Happy Monday Everyone! Welcome to Week One of #Experiment 31!

 

I won’t lie, I have wondered what I’ve got myself into and why I’ve committed to such a daunting experiment but…too late now! If you haven’t already read my post on Introducing #Experiment 31, I suggest you check that out before reading further. If you have, kudos to you!

 

So Proverbs 31 is this much debated, controversial chapter in the Bible that portrays the perfect woman and caused many woman to be inspired and despair all at once. These weekly challenges aim to take the qualities we find in this chapter and implement them, by God’s grace and with His help, as best we can. So, if you’re up for the challenge, it’s going to take committment, prayer and perserverance. Are you in?

 

CHALLENGE 1

Our first priority in life should be God. Above your housework, above packing school lunches, above that business proposal, above the Netflix series. He should take the first place in your life and He should be your main priority. As I type this, I am scolding myself for not doing exactly what I’m encouraging you to do…I haven’t done my quiet time yet today and it’s 8:34pm…but this challenge is also about being honest when we mess up! So our aim this week is to make necessary changes in our lives to make sure that God becomes our number 1 priority.

 

TODAY

Read a chapter of Proverbs. Write down a verse that sticks out to you on a piece of paper or card and carry it around with you all day, revisiting it regularly. Put it on the mirror while you do your make up and brush your teeth; stick it on the steering wheel of your car while you drive. Tape it on the inside of your phone cover. Do whatever you need to so that you check it all day.

 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

 

TOMORROW AND FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK

Read a chapter of Proverbs everyday, writing down the verse that sticks out to you. This way, you will be spending at least 5 minutes (or longer if you get lost in your thoughts or read slowly like me) in God’s Word everyday and meditating on it in your heart all day long.

 

Make a note of why those verses stick out to you. Post your verse in the comments (and thoughts if you want)on Instagram, Facebook or on the blog post. Why did that verse stick out to you?

 

Stay tuned for my results…

 

Monday:

I decided I’d try to get up a little earlier so that I had a chance to read my Bible while possibly coaxing my daughter to play in her own room. I managed to read my Bible but it was very interrupted! Note to self: Do not try and start a new routine and take on an experiment at the same time. Needless to say, I learnt something from my reading despite it all. I only read Proverbs later in the day – better late than never. My verse was

“…since they hated knowledge
    and did not choose to fear the Lord.

Since they would not accept my advice
    and spurned my rebuke,
they will eat the fruit of their ways
    and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.” 

Proverbs 1:29b-31

 

I was challenged in knowing that I don’t fear the Lord. Verse 32 speaks about complacency which I am also guilty of. My prayer is that I learn to fear the Lord and, with His help, lose my complacency.

The remainder of the day was somewhat frustrating…toddler falls asleep in car, wakes when transferred (she won’t sleep long in the car if I leave her there), fights to go back to sleep. I give her lunch. Round two – she falls asleep only 45 mins later.

But let’s stay positive here. I managed to get supper prepped, wash the dishes, quickly tidy the house, re-organise a small kitchen cupboard and start prepping for a talk I’m giving on Sunday. So I actually don’t have much to complain about.

I’m signing off for the night. I’ll check in with you all tomorrow.

 

Tuesday:

I was up early again today and even had the confidence to have a normal cup of tea (a luxury I reserve for when I’m toddler-free as I’ve limited my caffeine intake during pregnancy). Mistake. No sooner do I sit down to read my Bible and I hear “Mummy!”

I persuaded my daughter to stay in her room but not for long. I, nonetheless, persisted to the best of my ability to carry on reading my Bible. I got through some of my reading before I felt I could no longer leave her in her room. My husband decided to play Duplo with her after I had been trying in vain to read for about an hour. The minute my eyes were off her, all I got was,

“Mummy. Mummy. Mummy.”

Needless to say, I was determined to start the day with a verse on a piece of paper, unlike yesterday when I only got to write out a verse around 11am. Today I was armed with a verse but lost it all over  the house several times. This is my one complaint about maternity clothes! There are no pockets!! Why?!? We needed pockets before! We definitely could use them in pregnancy! So I tucked my verse on my hip under the elastic of my pants.

