She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
Last week in my letter to you I let you in on the secret so many women share— the whole intimidation factor in the Proverbs 31 description of a “worthy woman”. Since I read the chapter of Proverbs corresponding to the day of the month most mornings, I get faced with her seeming perfection once a month.
Who can do all she does? And if I tried, wouldn’t I get lost in all that work? Become a mindless machine, lose my own creativity, shrivel up inside, and have a massive identity crisis while failing to be perfect?
The fact is, this is an overview of a woman’s life, not what she did every day. Kind of a portfolio of one woman’s description to her son of what an intelligent and godly woman’s achievements can look like over a lifetime and how those doings can benefit her husband and family in such a way as to enrich their lives incredibly.
But notice her first act of the day— getting up early.
It was many years ago that I learned my need for those early morning hours alone. I’d tried and failed time and time again to be disciplined enough to get up early and read my Bible. I knew it was the right thing to do, but with babies up at night and a husband whose ministry mostly happened in the evening hours, it just seemed impossible. The thought of losing precious sleep to cross Bible reading off my list just wasn’t enough to rouse me from slumber.
It wasn’t until my world began to unravel that I discovered the truth this woman in Proverbs 31 lived every day— that it wasn’t more discipline I needed, but more desire. And that when I craved hearing God’s intimate speaking to me more than I craved a little extra sleep, and when that craving actually woke me up in the morning and propelled me into His presence, He had treasures of wisdom waiting for me.
The Bible often likens the Scriptures to food. Jesus spoke of Himself as the Bread of Life, able to fill and strengthen and nourish us deep within. In the Psalms, God cried out to His people, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it…. I would feed you with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” (Psalm 81:10,16)
He longed for His people to listen to Him, to hear and obey the instructions He was waiting to give them.
The wise woman knows God hasn’t changed through all the days of history. He still longs for us to listen. He has tasks for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Directions and impressions to lay on our hearts, wisdom and understanding to satisfy our longings.
Matt, I would wish for you a wife who is hungry enough to get up early and feast on God’s words.
A woman who listens carefully to the wisdom God gives and then goes to meet the needs of those whom God has given her to serve.
A woman who listens with a pen in hand, making a list of how the Father wants her to love that day.
A woman who sees need before anyone else does and applies the strength she’s already received from God to rise to the challenges of real life.
And son, I would wish for your someday-wife that she would have a husband who shakes off those sleepy morning cobwebs, gets out of bed, starts some coffee, opens the Scriptures, and listens. Every morning.
I don’t have a list to leave you today. What I do have is a record of my own journey towards this kind of early morning listening. Maybe it will help you to see where you are headed as long as you keep crying out for more of Jesus. And maybe my own list will help you to lovingly lead a woman as she seeks to do the same.
I started with DRUDGERY,
grew up a little into DUTY,
tried but failed for a long time at DISCIPLINE.
Then life led me to a place of DESPERATION,
and that’s when DESIRE
for more of what He poured all over me
led to absolute, unending, every morning DELIGHT.
From my heart,
P.S. For those who are reading these letters:
Are you stuck in the DISCIPLINE phase?
Mad at yourself for failing too often to manage your life in such a way that getting up early to read the Scriptures and listen to God actually happens?
Let me give you a little motherly advice: ask the Father to do whatever it takes to fill you with enough DESIRE so that you will know the DELIGHT of rising early to listen for more.
And if you’re already there- will you tell us your story? I love stories, and I especially love hearing how God moved others to want Him more.