A NECKLACE TO REMEMBER
(Reflections of Proverbs 1:8-9)
I went to visit my son and his family this past weekend, shades of night greeted my eyes when the quiet beeping from their bedroom alarm began to go off Ö every five minutes Ö reminding me of how different we can be.
Iím one of those people who, once awakened, immediately put my feet on the floor and Iím off and running. Not like this household, that needs to awaken gradually Ö with well-paced reminders every few minutes of a new day about to dawn, reminders that the time to rest is quickly drawing to a close.
At home this morning, it was still quite dark when my internal clock went off. My feet hit the floor, but my eyes werenít ready to greet the light. They often arenít so, not at all unusual for me, I dressed in the dark, jewelry and all. But this morning my fingers fumbled around in the shadows trying to lay hold of exactly the right necklace. I finally gave in, flipped the switch, and voila, there I spied the precise neck adornment I wanted. Grabbing it on the fly, with its matching earrings, I was still trying to put the things on when I hit that switch again. Darkness flooded back, but I was already well down the hall, groping for another switch. I knew what would greet me in that blazing light. A reflection, greatly in need of grace. A little dab here, a little dab there would have to do. After all, bottled grace only goes so far.
That scenario kept playing in my head later this morning when I turned once again to Proverbs 1:8. Wisdom knows His creation well. At heart, the best of us bear a bit of vanity, that concern about appearance. It hasnít changed over the centuries. And the Fatherís heart still speaks into that realm with an honesty that catches me up this morning.
I stand before that mirror, ready to adorn myself, and Iím stopped by a Voice filled with deep yearning, speaking words borne in love.
ďMy son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of they mother.
For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.Ē
The Hebrew brings a depth simply absent from the English. The father isnít addressing just anyone. His heart is full, burgeoning with love and concern for the one who is a builder of the family.
In my Fatherís eyes, thatís who I am. I bear His name. Iím family. He entrusted that building of the family into my hands. Moreover, in my role as builder, I must build truthful to the foundation He laid, adding only accurate reflections of the Father-Architect and His careful design.
Am I left to figure out on my own how to do that? Never. A blue-print comes with the sonship. Not directives hanging like a ball and chain, confining, choking, holding me in a bondage-like cell, keeping me caged.
My Father holds out to me carefully crafted ornaments. Ornaments of beauty. Ornaments with me, with the beauty He sees in me, with the beauty He yearns for me to reflect, intricately crafted by His own hand into every aspect of their design. I donít have to purchase them. They are mine, paid for by my Father. He asks only that I wear them Ö always.
Again, the Hebrew beautifully reveals the Fatherís heart.
Ornaments imply something attached to the wearer Ö having become a part of him. The expression in the NIV phrases it this way: Ö a garland to grace your head Ö not merely resting on, but woven into the hair. A weaving that is beauty itself, the beauty our Fatherís instruction, His directions for living.
I readily admit, the phrase chains about thy neck appears, at first glance, a little daunting. But we place necklaces around our throat all the time. Why? Because they enhance our appearance.
I donít know about you, but one of the things I find about wearing a necklace came home to me so clearly this past weekend. My daughter-in-law, after the children went to bed Saturday night, spent several hours designing two beautiful necklaces. One for my three-year-old granddaughter, the other for my grandson who would be turning two the next day.
In the morning, when presented with the necklaces, how their eyes glowed.
ďMommy, mommy, please put it on me!Ē Sweet words to that motherís ears who, working so diligently, designed them each a gift filled with a measure of her joy.
And all day long both sets of little fingers would be found at their necks, tightly twined around the necklace made just for them. They never tired of feeling its presence. Never tired of showing that work of love to everyone they met. With every touch, with every reminder of its presence, those little faces glowed.
Such is the message in the Hebrew. Godís word, the Fatherís instruction, wraps around our throat in rumination Ö drawing us back, just like my grandchildrenís little fingers, to feed on it repeatedly. The nourishment in its presence never diminishes, adding deeper and fuller beauty to the child He loves, the child who willingly wears the Fatherís gift.
Thank You, Father, for opening my eyes to the beauty of Your instruction. As You hold out the ornaments of Your word, like my grandchildren, let my heart eagerly say, ďPut it on, please, put it on, Daddy!Ē Grant me the grace, LORD, to hold tightly what Your hands so carefully designed for me. A design bearing life Ö true life Ö the only way to abide in You. Graced by Your gift, I hear You whisper, ďBeautiful! How beautiful you are, My cherished daughter.Ē