Let’s be honest. Many of us women inwardly groan when the preacher instructs us to turn to Proverbs 31 for the sermon passage. We know we’re going to see this list of stuff we’re supposed to be doing, get guilt tripped, elbowed and poked by our husbands, and then go back to our daily life feeling more depressed and guilty than we were when we left that morning.
Doing this on Mother’s Day is just cruel.
My weekend was not the greatest I’ve ever experienced. My little family has been under some extra stress, in addition to the now normal stress caused by being apart. I think it made us all more irritable than normal. When the weekend forecast is for continuous rain, you prepare yourself to be more patient than normal because everyone's going to be in everyone's way and it's dreary. But when the forecast is nice and you're getting an extra visit because of a holiday, you expect a nice weekend. Expectations are not always kind.
I struggle with Mother's Day and have done so for years. There are a lot of emotions tangled up in this day, and now that I'm a mother myself, I am even more perplexed as to how to cope with my feelings. This internal struggle has not helped this weekend either.
So when the preacher said to turn to Proverbs 31, I was not in "learn mode." I was in "argue mode." It was yet another reason for me to say men expect June Cleaver and then some. And let me tell you, I am no June Cleaver.
Two points I want to make to any men reading this. Proverbs 31 speaks of a women with servants. And it speaks of a woman whose children are old enough to say "blessed" and understand what it means. In other words, they're grown. This is not a woman with small children underfoot and no household help.
But I also remember something my brother-in-law said. Sometimes, you can try so hard not to let something happen that you end up causing it to happen.
Moderation. There's uncomfortably clean, and uncomfortably filthy. There's perfection, and there's being satisfied with less than your best. There's working yourself to the bone, and there's being lazy. There's anorexia, and there's gluttony. There's legalism, and there's lawlessness.
Balancing on the middle of that teeter-totter is incredibly hard. And like my 3 year old nephew today, I find myself perched in the middle of this strange, crooked, weird teeter totter, clinging to the edge and screaming in panic.
But balancing is what we're called to do as women. It's not fair. But it's what we're made to do. Even though it's not natural.
It's natural to get irritated when you turn your back for a second and your toddler has dumped those tiny rubber hair bands all over the floor. It's natural to get irritated when you throw someone else's trash away. It's natural to snap at someone when you're stressed and don't feel good.
But we have been given a new nature. And as I was reminded tonight, that doesn't mean the struggles disappear. It does mean there is a power beyond my own to face them. And when needed, that power leads us beside still and quiet waters to restore our soul.