About the Pro 31 Women’s Compendium

Welcome to our blog site!

The Pro 31 Women’s Compendium consists of a group of 4 women who are going to blog together.  We will all write a blog on the same topic and publish it.  Our prayer is that it blesses you, encourages and edifies you.  We know you may laugh with us (or at us- whatever ), cry with us, agree with us or disagree with us. We are real women, walking out our Christian lives in this world, just like you, and we want to keep this real.

Let me introduce us in a nutshell:

I am Peggy Gilbert, a want-to-be writer, wife, mother and grand-mother (when did I get old?!  geez!).  My husband and I are founders and Pastors or Ruach Glory Ministries, which is primarily a ministry to network and coordinate churches and ministries in our region for corporate prayer efforts. I was a stay-at-home mom for a few years, but mostly I have had to work to keep the home fires burning. I loved to read Erma Bombeck  during the “raising of the children” years.  If you don’t know who she is, then look her up and read some of her stuff. You will laugh, and you will identify with her for sure!

I had an overwhelming urge to start this blog, and have invited 3 other women to be contributors to it.  I will tell you who they are, but I will leave it up to them to tell you more about themselves if they choose:

Ronda  is an author, strong woman of faith and I know you will be blown away by things that she writes!  You can also read her works at her personal blog: the Kelbey Chronicles on blogspot.

Barbara  is a friend who is someone for whom I have the utmost admiration and respect. She is one of the strongest prayer warriors I have ever known, and I believe that her writings will encourage and challenge us all as we take this blog journey together.

Andrea is a friend of mine for many years now, and is someone I consider a true overcomer!  She is one of the most intelligent and articulate women I have ever known, and I can’t wait to read her posts!

The way this blog is going to work is that I will choose a topic and give it to the other authors.  We will not collaborate on content, but will all write a blog on the same topic and post it on this site. We all have a different lifesong, and I believe that reading different perspectives in the same topic will be very interesting. Once we have our contributions together, I will put it out on the facebook so you all know there is something to read.  We hope you enjoy it, and that we can encourage you in your life.  I do have to warn you, though, that if you are looking for some “holier than thou, uptight church ladies”, you will not find it in us.  While, yes, we are all strong Christian women, we all also believe in telling it like it is and just being real.

Our first topic is “The Proverbs 31 Woman in 2014” and will be published in a few days. We welcome your comments and hope you enjoy!

Introduction submitted by Peggy Gilbert

© Pro 31 Women’s Compendium and all blogs posted by its authors, Peggy Gilbert, Barbara V., Andrea B., Ronda W., including any photos or original illustrations, commencing January 1, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the authors (Peggy Gilbert, Barbara V., Andrea B. and Ronda W., and Pro 31 Women’s Compendium, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Exposed by Peggy

Exposed.  The very word invokes thoughts of discomfort; even pain.  Have you ever had an exposed nerve in a tooth, or an exposed wound?  I shudder to think of it! Even worse than physical pain is the emotional and mental anguish that some feel they may experience if things they keep hidden are exposed.

I’ve never felt that I am pretty.  Never.  In fact, there is probably only one day in my entire life that I can say that I actually did feel pretty.  That’s just the truth of it. The truth of my feelings.   As a little girl I was abnormally skinny,  wore glasses and, when very young, couldn’t hear well at all.  I was the weird little nerdy one who seemed to be completely introverted (when you can’t see and can’t hear, isolation becomes a place of comfort).  Even so, I have always been surrounded a loving family (who never made me feel like I was “less” than anyone else), and by friends—some life-long—that are beautiful, inside and out.

I don’t really know when those feelings of insecurity about my looks began, but those feelings followed me into my teen years. I found the way to make friends was to have a good sense of humor, and just kind of pretend that I was as pretty as everyone else.   It’s funny how teenagers think about things: I figured as long as I acted like I was pretty, and other girls hung out with me anyway, then no one would really know how ugly I was, how terribly ugly I felt.  Every. Day.

In my teen-aged mind, one of my biggest fears was that everyone would discover the “real” me, see me for the fraud I was, and know that I was ugly.  As irrational as that sounds, it was a real fear, and a mighty heavy burden. I truly believed I was unlovely.  So, I just went merrily along, acting like everyone else, enjoying and truly treasuring my friendships.  Suppressing the ever-present nagging deep inside that I was only wearing the mask of what I considered “normal”, I was terrified that one day my hidden ugliness would show itself.

