Friday, May 10, 2013

MOM


Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.” – Proverbs 31:28-31

In my honest opinion (of which I have many!), there is no higher calling than to be a mother.  God granting us His very own children to feed, love, and raise to love Him is a great responsibility.  He’s blessed me twice, having both a son and daughter that I love more than words can say.  But have I done a good job raising them?  Have I been a Proverbs 31 mother?  Eh…they haven’t called me “blessed” yet. But I’m not done yet! The Proverbs 31 mother is a hard act to follow.
We’re told that she is trustworthy.  Her husband doesn’t have to be suspicious of her actions, and she seeks to give him a good name, not tear him down.  Is there anything uglier than a woman who will openly criticize her husband?  Ladies, that’s like smearing mud on your own face.  You married the guy! In my grandmother’s words, if you can’t say something good – shut up.  Her husband is known in the gates”, and it should be that he’s known for his good qualities and his wife’s praise.

The Proverbs 31 mom doesn’t sit at home watching soap operas, eating bon-bons, and gossiping (ouch!).  She works!  She invests, she profits from her labor.  She provides for her family.  She buys fabric and makes them clothes, sells clothes to others, buys land and plants it, buys and cooks their food, and works late into the night, “her lamp does not go out by night”, to care for the family God gave her.  This woman makes sure her love for her family is shown in how she provides for them. 
Ladies, the old idea of the husband being the provider is just that – an idea.  It was never meant to be a burden placed solely on his shoulders.  Two become one – and half that load is yours to bear.  He is your head, your authority in the home.  But you have a job to do for him and your children.  Yes, sometimes it’s a thankless job with comments like ‘I don’t eat broccoli!’ and ‘This meatloaf is terrible!’, but it’s still your job, and a way you show you care.

The Proverbs 31 woman isn’t a petite little thing who can’t lift the groceries without pulling a muscle.  (I’m feeling the need to work out now!)  She “girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.”  Yeah, she’s buff.  You’ve got to keep yourself fit in order to continue doing the things you need to do.  Good health is your personal responsibility to those that love you.  It’s not just for you, and it’s not for your looks for sure!  It’s so that you can continue to take care of them, and keep up the pace.
She doesn’t stop the care wagon at her own front door either.  “She extends her hand to the poor”, and she “reaches out to the needy”.  Do you see your children becoming selfish, and self-centered?  Try showing charity to others.  They learn by watching us.  The next time you see a homeless person on the street, take them a sack of burgers or a sub.  Your kids will soon feel the joy that you feel in helping others, and do the same thing.  Do you have a friend having trouble making ends meet?  God shouldn’t have to ask you, give you a sign, or twist your arm to tell you to help your friends.  If you show love to others, you get love in return.  Do you want your children to be loved?  Show them how to love.

She raises her children to be respectful, and behave well.  She “watches over the ways of her household".  I’m amused by moms that choose not to discipline their children. Moms, that makes about as much sense as an army without a leader and regulations.  How successful would any company be if each employee were allowed to do his own thing and not be held accountable?  We all need consequences for our actions – cause and effect.  The one reason I don’t stick my hand into the pretty, pretty fire is that I know it’s going to burn! How did I learn that?  I got burned a few times!  Teach your children that there are positive effects to their positive behavior, and negative effects to their negative behavior.  If not for yourself, do it for those of us that will have to live with them when they leave your house! We are to raise our children to be the kind of people God wants them to be.  God punishes the children He loves (Proverbs 3:12).  Shouldn’t we do the same?
Mrs. 31 is a sharp dressed woman, and makes sure her kids are too.  “All her household is clothed with scarlet.  She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.”  Ladies, there’s no excuse for being a Wal-Mart mess – even if it is just a quick run to the grocery!  Your family should not be embarrassed to be seen with you, okay?  Fix your hair, fix your face, and change out of your pajamas and house shoes, and look like someone they would want to introduce to their friends.  (Unless, of course, you are seeking to punish your children.  I find a good threat of coming to the school in my “everyday” look can do wonders! J) 

But it’s more than what she does and how she looks that makes the Proverbs 31 woman who she is – the perfect mom.  It’s in her character.  She wears her strength and honor as accessories, showing what real beauty is all about.  When she speaks, it’s with wisdom and kindness.  She’s not idle – ever.  She’s the woman her husband brags to others about, and not just her cooking – but the whole package.  She’s the best of the best, and “excels them all”. 
But most of all, she fears God, and for this, she is praised.  She doesn’t do all these things just for her family, but out of a love and respect for God.  So what if the meatloaf wasn’t a hit! So what if the broccoli sits cold on the plate!  Colossians 3:23-24 says “whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance”.  God likes your meatloaf because He knows it was your greatest attempt serve through your love for Him, and your family.

C
hildren are a gift – a precious gift from God (Psalms 127:3).  Should we love the gift and not the giver?  A Proverbs 31 woman values God as the highest authority over her, and she lives and breathes for His glory.  This is why she corrects her children, watches over them, concerns herself with who they hang out with, looks out for their needs, plans their future, wipes their snotty noses, and does everything she does. 

No, I’m not a Proverbs 31 mother, but my work is not done.  Nor will it be done as long as I live. One thing I do know about the job of “mom” is that it is without end.  You can never be considered a failure, nor be considered a success because your work isn’t done till your children are gone home to God. All you can do is keep trying, keep raising, keep working, and keep loving.  And perhaps that’s the benefit of it all.  You get to keep being called “mom”. 

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