Friday, October 3, 2008

Because I've waited too long:

I've finally decided to begin that series I keep talking about. I've been praying about it quite a bit, not exactly sure how to begin, or how to do this, but this morning I just felt like I've done enough talking, and I'd better start some doing.

For those of you just joining, let me explain; this series of posts is being launched for the express purpose of helping us ladies who claim the name "Christian" to become better Handmaidens of the Lord. I've been searching my Bible for all the verses I can find on that topic, and I invite you to join me in doing this.

Each post will cover a certain quality that women of God are supposed to have, and will hopefully have some edifying discussion on that point. (Just for the record, I know that there will be much left unsaid - but, even if I did know everything [which I don't], who can cover an entire topic in one book, let alone one blog post?)

Here's the part I'm most excited about: each of you ladies - old and young - who read this blog have insight that you can contribute for the edification of the rest of us. Particularly those of you who are older in the faith...but even younger sisters can have words of wisdom. I would like to humbly request your active involvement in this series.

In the comment section of each post, I would like each of you to do one of two things;

~ 1: If you do not have a blog, please leave your thoughts directly in the comment section.

~ 2: If you have a blog, please go there and write a small post containing your thoughts on
whatever quality is under discussion here. Make it Biblical; share verses the Lord has used in your heart. The world is full of opinions - we don't need more of that. We need more of the Lord.

Then come back here and leave a link to your post in the comment section. (To make it easier for us to find the right post, please link directly to the post, not your front page.) If you would like to, please direct your blog readers here so that they can find more discussion, from other readers.

This is only a small corner of Blog Land, and I know that I don't reach many ladies - at least not as many as I would like. But this topic - becoming a better Handmaiden of the Lord - is so important that I wish we could talk to thousands. If we start linking to one another, perhaps the word will get out, and we can reach more and more women who care about the Lord.

Now... since those technical details have been said, let us begin.

A Handmaiden of the Lord

To begin, please pause for a moment and say a prayer for both my heart and yours. I really want to grow through studying the Word of God, and I'm sure you want the same.

Now...out of a list of 46 qualities - which is by no means an exhaustive list - which one should be mentioned first?

Perhaps this first post should deal with a quality that I haven't put on the list yet. It is quality that combats a danger that is very near.

I first realized this danger back when I was...oh, 16, I guess. I had written a very loooong journal entry about womanhood. Consumed with the goal of becoming a woman of God, I had taken the time to set down exactly what I thought a Handmaiden of the Lord should be like, and the nick-picking details I came up with were quite rigid.

Things like this:

"...a woman lives for others. Her own desires are ALWAYS considered last..."

"...a woman has no such thing as a need, except for God. She knows how to go without..."

"...for her, the golden rule is a way of life. She does not even THINK unkind thoughts..."

"...a woman is always cheerful..."

"...a woman never complains..."

"...she never shrinks from work, but meets it joyfully, eagerly..."

"...all the tasks she does are done well..."

Looking back at that list today, I realize that the things I listed were quite good... but there was something wrong. In the days following the time I wrote that list, I strove with all my might to be perfect. And of course I failed.

Which made me miserable.

And that drove me to write this addition at the end of my journal entry. I thought it would be a good start to this series, so I have typed it out, with a few minor edited points:

"...God is teaching me many things. Lately the lessons seem to be about balancing the things I have written here. I am never going to be the perfect woman here on earth - that is simply fact. I will never find the perfect woman either, because she simply does not exist.

"Writing a list of regulations is dangerous. Whenever I extend from God's basic standard there is a danger of becoming snobbish, judgmental, and also depressed, because I don't meet my own standards. This is something I have been struggling with. I have started to realize that the joy of the Lord must be my strength. Living in His joy and in His Word will produce all these qualities in some amount. This leaves room for variation.

"Each woman is different, and blossoming in God's timing, rather than trying to fit another's mold, will produce what God intended.

"So, now that I have written these 'regulations,' 'descriptions,' 'qualities,' I say 'okay, that was nice for a reminder or goal. Now, forget about the list and concentrate on Him. Live, breathe, and feast on His presence. Never forget that my purpose in life is to bring Him glory, Just bask in that thought. Commit myself to the Lord, and let Him shape the clay.'

"In this way - and, I am convinced, this way only - will I become a true HANDMAIDEN OF THE LORD."

Not a bad reminder, as we start this series. Let us remember the sum of the whole matter: "Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

What about y'all? Have there been times when you struggled with this issue of "legalism"? There is a balance between holy living and being a pharisee. I know that rules are right and good; God has given us many commands. But creating our own is dangerous. It could work out, but it could also create unnecessary heartache.

During this series, I want to be very careful to base every thought on commands that come from the Lord, not men. I want y'all to hold me to that, and remind me if I stray off.

...Because looking into the law of the LORD is a beautiful thing. O how I love your law, Lord! The meditation of it is my delight! The Psalmist was right on.

Let's search for that joy.


Alethea Jordan said...

This is a good reminder. I'm not sure what to say about it, though.

Ashley said...

I think I have some things to say, just don't have time right now! Sorry. Anyways, I tagged you for a meme. Go to my blog to find out more.

Leah said...

You have a very good idea!
What you wrote encouraged me to remember to keep my eyes on the Lord and not on myself or the things that go on around us.

I wrote a post with my thoughts on the topic, like you suggested, here is the link: