Be The Woman Your Man Needs

Word-Filled Wednesday: Proverbs 31:29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

Today’s verse is absolutely my favorite verse from the Proverbs 31 passage!

We are on the home stretch of our Proverbs 31 woman series – with just 3 weeks left to go! For the last 21 weeks we have seen the Proverbs 31 woman pour her life out for her family – from caring for her husband, children, servants and to even caring for the poor. We’ve watched her rise early, stay up late, plant a vineyard, sew her own clothes, her family’s clothing, the tapestries and beddings! And here we find her reward: Her husband praising her.

Let’s just stop right here! I know what some of you are already thinking, “Courtney you are in lala land – my husband never praises me. All he does is criticize me!” You are imagining that I have a husband who daily says remarkable things about what I do in the home, with the children and the blog. Nope! That is not the case – though I do have a husband who I know is pleased with me. He does not go around pouring out praise.

I live in a normal marriage where my husband sees my flaws and will even mention things that need to be addressed that are being neglected. And when he points those out it’s like a dagger to my heart. I take it very personally and seriously. That’s something he wishes I would not do. But I have said to him before – “I’m striving to be the Proverbs 31 woman whose husband praises her. So if you point out my flaws I’ve failed!”

You see, no amount of positive reader comments, worldly accolades, praise from my parents, friends, pastor or even praise from the kids can compete with my desire to please my husband.

The Proverbs 31 woman knew her husband’s needs, met them and as a result he praised her. If we neglect what our husbands ask for, ignore their advice, withhold action in the bedroom, and refuse to submit and respect them -it’s inevitable – we will not get a whole lot of praise from our husbands.

We can be the best room mother, best career woman, best servant at church, or best friend another woman can have but when we come homeif our husband’s needs are not met - we have failed to be like the Proverbs 31 woman.

Every husband has different needs. Every marriage will look different as a result. We need to listen to our husbands.

Do you need to work on being the wife your husband needs? Then join me every Monday from June 7th through August 9th for a summer series titled: Completing Him Challenge – Be the woman your man needs.

I will be giving a weekly principle from scripture along with a challenge to apply in your marriage. I believe if we listen to God’s word and apply it in our marriages our husbands will one day say “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

Take the plunge with me and Walk with the King!

I am participating in Seven Clown Circus Wordful Wednesday and 5 Minutes for Mom Wordless Wednesday.

holy experience

Are You Prepared For Summer?

Word Filled Wednesday: Proverbs 31:21 “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.”

It’s week 13 of our Proverbs 31 series and I’m loving it!!! Thanks for sticking with me. So far we have seen that she rises early, works eagerly and vigorously, shops wisely, is extremely productive, she uses her evenings to get work done and she has beautiful hands that she extends to the poor.

Now we come to verse 21 which is all about preparation! “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.”

The Proverbs 31 woman is prepared. She is prepared for the change of seasons and is careful to be sure that every single person in her household has everything they need. There’s no scurrying for mittens, hats or boots – she is organized and prepared.

Every Christmas and Easter I make myself a little crazy trying to get my family matching outfits. I find great joy in picking a theme – this years theme was green as you can see in the picture above. This color was chosen because my daughter had a hand-me down dress which was white and green and my son had a sweater vest I bought last year on clearance for $2.99! (Love a deal!) So, green it was! Next I had to find my husband a matching tie – easy! And myself a matching dress – UGH- much more difficult.

After finding the dress, I realized I had a much longer way to go than I imagined. My daughter needed a cardigan in case it was cold, a hair bow, new white shoes, new white socks and on and on it went as I realized that having the family ready from head to toe means thinking everything through thoroughly!

I certainly am not going to say that the Proverbs 31 woman really cared for a second about matching outfits – but I will say that she carefully dressed her family. The term “scarlet” is significant because it signifies expensive and quality. She went for quality over quantity – I must admit I do quite the opposite in life. I love a deal and I love my hand me downs! But the reality is – managing all of my “cheap” clothes at times is a pain! If there is too much in the drawer, my children end up wading it up into balls and making a mess for me to fix regularly!

Are you prepared for summer? Have you thought through what your family will need, the quality of what you will purchase and considered your family’s comfort as the Proverbs 31 woman did?

Here’s a few things we all will need: Sunday clothes, shorts, capris, short sleeved shirts, sandals, sunglasses, hats, swimsuits, swim towels and sunscreen. Now is also the time to purchase items for next fall on clearance.

My oldest sister reminded me at our Easter Celebration to not wait to buy my children their sandals. Due to the economy, the stores are not stocking their shelves quite as full and they are running out of items more quickly and not reordering more in. She urged me to go get what we need for the summer now before they are sold out.

