The excellent wife who is like her? It is scary isn’t it? The virtuous and successful woman in Proverbs 31 did so many things right. She had a good relationship with her husband. She had children who boasted of her achievements. She cared for the poor and found ways to help the needy. Her family had all they needed when times got tough. She knew a thing or two about how to use money to make more money as she started with a small business and grew it through a series of iterations until she was an internationally known businesswoman.
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Could she really be a role model for us?
See what I mean by being scary. It seems too much too steep a learning curve or is it? The problem is we need to grow into being such a woman. After all, you would not expect a five year old to be able to carry out the same tasks as a ten year old.
If you asked a five year old to pick up and carry a shopping bag that contained 2 packets of flour and 3 packets of sugar they would not be able to do it would they? Wait five years and give the same child a bag with the same things in it and they will be able to carry the shopping bag. By the time they are ten they will have grown and gained enough strength to do what they could not do when they were five.
The virtuous and successful woman in Proverbs 31 grew into that role. She did not just dive in and learn to swim. No, she developed her skills and gained experience as she went along. There is no way that she could act like a mature businesswoman when she was a young wife. It was a journey becoming a virtuous and successful woman.
Could we really achieve all that she did?
It gets worse though as so many of us have had bad experiences that could be seen as disqualifying us from ever being seen as a virtuous or successful woman. Crumbs I know that one. After 26 days of marriage, I was wondering what on earth I had done. I stuck it out and tried to make it work for 26 years only for Prince Charming to decide that his life would be better without me in it.
Looking back it was probably the kindest thing that he ever did for me. It gave me a chance to put the past behind me and start again. I could put what was a spectacular failure behind me and create a new life for myself. I might have failed to become an excellent wife but I could have a go at being a virtuous and successful woman.
You might not have been as an outstanding a failure as I have been but the standards set by the Proverbs 31 woman seem so high that we wonder if we could ever reach them. She seems to have done everything right yet we find it a struggle to get one thing right. OK, she had some advantages such as a husband who had enough sense to trust her and support her. Then she had some helpers.
She knew a thing or two about hard work. Nothing new there as the Bible says more than once that diligence is a virtue. She had a good relationship with God and was able to seek out His help to do things in the best way. That makes sense as the Bible says that it is those who know their God who will do exploits. The Bible even reminds people not to forget God when they are successful because it was the power God gave them that enable them to succeed.
Maybe it is actually possible to be like the virtuous and successful woman. But we struggle to believe it. In fact, that is where the real problem is. If we cannot see that something is possible we will struggle to do what we need to do to grow into that role. It seems as though there is nothing that we can do so we give up and stop trying. If we stop trying, how will we ever become like our role model? The chances are if we stop trying to go forwards then we will start going backwards.
How do we go forwards?
One of the questions that I had was not just how do you handle money wisely but how do you explain important biblical principles about money to others? The answer to that question came from an unexpected direction. I read Proverbs 31, sort of accidentally, and found idea after idea about how to handle money in that passage.
I was shocked. It was the last place I expected to able to use as a resource for ideas about money. Yet here was idea after idea arranged in a sequence. She started small. Well, that fits in well with one of the cornerstone principles of God’s Lily Training. She knew a thing or two about the five dimensions. There was hard work leading to perspiration. Embarking on new ventures again and again. Her relationship with God enabled him to import good ideas to her. She recognised her abilities as she made clothes for others. In terms of initiation and knowing who she was, she was sure enough of who she was to be able to go out into the marketplace.
That was just the starting point. I realised that some of the other writing that I have done through the years fitted together with these ideas. So I gathered it together and set up a library for those who wanted to journey with me to become a virtuous and successful woman. Looking through the library I realised that some things needed to be brought up to date. After all, some of the stuff I put in this library had been written or even just updated 6 or 7 years earlier and times had changed.
The oldest items that were put in the library were the Food Storage and the Surviving a Household Emergency materials. They were first prepared for websites that were created in 2001 or was it 2002. Whatever the actual date, they were first written a long time ago but the basic ideas are the same. It was just a case of reading through them and checking that any essential revisions were made.
The materials that were once called Developing a Spending Plan have become Your Money Plan as they were updated and adapted to fit in with the changes in my own attitudes towards money.
Blossom with Lily is a bit more up to date and needed a lot less adaption. What was obvious though is that a good part of the original Blossoming materials had been raided and included in the Find your Purpose Love your Life materials. These were first written to help those who were trying to make a new start. Well, that is something that I have learnt a thing or two about. The thing is that the Proverbs 31 woman was successful because she used the skills and opportunities she had. It is the skills and opportunities that we that help us determine our purpose.
It is going to take a bit of time to bring all these resources together and make them into actual online courses. The basic reading materials are there but the extras that make them into online courses will need to be added to them. However, to get the ball rolling God’s Lily Training is offering discounted memberships at £10 a month.
You get the chance to shape and improve what is offered by giving feedback. After the first 20 people, the price for new starters will increase. Your subs will not increase providing you remain part of the first cohort. If you drop out and rejoin you will become part of whatever cohort we are up to when you rejoin.
A bit of tax evasion can be a good idea
The last thing God’s Lily Training wants to do is to get embroiled in collecting VAT on behalf of the taxman. It is complicated, time-consuming and generally a big nuisance being an unpaid tax collector.
There is a something that can be done to avoid it and that is to add as much live and interactive content to the programme as possible. There are a variety of methods can be used to do this and in the early stages, there will be tests to find out which ones people are comfortable with. Amongst the ways this can be done are
- making it possible for people to add comments on the course materials
- setting up an email group
- having discussion forums in the membership area
There is one thing that I will definitely do i.e. use a teleseminar system to create live audios. A teleseminar, for the uninitiated, is a cross between a telephone conference call and an online seminar. You can join in by making a phone call or by going to the right webpage. The end result is that you will be able to hear me talking. Depending on the ability of the system used it should be possible to answer your questiosn live.
Years of experience with listening to teleseminars has made it obvious that it is important to record these live audio sessions. It is quite possible that those who want to listen could be doing something else at the same time as the call, possibly even sleep. Yes, sleep as this type of call has been used by Americans who make calls during the evening, their time. Not so bad if they are using eastern time because 7 pm their time becomes midnight UK time. The problem becomes when they use Pacific time and 7 pm their time becomes 3 am UK time. Listening to a live call at that time of the night takes some commitment. Understandably many from different time zones prefer to listen to recordings rather than live calls.
This is a learning curve so it will take some time to get into a routine. However, some of the things that work well on teleseminars are
- training sessions that add to or clarify the online courses
- question and answer sessions
- case studies or testimonies from other members
One thing I know is that there is the opportunity to listen in live as well as the chance to participate. Even if this means sending emails rather than asking questions on the call itself.
It is going to take some time to work out what is best for this programme. God’s Lily Training needs people to join in and help improve what is on offer. To be honest, God’s Lily Training is practising what it preaches i.e. start small and test what works then build on what works.
As you probably guessed when you heard the idea of avoiding tax this programme is not free. However, the first few people who join the programme will only be charged £10 a month for as long as they are part of the programme. If for some reason they decide to leave and come back again they will be expected to pay whatever the new level of subscription is.
If this interests you then sign up below to join me on this journey.