Proverbs 14:1: “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.”
Hi, ladies! For the past 9 months or so, we have been busy building our “forever home.” We are building directly in front of where we are currently living, so we have had a front row seat to see the entire process (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Walking through our half-finished house a few days ago and reflecting on the process that was required to get this pile of concrete, brick, and lumber to its current state, a verse came to mind: “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” (Proverbs 14:1). As I thought on this verse, the Lord started bringing more truths to mind about how we, as ladies who love Christ, have such a vital role in our homes, churches, communities, and in reaching our world for Christ. It looks like there will be plenty of good stuff here to last a while, so we’ll camp out on this subject for another post as well. So, grab your hard hat and hammer, and let’s dive in!
Busyness does not equal productivity
Notice in this verse that both the wise and foolish women were actively doing something. Neither was idle; both of them were very busy doing hard work. My husband and I have both been involved in demolishing buildings as well as building our own house and neither was a very easy process. Both tasks took some planning and sweat! The main difference is the end result. Building up leaves a sturdy, useful structure, while tearing down makes a big mess!
We know the very nature of being a lady who loves Christ carries with it endless opportunities for busyness, some productive and some not so productive. The question is this: is what we are doing building our relationships, strengthening our bonds to God and to each other? Or are we actually weakening the very beams that are holding us together? If I were to go through my house every day and take out just one nail each day, before long I would start to see some pretty major problems: the ceiling may sag here, a wall would begin to lean there, and eventually the entire house would succumb to nothing more than a pile of sticks and stone. The same is true spiritually, ladies. If we do just one thing every day that is harmful for our relationships without repairing the damage, eventually, we will tear down our most precious gift. Today, let us consider two areas of action that require a conscious choice in order to either “build up” or “tear down” our relationships.
1. Our words – What we say matters, ladies. Proverbs 18:21 warns us: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” This is a very real and personal problem with me. If I don’t pray every day (multiple times a day!) “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3), this mouth of mine will get me in big trouble! My tone of voice, choice of words, and even my facial expressions hold power to either encourage and edify those around me (most frequently my husband and children), or to send blows that can be devastating and even cause permanent damage. Let’s be vigilant about our words, to build up those who are most precious to us, and not to tear down!
2. Our actions/reactions – 1 Peter 4:8-10 admonishes us to, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Hmmm, could it be that the “hospitality” and service he is referring to could actually include the people who are closest to us, the ones that live in our houses, the ones who spill cereal on the couch and leave their dirty socks on the kitchen counter? Ouch, I’m afraid God’s word has stepped on my feet once more to say that yes, in fact, our finest hospitality and service should actually be given to those He has entrusted to our care daily. So, will I pitch a fit and do the “mad mommy dance” when my two year old accidentally christens the couch with cheerios and milk? Or will I take that moment to show Him grace, the same grace my Father showers so abundantly on me a million times a day? Will I march into my daughter’s room with fire in my eyes, waving the nasty socks and yelling about how sick and tired I am and how ungrateful she must be, or will I choose to discipline in love? Yes, she needs to pick up the bacteria-laden nastiness, but perhaps we could then use the (clean) kitchen counter to whip up a snack together. GRACE, ladies, we all need it; let’s show it!
Above all, ladies, remember to extend some grace to yourself, as well! When we mess up (and we will), God gives his abundant mercy and grace to pick us up and begin anew. He also promises to be right there with us, guiding us for every step. I LOVE this passage; it is perfect for weary ladies!:
“And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)
After much theological deliberation, I have come to personalize this verse for my own journey:
“And the Lord will continually guide you (even at 2 am with a screaming baby), And satisfy your desire in scorched places (I take that in faith as a promise for a long soak in my tub one day – perhaps even before my kiddos are in college), And give strength to your bones (amen for coffee!); And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail (I like to think of the “water“ part as “sweet tea.” If my cup is full, my face is much happier).
In all seriousness though, ladies, keep His promises close to your heart. Are you “building your house” or tearing down? What will you do with the tools God has entrusted you with? The same hammer that is used to join beams together for support can also rip nails out and tear down. Let us be ladies who BUILD! Remember, sweet sisters, as much as you cherish those who are closest to your heart (including little ones who grace your home with chaos and cheerios, sticky kisses and so much joy you think your heart will explode at times), your Heavenly Father loves you more! He is FOR you, dear lady who loves Christ; He wants to see you thriving and happy! So, take all your worries, all your mess-ups, and drag your soul-weary self to the feet of the One who promises to give strength to your bones and springs of living water (ahem, “sweet tea,”) for your soul!
Author: Sarah Blount
Sarah is the Mother’s of Young Children Coordinator and Bible Study teacher at Ladies Who Love Christ Ministries. She is married to Adam and together they have 3 beautiful children: Audrey, Bryce and Levi.