Category Archives: Ruby Tuesdays

Ruby Tuesdays: a Mighty Woman (part eight)

“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” (Proverbs 31:16).

To be honest with you (and what profit would there be to be otherwise?), I don’t think I have it in me tonight to write much of anything, especially worthy words pertaining to the P31 woman. Today has not been filled with many self-titled shining moments. Today has been a “get through” kind of day. You know the type … when just “getting through” feels like a huge accomplishment all on its own.

I’m almost there … almost through and ready to put the punctuation on this day of frolicking chaos. But before saying goodnight, I wanted to take a moment and give our “mighty woman” a final look to see if she might have anything to say to me before sleep has her say over me. And without warning, wouldn’t you know it … she does—have something to say.

Thus, taking her cue, I’m going to follow in her footsteps and try to implement one of her defining characteristics. I’m going to consider this field. I’m going to take possession of it, and out of the overflow of my heart, I’m going to plant a vineyard. Hold on; I think the planting (via a word study) to be worthy of the fruit in the end.

Consider. The Hebrew word zamam meaning “… to consider, to purpose, to devise. This verb derives its meaning from the idea of talking to oneself in a low voice, as if arriving at some conclusion. It denotes the action of fixing thought on an object so as to acquire it.”[i]

Field. The Hebrew word saday meaning “ … a field, oftentimes defined more descriptively as an open field. The noun is used to describe pastureland in which flocks of sheep were fed. The word is also used to describe a field or a plot of land that was normally unfrequented and in which one could meditate without being disturbed.”[ii]

Earnings. The Hebrew word periy meaning “fruit, produce.”[iii]

Buys. The Hebrew word laqach meaning “to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring.”[iv]

Plants. The Hebrew word nata meaning “to plant, fasten, fix, to establish.”[v]

Vineyard. The Hebrew word kerem meaning “…a vineyard, an area where grapevines and their fruits are grown and cultivated intensely.”[vi]

A mighty woman, a woman worthy of a ruby’s bestowing, is a woman who houses an unseen hope and a “yet to be realized” possibility in her heart. She doesn’t just let an open field pass her by. Instead, she considers it. Talks to herself about it; fixes her thoughts on it, until she can almost taste the fruit of its vines as it passes from her lips into her soul, filling her needful longing.

Out of the overflow of that longing, she moves heaven and earth to lay hold of it and to subsequently fasten her dreams within its soil in order to cultivate its promise with all the intensity and expectancy of a pregnant woman waiting for the fruition of a nine-month laboring.

A mighty woman sees the end, even before its beginning. She cannot accurately determine the unseen bounty of the harvest, but she senses that it’s going to be good. That it’s going to be more than it was at the outset, and, most importantly, that it was hers to seed and to grow regardless of the yield.

Each and every day, friends, God presents us with an array of open fields. Untouched and undisturbed pastureland is waiting to be tilled by the possibilities and visions that we hold dear within our hearts. Your field may present itself differently than mine. God tailor paints a blank canvas according to individual preferences, needs, and giftedness. The field which you consider purposeful and ripe for the planting is meant to stir your obedience toward the relentless pursuit of purchasing, planting, and cultivating it through deliberate intention.

We cannot all harvest the same pastureland. What benefit is there in following behind and stepping over one another’s work when there is still so much open ground available for the taking? Today, perhaps even in this moment, God is presenting your heart with an unfrequented parcel of land in need of your attention. The desire to fasten yourself to its cultivating pulses within your veins until you can almost taste the fruit of your hard laboring.

What are you waiting for? What keeps you from taking that ground and walking its breadth and tilling its soil and cultivating its growth? Are you scared? Are you tired? Are you complacent? Are you lazy? Are you afraid that when you arrive on the other side of harvest time it won’t look like much … won’t harvest as amply as you intended on the front side of a dream?

I suppose you could choose to do nothing–to keep your earnings to yourself and to hold out for a time that seems to house more promise as to the outcome. But whoever sows sparingly, reaps the same (2 Corinthian 9:6), and sameness is not what God is after in the life of his children. He created us for his kingdom and for the pilgrimage of a great and consecrated commission that leads others to walk the same.

Thus, consider the field before you this day. For me, it’s been this empty computer screen, awaiting my words and hoping for an end product that yields something more than what it was at the beginning—a blank page. What it was an hour ago, was less than what it is now. What it’s worth? Well, I don’t hold that determination. God does, and in some smaller measure, you do as well.

