Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘character development’

Funny, smart & beautiful

I’ve seen these three words strung together to describe the most desirable traits in a woman.  But what about kindness & compassion, wisdom, faithfulness, godliness, loyalty, purity, and integrity?  Not every woman can be “funny, smart and beautiful,” but any woman (or man, for that matter) can, by God’s grace, develop the  character traits listed above which are the criteria of true attractiveness. 

“The Proverbs 31 woman” is is an amazing woman who by no means fits the stereotype of a meek and mild nobody living in the shadow of her husband.

She takes initiative and is industrious in her work and the administration of her household. 

She has a head for business–in buying land, planting a crop, and selling her products. 

She takes pride in making all kinds of beautiful things for herself and her family. 

She plans ahead and provides for the future. 

She shares with the needy. 

Her words are wise and gracious. 

She is a great asset to her husband. 

She is praised and honored by those who know her best—her husband and children. 

(By the way, it doesn’t say anything about her appearance.) 

And what is the foundation of this kind of character?  Maybe the clue is in the summary:  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  (Proverbs 31:30)

Maybe the task isn’t so daunting after all.  By God’s grace, this is the woman I want to be! 

Joseph on a roller-coaster

From favorite-son status

     to a pit, victim of treachery

          to slavery

to a top managerial position

                    to a dungeon on a trumped-up charge

to the position of Prime Minister!

Joseph’s life was a roller-coaster.  While others might emerge from these experiences bitter and angry, the effect on Joseph’s character was quite different.  He went from being a cocky younger brother to being a man of integrity, wisdom, and a tender heart that could truly forgive and love those who had hurt him so badly.

Why?  The Lord was with Joseph in his slavery (Gen. 39:2-6),

                                                       in the dungeon (39:21-23),

                                                       and then before the king who promoted this prisoner to prime minister in one fell swoop! (41:38-40)  And Joseph acknowledged that his hardships were part of God’s bigger plan to do greater things.  (45:5 & 50:20)

So why do I complain?  Joseph’s God is my God too.

Thoughts from “Emma”

I recently saw a new version of the movie “Emma” and cannot get it out of my mind.  Why?  Maybe because it reminds me of myself in some ways.

Here is a young woman who enjoys the security of a loving family and whose basic needs have always been met.  She is interested in people.  She finds herself “interfering” (though with the best of intentions) in their lives and then is chagrined at some of the consequences.  She makes premature judgments about people’s character.  All the while, she takes a most worthy man for granted until the thought of losing him opens her eyes to the treasure that he is.  She hurts people unthinkingly and is reprimanded—and then repents and seeks to mend the damage.  She is humiliated and humbled.  She feels unworthy of love, yet she comes to be loved by the one who knows her best and knows all her faults, yet sees her heart and loves her dearly.

Sometimes I feel that way when I mess up.  As much as I strive to do what is right and loving, my old nature slips a hurtful word through my lips, or a critical thought or attitude clouds my mind.  I am humiliated and humbled.  I feel myself unworthy of love.  Yet my husband and my God reaffirm their unconditional love to me and I go on to live another day, learning and growing, knowing that God is indeed at work in my life.  I can hardly wait till the day when I fall into His loving arms and thank Him for that love and all His care and attention to make me what He wants me to be.

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