The Proverbs 31 woman seriously annoys me. She rests now, for all eternity, in the pages of holy scripture, the paragon of virtue. I feel tired and irritable just reading about her. In twenty-two verses, we find that she is industrious, shrewd, generous, and compassionate. She is wise, frugal, and vigilant. She is, in short, everything I am not.
I picture her resting in the presence of Jesus, looking down at me and shaking her head. “I set the best example I could, Lord.” I’m not sure how God replies because my imagination can’t get past the mockery that laces her soft, feminine voice. You could say that I have a bit of a complex where this woman is concerned. The quintessential Christian woman; a doer, not a dreamer like myself.
The other day we had a belated graduation dinner for my eldest daughter. As we settled in to wait for our meal, my daughter pulled out a gift and a letter she had written to me. The soft chatter of the other patrons, the clink of plates and silverware, the bustling of the wait staff all faded as I read these words:
I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I am so humbled that you would give up so many things in your life just for me.
Thank you for staying home with me instead of having a career. Thank you for keeping me home instead of sending me out into the world alone. Thank you for being patient with me, teaching me, and correcting me.
Thank you for all the play dates, snuggle times, movie nights, and long evening talks. Thank you for laughing with me, for crying with me, and for showing me your scars as well as your dreams.
Thank you for showing what it looks like to grow in Christ and how to be a godly wife and mother. I hope that my own family someday will cherish me as much as I do you. I thank God all the time for blessing me with you in my life. Thank you for not just being my mom. Thank you for being my best friend.
I love you very much! I don’t say it enough, but it’s true. I would not be me if it had not been for you. Thank you for everything, Mommy. 🙂
This is from a young woman who doesn’t care much for writing, and who is even more emotionally reserved than I! I barely held it together for the remainder of our dinner. When I finally had a moment alone, I reread this priceless message, and was completely undone. I am so far from being that Proverbs 31 woman. I’m scattered and not very productive. I lose my temper, and have been known to swear on occasion. Spending far too much time and money on silly things, I neglect things of greater value. I am sometimes crass and unfeminine. Prayer time with or for my family all too often takes the backseat to my narcissistic self interests.
How is it then that this child of mine would rise up and call me blessed?
I’ll bet you are not a Proverbs 31 woman either. None of us are superheroes. We are all flawed women with our own particular gifts, and our own brand of warts. But in Christ we are also so much more.
*John 1:12 says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
*Hebrews 10:14, “For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.”
*And in Ephesians 1:4, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
What does all this mean? It means that as one of God’s own children, He sees me as complete and perfect now. It is His righteousness He sees when He looks at me, not my own miserable failings. Because of this, even though I am not Ms. Perfect Proverbs Woman, my amazing Lord blesses me as if I were. Mind blowing, yes?
This motherhood journey is exhausting and exhilarating, humbling and elevating, mundane and profound, all at the same time. Some brief seasons find me breezing through, but most often I find myself limping along, blind and disoriented. I find myself simply clinging to the end game; making sure that my kids see Jesus. I want them to experience the freedom, the bone-deep joy, and the fun that is found only in knowing this lover of our souls. I want them to understand that their eternity has already begun, is going on now, as children of the Most High. Nothing else really matters all that much.
So my fellow imperfect mamas, whether you work or stay at home, do public or homeschool, are a doer or a dreamer, focus on the only thing that matters. Rest in the knowledge that you don’t have to do this thing perfectly. In fact, our Jesus will use both your scars and your dreams to draw your children to Himself. Use the unique gifts that our Lord has given you to guide your children into a love relationship with their Creator. And may they rise up and bless you for it.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed…” (Proverbs 31:28a, ESV)