As the years wore on, and adulthood happened, I settled into a place of comfort with myself, making peace that I am who I am. People seemed to like me. My husband loved me, we somehow managed to bring three truly beautiful little people into the world whom I loved beyond anything I could ever think or imagine, so, no worries.  Until one day, it happened.

I was in my thirties, happy and content as we were raising our kids, living a good, American life.  Very involved in our church, we spent a lot of time there and a lot of our fellowship and social life revolved around the programs and people within the church.  One day a friend from church and I went shopping to get some clothes for an upcoming event.

As we were trying on clothes, she looked at me and said:  “You know, that doesn’t do anything for you at all. In fact, I’m just going to say it, Peggy, that you need a whole new look!  You’re really pretty plain, and the clothes you wear just accentuate that.  You should wear things that make you look better.”

Yes, she said it.  And there I was: exposed.  If she knew I wasn’t pretty, then so did everyone else.  As usual, I laughed it off and made fun of myself, which was the only coping mechanism I had in place.  But when I was home alone, it hit me.  I was mortified, embarrassed, self-conscious, and terribly hurt.  I don’t think I would ever say anything like that to anyone. All of the old insecurities about not being delightfully cute resurfaced.  ugh.

It was also one of those life-changing moments for me.  As I contemplated the scene (rehashing it over and over again in my mind is more like it!), I came to realize that it wasn’t me that was exposed, but she.  She let slip from her mouth something she probably thought many times, all while being part of my company of friends. I came to think that she had a far greater problem than I ever did.

I had gotten over the feelings of self-loathing years before.  As my life evolved, I found that my friends were true and just didn’t look at me the same way I did when looking in a mirror.  They loved me; it was  that simple.  My family, husband, kids: they all loved me.  That simple.  God?  He loves me.  That simple.

I don’t know why that girl sought me out and made me her friend.  Maybe she could only see the 2-dimensional mirror image of my lack of physical beauty, and she made me her project.  Maybe I was someone she thought she could transform.  The thing was, by that time in my life, I didn’t need to be transformed.  I was not a caterpillar needing someone to break me from my cocoon and turn me into a beautiful butterfly.  I was happy, content, and quite at peace with myself.

I have not held that incident against her, although our relationship did change a bit.  She really seemed to have no clue that her words stung like viper bites.  She was exposed, and I realized that even though her physical beauty was far greater than mine, she must have been hiding some terrible insecurities of her own.  For me it was a point of growth.  I learned how not to act, how not to be.  I learned that if I didn’t want to hurt someone, I needed to reflect on myself often and allow God to change my heart and attitude as well.  I needed to always strive to be a better person.  I began to look at people with different eyes. I needed to forgive her, and I did.  I need to be light in darkness, and not allow darkness in any form to overtake me or become the rudder of my ship.

I won’t say I don’t still struggle with the mirror a bit.  I couldn’t bring myself to put a picture of myself on my book, my website or my blog.  I cringe when someone else posts a picture of me on social media. There are very few good pictures of me, and the thoughts of sitting for a photographer gives me knots in my stomach.  BUT, I do not allow those feelings to overtake me.   I realize that when I think like that, I am hurting God, who made me as I am, and who loves me unconditionally, and has provided me with a truly blessed life.  I guess, in the end, it’s really all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38, 39

Exposed by Ronda

There are many thoughts that come to mind when you read or hear the word “exposed”. There are quite a few directions that one could go in discussing the word, both positive and negative in connotation. However, I am going to go with my first impression from the Spirit when we received the topic for this month. Hopefully, you will get a picture of what the Spirit is saying through what I am going to share.

The Road to Emmaus- Luke 24:13-32

This testimony of scripture is one the most peculiar accounts of the manifested resurrected Christ. The day of Christ’s resurrection, he appeared in visible form to several of his disciples. Most believers are familiar with the accounts: Mary Magdalene, Peter and John and the two disciples traveling the road to Emmaus.