We must think ahead and be mindful of what our family is going to need in coming months. It’s time to rotate the drawers from winter to summer clothes, wash up the shoes, clean the coats, box them up and purchase some Crocs (I have found Crocs to be the best sandals EVER! They are costly but they last. The fact that they can be washed easily is a bonus! My kids have already stomped through spring mud in them and they still look new because I rinsed them with the hose – easy, comfy, quality) “

I tend to be drawn toward finding deals and quantity – but the Proverbs 31 woman was really much more simple. She had quality items that were costly. Think how much easier the rotation process would be if we followed her lead. As summer approaches, make a list of your family’s needs, simplify your purchases by getting quality items that will last and be prepared. This is your job as the manager of your home. Let’s get to it – the time is now!
Walk with the King!
I am participating in Seven Clown Circus Wordful Wednesday. and 5 Minutes for Mom Wordless Wednesday.

I Am the Donkey

I am taking a break this week from our Proverbs 31 series to focus on the message of Easter. Next week I will return to this series.

Word Filled Wednesday:
I Corinthians 3:5-7 “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.”

As I reflected this past Sunday on John 12:13, Palm Sunday and those who cheered “Hosanna! Hosanna!” as Jesus rode upon a donkey – I remembered something I once heard Elizabeth Elliot say. She said “as the people cheered for Jesus, the donkey did not pause and accept the praise as his own. It was the rider who was being praised – NOT the donkey.”
In the same way, as I carry Jesus to the world via my blog, facebook, twitter, and youtube, I am reminded that all praise I receive belongs to Jesus. Apart from him I can do nothing. And apart from his word, I literally have nothing worthy to blog about.
I am the donkey carrying Jesus to the world and I pray that at the end of the day it is Jesus in me you see. I Corinthians 3:7 sums up my feelings “So, neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.”

I am nothing – just simply a planter – God is everything and as the missionary David Livingston once said “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa… I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of ‘sacrifice’ when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s Throne on high to give Himself for us.”

No sacrifice is too great for Jesus. It is not a sacrifice to submit to my husband – it is my honor. It is not a sacrifice to care for my children – it is my honor. It is not a sacrifice to care for my home – it is my honor. And it is not a sacrifice to daily be a donkey carrying God’s truth to my blog readers - it is my honor.
I pray today that in your sphere of influence, you would find it an honor to carry Jesus to everyone who crosses your path inside and outside your home. My pastor said Sunday in his sermon: “If the message doesn’t get out via us, it doesn’t get out!” We must share the love of Jesus with the world!
Love God, love your husband, love your children and take Jesus to the world – shine like lights in the darkness! It is an honor!

Walk with the King!
I am participating in Seven Clown Circus Wordful Wednesday. and 5 Minutes for Mom Wordless Wednesday.

PS. Your Hands Are Beautiful

Word Filled Wednesday: Proverbs 31:20 “She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.” NKJV

It’s week 12 of our Proverbs 31 series and I’m loving it!!! Thanks for sticking with me. So far we have seen that she rises early, works eagerly and vigorously, shops wisely, is extremely productive and she uses her evenings to get work done too!
In Proverbs 31:20, there is a feature of this beautiful woman pointed out for the first time – it’s “her hands”. Up until now, her hands have been furiously working sewing, planting, cooking and shopping. And here they take center stage as she reaches out to those outside of her home with them.
Look down and examine your hands. Are they young or old? soft or calloused? sun spotted? Do your veins show? Do you think your hands are beautiful? Often our hands are one of the first places to show our age – they have worked hard serving our husbands, children, and the needy. What a blessing it is to have two hands!

My sister Jennifer, once shared this story with me and it so touched me I wanted to share it with you all – she wrote it out for me here: ******

“P.S. Your Hands Are Beautiful.” This was what my in-laws wrote inside my birthday card at the end of their very nice note to me.

A few weeks before my birthday, I was at a family get-together, and something came up about “hands”. I’m not sure how exactly the conversation went, but I know that I made the comment that the one place I have started to see my body aging is in my hands. When I look down at them, which I realized is frequently during the day, they have begun to look different, older to me.

My mother-in-law said that the one thing she remembered about her own mother was her beautiful hands. I remembered her sharing about this before, and I believe that she meant more than just the outside beauty of beautiful skin with perfectly groomed nails. Those who had the privilege of knowing her mother, Louise Oliver, know that her life was one of active service to our Lord and that she did have beautiful hands because they did beautiful things for His glory.

When I read my birthday card with the message, “P.S. Your hands are beautiful”, the full meaning of that small statement touched me.

