The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1 (NIV)
Let’s put aside the tearing down—there’s already too much of that going on—and think about being builders. Don’t you find that prospect exciting? So what if we’ve made mistakes or haven’t been perfect? (As if anyone is…) Joel 2:25 speaks to past mistakes or regrets: …I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten. In essence, God’s redemptive power even touches those times we wish we could redo. He is able to transform the past and give us hope for the future.
When I think of building, I think about all the joys we can bring to our families. Lest we can’t think of a thing we can contribute, Proverbs 31 sets out a composite of the Ideal Woman. I don’t have a vineyard to plant, and I haven’t spun any thread lately (or ever), but I do know the joy of arranging flowers for my family to enjoy and am pretty talented at spinning stories for the grandchildren. We all have unique gifts that can be honed for blessing our families. We just need to get in building mode.
Someone said that women are the thermostat of the home; they set the temperature for everyone. Susanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles and 17 others!) set the tone for her household by huddling in prayer in the mornings with an apron pulled over her head. From those two-hour prayer sessions, she emerged to teach and shape her children and her community almost single-handedly.
I rarely use an apron for anything, but my prayer time can reach out to my family and those I love just as effectively as those prayers of Susanna, and I can demonstrate love in ways that affirm and encourage. I can be alert to the gifts that are beginning to blossom in my little ones (grandchildren) and praise their parents for their faithfulness during rough patches. I can sacrificially give them my time, put aside my own activities, and offer undivided attention.
Susanna spent time alone with each of her children throughout the week, teaching, listening, and encouraging them. Her son John later commented on how special those times were to him and his personal growth. Even with just one or two children, I wonder how much time we devote in a week to each child?
Think of the opportunities we have to shape lives within our realm of influence. What can you do to build your house? It’s never too late. Have you ever been driving with a GPS system, and you inadvertently get off track? Siri (or whatever her name may be) says, “Recalculating…” And eventually, you get back on course. So, you may have gotten off course in your building project. Recalculate and get back to work.
Lord, what a glorious opportunity you have given us to bless our families. Open our hearts and imaginations to touch each one today with your love. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.