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Hello friends, welcome back to Grace From my Home. I'm so glad to be back here with you guys again this week. I hope that you had a great Thanksgiving holiday. We did. We enjoyed ourselves, ate too much and enjoyed our family and some time together. Now we're in that period between Christmas and Thanksgiving and you know that's a busy season, right. So this year is different. It's different for us. Our lives are changing and now that I'm working practically full time and still homeschooling and still trying to do all the other things that you know a mom does, it has brought me to reality that I'm just not able to do it all. And that's not what it's about. It's not about doing it all. You know, it's really easy to watch television or be on social media and see all the things that we're supposed to do for Christmas or for the holidays, and we naturally, when we see those things, we feel expectation or at least I do I shouldn't say we. I do feel an expectation of making things grand and beautiful and perfect, and the truth is only a small fraction of those things do we ever really get around to doing. You know our house is never going to be perfect. You know we're not going to do all of the things all of the time. Sometimes we have to take things in seasons and I'm in a busy season and things are changing and guys, you know it's that's a, that's a catch 22 for me, because I love new things. I get bored easily and I like to switch things up. I like to do new things, like right now. I love getting up in the morning and there's a Christmas tree up, because that makes me feel like something new, something exciting. But at the same time, I love tradition and I don't like to let go of traditions that get that have been a blessing to me and my family. For example, many years, for many years, my family and I, after Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, black Friday, we have always gone out and gotten a live Christmas tree, brought it home and decorated it together and that was our beginning of Christmas. It was like the start of the season and we I've always enjoyed that and the boys have enjoyed that and will pop popcorn. Well, you know, as the years have gone on, we've gotten busier, the boys aren't as interested and that makes me sad. It has made me sad and so I've just had to say you know what Things change, we're changing, we're growing. And last year I was so busy with trying to get the shop open that I actually went out and bought a prelit tree. Oh, my goodness, you'd have thought I had desecrated this sacred art of the Christmas tree, because my kids just could not believe we're going to have a fake tree. And I said, boys, I didn't know a real tree growing up. We always had, we always had prelit trees. But that was hard for them. But I'm going to tell you it made things easier for me because they'd gotten where they were. They weren't interested in decorating the tree, they were watching football or doing something else while I was decorating the tree. So that was that's what happened last year. Well, this year I had to work the day after Thanksgiving, which was hard for them because it just completely knocked out our tradition. But I told them you know, things have changed, we're growing. But I was a little sad. Well, let me tell you what they did. Let me tell you what they did. When I got home, actually on my way home, my husband text me and said the boys have done something for you. So when you get home, act excited. Well, they had gone to our storage unit, gotten that pre-lit tree and put it up for me so that when I got home the tree was up and the lights were on and they were really excited about that. That was their present to me because I had to work that day and so it was a blessing. And they did that because they love me and it really blessed me that they wanted to bless me, if that makes sense. So we have our Christmas tree up and little by little I'm trying to put up other Christmas decorations and I don't have a big chunk of time. So every day they get home from school I've put up a little more and I may not get it all up before Christmas and that's OK, we'll enjoy what we have. But this kind of leads in to what I wanted to talk with you about this week. I saw a meme on Facebook this week and it made me sad. It was a meme and it basically said it showed a lady who was wore out and drained and the caption was this is what, trying to be a Proverbs 31 woman did to me and I thought, oh my goodness, that was really sad to me because God never meant it to be a burden. It's like Christmas. God never meant Christmas to be a burden. Christmas is to be a gift. But we in our competitive selves, in the way that we're always worried about making things perfect or impressing other people or we make things a burden, that God meant to be a blessing. And when I read that meme I thought, Lord, help me not do that, because I love the Proverbs 31 woman. I love her. And I'm not talking about Proverbs 31 ministries I love them too, but I'm just talking about the Word of God. I'm talking about that proverb, that passage in the last part of Proverbs 31 where God talks about the Godly virtuous wife. And I just I want to to encourage you in that today, and I want to just share some thoughts with you today about the Proverbs 31 woman and what she means to me. And to do that, I'm going to start off just by reading a few verses at a time. I won't. I'll try not to read the whole thing too, so I don't lose you, but I'm just going to read a few verses at a time and I'm going to read out of the ESV version, the