It reminded me of what Paul said to the church at Thessalonica. I Thessalonians 4:11 says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anyone.”

These verses should cause us to look at the work that we do as women and ask ourselves, am I leading a quiet life?

Am I minding to my own business, the tasks that God has called me to do?

Am I working faithfully with my hands in my daily life as an act of worship to my Lord?

Is my work winning the respect of outsiders?

Am I bringing glory to my Lord with the works of my hands?

Would God think that my hands are beautiful?”


Dear Reader, Do not be discouraged as you toil day in and day out for loved ones within and outside your home. When we use our hands for God’s glory he is pleased. Look down and examine your hands now a second time with a new perspective. Do not judge the beauty of your hands by the outside – but rather by lives they have touched.

Walk with the King!

Ps. Your hands are beautiful!

Vigorously Clean Your Home And Get a Bonus Workout!

Word Filled Wednesday: Proverbs 31: 17 “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”

I can’t believe we are already to week NINE of this Proverbs 31 series! I could study this woman all year long and not get enough of her! She is truly inspiring! We’ve seen her work ethic as she rises early, works eagerly, shops wisely and produces fruit in her vineyard. Today’s character trait is a challenge for me!

There are two descriptions of the Proverbs 31 woman in verse 17.

1. She works vigorously.

2. Her arms are strong for the task.

The word “vigorous” challenges me. When the Proverbs 31 woman works, she doesn’t get sucked into the web world, junk mail or the television by accident in the middle of the project. She sets about her work and you can bet her vineyard has NO weeds! She doesn’t settle to just do the easy jobs she can do while sitting down – she gets into the nitty gritty jobs with all her might.

Some of the commentaries say that this verse paints a picture of her girding her loins which would be the equivalent of us rolling up our sleeves to do our work. There is something about putting on my workout clothes that makes me ready to work out! It’s the same with putting on an apron or cleaning clothes, mentally it prepares us to get down to business.

Last July I did a post on this verse titled “Get Fit Cleaning Your House”. Here’s an excerpt:

“One way that we can grow stronger (more fit) is simply by cleaning. We can burn about 200 calories walking for an hour or burn 100-500 calories by doing some deep cleaning for an hour AND have the max benefit of getting a task done!

Imagine how much harder tasks were physically 100 years ago. Women had to scrub their laundry, wring it out and then hang it on a line. They had to pluck the feathers off of chickens, knead dough, wash all their dishes by hand and beat their rugs.

Last Friday I showed how to make a fitness notebook. One way to grow physically stronger is to work out – but another way simply comes through out the course of the day as you manage your home. If you don’t have time to bike, run, swim or exercise or have the money to invest in a treadmill or gym membership – you can squeeze these other activities in during the day to gain some muscle and flexibility.

1. When you are lifting your laundry basket to carry up the stairs – do a couple extra lifts – up and down to strengthen your arms.

2. When you are mopping the kitchen floor – really push down on the mop and scrub – this will strengthen your core and back.

3. If you have stairs in your home – do a couple extra trips up and down putting items away – this will get your heart rate up.

4. If there is raking, mulching or outdoor sweeping to be done – do it continually for 30+ minutes to get your heart rate up and strengthen your arms.

5. Weeding, window washing, vacuuming and dusting all strengthen your arms, legs and abs – and we ALL know that carrying those babies on our hips is NO easy task!

I have noticed my arms are weaker now that I don’t have to carry my children anymore! Those baby carriers are a workout!!! But once those babies grow into preschoolers – our arms and backs will weaken if we do not keep our arms “strong for our tasks”. We must not shy away from hard work – it’s good for us!!! Working hard will help us live well with energy and vibrancy and benefit our families with a clean place to take refuge.”

Look around you right now – is there some work to be done in your home? Take some inspiration from the Proverbs 31 woman, roll up your sleeves, get out your tools and work vigorously!

Walk with the King!

