With summer fast approaching, I have been working on a summer reading plan for myself to get through the seven books that I’d like to read. It’s easy for me to get caught up in children’s literature, which is definitely not a bad thing, but I need to make time to be a cultivated Mamma (or more simply, a cultivated woman!). Taking some time to pour into myself makes a world of difference for my heart and allows me to better pour into my family. It is difficult to fill cups from an empty vessel!
As some are taking the time to consider summer reading, I wanted to share about the Bible Study I had the privilege of working thru this year. The two-volumed “5 Aspects of Women” impacted my heart in a dramatic way, more than any other study I have taken part in. 5 Aspects of Women is written like a Theology course, there are some difficult and touchy theological topics covered and there are some things that just made my brain hurt and I’d come away with confused eyebrows for a while. This study is definitely worth the challenge of working thru, I highly and confidently recommend investing the time to complete this course.
When I joined this study, I was coming out of a very hard place – I had been working thru a painful past, just coming out of a battle with clinical depression and was at a place where rebuilding was necessary. God used this study as part of a rebuilding process that has forever changed my heart and life. There are so many things I have learned, so many ways God has changed my heart during this time that honing my thoughts into a few points is challenging for me, but here are three major ways I was impacted.
First, My identity is solidified and secured completely in Christ. It’s not something I need to search for, much of it is revealed in His word and is a matter of faithfulness. In the first volume (Mistress of the Domain Redeemed), Barbara Mouser quotes Revelation 12:7 explaining that overcomes will receive a “white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” and writes:
“Those who receive the stone will have the thrill of seeing their whole lies fit together and make sense. Deep down the will know – this is my substance, this was my fashioning, and now, this is my name. You are a unique image of God. Your domain is a unique stewardship inside history,and your life course in a new version of human history. These are the Christian answers to the question of identity, and very rich answers they are.”
This gave me so much courage and hope to face the hard; not just the hard that is behind me, but the hard in the daily grind. “This is my substance, this was my fashioning, and now this is my name”. He knows al my yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s and has a purpose for every breath I take.
Next, God is sovereign in choosing me to be a mother and is faithful to provide every bit of strength and wisdom that I need to embrace my calling with joy. There was a time that being a mother was very difficult for me; obviously the calling to motherhood is a difficult one at every stage to some degree, but I resented being a mother. The nurturing, teaching, and training was all very foreign to me and did not “kick in” like everyone said it would. I was raised in a difficult environment with parents that made it clear my existing was burdensome. I learned to have compassion (from afar) on my parents in their fallen state as I came to understand that I cannot not expect any less from them. . . They do not know God, therefore they lack so much of what they need to be caring parents. However, God graciously called me into his family. . . He called me precious and adopted me as His; therefore as a daughter of my Abba father, I have every example of love and training necessary to pass these things along to my children.
Last, but certainly not least. This study has changed my marriage. . . In too many ways to list. I think it started with examining my role as a helper-completed to my husband. I have looked to him so much for happiness in the past, for him to complete what I was lacking. There was a constant growing of resentment in my heart when I was let down. When the nights got later and later with him being in school and I was left to take care of everything else I would occasionally become angry and frustrated. Learning that I was made “from man and for man” (one of those possibly touchy Theological statements!) rocked my world in so many ways. God used this seemingly simple truth to change my heart toward my husband. I have learned to come alongside him, patiently stand behind him rather than pummel over him, and fill in the gaps where he needs me most. I desire to see him excel in his work and I deeply desire to be the helper he needs me to be, not only the helper I think I should be. I have learned to study him, what are his desires, likes, needs? What makes him happy, discouraged, frustrated? How can I best come alongside him? God has graciously helped remove expectations and replace them with a desire to serve my husband and give him more honor than myself. (. . . And can just add in here that he’s pretty amazing?!)
If you would like to further investigate this study, you can find more information and access the MP3 transcripts a of the lessons in the 5 Aspects of Women course for free online at 5aspects.org.
Note: This post was not sponsored in any way. . . Just straight from the heart!