Cleopas and an unnamed disciple are traveling to Emmaus, stunned by the recent events of Jesus’ death and missing body. (They were not absolutely convinced Jesus had resurrected). This account is so peculiar because the two disciples did not recognize Jesus as he talked and walked with them. The disciples could not believe that Jesus was unaware of what had taken place in Jerusalem. However, when Jesus began to explain to them why the events of the past few days were prophetic in nature and necessary- they still did not recognize him! He spoke to them about the Messianic prophecies that had to be fulfilled. He expounded the scriptures to them in a way that amazed them. Yet they did not recognize him.

This is very interesting. What was it about Jesus’ appearance made them fail to recognize who he was? Remember these were disciples.

The disciples did not recognize who he was until he sat with them and broke bread, saying the blessing over the bread! Once they realized it was him, he disappeared as quickly as he had appeared to them on the road. Why is this account in the good book? There are NO coincidences in scripture. EVERY WORD, JOT AND TITTLE has meaning and purpose. What might the Spirit be revealing through this resurrection sighting of Jesus? What might it have to do with the word “exposed”?

This post is a rumination of the scripture account. I am not sure why the account is included in scripture but as I ponder the account there are certain aspects of the story that seem interesting.

Is there a possibility that a disciple of Christ might not recognize him or let’s say his action in the earth? Scary thought but it is right there in scripture. They did not recognize Jesus. He had manifested in a way that was not readily discernible.

We are living in a time when discernment is a necessity. Even with this precious gift and the indwelling of the Spirit, there is still a real chance of imperfect perception or inaccurate

discernment. The two disciples did not readily recognize Jesus, but after he disappeared one said to the other…did not our hearts burn within us as he expounded the scriptures. Selah.

As the resurrected Christ spoke to believers who were without the indwelling of the Spirit, their hearts burned within them as thy heard his words. I kept pondering this, rolling it over in my spirit and wondering what about this biblical account speaks to being “exposed”.

Being exposed can be either a positive or a negative and it is seen both ways in this account. Jesus is exposed in a positive way and the disciples are exposed in a negative way. Jesus shows us that he has the power of the Spirit to conceal and to reveal. The disciples show us how easy it is for us to not perceive and have our ignorance exposed. The disciples remind us of how important it is for our perception to be based on the witness of the Spirit within. The burning on the inside of our spirit is there for a reason. As we see him as he truly is, the Spirit will bear witness with our spirit. And what if that witness is not there? Then proceed with caution because there is the chance of being exposed.

Everything that is hidden will be revealed.

Tradition by andrea

This time of year it is easy to be melancholy about our traditions. We recall the ones that we enjoyed and let go of the ones that pain us. I remember 13 kids, waking early, listening to adults still bustling about, wrapping, decorating and organizing for Christmas morning. We’d have gone to bed with no sign of Christmas and awoke to piles of packages and a decorated tree. At 5 am we’d all line up, youngest first and for about 30 minutes we’d squeal with delight and chatter away as my mother and older siblings looked on, bleary eyed from a very long night. That was my mother’s tradition. We were never a part of decorating, wrapping, shopping and sharing the joy of Christmas preparations.
When I married we decided to make our own traditions, then with each passing year our family grew. Often with more individuals we were more contentious. It was clear that the traditions I learned didn’t make Christmas or any other day a happy day.
Then I got saved and found the meaning of Christmas and meaning in my life. I realized there were so many more important things to focus on than baubles, wrapping paper and decorations…. Christmas became more of a time to watch others enjoying their traditions and just soaking in the truth of life in Christ. Christmas is a day… life in Christ is the gift.
Now we celebrate Christmas Eve with family, Christmas Day we invite all who want to join us to a Chinese restaurant… no ASAP necessary, just a time to laugh and make sure no one has to spend Christmas Day alone. Our traditions can never fulfill what Christmas actually means; Unto us a child is given, unto to us a son is born and the government shall be upon His shoulders: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

 

