I've just finished reading My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn. From the beginning I really identified with Sara, as our husbands are both military. And I've also been pondering the passage for a while now, asking God, praying about how to apply these instructions to my life and my daily journey. Because I truly believe that in that passage lies the keys of a godly, quiet-spirited, productive, successful wife and mother. But if I'm being honest here, I thought,
"This is probably another woman telling me that I'm not doing right by my family because I'm working outside the home. That I couldn't possibly be fulfilling God's plan for my family, if I'm not home 24 hours a day caring for our home and family. That there's no way my focus could be my family when I spend 8 hours out of our home."
But there were 4 words on the cover of her book that intrigued me and they were...
"....and Its Surprising Results". I wanted to know what her surprising results were!
As Sara chronicled her journey, it was encouraging to see the growth in her obedience to God and her love for her family. I've been asking God to help me to love my family more selflessly and to put that love into action. This is one of the most important things that Sara had to learn...how to put her family before herself. And what that looks like practically. It's easy to think about or talk about ways to put our family first. But that will look differently for every family. And I'm learning that true selflessness doesn't come when you can put one's needs in front of your own, but when you can put their desires ahead of your desires. I mean, it's easy, as mothers, to fix dinner for your children when you are sick and legitimately need rest because, obviously our children "need" to eat. But what about when a family member merely wants to have something, or to do something that would conflict with something you want to have or do? That takes a new level of selflessness.
When I've read Proverbs 31 before, it has seemed like a list of daunting tasks to be checked off my to-do list. But I thought, "I can do this. I'm a task oriented person. I like lists. If this is what it takes to be a Proverbs 31 wife, I so got this." But I have found that whenever I am focused on lists, chores, or tasks to complete, I always come up a complete failure. I always run out of time, out of energy, or out of will The Proverbs 31 wife or "Martha 31" as Sara calls her, is doing what it takes to take care of her family and as a result she is honoring her husband, and her children "call her blessed". I think we get caught up in the to-do's of the Proverbs 31 wife and forget to try and see her heart. Her heart is focused completely on her family, her checklist is purely for the betterment of her home and her family. I, for one, am tremendously grateful that our Savior doesn't look at our to-do lists to see how many chores we were able to check off for the day. But He instead looks at our hearts. So, friends, instead of striving to complete checklist after checklist and seeking affirmation in the number of chores or assignments you complete, seek affirmation from your Creator and ask Him to work in your heart.
As Sara says in her book,
"I want to be the wife who is a blessing to her family, who is praised and remembered, not for the activities or projects I checked off, but for the smiles I wore, the peace I shared, and the deep love of God I hope I instilled wherever I went. That's my prayer."
And that, I think, is the essence of what a Proverbs 31 wife should try to be.