First of all, thank you to all who read my post yesterday and commented either online or in person. The encouragement I have received in the past twenty-four hours has been incredible and overwhelming!
Now, comes the difficult part, coming up with the next post.
I have thought about this today and have come to the conclusion that not much will equal what I did yesterday, as it was a ground-breaking post for me.
This morning at church, a woman came up to me and told me she had read my blog. I thanked her and then panicked… for she is an English teacher. When my eyes almost fell out of my head, she gently assured me she was reading for content. I laughed and told her that was a good thing!
Since this morning, I have thought about what to write. My first inclination is to not write and just not do anything for a few days. Obviously, I did not follow my first inclination. What I decided is no matter what I write, I will compare this post to the one yesterday.
I think it is in our nature to compare. We go to the grocery store and compare which produce to buy. Daily, we make comparisons in all areas of our lives.
This evening I have thought about my friends. I have a great group of friends. Each one is different and my favorite for different reasons. I am blessed in having a group of friends that accept me and love me for who I am. I am grateful for them.
I want to tell you about my friends. The one I have known the longest is like a sister to me, really. She quit her job about seven years ago and started a catering business. She started in her kitchen and landed a few jobs. Her business has now grown to the place where she has employees and her own little shop. She is busy for most of the year and weekly she prepares meals for families to pick up on their way home from work. She also provides meals for people who are undergoing chemotherapy as a gift on the day of their treatments so that it is one less thing for their families to have to think about or deal with. She does much for our little hometown and she does it quietly and often.
Another friend of mine put herself through college while raising two sons as a single mom. It took her several years and she worked consistently and steadily. She did this while dealing with an inoperable brain tumor. During this time we would walk and spend time together and she always had encouragement for me and often, as I would need, a good kick in the pants. She raised two wonderful sons who listen to her and take her advice.
One of my friends spent her life supporting her military husband and then working in the government sector herself. She retired and rediscovered her love of art. She creates the most beautiful cards, gifts and keepsakes. She also makes a point of finding people who are ill or having a difficult time and sends her creations to them, to brighten their days. We do joke at times that some of her cards do need more sparkle, butterflies, puppy dogs and flowers, but, I so admire her artwork. It is done with a touch of joy in being able to create.
I met one of my friends when she opened her own gift shop. It was something she always wanted to do. It was a lovely shop, filled with exquisite items. It was my favorite store to visit. She closed her shop when she realized that although she loved the store, her heart was in the classroom teaching. She returned to teaching and now is guiding lives for the future. She is always full of encouragement and has the ability to get me excited for future things. She visits with gifts that you know she has spent a long time thinking of you. She blesses me more than she will ever know.
These are just a few of my friends. I could name so many more. Those who took on tasks of work when their families needed them to. Women who make up my life, who encourage me, laugh with me and cry with me. Those whose hugs make the world a better place. Those who will laugh with me and make me go on ferris wheels that rock and sit laughing at me all the while. Friends who know each detail of my life and marriage, who have stood close by me, defending me and holding me up when I had no strength left.
Yes, I compare myself to these beautiful women. My heart is full when I think of the lives they lead. Proverbs 31:10-31 talks about a wise woman, a wife. To me, these verses describe the women I have just talked about.
[b]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm[c] clothes.
22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well-known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Yes, I compare myself to these women. I fall short on many levels, but they challenge me to be better. They challenge me to follow my dreams. They challenge me to keep on course , walking forward, not stopping or turning around. I see their accomplishments and I thank God for them. I hope someday, they too will be able to point to me and say, “Well done friend.”
Thanks for stopping by today ~ DAF