Maidens of Virtue:
A Study of Feminine Loveliness for Mothers and
Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in
the fear of the LORD all the day long. For
surely there is an end; and thine expectation
shall not be cut off.
Once upon a
time, a kind and wise Gardener created a
beautiful garden—a sanctuary of splendor with
lush, deep green foliage and rich, colorful
flowers of every shape, scent, and size. A
lovely trellis spanned a cobblestone path,
filled with dreamy-scented roses of the softest
texture and deepest hues.
Along the quaint
path were fragrant herbs, carefully chosen and
planted so they would work and grow well
together, all with different textures and
shapes. Some had long, soft, feathery leaves;
others were full and spiky; a few were bushy and
short. Nonetheless, each one had its own unique
beauty and purpose in his garden, and the sight
and scent of the choreographed blend made it a
treasure to visit and brought great joy and
satisfaction to the Gardener.
Next to the
beautiful garden was a rock quarry, gray and
cold. The flowers by the fence nearest the
quarry began to turn their faces down toward the
rocks on the other side and wonder what it would
be like to be strong and smooth.
It was true that
rocks had no roots, but the flowers did not
really care about roots. Who could see those? It
would be much nicer to be big and strong so
everyone could behold their powerful shape.
As they gazed
upon the gray lifeless rocks, the flowers began
to covet the rocks’ strength and coolness. They
grew discontent with their purpose and design
and began to despise the beautiful colors and
delicate leaves and petals with which they were
adorned. No longer were they satisfied with
their own simple beauty. The wayward flowers
rejected their delicate leaves and vibrant
colors and instead wished to be made of
stone—desiring only the strength, weight, and
power of the granite. These errant flowers
became known as the Fence Dwellers.
Dwellers began to rip off their beautiful petals
and leaves and refused to produce seed. After
all, the rocks did not produce seed, so why
should they sacrifice in such a selfless manner?
The Fence Dwellers covered themselves in clay in
order to hide their vibrant colors. Soon they
began to crouch low to the ground, trying
desperately to resemble the rocks they so deeply
As the older
herbs, ivies, and bushes that lived farther
inside the garden began to notice the strange
behavior of the flowers, they laughed. How
foolish the flowers looked: barren of petals,
covered in clay, attempting to be something they
But soon, the
new seedlings within the garden began to listen
to the stories of the Fence Dwellers. And as
they grew, they too tore their own delicate
petals and dusted themselves with clay—halfway
up their stems; they were not yet as daring as
the Fence Dwellers who were tempted daily with
the sight of the rocks.
The young plants
desperately wished they could uproot and live
next to the quarry like the Fence Dwellers so
they too could see the magnificent boulders and
witness the impressive strength of stone.
the boldness of the Fence Dwellers and the
stories they told the younger plants of the
garden caused a strange spirit of yearning
throughout the yard . . . and things began to
Within a short
period of time, the vibrant color and stunning
beauty of the garden were covered in mire.
Instead of the sweet perfume of lavender,
rosemary, lemon verbena, and blooming flowers,
the stench of decay prevailed. The birds looked
elsewhere for a home. They were not interested
in sheltering their young in a place void of
greenery and lacking in beauty. The bees,
butterflies, and other insects and wildlife
found little nourishment here any more and
visited the garden less and less often.
the Fence Dwellers did not realize they were
shriveled and dying. Their bald heads were
stripped of petals, and the clay was suffocating
their stems—yet they still yearned to be
something they were never intended to be. They
were blinded by their own vain desires and
remained with their faces toward the
quarry—turned forever from the Gardener
walked sadly through his creation and sighed. He
noticed the tender plants with clay halfway up
their stems and missing petals—the result of a
self-imposed deed. He shook his head in dismay.
“Why have you
covered yourselves in clay and removed your
petals?” cried the Gardener. “I have created you
in the way of my choosing—for my own purpose.
But you have rejected my ways and set your eyes
upon foreigners and have adorned yourself in mud
and grime. You have ravaged and exposed your own
“Do you not know
that you belong to me? This was a wicked and
foolish deed. You have emulated the Fence
Dwellers and have followed after those
preferring death. They have chosen cold and hard
barrenness over the true beauty of a warm and
tender life-giving existence. Do not attempt to
mimic those of the quarry or their
followers—those who never belonged to me. There
you will find only death and desolation.”
The plants of
the garden shivered and hid their faces;
however, the Fence Dwellers did not hear the
words of the Gardener, for they were no more.
The plants who belonged to the Gardener solemnly
watched as the last remnant of the Fence
Dwellers’ decomposing stems blew quietly over
the fence to rest upon a large boulder. Here the
scorching sun would finish the job of
destruction until nothing remained.
Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be
thou envious at the wicked; For there shall be
no reward to the evil man; the candle of the
wicked shall be put out.
Joy in the Morning
turned to his creation tenderly. Silently a
raindrop landed on the fragile leaf of a basil
plant. Three more brushed the buds of a
rosebush. Soon a torrent of raindrops poured
from the sky, cleansing and refreshing the
filthy clay-covered plants. The dandelions wept
with joy as the lovers of self repented and
turned to the Gardener forevermore. Fresh
blossoms opened and the scent of life and beauty
filled the air.
held out his arms, threw back his head, and
laughed a deep, hearty laugh. He was overjoyed
with the display of color and renewed health
that he had granted his creation. After the rain
subsided, the Gardener rested in the shade and
summoned the birds to come sing in the branches
of a nearby pear tree. Soon more birds followed
to nest in the profusion of greenery and scented
blossoms. Bursting with life, the young flowers
called to the bees to come share their nectar,
and the butterflies joined them.
From that day
forward, the plants rejoiced in who they were
and did not desire to be anything other than
what they were called to be. Their only desire
and purpose was to please the Gardener and cause
him joy forever.
Share Your Heart
Who were the
Fence Dwellers? What did they have in common
with many young people of the world today?
Why were the
Fence Dwellers uninterested in whether or not
they had roots? How is this similar to someone
who is unconcerned over the state of her own
Discuss why the
Fence Dwellers may not have been interested in
producing seed (Exodus 1:7, Psalm 128:3-4).
How did the
discontentment of the Fence Dwellers affect the
younger plants and flowers of the garden?
Have you ever
been affected in a similar manner by those who
were not seeking God?
Why do you think
the younger plants only “tore” their petals
slightly and covered themselves in clay
“halfway” while the Fence Dwellers “ripped off”
their petals and leaves, and completely
“covered” themselves in clay?
Mothers, do you
see any areas where your young maiden dabbles in
forbidden activities “halfway” (music, clothes,
rules, moral choices)? If so, discuss the
possible effects of this behavior by considering
the overall appearance and condition of the
How does this
story remind you of the way modern Christians
sometimes try to emulate the world? Do you see
yourself in this story at all? Discuss with your
mother ways you can keep your face turned to the
“Gardener” instead of the “quarry.”
12:1-2. Discuss what “reasonable service”
means and what it means to present ourselves as
a living sacrifice to God.
Read and discuss
the following Scriptures: