Friday, June 6, 2008

Windows to the Heart

I'm going to admit something: I've had a rough few years. Turning 50 seemed to be the year the Lord decided He really wanted my attention. As I reflect back, it was a wake up yell that God desired a life of dedication to Him first and a new direction for me, specifically concerning my relationship to my husband. I put the past behind me and stepped out on faith. It feels invigorating to have a renewed perspective and so much to live for, but I’m still striving for a pure heart with a mouth to match.

Try this exercise: Think of a woman you know personally whom you greatly admire. What is it about her that you find most appealing? Which attributes does she have that you wish you had more of?

Instantly, I thought of a dear, but now distant friend, married for decades, with a large, extended family, who produced seven beautiful daughters who are clone miniatures of herself. It occurred to me that she always had kind words, with the sweetest disposition. (I’m excluding righteous indignation here, since I am aware there is a place for that — you know, don’t mess with Mama! I’m also not meaning that she doesn’t ever voice her pertinent opinions, or has a lack of spunk.)

She always spoke with kind regard, gentleness, love, honor and moderation. I could not envision her yelling at her children due to frustrations (and I’m sure she had them) or ever speaking in anger toward her husband, or throwing a temper tantrum, or gossiping, or speaking evil toward anyone. I thought of Galations 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” She possessed the fruit of the Spirit, and it reflected in her words — they were windows to her heart.

Some of what I most admired:
1. Smiles a lot; is happy and contented
2. Caring, loving, and thoughtful
3. Always encourages with words
4. Is highly organized and clean
5. Helps others unselfishly
6. Is adored by her husband, children, and grandchildren
7. Seeks wisdom and willingly shares what she has learned
8. Lives righteously
9. Takes good care of herself
10. Doesn’t complain; is optimistic; has faith
11. Has a close relationship with God

Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Do you recall the saying, “The mouth speaks the abundance of the heart”? My friend had possession of a right spirit which guards the tongue. Ah! That’s what I want — what I need more of — that “right” spirit. I have ridden that emotional roller coaster of words that can only tear down and destroy, and I want to get off it for good! I realize that with the “right” spirit, my words can always be encouraging and building up my household, and bringing forth rich fruit.

Yes, I want to be that smiling woman with the lovely countenance, always with pleasant words that encourage and love and heal — a renewed woman of strength and self control. I want to be the optimistic mate and mother, with words that possess life, laughter and love. And when I approach the sweet morning hours of each new day, that will be a priority and my prayer.

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