January 20, 2014
"My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge." Psalm 62:7 (NIV)
They piled high on the living room coffee table: colorfully wrapped boxes with curly, coordinating bows and snappy gift bags with crisp tissue paper peeking out of their tops in anticipation. They accented the festivities as nearly three-dozen friends eagerly gathered for an open house for my friend Thida.
A Cambodian native, Thida met Keith when he was studying abroad in her country. Now married and living in the United States, our circle of friends showered Thida with well-wishes and the heartfelt welcome of an old-fashioned housewarming party.
What domestic treasures she opened that night! New fluffy towels in deep jewel tones, contemporary metal candleholders and spicy-scented candles, kitchen utensils and casserole dishes, picture frames and pots. Ever a soft-spoken and grateful soul, this sweet twenty-something new bride was visually humbled and verbally thankful with each package she unwrapped.
Every so often, she would look at the crowd and utter the same phrase, "Oh ... I want to thank you so much for helping me to shape our home."
We knew what Thida meant. She meant to "furnish" her home, to decorate and outfit it with needed and useful items. However, somehow when trying to get her sentiments across by speaking in English (her second language) the phrase she continually chose was "shape our home."
As I heard sweet Thida utter these words many times that night, it struck a chord within my soul. In essence this group of siblings, aunts, cousins, and grandparents-by-marriage, along with an abundance of new friends, were doing exactly that!
Thida is from a country where, of the 14.5 million inhabitants, only a few thousand claim to follow Christ. Over 95% of Cambodians are practicing Buddhists.
Thida began a relationship with Jesus through the example of an aunt and, although the rest of her family is still Buddhist, this strong woman now loves and serves the God of the Bible. She chose to break from her parents' tradition to begin a new life with Christ. And, aside from her aunt, she had no one who could help her learn what it meant to live as a woman and wife according to God's ways.
Thida made a choice. Rather than choosing the false god of her ancestors, she chose the true God of the Bible. And she and her husband desire nothing more than to build their home and grow a family someday according to the ways of the Lord. And now we, as her circle of support in her new country of residence, will try our best to encourage her in her endeavors; to model a Christian home with our actions and decisions. Yes, you could say in essence that we all have made a covenant to help precious Thida do exactly what she declared—"shape her home."
Do you know another woman who has made a decision for Christ? One who left her former ways to walk in the ways of the Lord? If so, there are eyes upon you, watching, soaking and learning. What will she see? Will you help her shape her earthly home, and her heart's home, with God's truths while building on the foundations of Christ?
Home shaping is significant business. May we all be mirrors that reflect Christ to those who are watching, soaking and learning. And yes...perhaps even shaping.
Dear Lord, may I be ever mindful there are others looking to me for an example of how to shape our lives according to Your ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Proverbs 31 Ministries has partnered with Fashion & Compassion to help women seeking to overcome poverty through economic empowerment. This month we are featuring a handmade bead bracelet with a brass button featuring the words Psalm 62:7. Click here for more information.
Visit Karen's blog for a giveaway of the Refuge Wrap Bracelet.
A Life that Says Welcome by Karen Ehman
Reflect and Respond:
What are some ways you try to weave the Bible's commands into your home life?
How can you help others who are new in the faith to ground their hearts in God, His Word and His ways?
Luke 4:8 "And Jesus answered him, 'It is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve."'" (ESV)
© 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 20 January 2014.