Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Proverbs 31 Woman - Are You One?

A man was walking along a California beach and stumbled across an old lamp. He picked it up, rubbed it - and out popped a genie. The genie said, “Ok. You released me from the lamp .. blah, blah. This is the 4th time this month and I’m getting a little sick of these wishes, so you can forget about 3. You only get one wish.” The man thought about it for a while and said, “I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I’m scared to fly and I get very sea sick. Could you build me a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over there to vacation?” The genie laughed and said, “That’s impossible. Think of the logistics of that feat! How would the supports ever reach the bottom of the Pacific ocean? No, think of another wish.” The man thought about it and said, “I’ve been married and divorced 4 times. My wives always said that I don’t care and that I’m insensitive. So, I wish that I could understand women .. to know how they feel and what they’re thinking.”  The genie said, “You want that bridge with 2 lanes or 4?” If you have ever read Proverbs 31:10-31 then you knew what kind of man my father was. My mom has flaws…heck we all do….but in my father’s eyes…my mom was a perfect 10. My dad could always find something praise-worthy, and he would give praise. Phil 4:8 ends by saying, “if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” If you can praise your wife, your mother, anyone .. for anything, you should. And he taught me how to do the same. I grew up praising my mom .. my grandmother .. my aunt .. or any woman in the church, for any of these virtuous qualities she possesses. (Somewhere along the line I forgot that lesson.)  My Dad believed that there were 12 qualities that were praise-worthy in a woman when you find them and tried to instill them in me as a child. The first one is found in verse 11 - “The heart of her husband trusts in her.” My dad totally trusted my mom. That is a rare trait these days. It is a good feeling to be trusted by someone. My mom had a quirky 6th sense. You could ask her to do something….and she would just wait for you to finish and says, “I already took care of it.” She was amazing. I never feared that my dad would leave my mom….because they were so committed to each other. My father never bad mouthed my mom or talked about her behind her back. Ype, the trust they had was vital. In verse 12 - “She does him good .. all the days of her life.” My mom always built my dad up. Second, if a wife does you good all the days of her life, that means she is a close companion to you. Hey, an excellent wife .. an excellent mother .. is also an excellent companion and my dad loved to spend time with her. Good COMPANIONSHIP is worthy of praise. That lesson I learned. I love spending time with Frank. Thanks guys for instilling that one in me. Verse 13 tells us - “She works with her hands.” This concept is repeated several times in the proverb. In vv. 13, 19, 24 - we catch several images of the mother who sews to meet her family needs. In vv. 14, 15 - we’re reminded that Mom does the grocery shopping and then takes time to cook as well. The proverb even reminds us that women often work outside of the home. Verse 16 talks about their “earnings” and v. 24 talks about her “selling merchandise.” My mom had this one under control. When I was small….I was fortunate that it was the June Cleaver era and my mom was the best SAHM ever. She always took care of my brother and I and I had a great childhood because of it. But then I am also a bit ashamed as an adult. As I think back I wonder when or if I ever thanked her because she sewed a button on your shirt, mended a torn pair of pants, cooked you dinner, or earned some additional income for the family? Verse 27 says, “She does not eat the bread of idleness. Praise the HARD WORKING woman who goes the extra mile. That was my mom.  Verse 15 says, “She rises also while it is still night.” v. 27 says, “She looks well to the ways of her household.” My mom was the one who got up in the middle of the night and took care of the sick, the newborn, the crying, the scared. Anything…except those things dealing with frogs. My mom was terrified of frogs. Lunches were always fixed and breakfast was always waiting. My poor daughter….she would have to suffice with a Pop Tart and splitting a Diet Coke. Verse 16 says, “She considers a field and buys it.” That doesn’t just speak to her willingness to work. It speaks to her wisdom. Verse 26 even says, “She opens her mouth in wisdom.”  In verse 20 we are told that, “She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.” How blessed I was that my Mom was a loving person, not just towards me, but also towards people in the community. Her good deeds become known to all - causing the entire community to speak well of her - and consequently of me too. It’s a blessing to know that people speak highly of her - even when she’s not present. It always made me so proud when people said wonderful things about my mom….and my dad. Verse 21 says, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet.” Mom is always prepared. . Just look at some of those purses they carry around! My mom had it all!....even in a small envelope purse….she had everything I ever needed. Verse 22 says, “She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.” This is where I am ashamed. My mom was a fabulous seamstress….and I was a selfish child who wanted something store bought. I wanted to be like everyone else….not wear homemade…or hand me down. I wish my mom could sew today….I promise you I would wear it with pride….even inside out so you could read the “Made with Love by Wilma” label. Verse 23 says, “Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.” You know what that means? It means she makes you look good! And it may be in spite of the fact that you’re a jerk anyway. In verse 25 it says, “she smiles at the future.” Oh, how pleasant it is to have a Mom in the house who isn’t always worried and fretting about everything - but instead is optimistic about what life has ahead of her. That was my mom until my brother died….and she changed. That was where I forgot my lessons. That was where my life became darker. Verse 26 says, “the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” My mom and dad both were the kind of people who spoke with kindness, they were teachers of kindness. I am grateful for all the lessons I learned…even though I may not have retained some. I am grateful that they took time to be part of my life…..taught me right from wrong, taught me acceptable behavior….I wish I could let them know that today. I wish parents today were teaching their children those lessons today.
There’s an old proverb that says, “Flowers leave their fragrance on the hand that bestows them.” A poem written about it says this:
This old Chinese proverb if practiced every day

Would change the whole world in a wonderful way.

Its truth is so simple it’s so easy to do

And it works every time and successfully too.

For you can’t do a kindness without a reward

Not in silver nor gold but in the joy from the Lord.

You can’t light a candle to show others the way

Without feeling the warmth of that little ray.

And you can’t pluck a rose all fragrant with dew,

Without part of its fragrance remaining on you.

My mom loved getting flowers….but not the cut kind. She loved living plants that she could plant in our backyard. My dad was great about giving her plants.

My mom also loved the handful of weeds that my brother and I would pick. My mom attributed flowers with love. As the proverb says, the hand that gives the flowers also receives a blessing. Give some flowers to someone special today. It will make their day and yours too. I want to remember those lessons I learned as a child....and be the best Proverbs 31 woman I can be?  How about you?  Happy Thursday!

1 comment:

Sweet Tea said...

I sure like to think I'm the total Proverbs 31 package, but that's not entirely true. Most days I strive for that, then other days I'm lazy. (LOL)