“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” Proverbs 31:28 (NIV)
“Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:” Proverbs 31:28 (NLT)
“Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise:” Proverbs 31:28 (Message)
As I began pondering this verse in my heart, I began to form a picture in my mind of what the family of this Proverbs 31 woman looked like. The illustration that came to my mind was of June Cleaver from the TV show Leave it to Beaver. A woman who appears to have it all together. When her family leaves for the day or returns home, they kiss her on the cheek, shower her with praises, listen to her and respond to her requests for help.
Then I realized that I had to take some of my thoughts captive. June Cleaver is a written character, influenced by a team of creative workers who could manipulate an imaginary situation any way they wanted so a solution arose in the given time slot. I don’t remember God being the center of the show.
The Proverbs 31 woman lived in the real world. She had a real husband and family. They were all subject to living in a fallen world. They had to do the best that they could with what they had at the time.
Sometimes, as I am reading through this passage of scripture, I feel as though this woman lived the perfect life. Yet, I stare at her life as if taking in a giant window display lit up in lights for the holidays. I’m not living it with her and walking along side of her.
I am reminded of how easy it is to take a quick and passing glimpse at the life of another and assume they have an easier journey than I. A glance of someone’s life is not enough to understand what they have been through. It’s not enough to know their story, to witness their struggles & victories and it’s not enough to see the growth & maturity they have acquired through it all.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13. God knows. God sees. He is a witness to every joyful and painful moments in our lives, even when we feel absolutely alone. God is there.
When it comes to a husband and children, my experience has been that they don’t always notice and show appreciation for the things this work in progress woman does. Some days it feels like I get more, “Mom, I need”, “Mom, I want” and “But, Mom” sayings than I do thank yous or blessings. Many I observe that I get more silence from my husband that I do words of praise.
God has blessed me with the responsibility of caring for these three precious lives. This responsibility will top out all other things in my life that I must do or care for. With the exception of loving God himself. That is the only thing that can be placed before my husband and my children. God has set this up for a reason. Have you ever heard the saying, “a battery can not give out what it does not have”?
God + me = Proverbs 31 I shall be
If I am to be able to really care for and tend to my husband and children, I’ve got to go to God first. I must receive God’s love so I can pour out that same life giving love to each of my family members. I’ve got to show them with my thoughts, my words and my actions that they are the priority in life. I must serve each of them sacrificially, laying down that which I desire selfishly to give to them.
I need to place not only my trust in God’s hands, but I’ve also got to trust Him with every aspect of my husband and children’s lives. I’ve got to trust that God has paths laid out for each of them and pray that they fall so in love with God they deeply desire to follow that path. That’s an awful lot that I’ve got to take my hands off of.
This Proverbs 31 woman couldn’t make her children or her husband praise her or bless her. That is the work of God in their lives. That is the fruit of what He is doing to mature them. In the same way, I can not make my husband or children bless me. It is nothing that can be forced.
Right now I am at a point in my journey. I’ve come a long ways, but oh do I still have a long ways to go. I still make poor choices and have to suffer the consequences of that. I still struggle with the temptations of laying my cross down so I can pick up some selfish sin for comfort. I am reminded that my husband and each of my children find themselves at a point in their journeys. They too need to pick up their crosses each day to follow Jesus.
It’s going to take a whole lot of strength from God Himself to get one selfish sinner to tend to the three others in my household. But, WOW, do I have a gift from God that helps me along the way. The Holy Spirit is a precious gift, living within me to guide me and counsel me along the way. Each believer is blessed with this awe inspiring gift.
It is the Spirit’s promptings that help me say words of encouragement, to act with kindness and to give me the strength to wipe off the kitchen table just one more time in this day. The Spirit helps me to do the things that I can do. That is what my mind needs to be focused on, the ways that I can serve my family. The hard part is to take the focus off of what I will get out of it. I shouldn’t do it for the praise or the hugs, but must perform my duties out of love and leave the rest to God to deliver on His promises.
It says in Proverbs 14:22, “Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what it good find love and faithfulness.”
We should hold to that promise today as we attempt to plan what is good for our households, for our spouses and children.
Thank You so much for this day! Thank You for another opportunity to love You and serve You. Your love is so great, may we just experience more of You today with our eyes, our ears and our hearts. May we drink in Your compassion and be filled with new life.
Please help us to connect on a deeper level with the Holy Spirit within us. May we tune into the promptings that we are blessed with in the moments we face throughout our days. May the Spirit be a great help to us to keep our spouses and children the top priority in our lives, especially when temptation lies before us.
Thank You God, for another opportunity to write and read. Thank You for the blessing of words in our lives that help us to be woven together in Your great tapestry. In Jesus name, Amen.