Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A quest for unfading beauty

For the last 9 months I have been on an intentional quest for unfading beauty. I just had no idea all that it would entail.


The phrase a "gentle spirit" from the verse above in the original language is meek.

 "A meek spirit, a gentle spirit, a quiet spirit. Scripture says for a woman to have that internal heart attitude of meekness or gentleness and a quiet spirit gives her a beauty that is imperishable. It’s a beauty that cannot fade away. It’s a beauty that you don’t have to go through all kinds of cosmetic surgery or makeup routines to preserve. It’s something that gets sweeter and richer and more beautiful as you age."(Nancy Leigh Demoss)



I want this kind of beauty. But to be honest the journey has been harder and more painful than I had expected.
I have come to understand that a beautiful woman in God's eyes has a gentle and quiet spirit. But what does that mean? I am latin and come from a single parent home. All my life I have been taught to be self-assertive, to stand up for my rights,  to be demanding, to speak my mind, to have it my way.

"What is meekness? It's the quality of spirit and attitude produced by the Holy Spirit , with which one responds to adversity or criticism or emotional injury with the appropriate strength to show love for God and others. Meekness is control of your spirit against irritation." (David Niles)

So about 9 months ago I began to get up early in order to do what the doctor prescribed; more time in His word. I read, sang, meditated, memorized, started specific classes on meekness, and completed many devotionals.  Yet as I studied, prayed, and examined my life it seemed that the problems increased. I found myself more irritable. Interpersonal problems increased. Some one even described my personality as that of a "Chihuahua". 
(In that person's defence, I think they meant small but fearless)

Even so, I felt hopeless. I continued to cry out. 

"Father, help me please! I cannot produce this change in me. I believe it is your will. Please change my heart, change my tongue, change my emotions, change me!"

 "God knows exactly what is needed in your life and mine, and God uses those people who offend us, who wound us, who challenge us, who get in our face, who bug us, who annoy us and irritate us. God uses those people, or He wants to, to shape and mold and correct us." (Nancy Leigh Demoss)

This morning I spent some time talking and praying with my husband. I love the way he listens and gently leads me to the cross. I have so much to learn from his meek spirit.  He read this to me. 
"Why do you seek to mortify this sin?— Because it troubles you and takes away your peace. Yes, but you have neglected prayer and reading. Neglect of these is just as sinful. Christ bled for these also.
If you hate sin as sin, you will be watchful against everything that grieves the Spirit. Do you think God will help you in such a hypocritical effort? Do you think he will free you from this so you can commit another sin that grieves him? ‘No’, says God, ‘If I free him from this lust, I will not hear from him any more, and he will be content in his failure.’ We must not be concerned only with that which troubles us, but with all that troubles God. God’s work is to have full victory, and universal obedience, not just the sins that trouble our soul."
—JOHN OWEN, Works, VI: 40-42
(in Richard Rushing. "26 February" in _Voices from the Past_, The Banner of Truth Trust)
 Even my desire to be meek can be prideful. God wants to truly change me. All of me. He won't let me change only the sin that is bothersome to me.


The troubles of my heart they're tearing me 
apart

How I need Your saving hand to grant me a new start
Lonely and afraid, I call upon Your name
I will lift my eyes from this fragile life
Save me from my enemies and cover all my shame
And I lift up my soul to you who makes things whole
For you will rescue me, you are my prince of peace Oh, mercy love of old, in you I place my hope
Oh, forgive my doubting heart and lead me back to You
I place my hope So guide me in Your truth, be my strong refuge Help me to believe, Your love is all I need
For you will rescue me, you are my prince of peace
Even when the storm is strong You will provide for me I will lift my eyes from this fragile life And I lift up my soul to you who makes things whole
Those whose hope is in Your grace, they will never be ashamed
Oh, mercy love of old, in you I place my hope I place my hope, I place my hope Even in my darkest place, there's a promise I will claim I will lift my eyes from this fragile life
I place my hope, in you I place my hope
You will rescue me, you are my prince of peace And I lift up my soul to you who makes things whole Oh, mercy love of old, in you I place my hope
I place my hope, I place my hope

(Ellie Holcomb)


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