Saturday, September 26, 2015

iron butterflies

My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old - things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.  We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.  He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. (Psalm 78:1-7)

This week I have been scanning old photographs into my computer in order to go completely digital.  It's amazing to see all our family pictures, some dating back to the early 1900's.  Pictures of my parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and my great-great-grandparents, not to mention all the siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  WOWZA!  That's a lot of generations!  To God be the glory!

My family is made up of immigrants from both Sweden and Germany who settled in the Midwest region of the United States, mainly Chicago.  The men in our family bravely fought at war as well as worked in occupations that both physically and intellectually contributed toward the betterment of society.  The women of our family, whom Momba and I like to call the "Iron Butterflies," lived demure lives while encouraging strong family ties, promoting education, maintaining frugality, and overseeing the happiness and productivity of their homes, which also extended into their church communities.  

Yesterday was National Daughters Day.  To celebrate, Momba took me out for a late brunch where we spent our time discussing the role models that God has blessed us with inside our family.  Particularly, we targeted in on the beautiful Iron Butterflies - some who came before us and some who still live among us.  Those whom God has used to teach us what a Christian lady looks like.  Those who have uplifted and encouraged our entire family throughout the years.  Each woman we highlighted, both young and old, brought their own individual style and strength to the table.  Each woman was uniquely important to us.  In truth, I can't even begin to share the infinite lessons learned from these lovely, godly women whom I will always, always cherish and be indebted to.  What blessings they have been to everyone in our family!

As we reminisced, I said to Momba that each of the Iron Butterflies (some still living, some whom have passed on into Heaven)... each are truly treasured gifts from the Lord.  Valuable gifts, that perhaps, we didn't always identify early on in our lives.  How gracious our God is to teach us through the wisdom of our elders; through the experience and love of those we unknowingly take for granted in our youth.  From these beauties, I learn about life... about the Lord... about His love.  Better than Coco Chanel, more gracious than Audrey Hepburn... the Iron Butterflies showcased the beauty of Christ.  They shared the benefits of simplicity and frugality.  They introduced manners, class, order, respect.  Some physically gorgeous, and some merely cute as a button... but all well-groomed, stylish, gracious, and unarguably beautiful inside their heart.  When they spoke, it was usually well thought out and benefitting to others.  When they worked, it was always to serve and help as best they could.  When they rested, they relaxed inside a home where they had already set the tone - in comfort, unity, worship, peace, faith, hope, love.  But the greatest of these was always their love!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

As I consider each and every Iron Butterfly in my life, I am teary-eyed.  I love these gorgeous women so much and am forever in awe of them.  I am so grateful that the majority of my family members are Christians who believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.  What a difference His presence brings in our day-to-day!  How wonderful the atmosphere, the heart, the hope these role models share... even in the worst of moments... even in the hardest of times.  Jesus was always present in them.  Jesus is always present in us!  Hallelujah to our King!

What a blessed gift is Christ's love showcased in real-time by the hearts and hands of those you grow up depending upon.  Such love shapes everything.  It touches everyone.  It lasts for generations and generations to come.  Glory to God Most High!

And this brings me to today...
This makes me consider my own heart, my own home, my own style and speech.
What is my attitude toward those around me... to those closest to my daily, routine moments?
What legacy will my life produce?
Will I be an encouragement?  A servant?  A classic?  An Iron Butterfly?
Will Jesus be highlighted in my every breath, every movement, every space and place I occupy?
Oh, I hope so!

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18)

Lord, today I ask that you use us daily for such a worthy purpose as to benefit your eternal family.  That you turn us into treasured gifts, into true blessings that positively touch all the lives that we encounter.  Always help us to consider how much our words and actions impact those near.  Always oversee our thoughts and take control of our steps so that we travel constant on your path.  We wish to live madly, passionately in love with your glory.  Hopeful for your future.  Helpful for your cause.  Continue to bring us into your new - as devoted women filled with your Spirit. Allow our lives to be instruments that only play your beautiful truth, kindness, goodness and love.  For the greatest thing we can share is always, always your LOVE.

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others.
Love is not self serving.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil.
Love rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Love always perseveres.
Praise the Lord, His love never fails.

Lord, I ask that you clothe us in your graciousness and strengthen us in the wisdom of your holy Word. We too, wish to become Iron Butterflies who soar in service of YOU.  Teach us your love, so that we might love like YOU.  So that Jesus is evident in us... in me, precious Savior.  All glory is the Lord's forevermore, in every generation to come!

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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