Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Sweet Old Lady

When I was around 30 years of age, my pastor made a statement from the pulpit that caught my attention. What he said seemed to me a profound observation, and I purposed in my heart to make it one of my “life philosophies.” What he said was this:

“You young ladies out there—would you like to be a sweet old lady?” [“Yes, I would,” I answered in my mind, anxious to hear his follow-on—perhaps some kind of magical formula—or at least a blueprint to follow? I had seen some bitter, cranky old women, and I did not want to become one.]

He continued, “If you want to be a sweet old lady, be a sweet young lady.”

Now, that IS profound, it IS one of my life philosophies, but it IS NOT easy to live. I recently came across a quote that supports my pastor’s “sermon” from some 30 years ago.  “BE TODAY WHO YOU WANT TO BE TOMORROW." (Amy Carroll) Yes, that’s what I’m saying--be a sweet young lady, if you want to be a sweet old lady.

Earlier this month, my devotional study was about Abigail (I Samuel 25). The point of the devotional piece was how Abigail persevered through an abusive and difficult marriage (to Nabal). As I began to read, I thought, “This is fine, but it doesn’t really apply to me.” Nope, this was not applicable to me personally—thankfully, God has blessed me with the most awesome husband in the world.

Then, as I read the rest of the study, the author, Rachel Olson, described the characteristics of Abigail that make her a wonderful  biblical example for women. THOSE traits ARE applicable to my life.
  • She is smart and sensible. (vs. 3)
  • People look to her for wisdom and leadership in times of trouble. (vs. 14, 17)
  • She is decisive and wastes no time worrying, pitying her situation, or fussing at those who cause her trouble — instead she takes action to improve the situation. (vs. 18, 23)
  • She is generous, (vs. 18, 27) even willing to lay down her life for others. (vs. 22, 24
  • She is humble (vs. 24, 41) and quick to ask forgiveness. (vs. 28)
  • She speaks eloquently and tactfully — with a knowledge of God — as she gives one of the longest speeches by a woman recorded in the Bible. (vs. 24-31) [AHA, says Barbara—long speeches are okay, even lauded!!!!—YAY!—oh, but wait, it also says eloquent, tactful, and with a knowledge of God—okay, more work needed on this one, too.]
  • She looks out for the well-being and reputation of others. (vs. 25, 31)
  • She trusts God, holds her tongue, and waits patiently for the right timing. (vs. 36-38)
Abigail  has it all — wisdom, character, courage, faith, eloquence, graciousness. She possesses both inner and outer beauty. After Nabal’s death, Abigail married King David, and they had a son. David would have seven other wives in his lifetime, but Rachel Olson writes that only Abigail earned his complete respect. Only she had a positive influence on him.

Wow—so many traits that I desire but do not have…yet…

Back to my “life philosophy” of becoming.  I must start today to emulate the example of Abigail…because she is the kind of woman I want to be tomorrow.

“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12


Val O'Bannon said...

What wonderful insight! Yes, Lord, make us like Abigail, us ladies, that is....not that the guys don't need wisdom, character, courage, faith, eloquence, etc. :D i think I've met some Abigails-in-training at ROC. ;)

Barbara said...

Val, I have to agree about the wonderful ladies (of all ages!) at RiverOaks Church!

ROC REV said...

Absolutely wonderful. I'd say it wouldnt be too hard to write some pretty amazing things about Barbara Ford too.

Barbara said...

Wow. Thank you, Mark. I feel highly honored.

Kristy said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful thoughts! It's inspiring to see a biblical example of a women doing the "right" things and being a person of integrity despite her difficult circumstances.