MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATOR – INNER BEAUTY

Did you know there are only four places in the Bible where a lady is described as beautiful?

1. Rachel (Genesis 29:19)

2. Abigail (1 Samuel 25:3)

3. Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-3)

4. Esther (Esther 2:7)

Unfortunately, we see outward beauty, but not inward beauty in the lives of at least two of these ladies. Abigail made some wise decisions – and of course, we know that God used Esther’s beauty to influence the king. God had her where He wanted her “for such a time as this.”

Most of us women desire to look good on the outside (and there’s certainly nothing wrong with looking our best), but how often do we think about how we look on the inside? Do we have inner beauty, the beauty that reflects a life renewed in Christ each day? Do we reflect inner beauty when dealing with the difficult people in our lives?

Unfortunately, our culture places value on outward beauty and  on a lack of inner beauty. (Have you ever read how an outwardly beautiful actress has a “mouth on her” as if spewing inappropriate words somehow makes her more desirable?  Have you ever heard an outwardly, put-together mom scream insults at her child? Have you ever heard a cute, twenty-something brag about a immoral lifestyle?)

Back to us.

Whether or not we like it, others are watching what we do and how we live and what we say.

We need to spend as much time working on our inward beauty as we do looking nice on the outside.

(I just thought of something – think of all the things women do to get beautiful: hair appointments, manicures, spa treatments, etc. Think if we spent an equal amount of time on inward beauty – a two-hour hair appointment equals two hours of putting good stuff in our brain. An hour manicure = an hour doing sacrificial service for someone else. A day spa treatment = a seminar on kindness. Anyhow, just something fun to think about.)

Let’s work together on being inwardly, beautiful women.

FUN FRIDAY – PEANUT BUTTER SQUARES

 Here’s a great from-scratch recipe when you need a fast treat for high school kids, Ladies Bible study or to send with your husband to a board meeting. (Thanks to Cathy from Michigan.)

You need:

2 cups peanut butter

1/2 cup melted butter

2 3/4 cup powered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

 

Mix thoroughly.

 

 

Spread in pan (this could be a 9x 13 – but a smaller pan just means the peanut butter thicker and works just as well.) 

Melt together a tablespoon of butter with a 12 oz. package of chocolate chips. 

Spread on top of peanut butter mixture.

Chill. Cut into bars and enjoy.

HMMM …

A quick sidenote here.

We’ve been talking about criticism and i posted about my Bible study a couple days ago.

The reason why I’m attending the study is twofold.  1. To learn more about the Bible.  2. To meet people at the church where we’ve been attending.

I chose this study on women of the Bible because we’ve been doing a chronological walk through the Bible for the new Sparks program.  Our goal at work is to give them the facts, so I figured this study might introduce me to some details about these Bible characters that I don’t know or overlooked for some reason. I knew going into the study that I probably wouldn’t be coming out of it with any astonishing insights or major “wow-I-never-knew-that-before-revelations. ”

That’s exactly what has happened. I’m learning some details and gaining some perspectives I haven’t had before and I’ve been meeting some people.

So, last night the study ended and I walked out feeling good. Good discussion. Good conversation with a lady I started talking with last week (whose husband has cancer).

I walked into the fresh, autumn air – not yet knowing that the Cubs had blown their two run lead – feeling invigorated.

Another lady walked up beside me. “I wish they’d do something other than regurgitate what we did at home. I, for one, didn’t get ANYTHING out of tonight’s study.”

How quickly her word of criticism changed the atmosphere of the night. And, she wasn’t even right in her evaluation.  I thought about the evening and I thought about what more those in charge could’ve done – not much.

And then I thought about my “incognito” status. She doesn’t know who I am – although I’m sure she could guess by this time I know something about the Bible.  But what if I didn’t? What if I were there to learn more about the Lord because I DIDN’T know much?  How did she expect her critical comment to encourage me? Or, encourage the leaders?

The comment was so unexpected, out-of-nowhere, uncalled for – I thought, once again, how unfair criticism  usually is.

WHERE’S THE PW?

 We’ve been talking about criticism and how it can hurt and how hard it is not to lash back in anger.

Yesterday I told you about the Bible study I’ve been attending. Last week we talked about making the right or wrong choice in our reactions. I could tell you the times I stayed awake at night worrying about someone being upset.

