"Meanwhile, one of the young shepherds told Abigail, Nabal's wife, what had happened."
I Samuel 25:14, The Message
"Peacemaker Or Opportunist"
"The world is terribly apt to take people at their own valuation."
Amelia B. Edwards
What value do I place upon myself?
How do I feel when others try to assess my worth?
What value does my heavenly Father place upon me?
"I do not want to die….until I have faithfully made the most of my talent and cultivated the seed that was placed in me until the last small twig has grown."
"Be true to yourselves; cherish whatever talent you possess, and in using it faithfully for the good of others you will most assuredly find happiness for yourself, and make of life no failure."
Louisa May Alcott
(April 11, 1868)
She was the beloved author of one of my favorite childhood books called, Little Women. It's not surprising for me to find that while Louisa May Alcott wrote such a beautiful book about the relationships we as women forge in home, family, and community, that she, herself, was what I call a centered woman - - someone who knows and understands who they are. Someone who will boldly lead when called and will follow with humility if needed. Someone who faces adversity with a smile and handles success with equal grace. This is why Louisa May Alcott could tell women, "Be true to yourselves."
If there is a theme that acts as a rubber-band which surrounds our devotionals for the next few weeks, it is this, "Be true to yourself." This is the all-encompassing lesson I have learned from the life of Abigail.
As I've read everything I could find that has been written or spoken about this woman, I was rather surprised by the potential controversy some people tried to dig up in analyzing the behavior and life of Abigail. As a general overview, I would say that some scholarly theologians referred to Abigail as a peacemaker while others thought she appeared to be an opportunist who recognized a great deal when she saw it.
Here in Transformation Garden, I'm beginning our study on Abigail by asking you to come with me on a journey back to ancient times, back to the desert and the region of Carmel where Nabal and Abigail lived. It will be in this wilderness that the beauty of Abigail will unfold before us. To limit Abigail to being only a peacemaker or to trash her reputation by suggesting she was out to get herself a new man, completely misses the picture God has painted in Scripture. This narrow view is like taking the painting of the Mona Lisa and removing her from the picture yet still calling the painting by the same name -Mona Lisa.
What we will uncover as we study about Abigail is that she was a complex woman - just like you and I. Hopefully, as we peel away each one of the many layers that made Abigail who she was, we'll find out that many of the women in our own lives aren't just one-dimensional characters who lack any vivid color. Instead, by looking at Abigail we'll begin to understand and see revealed the beauty that not only resides in other women, but within ourselves as well.
I love these words penned by Lynda Maraby which help us better, especially as women, to begin to understand that each one of us is part of God's grand plan. And like Abigail, while for a time, our wilderness home may seem like a trap that holds us back from all we are and can be, just as in Abigail's life, so there is in your life and mine a design - God's design. But there's even more, there's a schedule for our lives, too. Lynda Maraby calls her poem, "Workshop of God," and here's her descriptive language:
"Like a lump of clay, soft, malleable, without definition the act of creation renders us other than indefinite. At the center of this workshop, at first invisible within the liquid that cradles us, both slowly and with speed we grow from the beginning, a being known and preordained in secret with our own special name and with a mission to achieve."
This is what we will find out happened in Abigail's life. No matter the desert wilderness you find yourself in, you were created by a Creator who preordained you also to achieve all you were meant to be. And no Nabal and no wilderness should ever be allowed to hold you down or hold you back.
"One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar." Helen Keller
The Story of My Life
"Eternal God, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver, the Source of all that is and that shall be, Father and Mother of us all, Loving God, in heaven, awaken us with Your Holy Spirit, and preserve us from the temptation to stay comfortably asleep; encourage us to proclaim our authenticity, and preserve us from a false accommodation to the world, breathe into us Your breath of life, stir us up into activity, and preserve us from the inertia that leads to oppression; open our eyes to the promises in creation, open our hearts to the love and example of Jesus, open our ears to the persistent whisperings of the Holy Spirit, and preserve us from a sense-deadened existence…remind us we are made in Your image…instill in us the pride of our heritage…Above all, gracious God, give us the grace to hear Your word to us and the courage to claim and act."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P. S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.