Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Devotion from the Song of Solomon #2

SHE- I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents ofKedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark,because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; theymade me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept. Tell me,you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie downat noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks ofyour companions? Song of Solomon 1:5-7

It is so easy for us, as women, to look in the mirror and see a myriad of faults. There are the stretch marks, the lumps, the bumps. Parts of us that are wider than we would like, or parts that sag more than they used to. Maybe our skin doesn’t look as young and vibrant as it used to, perhaps our hair is a terrible mess ~ and is that gray?!? We see all our faults and physical shortcomings and we don’t want our husband to look upon us. We are sure that he must see every fault we do.

But, when our husband looks at us, he is not just seeing a physical form, he is seeing the total woman; the woman that he loves. My husband and I recently went away for a couple of nights ~ a very rare treat. One of the evenings while we were snuggling, I said to him, “Do you mind my ‘mommy body’?” He looked me straight in the eyes and said emphatically, “Honey, I gave you your ‘mommy body’!” When he looks at my body and sees the stretch marks across my belly and my breasts that aren’t so perky, and my hips that have widened over the years, he thinks of his children that I have carried and nursed. He does not long for the girl he married, he is satisfied with the woman she has become.This does not mean that we can go about our days neglecting to pay attention to ourselves. Because I have many responsibilities as wife and mother, ‘the keeper of the vineyards’, I may tend to neglect my personal care, “my own vineyard Ihave not kept!” (v. 6). So then, what are some ways that we can ‘keep our own vineyard’?

Most important is basic hygiene. Am I clean? Have my teeth been brushed? Then, is my hair done? Depending on hair length and texture, this is more than just running a comb or brush through your hair. This could mean pulling the topknot back and fastening it with a barrette or pony holder, or braiding your hair, or perhaps doing some sort of ‘up-do’. The key is that it is neat looking and out of your way as you go about your day.

Next, how am I dressed? Am I dressed in a feminine, modest manner? Do I look neat and attractive or do I look frumpy? I have come to realize over the years that the way I am dressed and whether or not my hair is done has an impact on how I am feeling. It also affects how my husband sees me.

Finally, and at times not nearly as important, do I have makeup on? This is not something I usually worry about on a daily basis, but during my pregnancy with our seventh child, I felt it was important to have a little makeup on if I was going out of the house at all. Toward the end of that pregnancy, even if I knew that my day would be spent at home, I put on makeup. It helped me to feel and look refreshed, improving how my whole day would go.

Ultimately, when we tend to our own ‘vineyard’, we are showing respect to our husband, which we are commanded to do in Ephesians 5:33b: “and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Of course, we shouldn’t forget to put a smile on. Not a fake, plastic smile, but a smile radiating from the joy that is ours in Christ Jesus.

Father God,
I thank You for giving me a man who thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. I pray Father, that You would enable me to see myself through his eyes and that we would experience deeper intimacy. Make me mindful, Father, of keeping my own vineyard. Open my eyes to areas that I am neglecting and help me see where I can make improvements.


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