She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
This verse is probably the hardest for me. I know you can train your body to awake at a certain time, but some people are naturally early risers. And I am not one of them!
But as usual, this verse means more than what it says. Yes, it does mean to rise early and prepare for the rising of your family-both physically and spiritually. But this is as much a heart issue as it is a area of domesticity.
Domestically, I do need to be sure my children have a healthy breakfast [or healthy snack for break at school as my eldest does not always feel like eating as soon as she wakes up]. I need to be sure there is something readily available for my husband to eat if he chooses. [Yes, my husband gets up alone, earlier than I do. But he's OK with that. We've tried the getting up together, but there is very little I am good for before 630.]I sometimes make a pan of cinnamon rolls and refrigerate them so a few seconds in the microwave and he has his favorite! Or I make a batch of cheesy sausage biscuits. Or I just make sure his favorite cereal is stocked in the pantry. And don't forget to keep the coffee can FULL!
And then there are her maidens [servants]. Wow. I wish I had some servants some days. But then I was reading here and there in preparation for this verse and another lady [I'm sorry that I have no idea who she is] was also lamenting the lack of servants. And God prompted her, which in turn spoke to me through her writing. I have many servants. And some I do not utilize to their full potential. My servants include but are not limited to: washing machine, dryer, slow cooker, computer, etc. When I do get up, giving a portion to my maidens could include: put a load of clothing in the washer, put food for supper in the slow cooker or at least know what and when I will cook for supper. Then sit down to my computer, which is where I do my morning Bible reading-with my online Bible and e-mailed devotions. Then, when more people are awake, I can be a little noisier and empty the dishwasher.
Of course, as I type this, my sink is full of dirty dishes and my dishwasher is full of dirty dishes, because I forgot to turn it on last night. And my washing machine is empty, though the dryer is full of dry clothing! I have yet to really contemplate supper and it is fully 9:00 AM! But, my husband and daughter got out the door with good lunches and snacks for the day. And I was up to hug and kiss them both before they left.
Domestically, this verse will look different in every household. And today, I am behind-not an unusual occurrence, but one I do try to change daily.
Spiritually, this verse is even harder to apply. Is my attitude one of a servant upon my first waking moment? Is my spirit as that of Christ?
Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
but made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
and being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death...
If Christ, who IS GOD can have a servant's heart towards me[!], then who am I [His creation!] to balk as such an idea of being a servant to my family?
Do I rise [not specifically with it being dark outside] and make sure my family has 'morning fuel' [and 'daily fuel' for those leaving for most of it]? Is my attitude one of being my family's servant? [not slave-I must train my children to be obedient and respectful as well as to do their own chores and to have their own servant's heart] Do I use my 'servants' to the best of my ability and to their full potential [household gadgets]?
And as a side note: much of my daily preparation is done the night before. Because I know that rising before a certain time is more than likely not going to happen. ever. So. After my children are in bed and before I go to bed I try to be sure my sink is empty [obviously there are days that doesn't happen] and the dishwasher is running; and I make sure there is something in the refrigerator ready for hubby and daughter's lunch boxes the next day. And before SHE goes to bed, my daughter's responsibility is to pick her clothing -from socks to shirt and all underneath- for the next morning, and we're working on her making sure her homework is back in her bag after I have signed it.
Let us remember today to ask the Lord for His servant's heart to be alive and working in us. And if we have trouble with the 'rising early' then may we be more pro-active and get ready for the day before we go to bed! [maybe another post another day]
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Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.