If I asked 100 people to define that word, I'd probably get 100 different answers.
I've been picking apart a passage from Psalm 128 this week. It speaks of the blessed who walk in His ways. Of wives who are like "fruitful vines."
Fruitful. "Parah," in Hebrew. Meaning a flourishing woman. A woman of increase.
This is where my heartbeat quickens.
I want to be a woman of increase.
Not increase of possessions. Seriously, I couldn't care less about that. I don't need more things. But how desperately I want to be a woman who flourishes, who yields INCREASE of the things that matter.
I want to increase the number of prayers spoken over Justin. The number of petitions I make on his behalf. To ask for specific increases in his walk with Jesus. Increase of faith. Increase of his acknowledgment of Jesus. Increase of opportunities to encourage those around him.
I want to increase my children's knowledge of Scripture, thus increasing their knowledge of the very armor that covers them as they go out into the world. I pray for increase in their assurance that they are more than conquerors through Jesus who loves them. Increase in opportunities to shine their lights. Increase in the impact they will make in this world as they pass through it.
I want to bring increase of hope to friends who are hurting. Increase of alleviating their heavy burdens with a timely word or action. I want increase of understanding of circumstances I may never have had to encounter. Increase of walking alongside. Increase of being available.
And I want to have the wisdom to sidestep anything that may instead lead to DECREASE. Unhelpful words that do nothing but tear down. Unwise spending that means we have less to invest in what is forever-lasting. Wasted time that leads to wasted opportunities. Decrease is such a tragedy when increase is a possibility.
And yet we are called to decrease while HE increases (John 3:30). So how do we reconcile the two? Well, I believe that as we seek to be increasers, to be adders rather than detractors, we are making much of Jesus and less of ourselves. We seek to increase, THAT HE MAY INCREASE AND WE MAY DECREASE.
And I'm not alone in this desire to be an adder. All around me, every day, I see women pursuing increase. The lasting kind of increase. The impactful kind of increase.
Jesus, strengthen us to be fruitful women. Flourishing women. Women with their eyes fixed on the expanse of Your kingdom.
Make us women of increase.
"The wise woman
builds her house
fortifies her house
restores her house
but with her own hands
the foolish one tears hers down."
"The house of the upright will