Bridal Shower Devotional for Leah

by Amanda Evans

I'm thankful to have you as a sister, Leah. It's been fun watching you and Ryan grower closer together and I think he's the perfect man for you. He seems to value the same sorts of things you do and will help you build the family you've always dreamed of. Eli and I are especially happy that he lives close and isn't planning on taking you off to some distant land. We are looking forward to lots of little cousins for Joshua and Baby and sharing books and curriculum.

I had three simple things I wanted to tell you. You've heard lots of wonderful advice over the years and I don't have the wisdom of Doug and Nancy Wilson, Debbie Pearl, Aunt Connie, and all the rest, but I have heard their guidance. These are some of the things that seem important to me after a couple years of marriage and I'm writing them to myself just as much as to you.

First of all, be a woman of the Word. I don't know how many shower talks we've heard that have reiterated the importance of reading the Bible and one of the first chapters of Nancy Wilson's book The Fruit of Her Hands stresses this point. In the Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis, Aslan gave Jill three signs by which he would guide her in her quest. He told her to memorize the signs and know them—to say them to herself when she woke in the morning, when she lay down at night, and when she woke in the middle of the night. Having such a thorough knowledge of them was important because they would not look as she expected them to look when she met them in Narnia. She couldn't be too busy trying to remember the signs when she was supposed to be recognizing them. This is a metaphor for God giving us His word. We are to write them on the tablets of our hearts and talk of them when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up. In preparation for marriage, you will get lots of good advice and you've probably read books full of wisdom about marriage. But after you get married, you must review this wisdom constantly because the application will look different than you will have imagined. You must know God’s will and be continually learning it so that you will know what to do and how to behave when trials or conflicts come up.

The second thing I wanted to say comes from Proverbs. "A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." (Proverbs 27:15) Here in Oregon we know exactly what kind of rainy day the author of Proverbs is talking about. Whenever I get that kind of cold that causes my nose to drip, drip, drip, no matter how often I blow it, I say that my nose is being like a contentious woman. It's easy to let the cares of the day settle like a little black rain cloud over your head so that you walk around the house drip, drip, dripping. But husbands don't want a rainy day or a runny nose for a wife. Instead of being like the contentious woman, be like the wise woman who builds her house (Proverbs 14:1) and is the crown of her husband (Proverbs 12:4). Use your words, actions, and countenance to build Ryan up and empower him to be the dominion man God designed him to be. The way you interact with him has an incredible impact on him. Either he will be like the husband in Proverbs 31 whose heart safely trusts in his wife so that he can sit in the gates with the elders of the land, or he will be crawling off to a corner of the housetop just trying to get away. Don't lose your sense of humor and your ability to laugh at things that others take too seriously because "a merry heart does good, like medicine," (Proverbs 17:22) and will cure that drippy nose.

In the third place, I wanted to remind you of something we've both heard before, but it becomes much more important once you have a home of your own. What does Aunt Connie tell us to say when we see another load of dishes? Wise women say, "Cool!" when they see another mundane task that needs to be done. Believe me, it sounds cute and catchy here in the comfort of someone's living room surrounded by pretty gifts and good friends on their best behavior. But when you go from a houseful of siblings whose job it is to do the dishes to a whole house that won't get clean unless you do it, saying "Cool" is the last thing you think of when you see that sink-full of dirty dishes, again. Doug Wilson, in his chapter on the kitchen in My Life for Yours says this:

"The constitution of a biblical home consists of faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love. Love is not to be understood as mere sentiment, but rather self-sacrificing obedience to the Word of God—with a whole heart. This can be quite an elevating and inspiring concept until there are dishes to be done....

"What is the kitchen? If you look at it one way, it's a place of endless preparations, punctuated with periods of dealing with the aftermath, by which I mean the cleaning up. But we have to keep in mind constantly that the Christian faith sees such service as a form of exaltation. Faith that works in love…is not faith that seeks out the limelight. When we serve one another in love, we come to learn that God has designed the world to work in such a way that the majority of the time, we don't get the credit we think we deserve. Self can work hard, but it chafes under the biblical way of working hard. Love gives it away. And when everyone in the family loves—the kind of love you see in a Christian kitchen—the effect is glorious."

Life is made up of mundane tasks like dishes and laundry and dusting and vacuuming again and again and again. But Doug Wilson's point is that, in Christian faith, we should see such service as a form of exaltation, a chance to serve one another in love and glory in service in obscurity. That's what the Christian life is all about: giving "my life for yours." Besides, since so much of our time is spent on these tasks, we might as well do them cheerfully. Otherwise we will spend a lot of our lives grumbling, dreading, postponing, and complaining.

In conclusion, be a woman of the Word: constantly study the "signs" that God has given to guide you on your quest. Review all the good advice you're receiving now as you prepare for marriage in a few months and again after a year, because the application will look different than you expected. Instead of being like a drippy nose that will drive Ryan to hide in a corner of the housetop, use your words, actions, and countenance to be a crown to him and to empower him to be more than he ever thought he could be. And finally, glory in service in obscurity, as you do all the mundane little tasks that make up housekeeping, living the Christian way of giving "my life for yours."