"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."~Proverbs 31: 10
I used to hate the Proverbs 31 woman because she did EVERYTHING, and she did it perfectly. Or so I assumed.
In my mind I created a vision of the perfect woman who never rested, was never lazy, rose early and stayed up late, sewed her family designer clothes, cooked healthy whole-food meals 3 times a day, taught her children, worked from home, had a clutter-free home, and managed to go out in the community regularly enough to bring respect for herself and her husband. She had wise words, was gentle and loving, not given to worrying, and probably spent hours in prayer each day. And I couldn't measure up, even if I tried my hardest.
But I've begun to see Proverbs 31 differently. I don't see it as a goal to reach. I don't see it portraying the perfect woman who pleases God because she is perfect. Instead when I read Proverbs 31, I see that God values the role of wife and mother. He values the domestic work that we do as wives and as moms ... enough that He included it in His description of a godly woman.
God values my laundry efforts, even when I let it pile up, and even when my children let their clean folded clothes get scattered around their room rather than putting them away.
God values my meal-planning and cooking, even when my children complain that I've made 3 meals in a row that they don't like, or I serve the emergency stash of frozen pizza as soon as my husband buys it. (In other words, God values the fact that I feed my family even if I didn't plan a meal or prepare in advance.)
God values my efforts to provide clothing for my children, even if I am shopping at the thrift store, or my children reject some of the clothes I've bought for them. God values my efforts even when some of my children think they don't have enough clothing choices.
God values my work which allows my husband and children to succeed, even if it leaves me in the background where others don't see me.
God values the time I spend worrying over homeschooling my kids, or the time I spend teaching my children to read, or the time I spend explaining a math problem, even when my children don't "get it" right away.
God values the batch of banana muffins I made, even if it's the first thing I've baked in months, or I use white flour and sugar instead of honey and whole wheat flour.
God values the warm and loving home environment I create for my family. God values my attempts at de-cluttering our home, one grocery sack at a time. God values each little baby step I take, and each repetitive task (like laundry) that I tackle.
God values the story I read to my younger children, and the time spent rocking a fussy baby or feverish child. God sees the calming hand checking fevers, patting backs, and handing out medicine ... even if it meant the laundry pile grew larger.
God values the conversations with my teens that are building their worldview and developing their faith, even if it interrupts a math lesson or a bedtime routine. God even values the difficult conversations that start out well and end with angry teens and a Mom who wishes she'd stayed calmer or listened more.
Even if I don't do each of these things perfectly, or if I fail dramatically, what I do for my family (or attempt to do) matters to God. He sees what others may not see. He appreciates what some take for granted. He sees my heart and motives, when others only see my flawed performance.
It is a blessing to know that what I do each and every day, no matter how mundane and trivial, or how flawed, matters to God. But, what matters more than the skills I'm developing, or the chores I do for my family is my relationship with the Lord. Am I developing a close walk with Him and teaching my children about Him? "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30
Am I doing my work to please the Lord, or to receive praise and thanks from those around me? Even if no one else sees or thanks me, can I do it for God alone? "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men," Colossians 3:23
If I keep my focus on my relationship with God, and serving Him by serving my family, I am less likely to feel unappreciated or to compare myself with other moms. It should be enough to know that what I'm doing is important to God, and my efforts please Him.
Learning as I go,