Amidst all the memories of past Christmas’s with drunken parties, the hung over mornings, a sense that something was seriously missing… I’ve found the missing piece and no bauble, wrapped or unwrapped will ever matter more than finding that the true traditions are the ones we experience every day.
The joy of Christmas is in knowing God lives within, the decorations are smiling eyes, a loving heart and a warm embrace to our fellow man.
As an unconventional Christian, I bristle at the term traditionalist. I love reading N.T.Wright, who has challenged my once traditional view of heaven. Scott McKnight, who in his book The Blue Parakeet, challenged me to look at my own cherry picking of scripture. Rethinking Hell, a site I frequent that encourages my faith in a loving and gracious God who does not torture unbelievers for eternity. I thank God I no longer hold to traditional views that I see as unscriptural. I can challenge my own views and others.
Tradition can be a warm fuzzy feeling or it can bring loneliness and heartbreak because we cannot continue an idealized vision of what our family “should look like”. I recall someone saying to me please don’t ‘should’ on me. The many obligations we carry like emotional baggage simply because we can no longer fulfill our traditions.

 

Tradition can also blind us to truth. We accept what was given to us without question. That is why I call myself an unconventional Christian. I allow myself to question, to be challenged and to stand on the love of Christ and not on the word of man.
Today I prefer to find the joy of ordinary days. Any day with breath, any day without drama, any day I share the joy of Christ in my life is a great day. Traditions be damned.
If you’re stuck working to fulfill traditions, make a new tradition. That you’ll celebrate the days that are important to you, your family, your loved ones. Have a “It’s a good day to have a party” party. Instead of struggling through Christmas without a loved one, make a totally different celebration. I’m a great believer in ­­volunteering and encouraging people to find their joy.
Our family will probably be at Sakanas Christmas afternoon for dinner. Although, if one of us doesn’t feel like Chinese we might just decide to have ice cream for dinner and watch old movies for Christmas Day. Whatever we decide we will remember that Dec. 25th is the day, chosen to celebrate the greatest joy in life. The birth of God, come to earth to bring great cheer, love and eternal life. The greatest gift of all is free, eternal life, paid in full by Jesus Christ and offered to all who only need to call on Him and follow. Don’t allow your traditions to hinder you from experiencing Gods gift.

TRADITION by Peggy

‘Tis the season for unending days of tradition. We all have our certain ways of decorating, certain foods that are always made, cookies always baked, songs always sung, movies always watched.

We rely on our traditions to make us feel good.  Have you ever sat late at night, in a quiet room, alone with the beautifully lit Christmas tree, and feel…, well, just comforted?  It’s like every breath you take brings to mind another memory of Christmases gone by.

I can hear my mother and father setting up the toys under the tree when they thought we were sound asleep.  I can feel again the excitement as I set up the toys for my children, anticipating their utter glee upon waking.  Contentment fills my mind and emotions, as I recall every midnight Mass attended with my parents and siblings; I can still smell the incense of the High Mass and the candles in the sanctuary, hear the choir singing in the choir loft, and being part of that same choir in seventh grade. I still display my mother’s Nativity set (right next to her huge ceramic Christmas tree with little peg lights), reminding me always of the true reason we have this season, and hope rises within me a little stronger.

Every year we string tons of colored lights inside and outside the house, on every branch of our tree.  One time someone snickered at my tree and said it looked like a “clown” tree with all of the colored lights, instead of just clear ones.  Humbug, I say!  If your traditional tree bears clear lights, I’m sure it’s beautiful!  But so is mine!  The beauty of each having their own traditional decorations is that there is no right or wrong, there is just joy!  Unspeakable joy!

I am very melancholy this year, as I know some long-running Christmas traditions are coming to an end.  We will probably sell our house this next year, thus ending the annual open house we host, the lights on this lovely home of ours, the fresh-cut tree tagged weeks before we pick it up.

The thing I think I will miss the most, though, is the family Christmas breakfast.  I just love having all of my children and grandchildren together in the morning, reams of wrapping paper everywhere every colored light blazing. Lots of coffee, French toast, Dutch puff, and so much love!  Everyone is happy, and together.  I look forward to it every year, and will surely miss not being able to host it in this house.  This house where we raised our children, and housed some others for a spell along the way.

Tradition.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s important.  It sets our roots a little deeper, and gives each generation a sense of stability and belonging. The comfort zone of tradition gives us structure, boundaries, and even excuses.

The thing about observing traditions is that we take them with us forever. No matter where we are, we always will have the memories and the feelings they invoke.  Throughout the years, our Christmas traditions have stuck, and everyone in the family feels the same as I, and someone else will pick up the baton. Even though I won’t be hosting the holiday festivities in this house, they will be hosted somewhere, and we will be there.

