When my in-laws divorced after 32 years of marriage my mother-in-law decided to pass on a few possessions to her sons that were serving more as painful memories for what she had lost. One such "gift" was a "Virtuous Woman" cross-stitch. Great, another ugly country-style 80's cross-stitch to collect dust in the hallway closet.
A few years later, we were pregnant with our son and needed to do a little bedroom rearranging. We decided Hunter would take over the nursery. We would transform our bedroom into a little girl's fairyland and transform the "computer/movie/game room" into our bedroom. We had an area on one of the walls in our "new" room that needed a little something. Ben did the unthinkable. He hung the Virtuous Woman cross-stitch. In. Our. Bedroom. Yep, he went there.
At first I glared at it, rolled my eyes, and let out a little huff every time I saw it. Which was EVERY day. I was NOT going to be Suzy Homemaker. It was bad enough that I had become this domesticated wifey mama person. But a virtuous woman?!?!
I am stubborn. I take pride in learning lessons the hard way. Sometimes this means s-l-o-o-o-o-w-l-y getting to the point where God wants me. And almost always throwing my arms up and laughing, "Why don't I just listen to you the first go around?!?!" At least I keep Him entertained.
I sucked at the wife thing. I sucked at the mom thing. I sucked at the mom with cancer thing. I sucked at the work at home mom thing. I suck/ed at the working mom thing. I am thankful for second chances. My many second chances could fill a blog all on their own. I'll get to those later. (Note to self: Don't forget to write about the morning shower conviction and second chances)
I'm realizing after living up to the "fish wife" stereotype that my mom dubbed me before I even married Ben, that it really isn't all it is cracked up to be. It means being cranky, bossy, loud, short, and not all that fun to be around. And now I see it in my sweet (S-A-S-S-Y) four year old little lady. NOT a pretty sight, and forces me to pray for the courageous soul that will one day be blessed to be her husband.
I was looking on Amazon at my wish list and even plopping a few into the shopping cart. It was a list of books on Christian parenting, being a praying wife, adoption, radical disciple, and even one with an obvious bit of magic-guiltless motherhood. At that moment the Holy Spirit lifted my eyes to that ugly cross-stitch. "I already gave you the wish list." I emptied the shopping cart and opened my Bible and decided to devote 1 week to each verse in an attempt to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman.
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
And some commentary: