Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer Stories: Proverbs 31 Woman

Pride, Despair, or Surrender?
A guest post by Autumn Macarthur

Have you ever compared yourself to other people then felt inadequate or second-best? I admit I have! far too many times than I should.

Other girls at school, especially the ones who had the coveted 36 color pencil set in the metal box when I had the cheapest possible set of 12 in a cardboard box. And the ones who could speak and sing in front of the class when I was painfully shy and choked up every time.

Then there was my sister, so much prettier, with beautiful long black hair and darker skin, while I had gingery hair and freckles. So much more talented at things I had zero talent for, like drawing.

In my teens, comparing went into overdrive. Who was prettier? (Nearly everyone - I had terrible spots!). Who had more friends? Who did the boy I was crushing on like better than me? Becoming a Christian didn't change the comparisons, just changed the things I compared. Who had read more of the Bible? Who was the better witness? Which camp counselors brought more of their cabins to know Christ?

Though I grew out of the spots, I didn't grow out of the comparing!

But comparing ourselves with others carries risks. It can lead to jealousy or despair. Judging ourselves harshly, we can give up even trying. Or we may think we're doing so much better than those we compare ourselves to, giving an unhealthy sense of pride and complacency.

Neither is what God intends for us!

Comparing can be a positive thing, done right. Having role models further along the journey than we are can teach us. As an author, I learn so much from the way more successful authors do things. As a Christian, I learn so much from other Christians who are bearing spiritual fruit in their lives. We can celebrate others’ successes, rather than feeling less than.

In my story Imperfectly Proverbs 31, Samantha Rose has a big issue with comparisons. All her life, she's compared herself to her mother and sister, both gifted homemakers and Proverbs 31 women. Unlike her, who flunked Homemaking 101. She's given up on trying to cook or keep house. That's why God invented pizza places, right? And a tomboy like her working in IT doesn't need homemaking skills, anyway.

Until she's forced into homemaking when she agrees to care for her sister's five-year-old twins for the summer!

Suddenly, Sam needs a crash course in cooking. But more than learning how to bake the perfect pie, Sam needs to learn that God has given us different abilities for a purpose. She isn't less-than because she has talents in some areas but not in others. In His eyes, we're all equal. Equally valued, equally loved.

She needs to learn a real Proverbs 31 woman isn’t a woman who excels at everything. She’s a woman who says "Yes" to God.

Any time we find ourselves comparing, we can hand any unhelpful emotions over to Him, trusting that He has a loving plan and purpose for every single one of us. He created us as we are for a reason. And His reasons are always good, even when we can’t quite understand them yet!

Read Psalm 139:13-14 (The Voice):

For You shaped me, inside and out.

You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.

I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, 
filled with wonder and awe.

You have approached even the smallest details with excellence.

Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.

Author Bio:
Autumn Macarthur is a USA Today bestselling author of clean Christian inspirational romances with a strong touch of faith. If you love happy-ever-afters, sweet romance, and Hallmark movies, chances are you’ll enjoy her stories!

Originally from Sydney, Australia, she now lives in a small town not far from London, England, with her very English husband (aka The Cat Magnet), and way too many rescue cats for their tiny house! 

A recent addition to the family are two guinea pigs. For such small creatures, they have amazingly huge personalities.

When she’s not feeding cats, she hand sews, reads, and most of all she writes heartwarming stories of love and faith. With every story, God teaches her the exact same lessons her hero and heroine need to learn to commit to their forever love.

She’s also blessed with a chronic health issue that has changed her life in the way it limits her. It hasn’t been easy, but she’s come to give thanks for the gift hidden in the illness — the way it’s taught her patience, brought her into a greater dependence on God and given her a far deeper appreciation of His love and provision.

Book Blurb for Imperfectly Proverbs 31:

To help her archeologist sister, geeky Samantha Rose agrees to swap her black T-shirts and diet of pizza and ice-cream for a pretty apron and a summer caring for her adorable twin nieces and their Newfoundland dog in Huckleberry Lake, Idaho. How hard can it be?

When Perfectly Proverbs 31, the blog she starts to reassure her sister, unexpectedly goes viral and everyone believes she really is a wonderful homemaker, Sam reluctantly needs to keep up the pretense. If she doesn’t, she risks ruining everyone’s summer. The girls’ over-protective grandma will surely swoop in to take them away from her.

Forced by his boss to interview Sam then take a vacation, a month at the lake with nothing to do but write a fluff piece is burned-out city crime journalist Daniel Novak’s worst nightmare. But he finds her surprising and delightful, as her attempts to impress him with a picnic go horribly wrong. Time with Sam could restore his lost faith in people — and in God.

Can Ms. Klutz-in-the-Kitchen transform herself into a Proverbs 31 woman in time to stop him from revealing the truth about her blog? And what will happen to their growing love when he does?

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