This is my heart’s offering to you. I considered its availability. Out of the overflow of my heart, I took hold of it, fastened my intention toward its cultivation, and now I leave it in your lap for your contemplation. I pray it fruitful toward God’s higher purposes, including the purpose that he intends for you to walk this week. Thus, I pray…

Thank you, Father, for a night’s prodding that leads me to consider your timeless teachings and effectual words. Your Word is true and is everything that I need to live a godly and consecrated life. Give me the willing heart to receive your invitation to open fields this week. Give me discernment to know which ones you intend for my hands and which ones are better left to someone else’s. Sustain my heart for the harvest, even when the outcome seems unlikely and “less” than what I envisioned. Keep me faithful to the cultivation Lord; keep me faithful through to the end. Let the sowing of your grace within my heart be the storehouse from which I sow my offering for your kingdom come. Amen.

[i] Baker & Carpenter, entry for “zaman,” The Complete Word Study Dictionary OT (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2003), 294.
[ii] Baker & Carpenter, entry for “saday,” The Complete Word Study Dictionary OT (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2003), 1104-1105.
[vi] Baker & Carpenter, entry for “kerem,” The Complete Word Study Dictionary OT (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2003), 3754-3755.

Copyright © May 2009 – Elaine Olsen

post signature

Please join us over at Refreshmoments for more Ruby Tuesdays’ posts. Also, if you would like to read my previous Ruby Tuesdays’ post, you can do so by clicking HERE. Shalom.


Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part seven)

Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part seven)

“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.” (Proverbs 31:14).

In 1957, my mom walked across the stage of Bob Jones University and received her degree in “home economics.” You heard me … “home economics.” She would later go on to share her wealth of wisdom with less than appreciative junior high and high school students. She wouldn’t teach long, at least not within the walls of a school building.

But today, some fifty years down the road, class was, once again, in session. Mom still teaching; a student still learning. The classroom? Her kitchen. The subject matter?

Freezer jam.

Strawberry jam. Jam that’s been rolling around on my taste buds for the past thirty years. I suppose that I should have learned her techniques earlier. Heaven knows, I’ve been ringside to the canning process on multiple occasions. But rather than learning her secrets as my own, I’ve been content to simply “borrow” from the fruits of her labor and to stock my freezer accordingly.

She’s always been willing for me to do so. That’s what mother’s do … feed their children, at least they should. My mom has been faithful to that doing for forty-three years now. I can always count on her to give me her best when it comes to both the bounty of her table and the overflow of her heart. She is generous on both counts.

Mom has always had a knack for making the most out of our dining table. Undoubtedly there were seasons throughout my growing up years that required her creativity alongside a fledgling budget. Meals were always balanced with ingenuity and, on occasion, were beautifully decorated by some extras. But the jam? It was always in ample supply at mealtime.

I am thankful for that. We all need some staples in our lives—some things around our nightly tables that can be counted upon to be in attendance. The main course might vary, but the “sure and the certain” should remain. Why? Well, because we are a people in need of some sure and some certain.

When we arrive at the end of our “9 to 5’s” and gather up our “empty” for the “feeding”, it’s good to imbibe the comfort of some certain. A mighty woman … a woman worthy of a ruby’s bestowing … is a woman who brings some sure and some certain into the lives of those who sit under her influence.

She searches for it; watches for it. Runs to the market for it; banks on it. The intention behind her labor springs from a heart that understands that her table serves better when it is dressed with the comfort of certainty.

My mother gave that to me; she still does. She did so today as she watched and hovered and taught and sowed some of her wisdom within the soil of my understanding. Every now and then, I saw a glint in her eye; I certainly heard it in her voice. There was something insistent and purposeful about it all, and I was blessed to sit under her tutelage.

After the process was finished, I found a scrap sheet of paper and began to write down all the “extras” that weren’t scripted into the recipe. Extras that add to the mix and make for a better outcome. Extras that belong to a mother’s wisdom and a mother’s love that are willing to share tips and secrets and “how to’s” for the dressing up of an extraordinary table. Extras that I hope to one day share with my daughter when, in a season to come, she sits in my kitchen to receive her heritage—

the sure and certain of a family’s faith that’s been sitting down at the table of grace every night with the sure and certain of some jam alongside.

Jam and Jesus. An acceptable conclusion to a day’s doing. An ample seeding for a night’s rest.

