Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Breaking News from BHC!

Our church has podcast sermons you can subscribe to!

If there were a way to transmit a joyful shriek across this medium, that's what you'd be hearing from me right now. (Okay, so there's probably a way to do that, but I'll spare you my joyful shriek. THIS time.)

Blessed Hope Chapel Podcasts

Joe Schimmel's sermons were used by the Lord to change our lives in so many ways. I am really excited for others to hear the great preaching that comes out of that little church in Simi Valley.

The Opposite of Proverbs 31?

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this a few days ago, and in my sleepy state I thought about delving more deeply into it later. Like, not at 4 AM. (Hope you didn't want me to do it right then, Lord!)

We all are familiar with the Proverbs 31 Woman. She's an ideal in some ways--we could discuss whether ALL of her attributes are attainable for one woman with some difference of opinion, I am sure--but she represents, at least in my mind, a beautiful goal for a woman who follows the Lord. I quote the whole passage here, and have highlighted some parts I particularly love or aspire to, and that will apply to the point I'm making in this post:

Proverbs 31:10-31

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
'Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.'
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

I believe there is a woman in the Bible whom we could examine as the Proverbs Wife's opposite. Sure, there are other examples, and it'd be interesting to look at Jezebel or Michal and contrast them, too.

But I woke up thinking about Job's wife.

Quick refresher on Job's situation: Job is wealthy, prosperous, and righteous, with a large family. Satan gets permission from God to attack Job's circumstances (and eventually, his body), with the caveat that Satan cannot kill Job. Job loses house, herds/livestock, children, and health, and is left with nothing but the boils on his body...and his wife. All this has happened to test Job; he's done nothing against the Lord that has caused his pain.

So what does his sweet, loving wife have to say to him? What words of comfort does she bring at his worst hour?

Job 2:8-10
And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die." But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job wonders at the distance that's suddenly between them:

Job 19:17
My breath is strange to my wife,
and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.

Every wife--every woman--will be remembered somehow. What memories of you will your closest relatives keep or your children inherit? A legacy is crafted not just by what I do in the good times, when everything is going well for me, but in the worst of times, when what I truly hold to, be it selfish pride, anger, or the Word of the Lord, will be tested.

The Proverbs Wife's husband could count on her; his heart "safely trusts in her" through the experience that comes with time and, inevitably, hardship as well as ease. That's how (mature) trust is developed. Job's wife demolished any trust he may have had in her with her bitter speech and her angry abandonment.

"She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life."

I woke up struck by the contrast between these two women, and the consciousness that in my reactions to and attitude toward my husband every day, I resemble one or the other. I've seen my negative or scornful attitude crush him, and I've seen my gentleness soften him. Women in any household, married or unmarried, mother or daughter, hold so much responsibility for the household's ethos. Of course, we don't hold that responsibility alone (!), but we can't make others' decisions for them: we must say to ourselves daily, "As for me, I will serve the Lord."

I pray with all my heart that the Lord will help His daughters, who love His name, to be like the gentle and industrious woman whom King Lemuel's mother extolled, and not like Job's angry, frustrated harpy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Major Baby Update!

On Friday, Ryan, both sets of grandparents (yep, you read that right) and I went to the local high-risk OB for my 20 week appointment. It's my OB/GYN's standard practice to send all patients there for a mid-pregnancy 3D ultrasound.

My reaction to this was, of course, sophisticated and nonplussed. Let's see if I can remember what I said:


Or something like that. Cool as a cucumber, that's me.

Anyway, we trooped into the doctor's office with our horde. We truly sounded like a herd of elephants thundering across the plains, I think. I felt sorry for any poor soul who might walk in the door to, you know, go to the doctor. They might have expected a normal, quiet, peaceful doctor's waiting room, and what they would have gotten instead was a carnival. But--and I was thankful--no one but us darkened the door.

In truth, the techs and nurses were extremely kind and accomodating. (I think we weren't the first family to decide to have a family reunion at that location...)

We emerged from the office with a videotape, several regular and several 3D photos, and--let's just say 100% confidence that we have a little Noah Frith coming into our lives in just a few months.

Perhaps you'd like to meet him? I'll spare you the, uh, money shot.

Here he's all scrunched against my side, but you can see his cute little face!

Here are his little feet:

Everything looked perfect and wonderful. Noah was sucking his thumb when the transducer showed the first image of him. CUTE!

We got to see his little four-chambered heart beating (143 bpm); they can even show you the blood flow through the chambers as well as the cord! The grandparents in particular were blown away by the advancement of technology.

I can't wait to hold my son.