We aren’t sure where we will end up, Jim and I; most likely out of NJ. Where ever we are, I will string the colored lights, display the Nativity set and ceramic tree, and photos of Christmases past.  I will breathe and take it all in, and I will remember every single Christmas of my life.

I will smile and give thanks to a mighty God, who sent His son to a manger, under a star.  The one destined to die for the forgiveness of all sin, for the salvation of mankind.  I will thank Him for a life well-blessed, and for Christmas.  Then we will get into some mode of transportation and show up at one of the kids’ houses for Christmas breakfast!  Traditions never die, they just change location, and I’m ok with that.

                    Merry Christmas to all, and to all I pray for many blessing throughout the New Year!

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2: 11-14 (KJV)

TRADITION by Barbara

When we talk about traditions the holidays naturally come to mind. I think back on many traditions fondly. One of my happiest memories as a child was Christmas Eve in South Philly.  My sister Karen and I set off to John’s Bargains store and brought a game.  We played the game most of the day to help make the time pass as we were eager for Christmas day. Karen and I, both in our 60’s now, still talk about that tradition and the happy memories it gave us.

As we grow older our traditions change.  Being the oldest of 8, I am quite a bit older than some of my siblings.  Christmas Eve develop into a time when the young ones would go to bed and the older children helped my parents play Santa.  My dad loved to decorate and I don’t think there was a spot in the house that did not have decorations.  He even had a platform with trains, houses, stores, churches and so much more. The tree was decorated Christmas Eve and we helped with toys that needed to be put together.

Life brings changes and our traditions are no exception.   When we marry our traditions change as we decide what family we’re going to spend each holiday with and unfortunately that can at times turn into a tug of war for the grown children. Love ones passing and divorce change traditions and it can be a difficult adjustment.

 

What did Jesus have to say about traditions? Jesus observed traditions as he celebrated the Jewish holidays but he also blasted others.  In Luke 11, we find Jesus ready to dine with a Pharisee.  When the other Pharisees saw that He did not follow the ceremonial washing they rebuked Him.  Jesus ripped them a new one!  I’m paraphrasing what He said but he basically told them, you hypocrites concern yourselves with being clean on the outside but inside you are dirty.  Among other things He told them that they burden the people with their man made rules, their rules are hard to bear but they themselves would not lift a finger to lighten the load.

On another occasion in Luke 14 we see Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath. Once more we find Him at a Pharisees house for a meal. The good ole boys were there as they were hoping to entrap him.  There was a man with dropsy.  Jesus asked them, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?  Though they did not answer Him, we know what they were thinking.  Jesus healed the man and sent him on his way.  Jesus asked them if they had a son or ox fall into a well on the Sabbath would they not pull him out immediately. Yet again, silence. Jesus tells them in Mark 7 that they set aside the word of God in order to keep their man made tradition and regulations.

There are times when the expression “rules were meant to be broken” speaks to me.  I believe this was the mind-set of the woman with the issue of blood.  We can find her story in Luke 8. She had a hemorrhage infirmity for 12 years. Her doctors took all her money even though they could not cure her. She settled it in her heart if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed.  In those days a woman in her condition would have to shout unclean, as she walked through the streets.  If she touched anyone she could be stoned.  What a horrible and lonely life she must have lived.  She got to the point where she did not care what the tradition or law was, she was going to reach Jesus no matter what.  I can almost see her, so weak from losing so much blood but she dragged and crawled on the ground to get to Him, knowing when she did, her suffering would be over.  We know with all those people about it would be impossible for her not to touch someone but she pressed on and made it.  As soon as she touched Jesus, He felt it and asked “who touched me?” The disciples answered, (paraphrasing once more.) Seriously????? Are you joking Jesus? All these people around you and you’re asking who touched you, really? The woman admitted it was her. Did Jesus reprimand her, and tell her she broke tradition or law? No, He told her, your faith has healed you. She took the risk, broke the tradition, touched the hem of His garment and was healed.

So is tradition a bad thing?  No, not at all. Paul tells the people in 2 Thessalonians 2 to hold fast to the traditions they were taught.