May it be so for each one of us this day. Thus, I pray…

Bring us, Father, the sure and certain of heaven’s wisdom and truth as we gather our hearts in worship around your table in this hour. Teach us for we are stubborn in our learning. Show us for we are blind in our seeing. Sow into us all of your extras that make our lives shine with the witness of having sat under your tutelage. Thank you for bringing us your “food from afar” and for feeding us with all the tender care of a Father’s great love. Strengthen our hearts to mirror the same for our families, our friends, our country, our world. Amen.

Copyright © May 2009 – Elaine Olsen

post signature


PS: Please join us for more Ruby Tuesdays’ post over at Refreshmoments. We’d love to see more participation. Mary explains it all over at her place. Also, the winner of Celia Whittler’s “One Wish for You” is skoots1mom. Please send me your snail mail, and I will get your book/cd to you in swift order. Shalom.

Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part six)

“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20).

I carried them last night.

Four names, scrawled onto a scrap sheet of paper just minutes prior to my departure. Four of your names representing four different requests … four different pains … four different hearts from four different homes. Four lovely women in need of one thing…

A great big God who loves them individually and who is well pleased to receive their names and requests before his throne.

I took them there … carried them in my hands and cradled them tenderly during the entirety of our nightly revival gathering so that I wouldn’t forget; hands are a good place to keep things when forgetfulness is our portion. Why?

Because we depend on them; we use them with almost everything that we do. Thus, when I shook hands in fellowship, when I opened up the hymnal to sing, as I cradled the Word of God, and when I bowed my knees at the altar in prayerful pause, I was deliberate in my remembrance of the four lives that I carried within the palm of my hand.

It was my privilege to do so. When lives behind the names are in need, and my hands are tied as to how much I can “do,” then opening my hands up to receive them for my prayerful consideration seems fitting … feels good and walks better.

I can go about my day, occasionally thinking of names; perhaps even scheduling some times of specific prayer therein. That too, is a fitting discipline for the life of a believer. But when needs are pressing in, when the weight of a world’s intrusion falls heavy and full upon a brother or a sister, sometimes the cause of Jesus Christ is better served by dropping our agendas and by picking up the needs of the brokenhearted … immediately.

Not tomorrow. Not when life slows down or becomes more manageable, but now. Today. The twenty-four hours that lie in our wake. Going into a day, we cannot foresee the needs that will present themselves to us, but we can be sure that they will … present themselves. Our goal in that moment of their arrival is to pay attention, to receive them as our own, and then to fill our hands with a doing that will seed eternal rather than temporal.

That seeding plants in a variety of ways.

Fixing a meal.
Working the carpool line.
Making a phone call.
Writing a note.
Running to the grocery.
Sitting bedside with a loved one.
Sitting beside to a stranger.
Wrapping a need with a hug.
Folding two hands in prayer.

Regardless of the doing, a “mighty woman”—a person of noble character worthy of ruby’s bestowing—is a person who fills his/her hands with the needs of another and who can be trusted with their worth.

Needs are worthy of more than our casual commitment and pleasant platitudes. Needs are worthy of our trust—our reliable convictions that lead us to active participation rather than passive inactivity.

Thus, I carried them last night. Four names. Four of your names to the gathering of the saints in eastern North Carolina, where not only our hearts were revived, but also where your names were presented before the King for his good and holy consideration. Your needs were carried; your needs were heard. Your needs were received by the One and only God who can best service your heart in this difficult and uncertain season.

Some of you have carried my name to Jesus in recent days. Some of you have “picked up” on a few of the signals via my writings and called me to let me know that are cradling my heart before the Father (thank you Sassy…). Some of you have sent e-mails, said some prayers, and have taken me seriously when I asked for your consideration.

You bless me by your sincerity. It is more than I deserve, and yet it is exactly as God intends.

We are the body of Christ; our hands were meant for the helping, for the receiving, and for the carrying of one another’s burdens. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the times when you have carried mine. It brings me joy and peace to do the same for you. Thus, I pray…

Show me, Father, how I can help my friends. Keep my hands and my heart open to receive the needs of others as they present themselves. Give me the wisdom and grace to willingly embrace the gift of their trust and then keep me mindful of that trust as I go and as I do. Thank you for placing my life within the palm of your hands; may I always be found faithful in leading others to your embrace. Amen.

Copyright © May 2009 – Elaine Olsen

post signature


PS: Join us over at Refreshmoments for more Ruby Tuesdays’ posts. Let me know how I can pray for you today.

