The Wisdom of Motherhood

“Hear the instruction of your Father; do not forsake the law of your Mother!”

Proverbs 1:8

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.)

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For My November Pearl

“I will give thanks and praise to You, for [my daughter] is fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works and my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:14 AMP

“So God created [my daughter] in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created [her]…”

Genesis 1:27 AMP

“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which he set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”

Ephesians 2:10 AMP

When I look into your youthful amber colored eyes, I see uncertainty in who you are and who you were born to be.  I see hope and fear battling for your future as you strive to feel accepted while processing the wounds you’ve already experienced in such a short life span.

When you look into my aging gray colored eyes I want you to see everything I know you are capable of being.  I want you to see the best-selling author, Grammy winning song writer and stage performing guitar player I see whenever I read one your stories, hear you sing and listen as you teach yourself how to play the guitar.   My eyes will forever see you as Bruno Mars describes when he sings, “When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change. ‘Cuz you’re amazing, just the way you are.”

When you look into Jesus’ eyes, I pray you see everything He made you to be and most importantly, I pray you see yourself the way He has always seen you-precious, treasured and immeasurably loved.  I pray you know how to look into the eyes of Jesus and seek to see yourself and your life the way He designed it no matter what disappointments may be waiting for you.  Life is full of disappointments.  But life is fuller of blessed joys that make your heart beam with an unexplainable joy.

I remember the night I went into labor for you.  It was one week before your due date and I could not get comfortable.  I was completely over being pregnant to say the least.  I put my hand on my incredibly oversized protruding belly and said, “Baby girl, you need to come out because momma is tired of being pregnant.”  You listen because at 12:30am my water broken.  During labor you and I had another mother/daughter talk.  After 12 hours of labor with what felt like non-stop contractions and pushing for nearly an hour and a half, with shear exhaustion I said, “Baby girl, you need to be born because momma is tired of pushing.”  And you listened-it wasn’t long after the hospital room was filled with screeches of a newborn baby girl and sobs from both your momma and meme simply in awe that you were finally here-all 9 pounds 2 ounces of baby girl perfection.

When you were little I would trace your face at bedtime.  Before I would begin, I would say, “Let me get out my magic crayon and draw a picture of perfection.”  I “drew” your eyes, your button nose, your perfect pink lips.  I would tap my fingers across both cheeks to cover every freckle that God had sprinkled on your face.  I would even draw your chin, eyebrows and hair.  In the end, I would brush my fingers across your whole face and say, “Voila, a picture of perfection.”  Do you know that’s really the way I see you-imperfectly perfect, a precious gem that is completely irreplaceable?  A treasure that is to be loved, cared for, protected and admired for the beauty that she holds within.

My heart breaks every time I watch you look at yourself in the mirror and profess that you are “ugly.”  Baby girl-God does not make ugly.  You are His creation, therefore, it’s impossible for you to be anything less than stunning.  If you would look at the sunrises and sunsets God gifts us every day, if you would take time to gaze upon the majesty of the stars spread across a multitude of galaxies and know the same God who designs these natural spectacles is the same God who designed you, I know you could believe you’re more spectacular and breath taking than any awestruck beauty of nature.  After all, God designed all of us in His image and God is definitely not ugly.

Before you were born I never knew if I would ever carry a child within me or if God would ever make me a mother.   When I was your age, I told God to not make me a mother.  I believe my exact words were, “If you’re a smart God, you won’t make me a mother.” In my defense, this was spoken out of frustration because your uncle, at that time my bratty little 2-year-old brother was exasperating me.  And at the age of 25, findings from a surgery I endured left me with only a 50% chance to even conceive.

Can I just say I am so incredibly thankful that God answered that request with a big “heck no” and blessed me with you and your brother?  You two are the best part of me and since you are my first born all of your “firsts” hold a meaning that cannot be compared to anything else because it’s the first time I have a child experience that stage of life.  Just like since your brother is the youngest, all of his “lasts” hold a different special meaning because it’s the last time I will have a child experience that.  This will make more sense to you when someday God calls you to be a mom and gifts you with your favorite person on this planet, your baby girl or boy.

When I carried you in the womb, I would read my favorite children’s stories, Charlotte’s Web and Corduroy, aloud to you every night before falling asleep.  Sometimes Cinderella too.  I know this reading impacted you even before you took your first breath because you have such a love for writing and reading books and you even wore a Cinderella dress to your most recent formal dance.  That reading time continued when you were a toddler reading Stuart Little to you to get you to fall asleep at bed time. The book had minimal pictures so momma told you to close your eyes and see the pictures in your mind.  I know this helped grow your creativity but can I tell you a secret?  It also helped you fall asleep before I was through one chapter of the book.  Which meant your tired momma could the fall asleep too.

Now that you’re older and striving to be your own person,  you call me the “safety police”.  Do you know how crazy protective I was when you were little?  Girl-I freaked out the first weird virus you had thinking it was like the bubonic plague and was really just something you most likely picked up from touching a grocery cart, similar to having a common cold.  I know you get annoyed with the boundaries I set for you, the lectures I give about drugs/alcohol usage, stranger danger, social media usage, etc.  I know you think it’s because I don’t trust you but that’s not true.  None of us were born with an innate sense of making safe choices.  Wisdom is something that is taught and learned.  My helicopter parenting is only a means to guide you into making your own wise choices with each year you grow but also a way to protect you from all the evils this world holds.  You know I’m a glass half full kind of momma which means I’ve taught you there’s more good in the world than evil but sadly we just cannot look at every person who crosses our path through rose colored lenses.

The day you were born forever changed me because I no longer could make any decision that would impact just me-everything I did and continue to do I have to think about how it will affect you and your brother.  I know I fail often kiddo-but I do strive to put you guys first and always have your best interests at heart.  If I could wish anything for your life, it would be that you would seek Christ above all the things you chase after in this world because although the things you pursue you think are saving you, Jesus is the only one who can truly save any of us.  I would wish that you would understand how loved and valuable you truly are so when rejection rears its ugly head it won’t crush you because you’ll be standing on an indestructible foundation of secure love.  Lastly I would wish for you to chase after every dream you aspire never letting fear or self-doubt keep you from at least going for it.  After all, you simply will never know what will happen if you do not try.

I thank God for you and your brother every day.  I thank God for giving me the greatest job in this lifetime which was to carry you, give birth to you, raise you and to forever be your mum. Every day since the day I found out I was going to be your mother, you and your brother have always given me a thousand and one reasons to smile.  Until Jesus calls me home that will never change.