English Standard Version she is like the ships of the merchant she brings her food from afar, she rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her handmaidens. She considers a field and buys it and with the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard. She's a busy woman, right. She's taking care of her husband, she's taking care of her children. She is planting a vineyard, she's buying land, she's working with her hands and her husband trusts in her. She does him good and not evil. And it goes on to talk about how she dresses herself. It says in verse 17,. She dresses herself with strength and she makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is good, it's profitable, her lamp does not go out at night and she puts her hands to the disstaff and her hands hold the spindle. She opens up her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She is taking care of people and she's taking care of her. She's dressed in scarlet, she dresses with strength. She's looking out to the needs of other people, but she's also taking care of herself so she can take care of other people. When I read Proverbs 31, I know the Lord didn't give us this passage to beat ourselves with. This is not a measuring stick to show us how short we always come up. This is a woman who is living well. She has decided that she's going to live well right where she is. She is a generous woman. She's thinking about other people and at the same time, taking care of herself. And it says she dresses herself in strength. She takes care of herself because she knows if she don't take care of herself, she can't take care of anybody else. She looks out for the people that live in her home. She's making sure they're taken care of. She's starting businesses. Read through that and see how many businesses she starts. She looks at a piece of land and decides if it's a good deal and then, when she buys it, she plans a vineyard and then she's making sashes for the merchants and she says my merchandise is good. And when I read Proverbs 31, I don't see it as a stick to beat myself with. I see it as permission to live well. You know, in the ancient world women were considered second class citizens. They were treated as property. And when Jesus came he changed all that. He treated women with respect and dignity and they followed him and ministered to his needs. He made a place for them and he defended them when others attacked them. He defended women. You know, when the woman the woman who apparently had lived a sinful life came and anointed his feet with precious ointment, the men around her were saying of Jesus, if he knew what kind of woman she was, he wouldn't let her touch him. You know, if he can't be a prophet, I mean, how could a prophet not know what kind of woman this is? And Jesus, he said leave her alone. What she has done for me is good. It'll be spoken about her everywhere. The gospel's preached what she has done for me will be remembered because she did this for my burial. And if he defended her, he said don't give her a hard time. You know she did this for me. So when I read Proverbs 31, I see it as the Lord saying Audrey, I give you permission to live well, I give you permission to try new things. I give you permission to not be limited by what the world and society says you can do. I see potential, I see opportunity in Proverbs 31. And it is not meant to be a burden. It's like Christmas. Christmas is not meant to be a burden, it's meant to be a blessing, but we have to receive it as such and not use it to beat ourselves with. Just to read a little bit more, it says in verse 22,. She makes bed coverings for herself and clothing is her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them. She delivers sashes to the merchant. See, she's got another business going on. Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her. Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all. 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. So see, I see Proverbs 31 as a tribute to women, to strong women, to women who are wise, to women who have their hands to the dis staff. They're working on important things. They're not consumed with idleness and gossip. They're doing the things God has called them to do. They're serving Jesus with all their heart. And Jesus said when we're about his business. He said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. So, guys, if we're feeling a heavy burden, then maybe we're toting something he didn't give us. Have you ever thought about that? If it's too hard, maybe you're doing it yourself. Maybe that's not what he's asked you to do. Let's ask him today. Okay, father, we come to you in Jesus name and I ask you to show us what you have asked of us. Father, we want to be about your business. We don't have time, lord, to be doing things that aren't from you. Show us, lord, the assignments for right now. And, lord, help us to read through Proverbs 31 and be inspired and encouraged, and not beat down and heavy God. Let us see it as permission to live well and not a scale to show how, how much we're lacking. And, lord, I just pray for these ladies who are listening today. I pray, lord, that you would breathe fresh wind into their sails, that, lord, christmas would not be a burden but a blessing, and, and anything that tries to make it so, anything that tries to weigh them down, you'd help them to just let it go and To trust you with all the questions and other things that they don't have the answers to God. I pray the same thing for me and we thank you, lord, for walking with us on this path and showing us the way. In Jesus name, amen, amen.