Now that the Christmas season is upon us, let’s reflect on our traditions.   Christmas is not even mentioned in the Bible.  It is a man made event. I am not saying it is wrong to celebrate it but we need to remember the reason for the season. Jesus is God, who left his throne to be born as a baby, to die for us, be raised from the dead, restore us back to the Father plus take back all the enemy stole from us.  It is ok to enjoy the gifts, food, tree, and family/friends getting together but keep Jesus in it. Let us not make our man made traditions a burden on anyone.  It is wonderful for family to get together but for the most part it can be impossible to get everyone collectively. I understand there are some family members that hog the holidays. Try to come up with a fair solution but take into account you can’t make everyone happy and that is ok.   When my daughter was young, I started my own tradition. I made the decision to stay home but anyone was welcome to come to our house for dinner or just visit.  It worked quite well and I did my visiting during or after the holidays.

Praying you have a blessed Christmas. For those who have lost love ones and have gone through divorce, I pray that the peace of God would comfort you. Psalm 34:18 tell us, The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Enjoy your traditions but don’t be fearful of creating new ones.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Silence by Peggy

I remember the days when the kids were all little and there were several cousins and/or friends over, playing.  Normally they would be outside, but on rainy days, they were cooped up inside.  The decibel level was off the charts in the house on those days!  While I have always loved the sound of kids at play, there would inevitably come a point in the day when I craved a break.  The quiet moments were easy to achieve back then. By calling a time-out, or bribing them with popsicles and pudding I could get a welcome respite from the frenzy.  I cherished it.

The noise that assaults my senses now is not from rambunctious children. It comes from the “talking heads” on the TV news, and the rantings on the Facebook and other social media outlets.  It just never seems to turn off, does it?

The odious cacophony coming from politicos seeking election, the pummeling of rantings and half- truths constantly in our social media streams all seek to convince us that their voice is THE voice, the only one worthy of being heard. I feel that the louder and more obnoxious the voices become, the less anyone listens. Even if I agree with what is being introduced, I don’t want to read or listen because of the manner in which the subject is broached. I try to tune it out, to scroll past it all as I lurk, searching for the feel-good posts of kids and puppies.

The disturbing result of the banshee-like posts is the deafening sound of silence. Unlike the covetous quiet that ensues when the graceless masses are shushed, I fear the silence of the righteous and level-headed is interpreted as a thunderous roar of acquiescence to those boorish mouthpieces.

While there are times when silence is indeed, golden, there are times when it is harmful.  It is time for the well-spoken among us to speak up and be heard.  There are serious issues in our society, and very quick changes afoot.  Where is the voice of the majority?  The tide of acceptable behavior is being turned by the smallest of rudders, while the anchor is ignored.

Why don’t we hear from those that know how to string together a grammatically correct sentence and present it in a clear, concise manner?  I find that I am one of the guilty, just rolling my eyes and making my case in my own head, unheard by those that need to listen.

Contrary to what one may think, I don’t maintain my silence because I am afraid of criticism or of the challenge of a different opinion, or even of being verbally attacked by those that think differently than I.  I find that I am silent because I don’t wish to be baited into battle. But, while I am weary, I do think we need to stand up and be counted.

Years ago when the health curriculum at one of my children’s school got way too sexually oriented and explicit, I went to the teacher, principal and other parents, and, collectively, our voice was heard and the curriculum modified to a more age-appropriate learning experience.  We didn’t rant or scream; we presented our case in a non-threatening manner, well-thought out, and articulated exactly what we wanted to say, making a clear and concise point. We got their attention and they listened.  They didn’t all agree, but they respected what we said because we were non-confrontational and well-versed on the subject.  We did our homework before we opened our collective mouths, and it paid off.

I have seen two videos the last two days explaining the changes to the health and family curriculum in the public schools in two different States.  I have not verified the validity of either video, so I won’t go into details here, but it has been suggested that the school boards have acted against the will of the parents to introduce new courses to the children concerning sexually explicit content.  If this is true, the battle is even more than the one I fought all those years ago.  While I faced everything at a local level, today’s issues are fought on a world-wide battlefield, a tangled web, indeed.  It will take more than the voices of the local parents.  It will take us all.  Woefully, this is only one example.

