Our Daughters will be Adorned Pillars

1 Deliver me and rescue me
from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.

Psalm 144: 11-12

I was reading along in Psalms, and here is this verse again about daughters being like pillars carved to adorn a palace.   It always slows me down, but I rarely stop over it and work out what it might mean.  But, today, I am stopping.

It’s such a contrast to what I see being promoted for daughters around me.  Nothing like what our daughters are being directed to become in magazines and film, by fashion and  often even by well meaning parents.

Seems like the whole world around us is preparing our daughters to be goofy and silly and perpetually sexually alluring, not just for their husbands one day in the future, but for every man on the horizon at all times.   There  are those who feel that, with this Barbie role model being so obviously undesirable, it might be best to raise our girls to be better men than the guys….and we push them hard into sports and academics and we encourage competition in all areas, on the field and off, in the classroom and out.  And then, when the girls mature into competitive backbiting women, we criticize them.   Because that’s not feminine.  These are strange days to be a girl, and strange days  to be raising girls!

One thing we can take from the passage in Psalms there  is that, in God’s view, it’s a blessing for  our daughters to be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.  So, I’m asking myself, what does it mean for my girls to be women of that sort?
I understand that pillars are there to hold the roof up, and in order to hold up a roof, they must be sturdy and of enduring quality.  So they need to be strong, and they need to be ready to do the good work that they were put in place to do.   Holding up a roof is not really glamorous work, but it sure is essential.   That sounds like my job…. unglamorous, and essential.

But I love the part that comes next, which is that these blessed girls are like pillars which are carved to adorn a palace. They are not only strong, and immovable, knowing their purpose and doing it tirelessly, they are doing it with style and grace.  I need to equip my girls for that kind of graceful practicality.

A marble pillar has its own  natural beauty which is revealed  by lots of polishing.  The stone mason has to look for the beauty in the marble so that it can be shown to its greatest advantage.   If the mason is always chipping away at the marble, trying to pick out every little spot which might be a blemish, he will destroy the beauty that’s there.
It is so easy for us moms to look at our girls and only see the little blemishes, and then to continually mention them.  And we think we’re being helpful, or at least we’re being better disciplinarians.

But as we do so, we are chipping away at our girls.

We do need to train them and give them good direction, to instruct them and polish them all day long.
We need to look for their strengths, go the extra mile to help them develop their gifts, and help them to see that godly character and obedience are where they are being called to stand up straight, be strong, and carry the loads which are given to them without complaint.

It’s really a great gift to me to see my girls growing up and becoming more lovely than me, and to realize that this is a real blessing of God.
He is making them lovely, stately pillars who are worthy of my own respect and admiration.

Spurgeon and Mothers

I finally finished Spurgeon’s lectures.
I really do enjoy reading Charles Spurgeon.  He has such a way with a phrase, and a great wisdom and insight to the hearts of men.
These lectures were intended for pastoral students.  There is all kinds of great wisdom for the man preparing himself to minister to the  numberless needs of a church full of souls.
I actually read this book because Somebody, Somewhere…..and I don’t remember who it was……said that it’s easy for a pastor to get into  the rut of thinking something like “I could get so much real ministry done, if I weren’t so continually bogged down by all these annoying people and their tedious needs!”
And my little heart froze, and I felt a little naked as if it were my  own selfish unspoken thoughts being shouted out loud.
How often have I thought of all the really excellent things I could accomplish if I didn’t have to wash yet another sink full of dishes, or delay my important plans in order to restore peace, fold laundry, check over an algebra test, change somebody’s wet pants (again), or listen to another really really long story.  Spurgeon reminds me that I need to get my heart right, before I try to set my kids hearts right.  That I need to be sure I am using the tools and resources God has provided for me to the very best of my ability so that I can provide my little flock with the best possible care.  That, as their educator, I cannot fail to prepare and then hope that God will just pour a thick layer of Grace over a mess I have made.

That obedience on my part means diligent study, a right understanding of my own tendencies to fail and also of theirs, and good courage and faithful obedience.
Knowing that these, with gentle perseverance, will bring rewards which I may never see, but which are a fragrant gift to God.

With these ideas in mind, I am taking a closer look at each day as it begins.  Taking greater care to look at what’s on the schedule, pray over it, ask what could be left undone and also ask for wisdom to do the things I find least pleasant FIRST.  It is astonishing to me to see how many times these past months, as I am praying early in the morning for good insight about how to proceed with my day and what to do and what to leave undone   (as it’s not possible to do it all…) I will look up and find Jon is there with a few little requests for things he would very much like for me to do.  I know for certain that this is an answer to my prayer.  He is helping me prioritize, and it takes such a weight off my shoulders some days!