Sunday, January 2, 2011

virtuous character.

inspiration: a story i heard on the radio

about half the time i'm in my car, i listen to WAY-FM (the other half is spent between CDs and 107.5 or some other "top hits" station). it's the Sunday custom to listen to the week's 20 most wanted with Marcia Ware from the time i get out of church until i get to my apartment (all of 10 minutes). sometimes i hear a couple songs, sometimes i hear a bunch of commercials.

but today, i heard a "Heart of the Matter" story that truly caught my attention.

let me back up to say something. perhaps this is part of the culture's thinking or it's just something that i seriously labeled in my own mind and was content to think this way, but prior to hearing the story i am about to re-tell, i had envisioned women as being the sole "victim" in relationships where emotional and spiritual abuse is present (be it through a husband that isn't "there" for his wife or a husband that refuses to go to church, whatever the case may be). and when i think of "Heart of the Matter" stories with Marcia, i guess i've only come to expect women to write in and share their stories of heartbreak and turmoil and pain.

so immediately when i heard the letter was from a man, it struck me as "this is an interesting change". and as Marcia read his letter, my heart started to change as well. He had been the "one" who was struggling. He was the one who had faced emotional and spiritual abuse because his wife had manipulated him and torn him down. when he and his wife divorced, he felt as if he had lost his identity because of everything he had experienced. While at a Fireflight concert, He experienced God's love and got a sense of peace when Dawn read a parable from the Bible. i praise God for this man experiencing God's love and for his willingness to share his heart.

it's amazing to me how God will reveal pieces of our past character through moments like that. maybe it's to show me how far He has brought me. maybe it's to prepare me to be a woman of virtuous character. maybe it's neither of these reasons at all.

i used to be 'that' woman who was manipulative and abusive.
i used to be 'that' woman who tore others down so that i would feel better about myself.
but by the grace of God, i was humbled and changed. not by my power, but by God's Spirit!

i desire so much now to be led by a godly man. a spiritual leader of the household.
but i realize that a relationship isn't just a one-way street.
through reading tons of books and Scripture, i realize that when it comes down to it:

a man is called to love his wife; a woman is called to respect her husband.

i can't expect to be loved by my husband if i don't respect him.
i am not a woman of virtuous and noble character if i'm not respecting him.

Proverbs 31 illustrates a wonderful picture of the woman i am called to be. because when i am a woman of noble and virtuous character, my husband will be led to be the husband he needs to be. if i am anything less than noble and honorable in respecting him, i am doing him and myself an injustice in our relationship.

Leslie Ludy writes in Answering the Guy Questions, "As women, we are created to build men up, not tear them down." (56)

i hope that in my journey to becoming a godly woman of virtuous character, that i would build men up towards Christ rather than tearing them down; i may desire my future husband to lead me in our spiritual walk, but he cannot do that unless he is being built up in Christ by me, as well.

today's story was a good reminder of me to be a woman of virtuous character. so thank you Marcia Ware for sharing that particular story today.

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