Periodically, I would find the verse on the bathroom floor or think it had fallen down my trouser leg onto the ground somewhere when I’d actually put it down elsewhere. Tomorrow I think I need a new plan. Prestik on my phone cover maybe?

I was challenged to store up the commands of God in my heart – a good reason to carry around a verse – I would be meditating on God’s Word all day and storing it in my heart. I was also challenged to apply my heart to understanding. I realised that I can’t just ask God for wisdom and expect Him to lavish me with it. I actually have to do some work and search for it as hidden treasure and apply my heart and make a commitment to seek it out.

 

I was also comforted by Proverbs 2:7, 8

“He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”

 

If I, by His grace, live a life that is pleasing to me, He will be with me. That was really good to know today!

I hope you are finding these verses in Proverbs as convicting and as encouraging as I am!

 

MIDWEEK CHALLENGE

Now that you’ve read a chapter of Proverbs every day, make sure that you make reading your Bible a regular part of your day. I know it’s hard! We have so many demands and so many things required of us. Your boss won’t wait for you. Nor will that business proposal, your hungry children, your job, the mountain of dirty washing or your university commitments. I get it! Believe me! But, despite having a busy schedule, you have managed to find ten minutes to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Well done! And keep it up! If you have a diary, write in and PLAN the time that you will spend with the Lord into your day. If you don’t, put a reminder on your phone. Your relationship with the Lord is more important than a meeting that you write down and don’t forget. Yet we fail to prioritise it each day. Don’t make it a thing you “fit in” when you have the chance. PRIORITISE IT and make it a fixed part of your routine! 

 

Wednesday:

Proverbs 3 is one I love because there are so many gems. But, to try and pick one verse is a pretty hard task. In all honesty, I always pick the same one because it is always relevant.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5

 

I always need to hear that verse, especially in the face of the uncertainty of 2019.

But, consequently, my sister needed it too. She got on a plane to return to New Zealand and she also faces the new year with a whole lot of uncertainty. In our own understanding, there are a lot of things about the new year that look hard and seemingly impossible. But the Lord assures us that if we trust Him – hand it all to Him – and acknowledge Him in everything we do, He will be with us and direct us. What a comfort!

 

The other verse I picked out was this one.

“Have no fear of sudden disaster or of ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.”

Proverbs 3:25-26

No jokes, guys! I was thinking about this very verse yesterday! I was a little scared to travel to the airport today. My gynae cautioned me at the last visit to lay low and just take it easy over the next few weeks. It’s about an hour and a half drive but on a very busy highway. She advised me to stay as close to home as possible especially with people driving recklessly. So yes, there was a part of me that felt guilty going because I wondered if I was taking my child’s life into my hands. And then I remembered this verse. I’m sure I take it out of context all the time.

 

But then I read it today. And it was just like a little, kind, timely and gentle reminder from the Lord that He has me and the baby (and everyone else in the car) in His hands. Again, a relevant verse for my sister too.

It’s been a sad day, but praise God for His Word and His comforts. Without it, we’d be lost! (Please say a prayer for my sister travelling over the 48 hours.)

 

With all the travelling today, it was hard to schedule in a time for the Lord. But, I was able to read this morning and planned to finish praying while I showered. I ended up having fifteen minutes before Bible study and I used that time. So it was great!

 

Off to bed…

 

Thursday (posted on Friday):

Yes, so I didn’t post last night…oops! I was so tired by the time I remembered so you wouldn’t have anything coherent if I did post.

I lost my verse yesterday and I’m going to blame preggie clothes not having pockets! Okay, that’s not a very Proverbs-31-womanish thing to do – shift blame. But I remembered part of it, which I hope is a good thing. (I wrote them down again to carry around with me today!) In terms of scheduling in my quiet time, I managed to read my Bible in the morning. But when I sat down to pray later, I had an issue on my heart that I needed to sort out so I was exceptionally distracted.

I had a good day yesterday. It was my husband’s first study-free day in nearly 7 years, people!!! I got a new phone. I had a Chateau Gateaux cake date with my hubby. My child slept in her bed, discipline free. I had only a few dishes. The house was clean by 3pm. I didn’t cook supper, it was cooked for me by neighbour. It was a good day! Praise the Lord!

