The Fruit of Her Hands Book Study–Chapter Five (Part 1/2)

Contentment

You can tell Nancy has mothers in mind here.  She is sympathetic, yet prudent in her counsel to us in this chapter.  She breaks up the chapter in what could be two very common areas of discontentment for women in general, but especially to mothers:  A lack of peace over their failings and an unhealthy view of health.

Self-Evaluating at 11 PM

After reading this section, I could see yet another reason why God, in his wisdom, calls the older women to teach the younger ones…they have what us younger ones simply don’t have – and that is perspective.  Having lived a little longer does have its perks.   These women have seen much and can see more clearly from their side of the tracks and they can warn us when they see the train coming.

The theme throughout this chapter is warning and exhortation.  In the first section, the caution in neon colors is against “morbid introspection.”  To be honest with you, I was not expecting this to be the topic on this section; I wasn’t seeing the connection between this and contentment.  I admit, I’m slow and it has nothing to do with English being my second language (lol!).  After all, self-examination is right and proper, wouldn’t you say?  I guess I didn’t gather that women did this much.  I mean, really?  Self-examination, yes, of course! But morbid self-examination?  Again, that’s my youthfulness :), okay, maybe not youthfulness, but for sure my lack of experience and perspective in these matters. Anyhow, she then walks you through the day of an average woman with a home, kids, and husband to attend to. Bottom line at the end of the day, she is exhausted and that is when her temptation to examine her day begins.  She thinks of her day and her preoccupation with self and performance become her focus.  She dwells on her lack of accomplishment and in how she didn’t spend enough time with each of her children, in how she just put that less than healthy meal on the table, how she lost her patience with her children, how she snapped at the husband, etc… After that long description of a woman’s ordinary day, I got it.  Have you ever been depressed that you are not all things to all people in your life?  Have you ever felt guilt that you are not the perfect mother who is always patient and kind to your children?  Have you ever felt guilt that your husband often gets the crumbs of your energy at the end of day? You look at your day and you see your numerous failings and you conclude such and such.  Guilt fills your heart, self-pity becomes your best friend, and her friend’s hopelessness and ungodly sorrow hang out with you on a regular basis killing your spirit of joy and contentment in the Lord.

So what is a girl to do, you ask?  Nancy puts it simply, “If it is not an objective sin, but an accusation that is grounded on nothing more than vague feelings about the day, dismiss it.  God is not the author of accusation and condemnation of His children. He chastises and forgives.  He delights to show mercy.  He is the Father of all comfort.“ Amen!

By all means, if your conscious is telling you that you have shown a lack of patience, go and make it right! I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to my sons and sought their forgiveness for this very thing. But we cannot reside in the land of Self-Preoccupation.  We need to repent, confess, seek His grace and then move on!  I remember a time or two when there was nothing my good friend or my husband could say to convince me that I was growing in my weakness. I wanted to have a feast with my companion, self-pity, and in doing so I exasperated those who were trying to help me.  You see, it is hard to be content and truly show fruit of growing in our weakness when we allow Satan’s lies to consume our time and monopolize our thinking.   When we do that, we become more preoccupied with self than the actual sin/weakness that we need to work on.  So remember Satan accuses, the Holy Spirit convicts.  Take heart and when you see your sin – take it to the cross and leave it there.

So what about you? Has your preoccupation with self ever killed your contentment in the Lord before?

Tune back tomorrow as I end this chapter by addressing Contentment in Health.

Comments

  1. Liz Roeder says:

    Esme, Amen to that last line you wrote! We have a tendency to get caught up and dwell on our perceived failings–what we didn’t do, or should have done, etc. (the list goes on and on). WE become the focus; not Christ and the work He did for us on the Cross. We need to take our failures and put them at the foot of the Cross daily, leave them there and move on. We need not forget that at the Cross we receive much grace and mercy. Dwelling in our guilt and failures just makes us ineffective Christians (and Satan sure loves that!)

    Thanks for sharing with us. Each chapter has been a gem!

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