How To Be a Treasure To Your Husband

Word Filled Wednesday:
Proverbs 31: 10 – “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”
A noble wife is rare and extraordinary – just like a ruby! A noble wife is a treasure to her husband – just like a ruby! Do you want to be extraordinary and a treasure to your husband? Then we need to learn to possess a NOBLE character!
Last week we began our walk through Proverbs 31 together. For the next 20 weeks on Wednesdays, we will look at the characteristics of a noble woman.
So let me tell you what a wife of noble character does not look like!
1. She does not rival her husband.
2. She does not mope around and complain about her housework.
3. She does not overspend and put her family into debt.
4. She is not bored, discontent, greedy or selfish.
5. She does not gossip and slander others.
6. She does not spend her days doing leisurely shopping, texting, emailing, web browsing, watching late night movies, and sleeping in.
7. She does not criticize, mock, or disrespect her husband.
8. She does not have children and a husband who embarrass her.
9. She does not let her outer beauty takes precedence over her inner beauty.
10. She does not take God’s word lightly.
A wife of noble character, who can find? She is rare! And when she is found – her value is priceless! She is a treasure to her husband! I want to be that ruby! In order to become like the Proverbs 31 woman, we must humble ourselves and see our flaws. We must be willing to change some things – our attitudes, our thought patterns, our work ethic, our words, and what we spend our time on. But by God’s grace, you can become a woman of noble character! So for today, begin by evaluating yourself against the list above. Which character quality are you weak in? Pray and ask God for the strength to change in 2010!
Walk with the King!

Is the Proverbs 31 Woman For Real?

Have you ever wondered – who is this nameless, perfect woman that Solomon writes about in Proverbs 31? Is she for real? The answer is “no” and “yes”. Let me explain.

Once upon a time there was a prince who would one day be a King. While he was young his mother wisely trained her son on how to find a virtuous wife. She went through the alphabet one letter at a time giving him attributes that he was to seek out in his future wife. Using the alphabet in this manner made it easier for her son to remember and even perhaps memorize what he was looking for in his dream wife. And thus, we have the writings of Proverbs 31 – except this is not a fairy tale!
So is she for real? Does she have a name? No. Proverbs 31:1 says “The sayings of King Lemuel – an oracle his mother taught him…” and then verses 2-9 are instructions on how to be a Godly King. She taught him to be on guard against promiscuity and drunkenness and encouraged him to tend to the poor. Then in verses 10-31 she instructs him on how to find the perfect Godly wife – she has no name – just a superior character.
But I must ask… would King Lemuel’s mother give him detailed instructions on what to look for in a wife if there were no women who could possibly have this kind of character? In verse 10 we will see that she is a rare treasure – but she does exist. Does that give you hope – or does it overwhelm you to even attempt to reach for such excellence?
My friend Mandi has been discussing the Proverbs 31 woman on Women Living Well’s new message board. She posted a blog on this and I completely relate to her sentiments when she wrote:

“Let’s see… I do not like getting up while it is dark. I wouldn’t know how to buy a field or a vineyard. I like to go to sleep very early when possible. I can be quite lazy at times. I definitely couldn’t even begin to patch a hole in my husband’s pants let alone actually sew some new creation. I wish every word out of my mouth was wise, but my husband can attest to my lack of common sense; and I am not always sure if my husband has full confidence in me. (Although if asked I am sure he would say, “Of course I do!”)”

Her post sparked something inside of me – and gave me a desire to begin a series here on my blog on Wednesdays. Starting next Wednesday, I will go verse by verse through Proverbs 31 for the next 21 weeks! I want to go one verse at a time, one virtue at a time – and encourage you to master one verse and virtue at a time – with God’s help, it truly is possible for you to be her!

So if you have not set any goals for 2010 – let me help you set just one: to become more like the Proverbs 31 woman in the new year! I can’t wait to dig in next Wednesday with you!

Walk with the King!

Word Filled Wednesday: Job

My mom’s brother, who lives in Colorado, sent me this photo in an email along with this message: “An elk calved it’s baby right by our front door yesterday!! How cool it was. After about 6 hours the mother came back and the baby was up and walking and ran out to greet “mom”. Way cool to see!!”

Can you believe an elk had her baby right by their front door? That stuff just doesn’t happen in Ohio!! This photo immediately made me think of Job. At the end of the book of Job, God speaks to him out of a storm to remind Job that the wisdom that directs the Creator’s ways is beyond the reach of human understanding. God questions Job rhetorically to show Job his ignorance. And in the end this brings Job back around to complete faith in his Almighty God and Creator despite the terrible plight and trials he was facing.

So for Word Filled Wednesday, here is a portion of God questioning Job starting in chapter 38.

God asked Job: “Where were you when I laid the earths’ foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! … Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb…when I said, “this far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.”

Have you ever given orders to the morning…have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this?

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bear her fawn? Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth? They crouch down and bring forth their young; their labor pains are ended. Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return…

Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword… At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, “aha!” He catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high?”

Job replied to the Lord in Job 42:2: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

The purpose of Word Filled Wednesday, according to 160 Acre Woods, – is to share God’s word (no famous quotes or other literature — only the beautiful word of our Father) through photo’s & a Bible verse! So though I am tempted to write more and be “devotional in nature” I will let the photo and God’s word stand alone to work in your heart. If you’ve never read Job 38-42 it’s a must read!

Walk with the King!