Or, I could tell you about one time when I made the right choice – which I think I will. (We’ll talk about the wrong choices some other time. :))

When Ken and I first went to Racine, the church didn’t have a youth group or at least not one formally organized. As more and more families began coming, we needed activities for the teens – so Ken and I took over. (By the time we left, we had a good-sized youth group and a dedicated couple who faithfully led them.)

Anyhow for several years it was us – and so we did the after church Bible study and the activities. (Which is why I sat through nine innings of a scoreless Brewers’ game  – in snow.  That was the day they ran out of hot chocolate.)  

This particular day we (high school kids) had challenged the junior high kids to a scavenger hunt – things like hitting a ball on an 18-hole golf course, getting the signature of a police, squeezing the toilet paper in a grocery store. Pictures needed to be taken of all these activities to prove they were actually completed.

After this was planned – the ladies in our church were invited to a retreat. The retreat didn’t have anything to do with our church – just something we could go to if we wanted. Well, I obviously, I didn’t because I was running around a cemetery (to find grave from 1800) and finding a recruiting center and … with a bunch of teens. Not that we didn’t have a lot of fun (we still have the very cute pictures), but it wasn’t like I was curled up in my chair reading a favorite book or something.

Well, one of the ladies decided to explain to me in detail how another lady had said it was wrong for me not to be at the retreat because I was the pw, etc….  She wanted to know where I was. (Not sure why people feel it necessary to pass stuff along, do you? I mean, unless it’s something serious.)

First, I was upset. After all, her teen was one of them we were entertaining. 

But then I prayed about it and thought about it and prayed about it some more.

And decided to do the kind thing. I mean, really the kind thing. I went out of my way to be kind to her every chance I had the opportunity. If I liked her dress, shoes, shirt, something she had done – I made sure I found her and I told her. I smiled at her every time I passed her and gave a friendly greeting. 

It worked. I still occasionally see her and we chat and even though we never became close friends – we became friends.

In a way, it was kind of a fun challenge to win her over.

Of course, some criticism is crueler. She was criticizing a choice – not me as a person.

But no criticism isn’t so bad we can’t talk it over with the Lord – and remember, He DOES understand how we feel about every situation we face.

ME AND THE BIBLE STUDY

I think I’m gonna cheat tonight and post the same post on this blog as I did on my personal blog – because this is the story of me going to a Bible Study for the first time in my life – without being related to the pastor. Interesting to watch how I was treated – from the other side. 

 

 

Do you ever want to do something and then have to spend hours getting up the courage to do it? You know, like climbing Devil’s Tower or skiing Aspen or bungee jumping (not, that I’ve ever done any of those things)  or … go to a Bible study?

 

Not that Bible studies in and of themselves are all that scary – but this was a Bible study in a church where I am NOT related to the pastor and knew not one, single, solitary other lady who was also attending the Bible study.

 

That meant that I had to get my sometimes-very-shy-self to not only sign up for the study, but to actually show up for the study and then – actually study.

 

Well, the studying part is easy – but the rest took some fortitude on my part. 

 

But then here was the other side of the deal – I wanted to be incognito. You know, not previously related to a pastor or program designer at Awana. I just wanted to be a lady that shows up.

 

And so I got myself there and listened and I met some ladies.

 

All very nice.

 

So I went back again and I listened and I sat quietly and answered some questions. Then the lady (who was subbing) asked for volunteers to pray and we all bowed our heads and there was silence – and so I prayed.

 

But then I went back to sitting quietly – well, then she asked someone to read a verse and we were in Genesis and the verse was in 1 Peter – so I turned to 1 Peter and I read.

 

“Whoa,” said the subbing teacher, “You found that fast.”

 

Oops!  Slow down.

 

So, it’s going well and people still don’t know anything about me – except that my husband died and I told them that because two ladies were wanting to help a friend whose husband had recently died and wanted to know if anyone had had experience helping someone in that situation and I said, “I know what it’s like and I could give you some suggestions.” Then another lady told me that her husband who had cancer for nine years.

 

OK. Granted, I’m not as shy as I was at one time in my life – still it was a new situation for me.
Here are some things they did right.

 

1. As soon as I signed up (on a Sunday), my small group leader called me.
2. They had my name tag ready when I walked in.
3. Several of the leaders were immediately friendly.
4. The get-acquainted question was generic and unobstrusive.
5. When we break into the smaller group (about 12 ladies) everyone is friendly to each other – and there are a wide range of ladies from young moms with babies to an older lady in a wheel chair.
6. And I think I fortunately happened on a good group of fairly knowledgeable, nice people.

 

Kind of fun discussing women of the Bible, too.