“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths…” (Lk 2:7)
We are in the Christmas season. We celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Mary, His young mother, ‘brought forth her first born Son’. Surely, she experienced mixed feelings. She was told that her Son will be a King but there was no room in the inn for them. She had to deliver Him in a stable and lay Him in a manger, the place where animals feed. King Herod wanted her baby dead. But shepherds and wise men bowed before the Baby. Mary had to learn fast, how to take care and protect this baby, God’s gift to humanity. It was not easy… But God was with her, with them…”Oh, come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!”
The Nativity story brought back memories to me… This is my story, as a young mother in Romania… As a doctor I delivered many pregnant women. As a pastor, I prayed for women to become mothers. I rejoiced with them when their children were born. They all look so happy… But my case, was different… I still remember the feeling I had when my first child, my dear son was born. I was a student in the medical school. I was a young wife. My husband was from Nigeria, my colleague in the medical school. At that time, I was an unbeliever. I never prayed. I did not see a Bible with my eyes. In the past, I prepared myself mentally and emotionally to be a wife and a doctor. I had great dreams and a clear vision about my future marriage and chosen profession. I read many books about successful marriages and how to practice humanitarian medicine. But I did not prepare myself enough to be a parent. I thought that I should be a mother when I will be older… I thought that I still have time to study ‘the subject’. My husband and I planned to have children after graduation. But God had another plan. Motherhood was bestowed upon me by a God I did not know at the time.
Our first baby was born as a medical emergency before the expected date of delivery. They were complications… I started bleeding heavily… The doctor said that they will first save my life. But the chance for the baby boy to live was 50-50. But the baby made it!!!! Oh, the relief… I looked at him… So beautiful… but fragile too… My first night as a mother, in that hospital bed, I just could not sleep. I suddenly became afraid that I will not be able to be a good mother to this baby. I also knew that our relationship will last for a life time. For better or for worst, that is a long time… I felt the mantle of responsibility falling on my young shoulders. Years passed by… Often, this mantle was light and easy but so heavy other times…
Our baby is a man now. He is a husband and a father. But the mantle of motherhood placed on me by God on the day he was born is still on me. I feel it. Motherhood thought me many lessons of life I could not have learned otherwise.. The truth is that at the beginning I struggled with it. As a single woman I felt free. But now, married and with a baby, I felt the restrictions. For example, I could not go to visit my friends any time I wanted. This responsibility of being a mother, like a covering blanket, stayed on… Knowing what I know now, I say: ‘Thank God’! It was only after I became saved that I truly accepted it without complaining, especially when hard days came by. In a way, I grew up together with my children… This gift of motherhood (and even grand-motherhood), I now enjoy it. Finally! I now walk with it, in the assurance that God, who gave me these children, He is in charge of their lives and mine… We shall walk together, from beginning to the end. Motherhood brought me closer to God! This knowledge makes me so happy! It even gets better day by day!
May this testimony encourage young (and not so young) parents today! Fear not! You are not alone! God loves you and God loves your baby! From the beginning to the end of the journey of life, God is with you! Glory to God!!!
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies” (PV 31:10)
As a woman of God, as a wife, each time I need refreshing from the Word of God, I read Proverbs 31. This passage never fails to attract me, to strengthen me, to stir me up and to bless me with fresh revelations. I am reminded that God has a particular woman in mind to be the Bride of Christ. It is not easy to be a godly woman. No good thing happens by accident. There is a price to pay to become God’s best; ‘a virtuous woman’ in the eyes of your husband, children and community. To be virtuous it means to be morally excellent, righteous and upright before God and man. It means to be honest, noble, principled, faithful, praiseworthy, un-bribable, spotless and guiltless. It also means to be above suspicion, a good and perfect example to others. The opposite of ‘virtuous’ is to be sinful, wicked, a liar and a deceiver. In Hebrew, the word ‘virtuous’ it means to be a strong soldier, the captain of an army. It means to be rich and generous. The word describes a woman in labor. She is in pain, waiting patiently, with hope and courage, for her baby to be born. She is looking forward to the joyful satisfying rest of fruitfulness. Her worth is ‘above rubies’. Her ‘bride price’ is priceless. Only the Blood of Jesus is able to purchase the soul of His bride. She is not foolish. She knows the value God has set on her. She is not ready to compromise her destiny or the future of her descendants. This high standard of character and behavior is possible only to a child of God, who is filled with the Holy Spirit.
The world has its own description of what it means to be a successful woman. The world loves to see women with superficial beauty, slim and without pimples, having professional make up, with expensive jewelry, beautiful clothes and natural charm. But what is God’s idea of a perfect woman? The first thing I see here is that this woman ‘fears God’ (PV 31:30). God is at the center of her life, the reason for her testimony and the source of her success. The second thing I see is that this woman loves her God given family. She does not live independent from people. She has invested her life, effort, prayers and time in the lives of her husband and her children (natural and spiritual). She takes care of her household, even of her servants. She invested in people and she now enjoys a great harvest of love. In her old age she enjoys the fruit of her labor.