 

Friday:

Today was another productive, good day. Washing folded, last of the washing for the week done, cloth nappies washed for the next few days, biscotti for my side business baked, house cleaned, dishes washed, supper cooked and upstairs dusted.

 

And yet, I find that I’ve reached the end of the day again and I know that my priorities have not been right. I’m scared to answer a question I’ve asked myself all day – if I had the choice, would I have done things differently? I hope I would say yes. But I fear the answer is no. I love having a productive day! I feel so good about myself and I feel like I can sleep peacefully knowing all that I’ve accomplished.

 

But God got put on the back burner today. I chose to make biscotti instead of spend devoted time with Him. I sat down in between the steps of making biscotti to pray and read, but it literally takes me twenty minutes just to focus on a normal day. And when I was interrupted every ten minutes by the stove timer shouting at me or the grunt of my toddler over the monitor, I lost focus again. I also anticipated the disturbances so I was waiting for them instead of giving God the first hour of my toddler’s sleep where I would be assured of no disturbances. I realised that the verse I wrote down yesterday and today again, I did not practice.

 

“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her and she will honour you.”

Proverbs 4:7-8

 

I did not choose to seek wisdom above all else today. I chose everything else first. I put biscotti over the time I’d scheuduled for the Lord. The result? A very interrupted and unfocused time of prayer and an unfocused, rushed an frustrating time of Bible reading. If I had a chance to redo the day, would I have done anything differently? Productive day versus good time with the Lord…my probable answer shames me. I really need to question whether I’m serious about seeking wisdom and understanding and loving the Lord above all…

 

Saturday and Sunday:

So things have been pretty crazy this weekend! My husband and I spent a lot of the day preparing for a talk on porn-proofing your children. We were up almost midnight and up early Sunday morning again. The parts of Saturday when I wasn’t out or prepping was spent consoling a miserable, weepy little girl who suddenly became feverish in the afternoon. Having sick babies or toddlers who can’t verbalise why they are miserable or where it hurts or if they’re feeling sick is stressful! So I spent much of the evening praying that she would be okay through the night and then on Sunday as we delivered this talk. She spent most of the church service sitting on one of our laps and her head on a shoulder. Thank goodness my parents live across the road and could let her have a quiet day while we gave our talk. We left home at 8:30 am and got home after 4 pm. After we put our daughter down, a massive storm took out our power and, our toddler (who hadn’t yet gone to sleep) joined us on our bed until it was over only going to sleep around 9 pm. So, sorry guys, that’s why there was no update last night!

 

Anyway, my verse for Saturday was

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him:

haughty eyes…and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Proverbs 6:16, 17a and 19b

 

I was both humbled and convicted by both of these this weekend. There is a verse somewhere about pride coming before a fall. That was me!

We have an automated gate but it doesn’t close automatically. It usually isn’t me. But, I was humbled, when at 11pm I heard a knock on the door. Thinking it was the neighbour’s guest, I peered out the window…only to see the security company!

“Good evening. We’re just checking everything is okay…the gate was standing wide open.”

I was about to blame someone else for neglecting to close the gate when I suddenly realised, to my great shame and embarrasment, that the fault lay with me! Humbled! The Lord detests haughty eyes.

 

The second thing, stirring up dissension, is something I have been heavily convicted of in the last week. Not in necessarily stirring dissension up with other brothers but with my husband. I have realised that, although we should share everything with each other, it’s not useful, beneficial or godly to come home and rile each other up against other people. There’s a fine line between confiding in each other and gossiping and creating dissension between ourselves and other believers. Yet again, convicted!

 

I’ve been noticing a trend in Proverbs and wonder whether you’ve noticed it too? Each Proverb begins with something to the effect of “Listen, my son, to my commands/instructions/words…bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart…”

I’ve realised how important the teaching of parents is. Whether it be God as our Father or our own parents. God gives us His Word, the Bible to guide us and shape us. My parents created a solid and godly foundation in my life in the way they raised me and my sister. And I should be striving to do the same with my children.

I found this verse particularly relevant yesterday in light of the talk we gave to parents yesterday.

” My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call understanding your kinsman.”

Proverbs 7:1-4

 

We have a command to honour our parents and, if they have given us wise and, especially godly advice, we need to heed it. And we have a God-given responsibility to teach and guide our children in wisdom and in the way of the Lord.

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