Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Little Parsonage on the Prairie

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies. (Proverbs 31:10 NIV)

Remember last winter when Maddie got the entire Little House on the Prairie series and we said we'd read them aloud together and see if we could finish them all in 2012? Yeah, well, that's not happening.

Thankfully we live across the street from our town's public library which had the entire series on tape/CD. Since we seem to be in the car a lot we're nearly through Little House in the Big Woods, the first book in the series.

Maddie loves it! She has been asking awesome questions about life in the 1800s. She especially likes when Pa tells his stories to Laura and Mary around the cozy fireplace in the little log house.

I'm also getting a lot out of listening to the life of the Ingalls family. I remember reading some of the series as a child, but as an adult I am viewing the narrative through a different lens.

Laura and Mary are polite, curious, and obedient. Ma and Pa are loving, hardworking, and fair. At various moments in the book, I've found myself wishing I could be a fraction of the parents they are.

Ma is a great example of the "wife of noble character" referenced in Proverbs 31:10-31. This is one of my most visited (and highlighted!) chapters in my Bible. Here are a few selections I find particularly appropriate:

Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value. (Proverbs 31:11 NIV)

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks. (Proverbs 31:17 NIV)

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet. (Proverbs 31:21 NIV)

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Proverbs 31:26, 27 NIV)

I'm particularly fascinated with how Ma, Pa, Laura, and Mary always seem to know what needs to be done in each season. They were so in tune with the land that they merely needed to observe the signs around them. They knew what a "sugar snow" meant, and when the oats were perfectly ripe and ready to be harvested. They knew how to make the most of their garden and preserved everything they could for winter. They were joyful at Pa's discovery of a honey tree and savored every meal prepared from fresh meat.

I find myself wondering how I can apply the Ingalls' simple joy for living and knowledge of the land and seasons to my own life. Country life has certainly changed my perspective. I view the coming fall with excitement in anticipation of beautiful scenery, cozy smells, and good things to eat. I can't wait to see what this land looks like clothed in autumn colors or covered in snow. I am curious to see what harvest will bring, and how the farmers' worried faces may change with the hope of a new spring.

So, in our little parsonage on the prairie, we're trying to enjoy the last warm breezes of summer and impatiently await the first smells of fall. And wait to see what God has in store for us. What an adventure!

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