09 October 2012

A 31 Day Grand Prix {day 9} ~ Go-getters can be gentle, too!

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear."
That second bolded phrase? It isn't a very popular one these days. People don't like being told they need to submit to anyone. Women seem to bristle, particularly when it comes to submitting to the leadership of their husbands. Many ignore two things in this verse: 1. that it speaks of a general attitude - not a blanket unresisting, uninitiating attitude in every marriage circumstance (i.e. Sarah clearly initiated in her marriage to Abraham, and at least once, God told Abraham to do as she said); and 2. this submission is wives to their OWN husbands... not every other man who happens to walk through their lives.

I'm sure I'm going to say more about this idea later this week - but those thoughts are still being weighed and mused upon and prayed through... so I'll hold off on writing any more about that... at this moment. I want to be a wise steward of my words! Even though I do think it relates, that wasn't really the point of this post, anyhow.

My purpose was to share about one of my favorite people, another amazing woman who influences me still today! She and her husband were our youth group leaders my last few years of high school. She was the very first person I ever met who home schooled. She worked hard to keep herself physically fit, leading exercise classes and workouts to Christian music. She sang beautifully and always seemed busy using her gifts and talents to minister to those around her. She loved God's Word and the way it spoke to her. She obviously adored her husband and was ever striving to become a better, more devoted helpmeet. I loved how she and her husband laughed together. She not only said, but lived the reality that children are a precious gift from the Lord. She was then and is even more so now an incredible lady! I always considered her a go-getter. If it needed to be done she would, by God's grace, figure out the way to do it. I didn't think anything ever scared her, discouraged her or slowed her down. I hoped I'd be at least a little bit like her when I grew up.

It wasn't until cancer began stalking their family, however, that I vividly saw the gentle strength of a dedicated, committed wife. Her husband was diagnosed and lived with cancer, all the medical treatments, the ravages on his body, emotions and mind for several years and she was right there with him. She once told me that living with cancer was like living with snakes in the basement; you never knew when you opened the door if they'd be on the top step, ready to strike... or hiding down in the bottom where you couldn't see them - you just knew they were still there. We visited a few times while he was sick. As a girl, I had just  loved watching them, how they related to each other, laughed and played together, all of those little signs of affection pointing to love they shared. After he began to lose his battle with cancer, I watched again, a wife and mom myself. I was deeply challenged by her gentle submission, the quiet and sweet preservation of his dignity as the man and leader of their family. It would have been so easy for her to boldly take charge, but that was not what I either saw or sensed - not at all. I cried and cried the day we received word that he'd gone to be with Jesus. 

As I watched, albeit from a distance, her navigate this terrible road full of suffering, I'm sure she must have fought hard against fear. Wasn't that the whole point of the snakes in the basement comparison? (Since I'm terrified of snakes, that was a powerful word picture that has stuck with me ever since.) I don't think she ever gave way to that fear. That  must have required, what seems to me, a degree of gentleness mixed with quiet spirit that I can only remotely imagine - as each day she trusted her future, her husband's life, her fear of those "snakes" to a God who could heal, but Who had a different plan for her husband, her children and for her.

Through all of this, she continued to home school her children - and in the opportunities I've had to interact with them, they seem to have become delightful young men and women. I haven't heard a whole lot from her over the past couple of years. She is a busy lady! I do see pictures and comments from time to time on facebook. She is living life, celebrating  serving, keeping up with her adult children, traveling and ministering to others - all the things I've always associated with her - but she is also living proof to me that God does blossom gentleness in the life of a go-getter personality... and that gives me hope that perhaps He's in the process of cultivating the same in me, too.

Thanks, Mrs. C! I'm so glad you've been a part of my life.
(I scavenged this photo from her fb page!)

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