Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Quest for Complete Ensemble: Aborted

Last Monday, I wrote to you about putting together a complete ensemble for the HaMoreh dinner. I had so much fun writing that post and I had fun imagining my final accessorized outfit. (It should be noted Reader, that it wasn't that I wanted to look particularly fabulous for the HaMoreh dinner, but the HaMoreh dinner just happened to be the excuse for a little self-indulgence.) After I published the post, I went to bed a happy girl.

During the course of the night, those happy, girly feelings must have deserted me, because when morning came, I found more sober company weighing heavily on my chest, shame and regret. I read through my post again. Indeed, I questioned the prudence of my words and could not deny that they gave legitimacy to the cause of my morning companions. I turned off the computer and went about my household jobs and tried to shake off this untimely and unwelcome change of heart. I was, after all, tingling with excitement for my "quest" and after all the trouble it took for me to secure such a mission, one does not want to be hindered by something so intangible as a conscience.

As I went about my day, conviction (although I wasn't ready to call it that yet) wrapped itself around me like a scarf, sometimes just loosely hanging, other times, it was wrapped around my neck again and again, guarding me from the cold of sin. I could think of nothing but what I had written, and the selfishness that had authored it.

Around 1:00, I sat down to do my quiet time. I was not there 2 minutes when tears poured down my cheeks. In that still and quiet moment, I was corrected and led to repentance by the gentle, but firm Spirit of God.

I have been doing so much reading and praying about how to create a godly household and how to demonstrate to Braelyn, with my life, that God is better than any worldly thing. I have been praying for the Words of Scripture to pierce my heart and take up residence there. That I would BELIEVE that His Words are true and live them out. But, somewhere in the course of that weekend, I began giving the seeds of my vanity a little attention. I gave them a little water and a little sunshine and in the anticipation of their bloom I decided to, momentarily, put a bookmark on those holier things. For I was conscious enough to know that I could not pursue both, whole-heartedly.

I knew that the Holy Spirit in me was securing this victory when a hundred Scriptures and quotes of Godly men ran through my mind. None were condemning. All were pointing to Truth, that I don't HAVE to consume, that is for the old self. The new self is satisfied in Christ, no matter how unfashionable she is. Can I also tell you, Reader, that I don't know exactly what this all means? I know for this instance it would have been sin for me to go indulge myself as I had intended to do, for my conscience was quite clear in its message. Will I never shop again? Doubtful. When, then is it okay for me buy things for myself? I don't now the answers to these questions, but thankfully, I have friends with whom I can struggle through these things. I, for sure cannot do it alone.

Perhaps this discourse seems a little dramatic for a pair of wedges and a snakeskin clutch, but this my friends, was a hard lesson for me. Materialism and vanity; these sins are deep and firmly established in me, and when we truly confront sin, I think, it has to hurt, it has to devastate our lives to some extent. And this hurt.

So, by God's grace, I did not lose myself and my senses in a day full of shopping. I wore the blue dress that I showed you, some brown heeled sandals that I already had, and my sweet friend Brandi let me borrow a big wooded bangle, which I do think "completed my ensemble." :) I did purchase a tan clutch purse, as I can honestly say, I had nothing even resembling an evening bag...I hope you don't think me hypocritical. I went to the dinner so relieved that I had not done what I so desperately wanted to do. I would have spent the evening wrapped up in myself and my silly outfit and the work that God is doing in Africa would have been a secondary concern. I was blessed by my time with friends and I was blessed as I heard how the Gospel is more than ENOUGH for people who have nothing and who find everyday a gift.

I'll close with some of the Scriptures that brought me back to holier things. And a picture or two.

* All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:12

* For the love of Christ controls (constrains) us... ~ 2 Corinthians 5:14

* The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. ~ Romans 14:22

* No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and wealth. ~ Matthew 6:24

* Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. ~ Proverbs 31:30-31


Erin said...

I love you and while the content of this post is beautiful, it is also truly written with talent.

Anonymous said...

I think you look beautiful Steph, and with such a beautiful heart as well.

Caryn said...

All I can says is, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised" (Proverbs 31:30). Steph, you are praised!

liz said...

wow...that was cool to read. steph, you barely barely know me, but i hope i can live out what you just described in your blog posting (living out a christ satisfied life that is :)

annette said...

Since you and I corresponded about the shopping bit earlier, I am keeping this comment light...you and Casey look marvelous.

monique said...

I love your beautiful and humble heart, Steph.