I was raised in a Christian family...

I used to think that my Christian testimony was boring and uninspiring. But it's not really about me.

Recently I've been convicted and convinced of God's perfect plans, and I realize that whatever way He chooses to work is for His glory.

My parents both trusted the Lord in college shortly before meeting and marrying. I was born 10 years later, while they were a part of a New Testament fellowship in Hutchinson, KS. My Papa took to heart Deuteronomy 6:7 “You shall teach [God's commandments] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” As soon as I could talk, he was teaching me to memorize scripture, and when I was three, I overheard my Mom talking to my older brother about trusting the Lord, and I decided I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. I was baptized 4 years later, at a lake in Topeka, KS.

But a child that young doesn't really count the cost and make a life commitment. Shortly after I turned 13 a kid I knew drowned and I was brought face to face with the shortness of life. I went through a period of floundering, trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life—and eventually made the choice to lose it to the safe keeping of Jesus. I could see His works around me, had seen His dealings in the lives of my parents and others that I loved and respected and knew that only He could redeem a stubborn teenage girl.

That's been almost seven years ago, and the Lord has proven Himself faithful over and over again to me. He has often broken and healed, and He still has much more to break and heal.

Around my 16th birthday I developed an eating disorder—the product of a lack of trust in the Lord and a desire to control my own life. I also became very rebellious and angry. It was like throwing a wet blanket on my relationship with Christ because I knew that if I surrendered myself to Him, I would have to give it up. At the end of the summer, I confessed that I had lost control, and gave it over to the Lord. The eating disorder had broken down my previously excellent health, but the Lord restored that as well as the joy of my salvation. A year or so later, He convicted me to humble myself and confess this to my parents and seek their accountability.

Since this time He has continued to work in my heart—teaching me submission, joy, and humility. I wish I could say I'd learned them all well, but I imagine there will be plenty more lessons in the future. As I've been meditating on the Lord and His deeds, I've been brought face to face with my own unworthiness and weakness. I used to want to be another “hero” of the faith—famous for what I accomplished for the Lord. But I realize that I often try to serve the Lord on my terms—my timetable, my comfort zone, my talents, but He is glorified through weakness, not strength.

He's opposed to the proud because he can't use them—but He pours His grace on the humble. He needs us, not as good little Christians, but as broken, repentant and surrendered vessels, willing to be filled by Him, and to bring glory to Him.

That's why God saves sinners like me—to glorify Himself!

Father, glorify yourself through me!

Proverbs 31--The Virtuous Woman

Faithfulness (vs. 11-12)
--Her husband trusts her--even in his heart because she's proven herself faithful in little things
--She does him good ALL THE DAYS OF HER LIFE--even before she knows him she is seeking his good, preparing herself to be a godly sidekick, keeping herself pure, maintaining a spotless reputation, practicing submission, kindness, service

Cheerfulness (vs. 13)
--She delights in working, in caring for a home

Industry (vs. 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 24, 27)
--Most of this chapter details the diligence, ingenuity and industry of this woman. She puts her creative powers to work caring for her home and also brining wealth into it through "home" business means. Never let anyone tell you that a godly woman should sit around home, or that if you are a homemaker you'll be bored. Of that you're not carrying your weight by helping out with the income. There's plenty to be done from home.

Invests Wisely (vs. 16, 24)
--Not only does she not spend all her husband's money, she works hard to make her own so that she can reinvest it in worthwhile things. No wonder her husband trusts her and has no lack of gain.

Cares for Herself (vs. 17, 22, 25)
--With all her work, and her care of her household, she is never negligent of herself. She keeps herself fit and well-clothed. Clean and healthy is her goal, and it will not be her fault if she is not pleasantly attractive.

Modest (vs. 22)
--She covers herself--and with fine cloth, too. It's not some tacky t-shirt and jeans, but something that proves that she treasures the body God has given her--the temple--she dresses with elegance, style and modesty.

Ladylike (vs. 25)
--For her adornments, to dress up her outfits, she adds strength and dignity. She's a lady. Her manner will earn her respect--and respect and honor for her husband. (This is something I certainly need to work on--I still lean toward the tom-boy side.)

Generosity (vs. 20)
--She works hard so that she can give to the Lord. She can't blame her husband for not giving as much as she'd like (as I've heard some women do) because she works cheerfully with her own hands to have something to share with those who have nothing. This is a wise investment as well, since those who give to the poor are lending to the Lord and He will repay.

Speaks God's Word (vs. 26)
--So much of what is described in this chapter seems like "works", but her real secret is here: wisdom falls from her lips, and we know the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and knowlege of the Holy One is understanding. When she opens her mouth, what comes out is wisdom and kindess, proof of a mature woman of God.

What stood out to me the most was the familiar verse "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised." The key here is that all of these "works" are fruits of a life fixed on the Lord. She doesn't do these in pursuit of power, riches, "equality" with men, beauty, sex-appeal, security, independence, success--she does them because she pursues the Lord.