Thursday, September 9, 2010

Woman's Work

Yep.  This is completely and totally how I feel lately.  At work, I need to totally rock out at my new job, hire a new employee, start a new program, figure out what hasn't been getting done and what needs to be done and manage a caseload, and be available to attend lots of meetings.  At home, though, I'm supposed to be this amazingly patient mother with lots of energy, time to cook a meal, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, supervise homework, study spelling words, and spend 20 minutes EACH night reading with EACH child, and spend time with my husband without falling asleep on the couch by 9 pm. 

It's exhausting. Its stressful. Its frustrating. Its fulfilling. Its rewarding. Its meaningful.  Its my life. 

So, what is it about that Proverbs 31 woman that is so intimidating...(verses 10-31)

"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."

Oh yeah, she works hard.  She gets little sleep.  She watches over the affairs of her home.  She is praised in the city, by her children, and her husband.  She is generous.  She's GREAT!!!
Where does all that come from?  How can one person possibly do all of that and do it well? 
I guess the only answer is that God wouldn't expect anything of us that we cannot do.  It is only by Him that we will reach this goal.  It is only with His strength, encouragment, and guidance that we will live up to this standard.  We need not measure ourself against the expectations of those around us - not our boss, our co-workers, our children, our husbands, our friends, or even other women in society.  We need only to strive to reach the goal that God has laid out for us.  When this is ultimately the "little red dot" we're moving toward, we're likely to get there because He will not let us stray.
As a side note, we, as women, should not set ourselves up for disappointment and unhappiness. We need not compare ourselves to the woman next door, the friend who is in a different season of life, or even the older women in the church who seem to have "done it all".  God says no where in this section of scripture that we should compare ourselves to any other woman.  He also does not suggest that one woman's role in life is any more difficult nor any more valuable than anothers.  All women have the same goals.  To be strong, hard-working, nurturing, loving, watchful, mindful, and responsible.  HOW we do that is determined for each of us, individually, as daughters of Christ.
My Father in Heaven loves me enough to know where and how I can serve, in my family and in my work.  My life is His mission and I will live it that way. I will also recognize that there are seasons to life and that new seasons bring change. I was with my children, focusing completely on my family when they were young. Now is the season for me to work outside of our home AND to be a great mom.  That is my goal...for now. 
Take a minute to encourage a woman in your life who does "Woman's Work" and let her know she's doing a great job! God may use YOU to make her day!!!

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