Tuesday, October 24, 2006
A few weeks ago Ruth, Roscoe's mum, gave me a loan of a book that she thought would be of help to me. I always seem to be rushing about trying to be everything to everyone... especially to my family and my church! Sooner or later you get worn out. She kinda picked up on how I was feeling and gave me this book to read.
Have you ever read Proverbs 31? Well I can't say that I was overly familiar with the passage...and so I thought that I had better read it before commencing the book!
It goes like this...
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."
Rather impressive eh? She certainly was an incredible woman, but what did she have to do with me? I have to confess that sometimes I struggle at times with the woman's role which is depicted in the bible, and also with the fact that within the culture at that time a woman was very much the second class citizen.
I struggle with this....and sure...one reason is because..hey...I don't want to feel second class or or something of far less worth than someone else...but mainly I struggle with the idea that people of that time had (and needless to say some people even today have) of a woman, because Jesus said He loves the whosoever, he loves us all equally, he died for me too! Surely I am as important to him and as worthwhile and as useful to Him as a man?
Yes I have to be!
Bear with me while I try to tell you about the way this book has changed my thinking. I am certainly not out on a war against men, so please read on... that is certainly not what I am trying to explain...(I think you are all great!!!) but rather to express to you my change of thinking on a matter that in many ways has held me back perhaps subconsciously in my spiritual life.
This book which didn't necessarily grab me initially is about a wife and mother who has nightmares about this proverbs 31 wonderwoman. She goes on throughout the book trying her best to out do her if not at the very least to somehow match up on an equal par. She realises very quickly in each circumstance that "She"... as the wife refers to her....always comes out tops. This woman soon becomes totally depressed and feels inadequate as a wife and mother and so as each chapter goes on you see her trying new and strange things to try to be like "her" but each time ends up feeling even more bewildered about "her".
The book goes through a year of this womans life, and as I got to the last few chapters I could see it all making sense for her...and for me! I can remember feeling really sorry for this poor wife and mother who was comparing herself to what I thought was an old fashioned, dare I even say sexest, description of a womans role. Why did she think that this was an impossible dream? Did she not value herself at all? Why even try to be like her, there are other more powerful and intelligent role models to follow....aren't there?
Why do we have such hang ups about roles? Here I am beating myself up and trying to prove to the world that yes I am a woman, but give me a chance... I really am worthwhile. No way...that is nonsense. And you know something...it was my nonsense! No matter how hard I try to be different to the stereotypical woman, I can't help the fact that I want to be at home with my kids, I can't help the fact that I want to take care of my family and my husband. And it's funny because sometimes my head is fighting with my heart and saying "you're weak....your nothing...don't think that way.....think what you could be doing...think of what you could be!'
I can't help the fact that as much as it sounds so stereotypical , I do actually want a nice clean tidy house for my husband to come home to, and I do to like taking care of them all and feeding them and all that kind of stuff. Does that make me weak? Does that make me less worthwhile.? Does it make me less important? NO WAY!!
The lady in this book soon learns through all the incidents that she has trying to be like "her", that a noble woman as described in proverbs, is one that sees to her family, not just physically, but more importantly spiritually. She realises that she just needs to relax in God's presence and bring each new day before Him in prayer, and even though her tasks to some may seem trivial she learns to ask for God's guidance in all that she does. She learns how to be a good wife and mother. A "good wife" ..the phrase used to make me cringe.
On Sunday night when I finished reading the book, I suddenly felt such a peace coming over me. I married Thomas 9 and a half years ago and we have two lovely girls together. It's been great, but there have been times when I have felt undervalued....and that's not just at home...in other situations too..and I guess we can all say we have felt that at some point in our lives. Yet this peace remains within me...and I have an excitement within me to be the best wife and mother that I can be. I am not ashamed to say that and I don't believe that I have to be the subservient one because of that. I am going to try my best to do
the best for my family...I am going to give 100% to menial tasks because it's for them! I am going to try to get through my ironing pile...because it's for them! I am going to try and not blow off the handle when my body is tired, but try to seek God's guidance to help me resolve a situation.
I never felt called to a particular career...maybe I am called to be this wife of noble character....but if I can be a good spiritual role model for my children and a supporting and encouraging wife then that is what I want to aspire to.
I know that not everyone might agree with my opinions or feelings but its no longer about roles and stereotypes...it's about what comes naturally for you. For me...and I'm not ashamed to say it now...I love what I do. I love God..I love my family...I love my husband and I love me for who I am....just the way God wanted me to be!
Posted by littlelaughalot ::
10:30 pm ::
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