I was super excited when asked to preach at the church I serve. I’ve poured my heart out on the world wide web with my writing, but never had to stand up in front of everyone and say it out loud. So, after lots of prayer, conversation and practice in my bathroom mirror, I preached at Atonement on Sunday, July 19, 2015 for the very first time. I had a blast and was so blessed to have the opportunity to worship with these people.
If you are interested in what I shared, below is the sermon I shared.
Good morning! I’ve been serving Atonement as your office manager for almost two years now. Many of us have not met face to face and I just want to say how great it is to worship the Lord with you this morning!
You may or may not know, but I’m a single mom to four beautiful boys – Jaden (9), and the triplets: Logan, Owen and Weston (4.5). I have two of them with me on earth – Owen passed away when the triplets were 6.5 months old. Let me tell you raising all boys on your own can be a wild ride! One that I often do not feel equipped for. Moms are always giving instruction to their kids … offering them wisdom. I can tell you that I’ve surprised myself with some of the instructions that come out of my mouth like …
- It’s gross to pick your nose, you’re gonna lose friends
- We wear pants to the dinner table
- It’s probably best to change your shirt each morning
- Quit licking your brother’s armpit!
On a serious note … As mothers and women, we are in a constant role of offering instruction and guidance. In an average home, women are the nurturers, the care-givers, we are daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, mother, wife … sometimes we are laundromat, dishwasher, keeper of the lost and found, chef, chauffeur, and sometimes the hold-the-family-together-ers. I’m not saying that men can’t or don’t fulfill these roles … I just think in a general sense these are looked at as feminine qualities.
I remember sitting in a marriage counseling session, before my divorce. Joe, the therapist, was explaining male and female roles in a marriage and family unit. My ex husband was all in a tissy because we stayed at my parent’s house an hour past the boy’s bedtime and he felt like I was being irresponsible. Joe looked at him and said, “I can promise you that Mel has already thought about the boy’s bedtime four times before it’s even crossed your mind. She’s weighed the pros and cons of the boys staying up a little later against the benefit to the entire family unit of spending extra time together. She sees her family as much wider than you do … as most women do. They have an intuition on how to manage a wide range of relationships.”
Now I have to admit I was flattered by his words, I didn’t feel that my role was that important, nor did I feel as though I had that kind of insight. But as I’ve grown and my family has changed, I find that maybe there was some truth to Joe’s words. And not in a “pat myself on the back” kind of realization, but rather as a better understand of how God has knit me together as female. Seeking and managing relationships is intuitive to most women.
What’s really interesting about today’s scripture, and partly why Greg asked me to share today’s message, is that Proverbs 8 personifies wisdom as a woman …
Let’s first define wisdom. When I try to define wisdom I think of someone who is really smart – someone who has been there, done that. The wise old owl. However, in the Christian sense, wisdom is not the same as truth or knowledge. It’s not just intellectual insight or book learning, either. Wisdom is: good judgment. Book smarts are not associated with biblical wisdom. Making good judgements relates to knowing, listening to, wanting to know more about God. A wise person seeks God, always.
So here’s wisdom … she’s hanging out, calling our names. She’s raising her voice to get our attention. “Yoo whoo, over here! Listen to me fools. I’ve got something that’s far more valuable than diamonds and jewels.”
She’s calling out to us. She wants us to pick up the phone and listen to her. We can’t have it both ways tho … we can’t answer the call to wisdom and stupidity at the same time. In order to answer Lady Widsom’s call, we need to reject other calls. Wisdom rejects other calls. She is calling us in one direction and away from another. Wisdom calls us towards truth and light and righteousness. We are called away from pride, from envy, greed. The call isn’t always an easy one to answer … sometimes it’s really hard to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge that the problem lies within ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live a wisdom-filled life. I am guilty of following the wrong “truth.” Taking the easy way out, instead of pausing to listen to Lady Wisdom.
Sometimes it’s really hard to hear Lady Wisdom’s voice over all the other voices. We live in a time, place and culture that has a thousand different ideologies and truth claims. It’s not always clear what biblical wisdom looks like anymore.
In social media, like facebook, twitter, pinterest – Proverbs is often used as a modern day fortune cookie.
The front page of this month’s “The Lutheran” featured an article on how society uses the books of wisdom as adages. Some adages are biblical, some are negative and some are just hurtful. But they are words that are meant to shape our lives and offer us a deeper understanding. The trick is to be cautious about what we are trying to understand … are we seeking God’s wisdom? Or something to satisfy our own desires?
When King Solomon originally wrote the book of Proverbs, his audience was young men. His writing was intended to form character and promote values. So … one could conclude that wisdom, being written as a mysterious woman standing on the corner, calling your name was a metaphor for the way a man desires a beautiful woman. This is the same way we are supposed to desire God’s wisdom. He wants us to yearn for and long for His wisdom – His good judgement.
What do you think about when you first wake up in the morning? What makes you get out of bed? What is the one thing you want more than anything else in the world?
I struggle with wanting people to like me. I wanted to be popular in school. There were three girls, who really wanted to be my friend, Katie, Dana and Helissa. But I had decided they weren’t cool enough. I still hung out with them but never really committed to their friendship. Fast forward and I don’t keep in touch with anyone from high school. I don’t think that it’s abnormal, but on the morning Jaden was born, Katie, one of the girls from elementary school came into the room. She asked if it would be ok for her to be the surgical tech for Jaden’s c-section. She spent the next two days visiting with me and holding my brand new baby boy. It was then that I realized how much I had missed out on because I was so busy trying to be popular. My heart desired fame and approval rather than God’s wisdom and truth. The three girls are still friends today. They stood up in each other’s weddings, their children are all friends. I have to admit, I answered the wrong call back in middle school. I rejected a gift that God was trying to bless me with and was seeking to fill my own desire.
My mom tried to offer me the wisdom of recognizing an authentic friendship. I can still hear her saying “Why do you want to be friends with those girls when they are so mean to you?” Or “Dana is such a sweet girl, why don’t you play with her anymore?” But I didn’t want to hear it from her. The value of wisdom can not be taught. It’s something you need to learn from the inside out. Through your experiences and choices.
It’s through our choices we learn that
… wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
The good news is that, Wisdom keeps calling. Lady Wisdom keeps calling over and over again. Scripture doesn’t say that she calls our name once, it doesn’t say she gives up if we ignore her. God keeps calling our name, he keeps giving us opportunity after opportunity.
I heard Lady Wisdom calling me when I met a family in the NICU after the triplets were born. Wisdom told me to pause and have a conversation with this person … and he has blessed me with my new “framily.” They keep me grounded, they are a safe place to go when my kids are scaling the walls. We share holidays and make memories together. They are a true example of what authentic friendship looks like.
What calls from Lady Wisdom did you put to voicemail? Did you miss her call today? Turn up the volume of your ringer, save her phone number in your contact list and seek her out. She wants to share her insight with you …