Titus 2:3-4 – In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, (HCSB)
As I was drinking my mid-morning cup of coffee (aka unfinished morning coffee reheated), I was reading someone’s social media comments about how to love your husband. Of course there is the physical love but also love in the day-to-day treatment of your husband. The comments made me think Titus 2: 3-4. Most articles I’ve read and speakers I’ve heard put the focus on verse 4, but I think verse 3 teaches verse 4. All wives have had times when our fabulous hints fell on deaf ears. We may even have had our very clear and precise words change completely between leaving our lips and arriving on our husbands’ ears. But, we ponder the mystery in private and not vent to the world. Being around a woman who is constantly criticizing her husband is embarrassing and uncomfortable but also a tutorial to young wives. Ephesians 5:33 says that women are to respect their husbands. This is the man that I vowed to love, honor, and cherish. How can I belittle a man that I cherish? How does that show honor? Proverbs 17:9 says “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” (NLT) If it separates close friends, how could it possibly strengthen a marriage? How can I be antagonistic with the man I cherish? How can I be negative, always talking about what’s wrong, with the man I love? Paul told Titus to encourage older women to teach younger women. How do you teach but by words and actions? Are my actions teaching younger wives to be encouraging or condemning? Supportive or critical? Fun or harsh? Proverbs 31:12 says that a wife should not bring harm to her husband. I read a poster that said “When my husband looks at me, let him see love, warmth, caring, commitment, support and desire.” I couldn’t find who actually said it, but I would add “and let others see those too.” I am thankful for my husband and want to live in such a way that he will be proud to call me his wife. Lord, help me to be quick to forgive and slow to criticize. May I be a living example to young wives of how to love a husband.
Judges 6:15 —He said to Him, “Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” (HCSB)
2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is ableto make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. (HCSB)
I am drinking my coffee this morning and thinking of a conversation I recently had with some friends. We were talking about how I give power to my feelings of insecurity when I allow them to answer the calling You gave to me. Why do I allow criticism and comparison to send me plummeting into the depths of self-doubt? There are people that I have no respect for their opinion in other areas, but I allow their comments to convince me that I have no value in ministry. Why am I so convinced that someone else can do it so much better than me? Lord, You call me to action, and I allow my self-doubt to make me like Moses in Exodus 6 and say I’m not articulate enough. I find myself reminding You of my age, and You answer with Psalm 92:14 – “They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green,” (HCSB). I read in Judges that Gideon’s perception of himself made him feel inadequate. When doubt tells me that I can’t do something, please help me to remember that You tell me I can (Philippians 4:13). When doubt tells me that I’m not good enough, please help me focus on the truth (Psalm 139:14). In 1 Thessalonians 3, Paul sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage people in their faith. Multiple times You have sent me friends to strengthen and encourage me in my answer to Your call. I recently saw the quote “We can’t control someone’s intention when they criticize. But we can control our interpretation of their intention.” I don’t know who originally said it, but I know that I need to turn to Your truths instead of believing the lies of negativity. Lord, I know that You want me to have a confident heart so that I can accomplish what You are calling me to do. Help me to remember that I’m not walking alone, that You will supply what I need, and that You see me as able to do anything as long as I keep my eyes on You.
Ephesians 6:18 — And pray in the Spiriton all occasionswith all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on prayingfor all the Lord’s people.(NIV)
As I am finishing my coffee this morning and talking to You about the day ahead, I think of a chance encounter I had yesterday with a young friend of mine from church. She was thanking me for visiting her friend Mary and for the follow up phone calls. Mary has two children with special needs and was so excited that I had shared with her the classes and other support that our church offers. My friend went on to thank me for inviting Mary to lunch next week and shared how Mary was looking so forward to this one-on-one time with me, just to relax with her new friend. As my young friend continued on with her thanks and praises, I was seriously wishing that I had done all of those things, but it wasn’t me! When I made that confession, I laughingly said, “tell whoever it is to keep it up – she’s doing a much better job than I am!” My friend and I both chuckled and walked away. Even though I walked away from the conversation, I can’t get away from the feeling of wishing I had done all those things and wondering why I hadn’t. I heard a speaker once say that its always women who say, “I could do more.” I don’t think I could necessarily “do more”, but I can “do better”. I know that I can’t go back in time and replace that loving woman who reached out to Mary to give her what she needed — help for her children, a friend, even a free lunch! But, I can use that unknown woman’s example and become more of an encourager. As these thoughts are running through my mind, I also have the thought (maybe a whisper from You, God?) that it isn’t about me! Philippians 2:3 tells me not to do things because of rivalry. Instead of thinking that I need to “keep up”, I can be applauding this woman who reached out. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says that we should encourage each other and build each other up. I can’t do that with her face to face, but I can do that by praying for her and being thankful for her actions that were such a blessing to Mary. Lord, I thank You for this sweet sister who is working so that others can see You. I pray that You will give her strength, that You will send her encouragement, and that she will feel Your presence in all that she does. And Lord, make me more sensitive to the opportunities You provide for me to help others.