Posted by: gbake783 | May 3, 2012

Mother’s Day

I realize that Mother’s Day is still a week and a half away, but I wanted to share an article that I wrote for our local newspaper – The Valley News. It ran this week. Enjoy!

It was eight years ago this spring and I was a month away from marriage. Those sacred vows were becoming a daunting reality: “till death do us part” doesn’t leave much room for error. It’s probably too strong to say I had cold feet – I just wanted to be sure. So I went to my apartment and opened a Bible to Proverbs 31, which I knew paints the picture of God’s ideal wife and mother. I asked the question – is Danielle this type of person? The answer was yes, and we were married a month later. Best decision I ever made!

On Mother’s Day, I suppose I could tell all the husbands in our congregation to buy their wives flowers and chocolate and treat them like queens for the day. But I hope they already know to do that. Instead, I’ll turn to Proverbs 31 and allow it to inspire our mothers to even greater heights while simultaneously encouraging our husbands to appreciate the love, sacrifice, and fortitude of a Proverbs 31 woman.

The very first verse of the Proverb is insightful – “The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him.” Mothers do so many things to make the house a home, but one of their greatest responsibilities is to teach their sons whom to seek for a wife and their daughters what type of women they ought to be. King Lemuel’s mother put aside her insecurities and failures, surrendered her life to examination, eschewed personal excuses, and exhorted her son to seek a certain type of wife. What type of woman is that? Let’s keep studying.

The Proverb highlights several character qualities of the virtuous woman. The first to stand out is her work ethic. Her cheerful labor (31:13) certainly makes for some late nights and early mornings, but her family eats well (31:14), stays warm in the winter (31:21), and trusts her wise choices (31:11). Although the virtuous woman ultimately trusts the Lord for her provision, her hard work allows her to rest easy at night – she knows she’s prepared  to tackle life’s challenges (31:21, 25).

Second, The Proverbs 31 woman is the opposite of what our popular culture tends to reward – she’s not stuck in the endless drama of perpetual adolescence. Her children are not accessories for her own attention gathering, but pupils with whom she has a limited time to teach life-changing truths. The virtuous mother leads by example – she’s generous with people less fortunate than she is (31:20). She’s dignified and lovely (31:25), yet always ready with a kind word (31:26). Her wisdom skillfully guides the family through life’s ambiguities (31:26), which is why her husband is admired by his peers – they say, “You, sir, married well” (31:23). I think verse 30 best summarizes the stark contrast between what American culture typically encourages and what God values – “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, is to be praised.”

Last, Proverbs 31 speaks to the inestimable value of virtuous woman. Whenever I sense that a mom is growing weary with her day-to-day responsibilities, I encourage her to read all the wonderful things this Proverb says about her. A virtuous mother’s value surpasses even fine jewelry (31:10). Both her husband and her children rise to call her blessed (31:28). The term “blessed” can refer to happiness, but typically means so much more. The word connotes unique esteem – she’s in an enviable position. In other words, her children acknowledge that other woman ought look to their mother on account of her exemplary goodness. I suppose it’s no wonder the book of Proverbs also describes the excellent wife as her husband’s crowning glory (12:4).

Mothers have a tough job. Let’s honor them for their sacrifice and praise them for their goodness. Flowers and chocolate are always a good start!

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