Several of my dearest and bestest have mentioned to me this book recently: Jen Wilkin's Women of the Word. It's been raved about in my well-loved circles, it's Gospel Coalition approved, excellent in ambition, and beautiful in just about every way. I read it last year and was super inspired and motivated by it. Of course I want to be a woman who soaks in and is stained by this Word, whose blood pulses the Truth of it, whose Joy is sung loud from all the praise and promises of it. I want to be a woman of the Word.
And I love Jen Wilkin's heart, her teaching in this book, her example in these pages and in the audio teaching and other resources she's made available.
But.... I think there is caution to be heeded in the trendiness of a even a very good thing like this. We can make this method LAW. We can make it a sign of godliness to have the outline, the hours of study, the commentary, the package deal ready to deliver. We can make the Word be a thing that We Do, that's about Us Being Good, that marks us as being Super Good....
All this would not be what Wilkin aims to encourage in her book, but it can become the way we (or I- if I'm the only one?) regard it as a standard for ourselves. It can be where our well-intending Christian culture takes it.
When we were waiting for our firstborn's arrival, a dozen people urged me to not be too hard on myself if I couldn't have daily devotions- surely, motherhood is hard enough and if you don't get time in the Word, don't sweat it. Only one voice spoke straight to me then: "Don't miss your time in the Word no matter what. You'll never have strength to make it as a mom if you try to go at it apart from His strength." So true.
At least for me, if being a woman of the Word meant that I must consistently plan and strategize and study the Word methodically, I would fail miserably and maybe never crack it in the first place. I would have been done in with my inability to even try to achieve such goals early in our parenting years when I had 4 kids 5 years old and under, continents and oceans away from family to help out.
And now I feel like I'm at the bottom of the ocean of homeschooling these four and I can't keep up with their lessons or mine or what's next or what else? There's major burdens right outside our door right now, and plenty more in our own hearts (and hormones! Ten and eleven years old - and the fall at every age- is TOUGH!).
I have to return to the command, "Delight yourself in the Lord."
To the promise "Blessed is the man (and woman) whose delight is in the Lord and who meditates on it day and night."
To the comfort "If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction."
To the example "My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!"
To the prayer, "Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will keep it to the end."
For me, the constant pace and path of life has got to be waking to the Word and working it into my soul. Yes, yes! There is a place and a need and a time to study deeply. But if that's not your every day- as it isn't for me- then let us keep our hearts near still and filled with and fueled by the Word.
Read....Revelation 1:3 says "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it..."
Wait... Interesting that Scripture (Isa 40:31) commands us to Wait on the Lord to be the ones that He renews with strength. Oh to sit still before Him and rest our souls in Him, being thoughtful of His Word, considering His faithfulness and goodness and promises, remembering His love, enjoying His song that He sings over us.... This sounds like a good part to being a woman of the Word.
Meditate... Keller's book on prayer has a life-changing chapter on meditating on scripture. Oh to be a woman who meditates on the Word- who lives it and loves it and knows it in every fiber of her soul.
Memorize... How fun to keep a "Treasure Box" of all the verses we've memorized in homeschool. For too long we tried to memorize a new verse a week but I had no plan for reviewing past verses. We've come to love a simple filing box system of reviewing new verses daily... and then once memorized, moving the verse card back to Even or Odds (so the card will be reviewed every other day) and once it's solid there, move it back to Weekly review) and then back to a the filing dividers for every number day of the month. So each day you review the verse cards in daily, even or odd, and the number of the day of the month (and we do weekly review on Wednesday- if we hit the mark!) It's become a joyful hobby for me to hopefully get our verses written out in my best handwriting, and to speak them aloud to myself, pray them aloud over our kids, call out for others to say them with me while I'm cooking, recite them in the car.... This is how we are loving the Word together, how we enjoy it, cherish it, treasure it...
Sing... and oh yes, this! How magnificent that our Father Creator God commands us to SING, to sing to Him, to sing the Truth of His Word... This is the anchor my soul needs, the hope my eyes need to lift up to see, the medicine my heart needs to feed on for joy. Singing aloud the Word makes women of the Word.
and LIVE... "Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and truth." (1 John 3:18) Matthew 25:34-46 also warns us boldly not to forget that living out our love for the Lord means living with His heart for the people around us.... Lord, fuel us with Your Word, to love the world.
Let's not forget all the many ways we've been commanded and helped to delight ourselves in the Lord and in His Word. There's more than just thick and thorough studying....
Make it true of us, Lord: "My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word!" Psalm 119:81 Make us women of Your Word!