maximizing the use of those resources. It is this thoughtful planning of resources that not only speaks volumes about our character, but about how well we follow the lead and needs of our loved ones. When we maximize our family’s limited resources, we say to our loved ones that we truly love them because we seriously thought about their needs and considered their future good.

With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard
Once purchased, the Proverbs 31 individual maximizes use of the land by “planting a vineyard” using “the fruit of her hands”. By lovingly planting the seed into fertile ground, the Proverbs 31 individual lays the groundwork for producing a great harvest for years to come. Further, s/he does so not by borrowing money or running into debt, but by working hard; using what s/he can spare from household savings; shopping smart; and keeping a watchful eye on bargains. Again, we can learn a great deal from this verse. Like many things in life, we have a choice. We can either give into our selfish desires and spend money needlessly on our self, or plan for the future good of our loved ones. With common sense and wise use of family resources, we are all capable of harvesting much fruit for the benefit of our loved ones for years to come. With the Proverbs 31 individual as the heart of the family, s/he is someone loved ones can look to and rely on as s/he relies on God for strength, dignity, and common sense to carry out the immense task of managing the family’s limited resources.

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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Using Hospitality to Minister to Others

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 31:15

She riseth also while it is yet night, giving food to her household
and giveth a portion to her maidens.
She riseth also while it is yet night
Rising before the sun not only demonstrates that idleness and laziness have no place in our life, but doing so offer many benefits. For one … the day begins peacefully. Free from noise and distractions, the day may start in quiet meditation. This not only ensures a great start to the day, but also says to our Lord that we want Him to be a part of it from the time we awake until we rest our head again.

For another…rising early ensures a productive start to the day. Have you ever slept in late then by the time you really get going it seems that half the day is gone and you have accomplished very little? As partners, parents, children, co-workers, students, teachers, friends, and more, we have quite a lot on our plate. Our days are full, and we often feel exhausted from the time we awake. So the temptation is there to stay in bed “just a little longer”. How many times though have we slept through the quiet morning hours, only to find ourselves still exhausted and now falling even further behind in our day’s duties? Many of us know what it feels like to be tired and worn down all too well. However, the attitude of “staying in bed for just a little longer” also has a way of permeating into other areas too. Before you know it, you find yourself going about your day in slow motion. If you find yourself struggling to rise early, ask God to give you the strength, health, and energy you need to jump start your day. Also, add something special to your morning routine to re-energize you. Perhaps it is spending a few minutes reading something inspirational, listening and dancing to your favorite music, or drinking a cup of hot tea and sitting in quiet prayer. Or, maybe it’s a matter of stepping outside for a breath of the fresh morning air, or sitting and reflecting on the day’s blessings. Different things work for different people. So ask yourself: What motivates me? What brings contentment to my heart so I am ready to face the day?  What will I be doing with my loved ones today that will bring joy? All give us a reason to get up and make the most of our day.

Giving food to her household

Another reason for rising early is to provide your loved ones with a hearty,home-cooked breakfast! Nutritionists consider breakfast the most important meal of the day, nourishing the body that has not had any food for many hours and providing energy for the toil of the day. The virtuous individual ensures their loved ones get off to a good nutritional start. It is often said that you can tell a lot about a family by what they are eating for breakfast. Is your family sitting down and spending time together sharing a warm meal? Or, are you starting the day off by grabbing whatever you can find to eat as you rush out the door without saying as much as a goodbye and “I love you” to loved ones?

How many families do you know take time to sit down and share a meal together around the table? Often families don’t eat together, don’t pray together, don’t read or spend quality time together. It’s no wonder many don’t stay together. Sitting down together as a family in the morning really sets the tone for the whole day. Just having that extra time together makes the whole day better. What’s more, spending time with family before leaving for work gives your loved ones the encouragement they need to face the day. Knowing that someone special is thinking of, praying for, and looking forward to their return at the end of the day gives them a reason to rush home and spend even more quality time together.
And giving a portion to her maidens
Here, we are reminded of the Old Testament economy; namely, that the Israelites who honored and feared the Lord were promised both spiritual blessings and material blessings. It is clear then that the Proverbs 31 individual had both and did not live in poverty. In fact, the virtuous individual was blessed with a large household, which included servants. While one may think a virtuous individual was quite capable of commanding their servants to rise early and prepare breakfast for their family, they did not do that. Rather, we are told they gave a portion of food to their servants. This not only speaks volumes about the kindness shown towards those working under them, but it is also demonstrated that they demanded of others only what they themselves were willing to do. This is something staff even today greatly respect and appreciate; namely, a superior who is willing to “get their hands dirty” and do some of the very tasks they require their staff to do.
Summary
A virtuous individual takes care of their loved ones whether they are at home or away. What’s more, they use their hospitality to minister to all those around them, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere that expresses “I love you” in very real ways to family as well as to all those who are welcomed guests not only in their homes, but in their hearts too!!!

