I grew up in a home that could have been a poster child for “Dysfunctional.” Both of my parents eventually became Christians before each of their deaths but during those pivotal years of my development I was at a loss for strong role models. Instead of learning from my own parents what a wife should be, I learned by watching the parents of my closest friends. It saddens me that there have been times that I have missed my friends’ mothers more than my own simply because I sought their wisdom and direction when I felt my own was lacking. By the time I reached adulthood my perception of what men would expect from me or how to be a ‘good wife’ was completely distorted and I was lost. I spent years on a roller coaster of relationships that left me feeling depressed and down on myself for their failures because I just knew in EVERY situation it had to be MY fault. I spent endless nights crying to God to fix me, show me how to be a better person, how to be more of a woman, begging Him to change me and make me worthy of a man’s love. Something I have since learned is that it’s hard to get an answer when you never listen for a response.
Asking God for direction then not listening to what He has to say is like trying to cook dinner without ever turning on the oven. The results won’t quite be the same and you’ll pretty much be left with the same mess that you started with. All of that time I kept myself in turmoil which was in vain because I was waiting for the booming voice to call down to me from the heavens and magically turn me into what I THOUGHT I was supposed to be. I never once genuinely sought His will. It wasn’t until I met the man who would become my husband that I became eager to faithfully learn what my role in a marriage was supposed to be. I began to earnestly seek answers because I was determined to not mess this relationship up too! I just wanted an instruction manual for life that would tell me everything I needed to know. Then I realized; I had one. It was my Bible and it had been with me all along!
Soon I realized it was ALL there! Everything I needed to know! Oh it didnt teach me to cook a rack of lamb and I still have no idea how to hem a pair of pants without the seam showing but the basics were all laid out for me. Where was my role model of how to be the type of wife that God intended for me to be? She was in Proverbs 31 and I should strive to be like that woman. It never once says she’s perfect, she isn’t described as tall, thin and beautiful. Her home isn’t described as being spotless and I’d be willing to bet that her kids used their sleeve at least once within their life to wipe their mouths. Instead of all of her faults, the Bible focuses on her attributes. She isn’t lazy, she works hard, she tends to her family, gives to the poor, makes sure everyone is fed, takes care of herself (and doesnt live in sweat pants and stained t-shirts), she is wise and kind and most of all she fears the Lord. Aside from the wisdom part I thought “Hey! I could do all that!”
After years of telling myself all the things I wasn’t. Here was a list of all the things I could be and you know, God’s list was a lot simpler than mine! My list included losing a ton of weight, worrying if my hair were perfect, nails always painted, house in perfect condition, having a nicer car, nicer home, high end career, always saying the right things, living up to the expectations of everyone else that I met…I thought all of THOSE things were what I needed to be and I would beat myself up when they I didnt achieve them. Then I found in the word of God that I was so far off it wasn’t even funny. Don’t get me wrong, being a woman of virtue who spills wisdom from her lips and “layeth her hands to the spindle” is no easy calling but it’s easier to live up to ONE set of defined expectations from God than a million constantly changing and misguided expectations from others and myself.
God has given each of us an outline of what He expects. No more, no less and not once does He say we have to become flawless before He will use us. Nor does He command us to destroy our self-worth when we THINK we have failed to meet a certain set of standards. For those of us who were not blessed to have a Proverbs 31 mother, we are not doomed by our circumstances. We can still achieve becoming a woman of virtue and can still fulfill our role as wife and mother in a way that God intended for us. It’s up to us to seek His guidance and LISTEN to His direction to get us there.
If you’re that woman that I once was, who feels clueless as to how to be a good wife, a good mom. Who isn’t sure how to BE a Proverbs 31 woman. It’s time to start talking to God and earnestly listening to Him. Ask Him to place people in your path who can demonstrate to you all the things that He has listed for a wife to be. Ask Him to show you woman who can be of wise counsel for you to turn to in times of needed advice then pay attention to when He does! In the meantime, stop beating yourself up for not being that woman already. If we had no room for growth in our lives, life would get pretty boring. Below are a few resources that have helped me along my journey and ones that I continue to use today in order to keep me inspired, encouraged and faithful to my role. I hope they will do the same for you.