I was sixteen and didn’t have my license. All of my friends were starting to drive and we were excited to have this newfound independence. But, my mom wouldn’t let me ride with my friends. She didn’t trust their inexperience and she warned me that I better not get into the car if one of them were behind the wheel.
It was summertime, and my friend invited me and several other girlfriends over for a slumber party. I was excited and couldn’t wait to watch movies, have pillow fights and stuff our faces with pizza and candy.
As we stood in the kitchen, one of my friends said, “Shanda, it’s your birthday and we don’t have a cake!” I tried to quickly swallow my pizza so I could tell her I didn’t mind not having a cake. But another one of my friends chimed in. “Let’s go to the store and buy one! Leticia, you have your license. You can drive us.”
My heart sank. The pizza I had just consumed started to make its way back up my throat and out my mouth. I swallowed hard and managed to keep it in my belly, but my hands started to shake.
What am I going to do? My mom strictly forbid me to ride with my friends if they were driving. I can’t tell them I can’t go. And I’m not staying here with her family alone.
Panic, Terror and Help Me, Jesus!
I decided it was only one trip and my mom would never know. “Please God,” I asked, “Don’t let my mom find out. I promise I’ll never do this again.”
We started the drive to the grocery store, which seemed as long as a drive across the country. I was MISERABLE!! I kept looking out the window anticipating my mom in the car next to me. She knew everything. And if she didn’t know now, she would find out. She just had that talent as a mom.
I can’t remember the conversations taking place in the car. All I can remember is the feeling of sheer terror and panic as every red light felt like an opportunity to be pulled over and yanked out of the car. By who? It didn’t matter. The black cloud of guilt hovered over me and followed my every move.
We finally made it back to the house in one piece. My mom didn’t spontaneously pull up next to us. We made the Funfetti cake we bought, and I eventually calmed down. But I resolved in my heart I would never do that again. It didn’t feel good to disobey my mom and I think the lesson I learned that night will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Do you know why? I had a healthy fear of her. She meant what she said and she followed through. I loved her, but I respected her. She cared about me and I knew it. That was enough for me.
A Woman Who Fears the Lord
Proverbs 31:30b tells us a “A woman who fears the Lord shall be praised.” That’s such a nice verse, but what in the world does it mean to fear the Lord? Does it mean we have to be afraid of Him?
There are several definitions of the word fear. When we hear the word fear, we tend to back off or shy away because it carries a negative connotation. No one wants to fear anyone or anything.
But in relation to God, to fear Him is to show reverence. A person who fears the Lord is one who follows His commands because we know they come with either consequence or blessing. And we know He is a God that follows through and stands by His word.
What Are You Praised For?
I have a little confession to make. And I really don’t like sharing these things with people because I expose my evil heart when I do. But, I like to receive praise for the way I look and the successful things I do. There. I said it.
Here’s what you and I have to come to terms with. It is in our human nature to want to be exalted. Dale Carnegie, the man who wrote “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, said that a person loves to hear the sound of their own name.
We want to see our name lifted up and praised. But Proverbs 31:30 gives us three things a woman struggles with in order to gain praise:
3) Fear of the Lord
Out of those three, only one will actually end in praise.
I used to think charm was a good thing. Didn’t Snow White teach us that? I saw Prince Charming come to her rescue. But do you know what that verse really means? It means we act like something we’re not. We put on a display of outward characteristics that do not match what’s in the heart.
That’s why charm is deceitful.
We want to be praised for our giddy personality, or our over the top sense of humor. But we mask the negative attitude toward’s someone else or cover up hatred with flattering words.
The reason the praise won’t last is because charm is not consistent or lasting. So, the Bible says we cannot use charm to obtain praise.
I’m not going to lie, but this one is hard for me. I get so disappointed when I see movie stars age over the years and realize they are just like the rest of us. This shouldn’t shock me, but it does. I mean, come on Brad Pitt!! Can’t you afford Botox??
But we will only be praised for our looks for as long as we look youthful, vibrant and beautiful. You’ve seen Hollywood do this with their actors. They are so easily replaced with the younger and more talented.
But beauty will not inherit lasting praise. Friend, if you’re like me you’ll have to come to terms with this now. Because we will not have our youthful appearance forever.
Can someone pass me a tissue because this makes me want to cry?
She Will Be Praised?
A woman who loves, follows and obeys God and His word is a woman who will receive praise. Why? Because her life aligns to her conviction. She believes what He says and she walks in it. His ways bring blessings and keeps her from regret.
Just like I knew my mom would follow through with punishment for disobedience and I clung to her words, so we must do with God. And when others see us living out the faith we proclaim, God works effectively in us to influence those around us.
Their response: they sing our praises.
I want to challenge you today to be a woman who fears the Lord. And not only that, be a woman who finds value in fearing the Lord. Because if we continue to act like something we’re not or put all of our investment into our appearance, the praise is going to come to an end very soon. And that will only leave us wondering where our worth comes from.
But if we fear the Lord, people will take notice. And that’s the only kind of life that keeps others singing our praises long after we’re gone.
If you enjoyed this post, take a look at Reflections of Eve and order it on Amazon. This post is from She Shall Be Praised in lesson 6.
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