I am, indeed, tired of the rantings on social media, in the news and so many other outlets.  I don’t listen to them, but I do hear them.  My silence does not indicate my agreement with them, or my total ignorance of the situation; it simply means I have chosen thus far not to engage.  I think now it is time to be heard.  It’s time to pay attention and have the conversations. The future of our children’s children depend on it. I feel it is our reasonable service.

What is the topic that is bothering you most right now?  Go ahead—I’m listening.

“A word fitly spoken (is like) apples of gold in pictures of silver”.  Prov. 25:11

Silence by Ronda

My first lesson about the value of silence came as a young mother of young children.  During those years, I was like most young mothers, searching for a moment to hear my own thoughts.  It seemed like back then those moments were hard to come by and I had to actually learn how to carve them out of the day for my own sanity and the safety of the entire family.  LOL.  I am just kidding. I hope you understand what I am saying.  Honestly though, I did learn that I had to set aside the time I needed because I was the adult, the mom.  So I learned, slowly.  I am happy to say that eventually I taught my children to do so as well. During the day we would have a time when we turned everything off. No tv…no video games…no talking. Coloring or reading books were the best options, but it was QUIET time.  Those moments were important and yet I don’t think I really had the full revelation as to why.  Back then it was an important discipline because of natural reasons…but I have learned that there is a spiritual aspect to silence that may be even more important.

A huge part of my learning included reading books about silence and solitude.  At that time in my life it was like a cold glass of water to my thirsty soul.  In silence, I discovered the things that most occupied my mind.  It was chaotic and that is putting it mildly. As a stay at home mom, I was always thinking of the next thing that I had to do.   This pattern of thinking made it difficult for me to experience the peace and grace that I knew was available for me in Christ.  However, the more I carved out time for silence and solitude, the more I was able to enter into a place of His peace and presence.  After much practice, it became part of my praying.  I wouldn’t simply spend time not speaking but being “fully present “ and silent in prayer-no words-no thoughts-just listening.  Listening is the spiritual aspect of silence as prayer.

I learned to listen and hear God more when I started spending time in silence.  Yes, I had to be diligent to take thoughts captive and keep my focused attention on Him.  Interestingly, hearing wasn’t the only fruit of silence.  His Presence was the most precious fruit. This presence isn’t the presence that comes from congregational worship.  This presence is a deep abiding knowing of His nearness, an awareness and consciousness.  It is discovering that He is always VERY near.  The secret place is always available because Jesus is the Door that makes His throne room available and His throne is right in my midst…in the center of my being.

So when I come to the Father through Jesus and am just silent, He is the main event. It’s not always about my needs or requests or intercession.  In silence, He is the One I have come for and He knows that I have come to just be with Him. No agenda. No pressing in. No work. I am just turning my love and attention toward Him.  I don’t even come for His manifested presence because I know He is there by faith.  I am abiding from within and becoming His habitation. When His manifested presence does come I am physically embraced by His love.

In some Christian circles it is called centering prayer or silent prayer.  More recently, it has also become known as soaking or prophetic soaking if music or scriptural decrees are used.  Regardless of the terminology or methodology, my experience has been that silence is more than golden.  It is a spiritual discipline that has helped me discover deeper intimacy with the Father.  It is now an essential part of my prayer life and I have grown in my stillness.  I don’t struggle to quiet my mind as much and I can enter in even if there is noise all around. Many of my most profound experiences with the Father have come through this simple discipline.

 

Here are a few scripture references about waiting silently before the LORD.

Psalm 23:1-3

Psalm 4:4

Matthew 11:28-30

Hebrews 4:9-11

Psalm 46:10

Isaiah 40:29-31

Psalm 27:14

Isaiah55:1-3

Luke 10:39

 

Here are a few books that helped me along my journey into silence.

  • Experiencing God Through Prayer by Madame Guyon
  • Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton
  • Breathe: Finding Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent
  • Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life by Keri Wyatt Kent
  • Rest: Living In Sabbath Simplicity by Keri Wyatt Kent (I haven’t read this one but believe that God intends for us to enjoy Sabbath rest and I do enjoy most of this authors books).

 

We all have an invitation to come to Him in this most simple way as His child all because of Jesus.  Thank you Jesus.  Enter in.