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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Nurturing Family

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 31:14

She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings food  from afar

Introduction
In the prior verse, the Proverbs 31 individual provided clothing for their family and for their business. In this verse, s/he provides food for his or her family. With the virtuous individual an instrument of God’s provisioning, s/he plays a key role in providing both food and clothing for his or her family to ensure contentment (1 Tim. 6:8).


Merchant Ships
In the first line of this verse, the Scriptures compare the virtuous individual to merchant ships carrying items from faraway countries. With merchants being traders who buy or sell commodities for profit, the virtuous individual takes some of the wondrous garments or clothes made from wool and flax (Verse13) and trades them for food items from distant lands for family to enjoy. This is in sharp contrast to today, where money is spent grocery shopping in town.


Merchant Ship Qualities
What’s particularly interesting about merchant ships is that they are not the fastest means of transporting goods from one area to another. Yet they are the most cost-effective and efficient means; especially for perishable goods such as food. This is in sharp contrast to today’s world where everyone wants everything NOW! We have instant coffee, drive-thru windows, microwave ovens, and easy meals prepared at the grocery store ready for purchase, reheat, and enjoyment! There’s a price to be paid for this convenience. Higher grocery prices.

While jet airplanes transport foods faster, merchant ships are still the preferred method as they can carry a greater load; use less energy and resources; are more cost-effective; and far more efficient. What’s more, the load that a merchant ship typically carries in one trip takes an airplane multiple trips.

Meal Preparation
One of the things many of us struggle with on a daily basis is the preparation of nutritious meals for our family. There are many days we can’t seem to get it together. Whether the reason is fatigue, work-related stress, or just plain laziness, we figure, “It won’t hurt just this once to go out and get something to eat,” or “Well, I’ll get just a couple of frozen meals, just in case I get in a pinch.” The trouble is that this not only gets very expensive, but a consistent diet of prepared foods is unhealthy. Many prepared dinners are very high in sodium (salt) and a steady diet of prepared food items causes deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals due to a severe lack of fruits and vegetables. While we often give excuses, there is a solution: planning ahead.

Menu Planning
While it has been awhile (my kids are now grown), there was a time when I prepared a healthy menu for my family on a weekly basis and kept staple items in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry so I was always prepared to make something. Every weekend I would take out my favorite cookbooks, along with the family calendar, and plan the menu for the coming week. Depending on what we had planned during the week, I would determine whether I had time to make a full meal (such as meat, potatoes, and vegetable), prepare a quick meal (such as a casserole), or prepare something the night before. What’s more, I noted special dinner nights, featuring the favorite of one of my kids. For example, “Sarah Dinner Night” might be homemade macaroni and cheese with ham while “Michael Dinner Night” might be Teriyaki chicken. In addition, I considered leftover meals for nights when we had a scout meeting or a concert to attend. Once the meals were planned for the week, I would then put together a grocery list of required items and only purchased what was on the list.

Keep in mind this did not mean we never ate out or never ate prepared frozen meals. It just meant we planned for it, didn’t have a steady diet of it, and did not use it as an excuse for not cooking for my family on a regular basis.

Summary
While I have been divorced now for a number of years, I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful man. While I do not know what the future holds for us, I want him to know that when we are together, I wish to be like the merchant ships. During the coming year, I want to revitalize what I did for my children when they were growing up. This time for my life partner. I wish to take my time; plan healthy meals; purchase delicious, cost-effective groceries; as well as minimize waste and spoilage. Why do all of this, you ask?


I’ve been given a second chance at love and don’t want my life partner to take a back seat to whatever else I wish to accomplish with my day. I want him to know I am choosing a life that demonstrates to him just how much I love and want what is best for him rather than choosing a life of convenience. What’s more, it’s my way of showing him just how much I honor, appreciate, and value the hard work he does to provide for us.

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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Balancing Work and Home

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 31:13

She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands

In addition to caring for their home, life partner, and family, the Proverbs 31 individual is also a successful entrepreneur. In fact, s/he serves as an inspiration to other individuals as s/he is living a life that many only hope to one day… s/he is living his or her life purpose. S/he takes a huge risk in starting a home-based business designing and manufacturing clothing. Over time though s/he proves to be so successful that she eventually purchases real estate and builds a factory on it!

As the first line of Proverbs 31:13 indicates, “She seeketh wool and flax” as two basic materials for making clothes and garments for her household and for her business. Wool, as you know, is the curly undercoat of a sheep, which is woven into a warm garment or fabric. For example, today we wear wool sweaters or mittens to protect us from the cold. Flax is a fibrous plant. When its fiber is pulled and twisted into yarn or thread during the spinning process, the result is a fine linen from which a variety of garments and materials, such as coarse canvas, rugged sails for ships, as well as thin, delicate scarves, may be produced.

As the second line of Proverbs 31:13 indicates, “and worketh willingly with her hands.” I have to admit I found myself focused on the word, “willingly.” Nowadays, that word often has a negative connotation, being synonymous with”unenthusiastic consent.” For example, “oh ok, I will wash the dishes if I REALLY have to.” Yet work does not need to be viewed as boring or tedious. We in fact have a choice as to how we choose to view our work.The Proverbs 31 individual not only chooses to be cheerful and ready to work, but also derives much pleasure in working with her hands. As a result, her work is a source of great satisfaction. How refreshing this is!