This woman is a good wife. She submits to her husband and helps him fulfill his destiny. From the beginning of her marriage and until old age, she is not a liability to him, but a blessing. “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (PV 31:11, 12). Her husband trusts her with his heart. This is total trust. He trusts her with his body and his soul, with his spiritual life, with their children and their finances. Trust is rare to find. Trust must be earned. It does not come automatically. Over the years, her husband has studied and tested his wife, during good times and bad times. She prayed and she stood with him. Together, they overcame problems and trials. They wept together and rejoiced together. She proved to him that she is faithful, wise, strong, stable and spiritual. This husband trusts his wife. They have become friends and true partners in life.
“Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land” (PV 31:23). The virtuous woman prays for, helps and encourages her husband to be a man of God. She does not compete with him. She complements him. Her husband fulfills God’s will for his life. This is a great achievement and true success. Behind the scenes, his wife rejoices and praises God for her husband’s success. He praises her saying: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” (PV 31:29). The husband’s open public praise and recognition of his wife’s love and faithfulness over the years is a sign of a true, mature, godly and happy marriage. This woman is a good mother and her children appreciate her.
The third thing I see is that this godly woman works very hard. She works at home and outside the home. The reason why she works is to glorify God and to benefit of her family. Her work does not hinder her responsibilities in the home. Her work is hard. She wakes early in the morning and she sleeps late at night. She travels far away to buy things to sell. But she does not grumble; she truly enjoys her labor. She “willingly works with her hands” (PV 31:13). In Hebrew, the word ‘willingly’ means to work with pleasure and purpose. Her work is valuable to her. Each day she plans her work. There is no confusion and no stress. Even when she has to do humble work in the house (for example, washing dishes or clothes), she feels blessed and happy.
Dear sister, is that your experience? Do you fear God? Do you really enjoy your life, your marriage, your motherhood and your work? As you are getting older, do you become happier and more fulfilled? Can I ask your husband, your children, your servants of your neighbors, what kind of woman are you? Do you want to be ‘a Proverbs 31’ woman of God? You single sisters… do you desire to be this type of wife and mother? You older woman of God, are you ready to mentor and teach the younger women how to be good wives and mothers? Then pray for the strength to become a living proof that God’s Word is true. Pray that you may fulfill destiny and become a blessing to many. This is God’s will for you! For the glory of God and for the good of many people! In Jesus name, amen!
(In the picture, you see some beautiful, expensive rubies)
“Many waters cannot quench the flame of love, neither can the floods drown it. If a man tried to buy it with everything he owned, he couldn’t do it” (SS 8:7).
OUR TESTIMONY AS A HAPPILY MARRIED COUPLE
My husband and I are happily married for almost 45 years. We are parents to three adult children and have six grandchildren. I see marriage as a gift from God. Because I fear God, I fear to damage my marriage. I cannot be a happy wife without the help of the Holy Spirit. I daily read the Bible. I grow in wisdom and knowledge. Therefore my marriage becomes better, sweeter.
I pray daily for my husband, for our children, grandchildren, our health, our ministries and wisdom to handle our finances. I pray to see Christ in my husband (in his words and deeds). I love peace to reign in my home. I hate quarrels and divisions.
I respect my husband not only in my words and deeds, but even in my heart. I pray to be able to see him not just as my husband, not as the father or our children, but as my pastor, as a holy man of God. My prayer has been answered. I have ‘a kitchen ministry’. I like to cook for him and serve his food. I like it when he is hungry and he sits at the table waiting for me to bring the food. we always pray before each meal. I like it when we eat together and we gist about the daily activities, the plans for the day, prayer points. I like to wake up in the morning knowing that he is my husband. I like to ask him ‘what do you want to eat for breakfast?’ His answer makes me happy! Sometimes he likes Nigerian breakfast, and other times the ‘oyibo’ style. Anyone is good with me. I may fail a catering exam, but he likes the food I cook for him. That is all that matters for me!
Christ has simplified my life. I love Jesus first and my husband secondly. I do not even dream about another god or any other man. Even after all these years, I appreciate my husband’s love for me. I appreciate the fact that out of millions of women he chose me to be his wife. At the table, he has his own favorite chair. If a visitor comes and by mistake he sits there, I will not allow it. I will gently tell the visitor to use another seat. My husband has his own favorite plate. It is old but he likes it. I do not use his plate for other people. These may not be ‘big things’ but to me, these are symbols of respect.
Long ago I knew that he will be a man of God. I started studying the Bible with great passion. The knowledge of the Word of God is for my own soul and to help my husband. I love it when we discuss the doctrines and new revelations from the Bible. I love it when I have something good to add to the discussion. We are friends and lovers. We rejoice with one another. Time has not reduced this joy. In fact, it has made it better. The water has now become sweet wine. We drink it and have no apologies for our intoxicating love. The passion to love God and one another is the holy fire that burns in our home. No man or devil can quench it. It is to the glory of God that we are not religious hypocrites. There is genuine salvation, peace and joy of the Holy Ghost in our souls and in our home! We my head bowed down I write: “Thank You Father, Son and Holy Ghost!”
Dear children of God, may God bless you with the blessings of Christ and with the gift of a wonderful marriage! In Jesus’ name!