As I sat across the table from Rebecca, eating the Burmese lunch she had made for us, I was honored to have a chance to talk with her.
Rebecca and her husband were the patriarchs of this whole orphanage network.
I knew they had given up a lot in their lives to take care of these orphans, but I never knew to what extent.
And the chance to sit and talk with Rebecca were far and few between. I had already been to Myanmar four times and still had never had the opportunity to get to know Rebecca on a more personal level.
She was always busy managing the loom house, sewing, cooking, gardening, and much more. Just because our team from America was there, didn’t mean that the demands of the orphanage lessened any.
And I respected that.
I had been intimately studying the Proverbs 31 Epilogue of a Virtuous Wife for a while leading up to this mission trip.
I listened to podcasts of sermons on the passage, read blog posts from women all over, and prayed that God would give me clarity in the verses.
To me, the verses seemed so ancient that I couldn’t grasp the concept of the modern Virtuous Woman.
Until I sat across from Rebecca that day and she told me the story of how she used to feed her family and the orphans.
The verses all fell into place after that.
After that time with Rebecca, I saw the Proverbs passage in a different way and began to ask myself the following questions:
- As a mom, would I do whatever I had to do to make sure that my children were fed?
- As a wife, would I do whatever I could to support my husband?
- As a daughter, would I care for my parents in poor health?
- As a woman in society, would I do whatever I could for a neighbor in need?
- And as a child of God, would I do whatever I could to glorify Him?
Do I pray that my heart will be broken for the things that break His?
As I answered these questions, I realized that, for me, they were all yes.
Of course, I would certainly mess up and make mistakes at times, but my answers would always remain yes.
And I was excited!
I thought: “YES, even Stephanie Lefler can consider herself to be a Virtuous Woman.”
With all of the stupid and sinful things I have done in my life and continue to do, He looks at me with love and forgiveness.
With all of the stupid and sinful things YOU have done in your life,
He looks at YOU with love and forgiveness!
After that mission trip, God revealed to me my mission to create Virtuous Bound.
I love my tagline. It’s simple and incorporates everything that I believe my life is about now!
The imperfect and the priceless pursuit of making life less about you.
How do you make life less about you?
You just start doing it!
It can be as simple as respecting the employee handing you your coffee in the drive through every morning.
Or, beginning to pray for others as you have never done before. If you tell someone they are in your prayers, then pray for them! The more you include others in your prayers, the more you will begin feeling fulfillment in your soul as you concentrate on others around you. Don’t be afraid to reveal openly your dependence on God at home, work, or while grocery shopping.
It means being totally aware of the impact you have on people around you INCLUDING your children. Begin including them on your journey of your pursuit of making life less about yourself.
And finally, engage in other people’s lives. Truly engage.
Ask them about their story and listen to what they have to say.
Look them in the eyes and realize that every single person on this earth is a child of God. We are all part of one family.
By practicing these things in your life, I promise that you will quickly become addicted to your pursuit of making life less about you and more about others.
If YOU are virtuous bound, then join the Virtuous Bound tribe by sharing your email address at slefler.com.
This will ensure that you will automatically receive updates from Virtuous Bound.
Find the rest of the tribe on my Facebook page, Virtuous Bound.
And, connect with other Virtuous Bound women on Twitter, and LinkedIn!
Never really read the Proverbs 31 Epilogue? Perhaps you read it in the past but need a refresher? Download a FREE PDF here.
Sometimes, God calls us to do things that seem totally impossible in our minds.
Rebecca and Peter knew that God had called them to start an orphanage, but that didn’t mean that they had any idea how they would logistically do that.
Proverbs 31:20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
There was no such thing as bank loans and the most their family could do was to support them and cover them in prayer. All they had were the clothes on their back, the shelter they had built, and their faith in God. They had to believe that God was going to provide for them.
Rebecca had just had her first baby girl, Elizabeth. She would carry Elizabeth swaddled against her body all day as she completed the orphanage tasks. Every morning, Rebecca’s sister would take Elizabeth from Rebecca, and Rebecca would prepare to make her way into the city market either in the humid rain or the hot sun.
She would gather her empty rice bags and walk miles to get onto a bus/van that would drive to the market in town. The vehicle was always packed like a sardine can. Some would get a seat, and others would hang on the sides the best that they could.
When she arrived at the market, Rebecca would proceed to walk behind the market vendors and pick through the food that had been discarded as trash. Because the wealthier people in Myanmar would not eat the outside leaves of cabbage, the vendors would discard these unattractive leaves behind them into the trash. To Rebecca, this was the way God was providing her family and the orphans with the food they needed for nutrients and sustenance.
Proverbs 31: 14-15 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
She gathered the leaves in her rice bags and, regardless of the weight of the bags, she would make her journey back home.
Proverbs 31: 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
Once home, her sister would take the rice bags full of discarded cabbage leaves and prepare them for the family and orphans by boiling them and making them into soup. Of course, everyone was always thankful for the soup and eagerly thanked God for taking care of them.
Proverbs 31: 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her
The next day, Rebecca would do it all over again.