For me, this verse is particularly meaningful as it also reminds me of how we have lost the fine art of working with our hands over time be it for calligraphy, sewing, stained glass painting, woodworking, or something else. Thanks to the computer age, we no longer seek or find pleasure in receiving homemade items or in creating things with our own hands. For example, rather than finding pleasure in making our own clothes, we now find delight in shopping for clothes at the local mall, often adversely affecting the family budget. Rather than sharing our gifts and talents with other family members, parents are connected to their computers, while children are often glued to a television show or to the latest video game – all without sharing quality time or meaningful conversation. What is most unfortunate though is that many talents are never developed or passed on. Mothers never learn how to cook, sew, knit, or crochet much less pass on those skills to their children. The same holds true for fathers who never learn how to fix things around the house, woodwork, work on cars, or manage family finances. As a result, these skills are never passed on from one generation to the next. An entire generation living without ever knowing or experiencing the true pleasure in working with their hands … even when the desire may be there!
And there is great pleasure derived … not only in working with one’s hands, but also in sharing the experience with others. I remember as a child watching my mother spend hours in the kitchen baking French pastries, or in the Master bedroom at her sewing machine making a costume for a play or a new outfit for an upcoming family portrait. I have fond memories of my uncle repairing a lamp at the kitchen table and my grandfather in the backyard taking delight in the beautiful rose garden he started when he and my grandmother lived in the home my family now occupied. Many beautiful crafts are now becoming a lost art.

I also recall my mother playing host to all the neighborhood kids in our backyard, joining us on the swing and serving refreshments. I also remember her being involved in the neighborhood Mother’s Club, where all the local mothers got together by day to exchange talents and by night to socialize. The neighborhood  seamstress would exchange her talents with the neighborhood pastry chef while the local gardener would exchange her talents with the local artist. Nowadays, many social connections are lost in favor of staying in and staying to ourselves. Never venturing out beyond our comfort zone, many talents remain hidden not only from friends, but from family members too.

Amidst tough economic times though we have a wonderful opportunity to expand our influence and our ministry as well as to reconnect with our family, friends, and more. The time is right to return to our roots; to shop for bargains, to use resources wisely, and to find pleasure in simple things… including in working with our hands once more. And when we do, we not only have a chance to develop our God-given talents, but we also have the opportunity to reconnect with others and to pass our craft onto a future generation. What legacy do you wish to pass on?

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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Honoring and Cherishing Loved Ones

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 31:12:

She will do him good, not evil, all the days of her life

Nowadays as in Biblical times, it is difficult to find a good partner… be it for business or for love. For example, Job’s wife often questioned his faith and integrity in accepting so much adversity, with this questioning only adding to his trials (Job 2:9-10). Like Job, our loved ones often test our patience. God presents us with these challenges for a reason; to show us how to look beyond and find good in our current situation as well as come to understand that He is always working with and through us … even in adversity.

Like many, I believe Proverbs 31:10-31 is a continuation of the advise King Lemuel’s mother taught him in Proverbs 31:1-9 about using the strength that is within to serve the needs of others. That by using our strength to serve others, we learn how to love our selves and others, and in turn, by learning how to love others and our selves, we learn to recognize when love returns to us in the form of a virtuous partner. A virtuous partner then is not only viewed as serving the needs of their loved one, but also in wanting only that which is good for them, not evil. This is such a powerful verse to read then to live by. On the surface, it seems easy. Don’t kill, maim, or otherwise harm your loved one. Like most, I can do that. What is more challenging though is the realization that anything not good and uplifting to your loved one is essentially evil. For example: do you ever find yourself talking about him behind his back, back talking him, demeaning him in front of others, discouraging him, dishonoring him, snagging the last cookie or slice of pie from him, talking down to him, or otherwise nagging him?

In determining whether we are indeed providing what is best for our loved one, we need to take a closer… if not painful… look in the mirror at how we choose to live our life. Specifically, we need to listen to what we say and observe ourselves as others would at what we do. After that, we need to ask ourselves honestly: Do my words and my deeds truly demonstrate to the one I love that I not only wish to love and serve him, but that I am also a constant benefit and blessing to him?

Being human, we most likely do not like what we hear or see at times. At the very least, we find areas where we can improve. All improvements start with trust, which is also the foundation of any healthy  relationship. When each partner feels safe, trust develops. Trust, and the security it offers, however, does not occur over night. Rather, it develops over time when each partner knows that their loved one consistently demonstrates that they love, serve, and want what is best for them. Trust also develops when expressed words are consistent with actions shown. For example, verbal expressions of “I love you” are always backed up with actions such as attention, appreciation, and affection that clearly demonstrate love. Most of all, in finding a virtuous partner who is genuine, reliable, responsible, and agreeable, both partners feel truly blessed and have much gratitude as they know God had a hand in bringing them together.

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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