“Hear the instruction of your Father; do not forsake the law of your Mother!”
Today was Mother’s Day. An obvious choice for a sermon, the minister preached on Proverbs 31. However, the surprising theme of the message was not about women being the Wonder Woman described in this chapter (a woman most Christian women have compared themselves to more than once and most likely felt they could never measure up to-myself included.) Today’s theme was about wisdom and honoring women of valor because they are very wise women.
I was raised by a single mom. When I read Proverbs 31 and compare it to my mom, honestly she measures up far better than I do. If you read Proverbs 31 in a literal sense, my momma brings her husband (and others) good, not harm all the days of her life. She knows how to select fabrics. Growing up she sewed clothing for me and my dolls (we had matching outfits). She made me dolls and crocheted versions of Care Bears. To this day, she raises Alpacas and uses their fiber to make many beautiful things. She is a very creative and talented woman. I have never shared this passion with her and the only sewing I can do is repairing loose buttons and using iron tape to hem things.
“She gets up early and tends to her household.” My mom was always the first one up, making sure my brother and I were ready for school or church and getting us to where we needed to go on time. (Me-I’m always running late and my kiddos and I leave in a rush most days. In fact, today I woke them up late and they ended up having Hershey’s bars for breakfast and we were still two minutes late for church.) I am the first one up but I like to ease into my days enjoying the quietness of the morning while drinking a cup of coffee, some days reading my devotionals, other days reading a book. My kids do get fed nutritious meals on a daily basis so don’t misinterpret the Hershey bars for breakfast statement. That was a rare occasion and the chocolate bars were leftovers from the S’mores that were made at last night’s bonfire.
“She considers a field and buys it”-my mom has owned several homes and maintained them well. She grew a few vegetable gardens and even knows how to can food items. She could make noodles from scratch. I have no desire to own my home. I tried helping my daughter grow a garden last year and I believe we managed to produce 2-3 tiny green tomatoes. Nothing else bore any produce. I do not have a green thumb-another thing I simply am not passionate about either. I don’t think I’ve ever even attempted to make noodles from scratch either.
Something from Proverbs 31 my mom and I do have in common would be verse 20; “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” My mom always had an open door for displaced people and stray animals. Okay if I’m being honest, I was the kid who brought home every stray animal I came across but she never told me I couldn’t keep them. At one time, I had six pet cats (this was obviously before I discovered that I am in fact, allergic to cats-Ha! Ha!) My friends always knew they were welcome in our home. In fact, some spent time at my house when we weren’t even home. There were many occasions that family members, for various reasons, lived with us. Her generosity instilled in me a passion to someday be a key player in implementing homeless to housed programs throughout my country and God willing, all over the world.
I could go on but I am guessing you get the gist of the kind of mom I was blessed with and the fact that I am fairly opposite of her. Doesn’t make me a bad mom. Just means I parent differently. My kids still learn the things I am passionate about and what I am not skilled at teaching them, I rely on others to teach them. I’m secure enough in my mothering to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and to no longer beat myself up when I make a mistake. I don’t like to cook and my kids know that. But they love my sloppy joes and pancakes. They also know that I love to baking and think I make the best homemade frosting in the world. My son thinks I throw a football like a girl but he knows he can count on me to throw a football, play catch or shoot hoops with him if he asks. My daughter is incredibly liberal (not how she was raised) but she knows she is allowed to speak her mind. In my home we have an open communication policy. You are allowed to say what you’re thinking knowing that you will be listened to. But, you must then allow the other person to speak and give the same respect of listening to them, even if you do not agree with what they may be sharing. There are days they may get a candy bar or even cookies for breakfast but my fridge is always stocked with healthy food choices and I spend 1-2 hours every other week doing food prep to ensure the healthy snacks are easily accessible for all of us.
But as I learned today, Proverbs 31 was not written to be a list of super hero traits we moms must aspire to be. As pastor said today, “Proverbs 31 may be the final chapter of wisdom.” He continued by explaining that “wisdom is the ability to live life skillfully.” Later he stated that “being a Proverbs 31 woman is not about being perfect, it’s about learning to live life skillfully.” When we learn this, we become women of valor, women of wisdom. He suggested a great way to gain wisdom is to “Read and Plead.” This means reading a chapter of Proverbs daily as well as seeking God and asking Him for wisdom. He quoted James 1:5 (If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”) to back up this suggestion. He also explained how God in His infinite wisdom, references wisdom repeatedly as a female character. God made women to be a source and example of wisdom.
What I walked away with today is this; the best thing I can do for my children, myself and to honor God, is to walk in His wisdom and to strive to be a woman of wisdom. Proverbs 3:18 describes wisdom like this, “She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.” This is definitely a verse I am going to meditate on and strive to be. Hearing that verse this morning instilled a desire to be the tree that is so rooted in an unshakable faith that my children or anyone who encounters me can feel blessed to take hold of because they see Jesus through me and gain wisdom by knowing me.
Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers who are moms. I pray your day was blessed and that this post reminds you of the amazing mom/mum that you are. I pray this post inspires you to measure yourself to wisdom only and to seek God for an increase whenever you feel lacking. I also pray that you stop measuring yourselves to the literal version of the Proverbs 31 woman and embrace the woman you are, exactly as God made you. Jesus did not gift us all to be seamstresses, grow luscious gardens or even to be morning people. But whatever gifts He’s given you, use them for His purpose and glory and shine like the amazing gems you all are. In case you forgot how valuable you truly are, Proverbs 31 tells us we are more precious than jewels (vs 10), that we surpass excellency (vs 30) and that when we fear the Lord, we are to be praised (vs 31.)