Mary Cassatt: The Reader
A woman who thinks and reads, who takes the time to build a reservoir of wisdom and knowledge in her own heart, soul and mind, will serve others well and invest in those in her sphere of influence.
Dinner was simmering on the stove as I tossed a salad and heated some rolls to accompany our herbed chicken soup. Without a stop, I had been running through my day since 6 in the morning and was looking so forward to sitting down.
Just then, the phone rang and a dear, sweet, young friend, said softly, "Please, I need to pick your brain to draw from your experience. I am over my head."
As my two girls listened to me, talking, encouraging, praying with my friend who was amidst a dark life dilemma, I hung up the phone and announced, "Dinner is served! Light the candle and call the boys and tell them all is ready."
"Wow, mom, that's what I call discipleship while cooking--maybe a new book title."
We all giggled and sat down to eat. But, I thought again about how ministry and the need to help another, soothe a child, confront sin, share wisdom from scripture never happens at convenient moments. It happens amidst the craziness of life. And whenever we are squeezed, what we have stored within will come out.
Soul care is something that must be planned for, invested in, prepared for on a regular basis in order to have something Biblical to give out when life or a friend squeezes us.
Two of my favorite passages in all of scripture are found in Proverbs 8 and Proverbs 9.
Throughout Proverbs, wisdom is always referred to as a woman. She teaches, instructs, creates, calls out to fools to come in her house to learn insight and to understand knowledge. What a great picture of what God created women to be and to become--civilizers of people, influencers of generations, shapers of nations.
However, rare are the times I meet with someone whose wisdom, education and knowledge expand my own soul and inspire me to become more excellent. Yet, when I find such women, I seek as much time as I am able to find with them. I love to walk with the wise and take notes and so I seek the company of mature, wise women.
It is a glory to God when a woman is found to be a treasure chest filled with ideas, education, convictions, a resource of excellence and insight. The becoming of an excellent woman, one who is at peace with her life, takes a lifetime of investing into her soul, one day at a time. Patience, gentleness for ourselves gives the grace to grow through seasons of growth and seasons of winter.
I have been intrigued, lately, by the thought of writing a book about great women--those who leave a legacy of spirituality, influence, wisdom and grace in the wake of their lives. I have known a number of what I would consider "great women" and I have been gathering ideas on the the areas of strength and commitment that they all seem to share in common. I am wondering if that kind of a book would appeal to women like you, my friends. It seems to me today that our churches are neglecting some of the training and vision that can build women into godly, strong leaders in their generation.
Often, women lack vision for what an impact they can make and how God has created them to become influential in their worlds, not just through deeds, but also through teaching, thinking, writing, training.
Of course one of the attributes that has arisen from studying and interviewing these women, is that all of them are great readers. They have invested many hours in engaging their minds in scripture, with great thinkers, biographies and when I talk to them, I know I will be stimulated to greater thoughts and ideas because what is in their soul is worthy for me to come into contact with. A woman cannot give out greatness of mind if she has not invested her mind in great thoughts.
Now I am not talking about formal education. As a matter of fact, I learned so little of what I know from college, or public school. Most of what I know has been in my own personal pursuit, my own hunger to know as well as my desire to pass on great thoughts and ideas to my children. Being accountable to them, being a steward of their minds and thoughts has created an environment of learning for me. Any child who has a mother who loves to learn, will be blessed.
All women who are made in God's image, and who want to pursue excellence of mind, must intentionally cultivate their ability to think, to understand theology (the knowledge of God), and to follow paths of wisdom. Great women think well and pursue the virtue of a mind that can suitably worship God by its great thoughts.
I consider myself a resource of God's truth, wisdom, beauty, love character and excellence. If God brings someone into my sphere, I hope that in some small way, I can be a light to their day, their issues they are facing.
This verse has been the one that has defined for me how I want to build intentionally:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Phil. 4;8
When we take responsibility for our own souls, for the glory of God, we will always be seeking those things which will fill us with His goodness and truth. But I am getting off the subject. I have pondered what you really want me to write about. Please help me to know what is on your own heart.
These are some subjects I have contemplated writing about:
Leaving a Legacy of Faith, Hope and Love of God
Traditions that give life
Cultivating a Great Soul
How to cultivate deeper friendship and community
The aspects of a life-giving home
Discipleship of my children, of Women
How to have a quiet time
Cultivating a habit of Sabbath rest in the midst of a busy life
Great books to read--for children, women, young adults, boys and girls
Meeting the emotional, spiritual, friendship needs of babies, children, teens, young adults
Getting rid of guilt and inadequacy
Living a sustainable life for the long term
Dealing with loneliness and depression
Cultivating joy amidst the demands of life
Taking time to invest in beauty, pleasure, fun, rest to create a long term sense of well-being
What are some of the ways you hope to grow in your own life? How are you making a plan to see that little by little you are building a rich, full soul?
Hope you enjoy the podcast today. Be sure the read the accompanying chapters in Own Your Life.