In addition, I wanted to let you know about our blogging sister, Denise, who recently lost her blog, “Teacups and Time” for some unknown reason. Can you even imagine that, friends, losing your blog? You can find her at her new address, A Sacred Longing. I know she’d love a visit from friends, new and old.

Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part five)

Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part five)

Join us today over at Refreshmoments for Ruby Tuesdays! Add your own post to the mix and link accordingly. To read my previous posts, click here.

“In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.” (Proverbs 31:19).

Distaff and spindles.

A calling, friends, if ever there was one. Why? Because it requires the use of both hands and a full attention therein. Spinning fibers into thread is a skilled and ancient art form … a gifting that exceeds our casual and over the counter purchases of fabric. Fabric roots back to the thread. Without thread, no blankets, no garments, no coverings of soft and tender to wrap our flesh and our need.

Modern technology has made the progression from wool to yarn an easier reach; but you’ve got to give it up for those who possess the capacity to create a tapestry through the giftings and sole intention of their hands. For those who have enough vision to see the end before the beginning. For the rare few who have the capacity to weave the unusable into something substantial.

Our modern approach to the finished product holds little interest to the weaver of ancient tradition. Instead, what matters to the weaver is the craftsmanship that exists to bring about the fruition of a hard day’s labor … a life’s long endeavor. To hold the distaff and the spindles and then to couple them in unison to create a thread that will serve a greater purpose is the lifeblood and heartbeat behind a weaver.

Indeed, a calling of supreme and everlasting significance.

As it is with the weavers of an ancient thread, so it is with a mighty woman. Thus, a question or two as it pertains to the holdings of your hands.

What boasts the grasp of your fingers this day? What distaff and spindles have been entrusted to your hands? What is the tapestry commissioned to your tender care and intention? What artistry has been assigned your life? What weaving is yours alone for the lacing?

We’ve all been given one. A gift. A treasure. An unusable holding assigned to us for its reshaping into something of worth. Mine doesn’t necessarily look like yours; yours could never perfectly fit into mine. Yet all are worthy as it pertains to the embroidering of an eternal kingdom.

From the very beginning, our gracious God has been working it out through the likes of you and me. For some reason beyond reasonable sense, He’s allowed us the gift of sacred participation … of adding our own colors and schemes and fanciful whimsies into the mix of a greater purpose. Through us, He seeds the full spectrum of a sacred and unified kaleidoscope.

It may look like chaos to us, but through His eyes and because of His imagination, the giftings that He has allowed our hands, paint a perfect portrait of a faultless to stand before the throne kind of finish. Accordingly, who would deny Father God the privilege of seeing his many threads weave together to unite as a beautiful fabric?

I don’t want the guilt of God’s objection. Instead, I want my hands to know the fullness of the distaff and the spindle that have been specifically designed for my grasp. I want to be one of the rare few who are able to imagine the end, even as I begin to weave my “unusable” into something of worth. I don’t want the fast forward approach of modern technology to rob me of the joy that comes from an intentional and, sometimes, challenging participation.

Instead, I want the satisfaction of holding a finished product that has come about because of a willingness to fill my hands with the business at hand. God’s business, not mine.

That, my friends, is a calling. When we take hold of all of that for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of us, we cradle our life’s long endeavor that always weaves substantial and that continually breathes with all the providential hope and joy of heaven.

Distaff and spindles. What’s in your hand this day?

Weave it well and with all the craftsmanship of a mighty kingdom participant who understands the truth of a sacred holding. Only you can spin your gift. It is your privilege to do so. Thus, I pray…

Show me the worth of my hands, Father. Fill them with the truth of your giftings for my life. Forgive me for thinking it not enough … not worthy of my intention or my time. Whatever treasure you place within my hands, give me a deliberate heart to tend to it with the finest service toward your kingdom end. Thank you for trusting me with a part of your perfected tapestry. May I always be found faithful to weave my portion in willing accord with you heart. Amen.

post signature

Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part four)…

Please join us over at Refreshmoments for more Ruby Tuesdays’ posts. Feel free to write your own and link up. To read parts one – three of my series, click here.

“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” (Proverbs 31:15).

Do you get up while it is still dark? I don’t, at least not intentionally. There are some days, though, when I come fairly close.

Like today, when my alarm clock came early. It didn’t “beep” me awake. It “pounded” me to my senses. The culprit behind the pounding? Little feet heralding their arrival to a new day as they made their way down the stairs with all the bright and bushy of an ardent squirrel.

