Welcome the first installment for our reading group! Not only am I excited about (finally!) reading this book, I am excited that you are reading it with me. Books are better experienced together. Yes, experienced. I believe that if we take to heart the admonitions from Martha Peace to trust God and obey His word, then reading her book could be a pivot point in our lives. Turning the last page could be one of those moments that we do not forget — a marker for when we radically changed in our thinking of what it means to be a godly wife. But it starts with chapter 1…
The Excellent Wife: Who Can Find?
Martha Peace begins by sharing her testimony of how she came to faith in Jesus Christ. Though she knew many facts regarding God and Jesus, she did not have a relationship with Him. His word had no place in her life and she did not want it to have a place in her life. Unable to find satisfaction through her career, her family, or partying, she developed a plan to leave everything behind and be “free.” God, however, sent three people into her life who used His word to convict her heart. Over time, she became increasingly uneasy and anxious to the point of having panic attacks. In a last, desperate effort to avoid “being hauled out of the house in a straight jacket,” she met with a pastor, began attending church, and she began reading the book of John. As a result, she confessed her sin, repented, and woke the next day with a profound understanding that she was no longer the lord of her life, but that she would submit to Jesus as Lord.
God has dramatically changed Mrs. Peace over the last fifteen years. She is eager to admit that she is not the perfect wife, however, God has given her “a deep desire to be the wife that He wants [her] to be” (emphasis mine). One key point to understand is that God has a will for every wife. “That’s the purpose of this book — that you might first consider what it means to be an excellent wife and then faithfully commit yourself to that end, so that you will become the wife God wants you to be.”
Using Proverbs 31, Peace creates a visual with the traits of the excellent wife (see page 5). The center of the flower are the words, “The Excellent Wife.” Each petal is a different trait. She emphasizes that each of these “excellencies” can be developed in EVERY Christian woman. “These traits are given in Proverbs as general truths. Any Christian woman who knows and obeys them can become a godly woman, an excellent wife!” How can she make this claim? Because 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that God, through His divine power, “has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
Our only problem is sin. But God has provided the help we need in His son, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, when we believe on Him, God sends us the Holy Spirit to help us to obey His commands. This means that we are without excuse. No matter what our reasons may be, we women have no excuse for not becoming the women and wives God commands us to be.
I read this chapter three times. The first time (three weeks ago) I thought, “Yeah, I already know all that.” The second time (last week) I found one or two important points to ponder. The third time (last night) I thought, “This woman is really getting up in my business.” Words that I didn’t really notice before jumped off the page. Words like, “every,” “any,” and “when.” This woman of excellence stuff is for every woman who calls Jesus her Savior? These traits can characterize any woman? The third time I read through the list in Proverbs 31, I noticed that I was mentally checking off the ones I do and “won’t” do. I realized that I’ve known this list for so long now that I had excused myself from a couple of them. After all, my husband isn’t complaining. One point Peace brings out, however, is that it’s not really about us or our husbands. My desire should be to develop those characteristics because it is part of God’s will for me as a wife, and because they glorify Him.
Martha writes that we “can become what He wants [us] to become if [we do] what He wants [us] to do.” This statement reminded me that we become by doing. If I want to become a triathlete, then I have to run, bike, and swim. If I want to be a woman of prayer, then I have to pray. If I want to be an author, then I have to write. If I want to be an excellent wife, then I have to start obeying God’s word. It’s going to take discipline.
The final point that jumped out at me on the third reading is that God wants me to make my ministry to my husband the primary ministry of my life. I have never been encouraged to do this. It hasn’t been a pull toward a career, but ministering at church that has done me in. I have always been encouraged to minister somewhere besides my home. In fact, I vividly recall times when my husband needed me to do something (or the kids needed me at home), but because of my obligations at our church he had to do for himself. Or because I was so busy serving at church, my responsibilities at home fell by the wayside. I can see an immediate point of application in this. I have to be discerning when it comes to making ministry commitments outside of those God has given me right here at home.
The good news is that Jesus stands ready to forgive me. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins ans cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He also promised to help me obey Him in the future. “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever, that is the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because he abides with you, and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).
Now it’s your turn. I want to know what you thought of chapter 1. You can leave a comment and/or link to your own blog-post. If you write a post, please link back to this one so I can find you.
We’ll meet back here next Friday for a discussion of chapter 2, A Wife’s Understanding of God — God’s Protective Authority.
Women who’ve shared on their blogs:
- Shawnda at Spirit of Adoption
- Melissa at Breath of Life
- Lisa at Lisa Writes…
- Kelly at A Spacious Place
- Rebekah at Sweet Tea with Lemon
- Chris at Come to the Table
- Lisa at Blessed
- Tonia at The Sunny Patch
- Alee at Soli Deo Gloria at Home
- Jane at Much Ado has written A Gentle and Quiet Spirit
- Linda at His Household
- Amy at Another Day in Paradise
Keep reading! Click for Chapter 2.