Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lady of Reckless Abandonment

Mel and I are going through "Lady in Waiting" (by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones). It's possibly my fifth time reading the book, and high time I shared with someone else what I've been reading. Lady in Waiting (can I dispense with the quotation marks after using them once? please?) is a very challenging book for singles (even for guys!).

The very first chapter is entitled, "Lady of Reckless Abandonment." Two women are memorialized in this chapter - Ruth, and the sobbing, perfume-smearing woman of the New Testament.

Some thought-provoking quotes from this chapter are:
(quoted from another book, "Learning to Be A Woman") - "A woman is not born a woman. Nor does she become one when she marries a man, bears a child and does their dirty linen, not even when she joins a women's liberation movement. A woman becomes a woman when she becomes what God wants her to be."

..."happy indeed are those people, married or single, who have discovered that happiness is not found in marriage but in a right relationship with God."

Then, the authors mention the Woman with the Alabaster Box. "She... not only anointed Jesus for burial, but gave her all to a heavenly Bridegroom." (Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:37, Matthew 26:13)

"How do you know if you have broken your alabaster box at the feet of Jesus? Such a decision will be reflected in reckless abandonment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ."

"Take your alabaster box, with your body, soul, and dreams, and entrust them to Jesus. when He is your Lord, you can joyfully walk in the path of life that He has for you."

The authors then mention Ruth as a prime example of a woman who recklessly abandoned herself to follow the Lord. Just recently widowed, she stuck it out with her mother-in-law to be an encouragement to her and followed the Lord she had recently "met." She left Moab **

**(called the "washbasin," / "washpot" (Ps. 60:8)(108:9)

and went to Bethlehem ("house of bread").

The authors commend Ruth's move as being beneficial to her spiritual growth; "even today there exist 'Moabites' who will undermine your growth if you spend too much time with them. Sometimes mediocre Christians resist the zeal and commitment of a dedicated single woman. Realizing that one's friends drive you either toward or away from God, you may need to find a 'new people' who will encourage your growth and not hinder it."

he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. pr. 13:20

"you mirror those who influence you. . . when a woman stops growing spiritually, the lack of progress can often be traced back to a friendship that undermined her commitment to Jesus."

do not be deceived. bad company corrupts good morals. (i cor. 15:33).

"your best friends should be cheering you on in your commitment to Jesus."

let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (heb 10:24)

"like Ruth, look for something that will stimulate your growth in the Lord."
Sometimes this may mean moving to a different city, or state, or country. If you are in a desert currently, and growth is hard to "find," it may be time to move on to a new location, or find a different place to serve - one where you can be a spur and be spurred.

I have found that baby steps come in very handy here. It is crucial (at least, right now for myself!) that I surround myself with believers and focus on Scripture. I am memorizing Romans (and some other passages!) to keep my heart where it ought to be - focused on Christ, not this or that man! Carrying around notecards with verses written out is a great example of a baby step in keeping my heart focused on the Lord, and an excellent motivation to keep me excited on this "reckless" journey. :)

Also, more often i am seeing - in the various books I am reading - an undertone of this: Are you content to offer Jesus that which cost you nothing? ... "are you influencing those around you to consider a life-changing commitment to Jesus Christ"
I know I have been "influenced" by others - or rather, spurred, if you like the Hebrews terminology. I have been really enjoying being back in Michigan, simply because of the fellowship I find much closer now, less than an hour away! Being part of the earth-wide Body is also an encouragement, as many of my friends are migrating to distant shores, and the following quote I have taken as my "challenge" for the next few days (to start!)

Does your commitment to Jesus cause those around you to seriously consider whether Jesus is Lord of their lives?...

and the final chapter the authors give is this, and you can ask me how this is going:
Choose right now to put mediocrity behind you; courageously determine to pursue Jesus with your whole heart, soul, and mind. As a single woman, this is the perfect moment to establish a radical relationship with Jesus and remove any tokenism from your Christian walk.

:) All this I leave with you, readers, because I desire to challenge you with my "challenges" as well! May God grant you the wisdom to read between my lines and hear what He has to say on the matter!
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