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40701Notes: In Praise of Women

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  • Stephen Hall
    May 18, 2014
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    NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
    May 18, 2014
    "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,                 
    I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.
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    In Praise of Women
               
    Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.  Proverbs 1:8
     
    "Women who fulfill their vocation hold power even over powerful men; such women mold public opinion and prepare future generations.  And so it is they who would hold the power to save people from all our present and impending evils.  Yes, women, mothers, in your hands more than in of those of anyone else lies the salvation of the world."  Leo Tolstoy:The Lion and the Honeycomb.
     
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    My life has been blessed by so many women.  My Stepmom - Jean, my wife - Cathy, her Mom - Bea, her "heart Mom" Nellie Woodfill, my former boss - Joann Evans, our neighbor - Billie Havins, the many precious "sisters" in our church family, the very talented and tireless young ladies God has surrounded me with in every place  I’ve worked, and others far too numerous to mention.  Their presence in my life and influence on it has been no accident.  I believe that each one came into my life as part of God's plan to shape me into the person I am today and the person I will become tomorrow. 
     
    I have as always believed that the Bible account of God's creative act, the forming of Adam first and then Eve out of Adam, provides us with a revelation of how He intended for us to function as a unique species, His offspring, His children.  Neither man nor woman is complete without the other.  We are halves of the whole that is "the image and likeness of" God.  I think all the divisiveness the world tries to create between men and women (i.e. who's better, who's more important, etc.) is a very deliberate effort on the part of the devil to keep us from achieving the fullness of our potential as God's children.  To be all He created us to be.  Every impulse to think that either gender is somehow better than the other is all part of that deception.  He strives daily to make us a house divided, whereas our Father calls us together in oneness as the Body of Christ, each with our unique roles and purposes according to His will. 
     
    As I look back over my life, I can't imagine what it would have been like without the lessons I learned from some very special ladies:
     
    Jean taught me about love.  That I was worthy of being loved.  She loved me even when everyone else gave up on me. 
     
    Cathy taught to trust love after I thought I could never love again.  She is the sweetest and gentlest soul I have ever known.  She loves and cares so openly that she gets hurt often.  Yet, she took the risk of loving me despite the pain in her already broken heart. 
     
    Bea taught me how love can find the positive in each day.  She shared her "light" with all she met, even in the darkest of times. 
     
    Nellie taught me the unfailing quality of love.   She made room in her heart for me right next to Cathy and nurtured us as we became a family.  She made a stranger her son and his children her grandchildren.  She taught us that love will keep us together no matter what life throws at us.
     
    Joann taught me how to be loving outside the "safe haven" of family and friends.  She taught me how to take the risk of being open and caring towards others, even in a work  environment that is closed-minded and self-serving.  She poured her heart into helping others with honesty and integrity in an environment where such virtues are often punished.  She taught me to care more about the hearts touched and the lives changed, than the price that might be paid. I carry her lessons in my heart and into the workplace every day.
     
    Billie Havins taught me how to share God's love with others in the same gentle and simple way Christ did - less from the head and more from the heart.

    Most recently, Teri, Pearla, Teela, and Teresa reminded me that God created us to be team players.  Each of us has a special and unique part to play as a member of His family.  And no matter how bad things look, there is no challenge too big to be overcome if you’re willing to swallow your pride, admit you can’t do it alone, and trust others to share your heavy load.  That also means being ready to use the special gifts God has given you to bless them in their struggles too.  There are no bad days when you are blessed to work with a team like that.
     
    There are so many others.  Past and present, I owe them so very much.  I thank God for placing each of them in my life.  I pray every day that I can share a small measure of what they have given me with others.  Thank you Father for my many Moms, Sisters and dear friends.
     
    Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
    Steve
     
     
    God Talks With His Creation
    (Erma Bombeck)
     
    When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being.  When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. But you, woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate.  I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you. Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity.
     
    From one bone I fashioned you.  I chose the bone that protects man's life. I chose the rib, which protects his heart and lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you.  I modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully. Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man, his heart. His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life. The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart.  Support man as the rib cage supports the body. You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him.  You were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be held close to his side.
     
    You are my perfect angel. You are my beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and my eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes - don't change them. Your lips how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose, so perfect in form, your hands so gentle to touch. I've caressed your face in your deepest sleep; I've held your heart close to mine. 
     
    Of all that lives and breathes, you are the most like me. Adam walked with me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not see me or touch me. He could only feel me. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with me, I fashioned in you: my holiness, my strength, my purity, my love, my protection and support.  You are special because you are the extension of me. Man represents my image - woman, my emotions. Together, you represent the totality of Me.
     
    So man - treat woman well. Love her, respect her, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you hurt me. What you do to her, you do to me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart, the heart of your Father, and the heart of her Father. 
     
    Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.
     
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    Copyright © 1998 - 2014 by Stephen J. Hall  -   Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way.  If you are blessed by them, please feel free to make copies and pass them along to others.    If you have something you’d like to contribute to a future edition or would like to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at: 
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    “Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it!  I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are.  I'll never quit telling the story of your love . . .” (Psalm 89:1-2 The Message)
     


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