They were “set” on go. I was “set” otherwise … on going nowhere. Nevertheless, I swung my legs over the left side of the bed (not an easy feat for a woman growing ever closer to 43), and quietly whispered the penchant of my weary flesh…

“Jesus, help me.”

Nothing more, nothing less, but, undoubtedly, the best greeting I could give to my day. When my children awoke this morning, they awoke to very little as it pertained to their mother’s early morning preparations. No bacon and eggs frying in a pan. No freshly folded attire laid out for a day’s wearing. No previously packed lunches.

No, when my kids greeted this new day, they did so with a blank slate waiting to be filled and with a momma who wasn’t quite feeling up to the task of participation.

I’m not an early riser. I’m a night owl. I go to bed while it is still dark, but rarely do I intentionally rise before the sun finds her place. Nights are the times of solitude in my home. After beds have been turned and teenagers have found their quiet, I am finally able to drink in some moments of devotional pause with my Father. I go to sleep with Jesus on the brain. He is the last one I think about … the last one I talk with … and the last breath I breathe before I say good-night to my world.

Accordingly, He is almost always the first One I think about when the abrupt of a new day announces its arrival. After the kids have been cared for and shuffled off to school, I often return to the confines of my comfort, grab my Bible and a good devotional read that sits beside. Those moments afford me the luxury of re-aligning my thoughts with God’s thoughts for the day. And while my routine probably wouldn’t make the best seller list for how to “do life” with Jesus, it works for me.

And lest we get “stuck” in our own ideas of how to best orchestrate a devotional life—that somehow we hold the market on the perfect approach to discipleship—we need to be willing to see our lives with Jesus beyond the compartmentalization that so often accompanies our well-structured faith.

Doing life with Jesus is not about when we wake up in the morning. It is not even about what we wake up to do with our day. Being a mighty woman—a woman of noble character and worthy of a ruby’s crown—has nothing to do with our doing. Rather, it has everything to do with our being—what we wake up to be everyday. And what we wake up to be must precede what we wake up to do if our doing is to have any lasting merit.

Cooking breakfast and folding laundry and the accompanying “to dos” that so quickly crowd our 24/7 isn’t the stuff of everlasting significance. Indeed, they are our necessary, but they don’t grow us in our faith. What grows us is our decision to be someone beyond our perfunctory checklists. Prior to our ever doing anything, we must settle on our being but one thing.


And once that’s settled, once we’ve arrived at the conclusion that our life’s work revolves around the heart of servant discipleship, then we are more readily able to approach a day’s agenda worth of doing. It matters not the task that falls to us; what matters is the heart behind the task. It is a heart that is prepared to be many things to many people because it has been shaped by the hands of a God whose sole intention is on being all things to all people.

We simply stand in the flesh to be the witness of what He bowed in the flesh to become.

A servant. A foot-washer. A heart-cleanser. A least of these among the least of these in order that the Greatest of these could be seen, could be felt, and could be tasted at the deepest level of a needful grace. What Jesus came into this world to be was decided for Him long before He came into this world to do. And that doing?

Well, it’s everything to us as believers in the sacrificial work of the cross. Without the “doing” of the cross, we are left as is … without the hope and promise of God’s better. But Jesus’ decision to be that sacrifice … to wake up every morning in a posture of submission to the will of His Father … well, without that decision, there would be no cross. No week of remembrance. No rolled away stone, and no Easter celebration.

Doing a day’s work and doing a life’s mission is rooted in a decision to first being God’s servant. And if we’re going to “do” anything of worth for the kingdom, then we must do so from a heart that is convinced about being completely His. Otherwise, our deeds sow temporal and in selfish isolation.

Being God’s is a decision that I make prior to a morning’s arrival, while it is yet dark. It is a choice that goes to sleep with me and that wakes me up with the same. The Truth that slumbers within me is the Truth that walks next to me as I go in and out of my next twenty-four hours of agenda. I don’t want to have to wake up and set that in concrete. I want it cemented in my heart prior to my eye’s awakening.

From the rising of the sun, to the setting down of the same, I want to be God’s girl. Then and only then, am I better equipped to do God’s work.

Being over doing. It is the way of a sacred heart. It is the preceding choice that mandates all others. At least it should. Thus, may our being God’s this day serve as the guiding light that sets our agenda for our doing and that keeps us in a reverent posture as we go.

It’s both the least and the best that we can be for Jesus. As always,


Copyright © April 2009 – Elaine Olsen

error: Content is protected !!