“What do you do for a living?” It’s a conversation starter and one I responded to recently by answering, “I don’t.” I was feeling kind of quippy and less than excellent after learning what SHE did with her days. I also was dragging the bottom as a mom. For almost 22 years I have dedicated most of my time to raising my 4 kids. I only have 2 left at home now. The 2 that have flown the coop live 1500 miles apart and over the summer, I’ve been privy to about 1500 hours of radio silence from them. Because the other 2 are busy teenage girls, our time together of late has not been quality or drama free.
The idyllic picture of bedtime snuggles and eloquent prayers, secret confessions of crushes and dreams, pretty tears, healthy meals, evening walks, uproarious laughter, starched uniforms, straight A’s, and happy hearts while doing chores is not the reality in our home. I always thought it would be. I planned it that way.
Like many young women growing up in Christian communities, we were told to model our lives after the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. After all, if we can be like her, we are much more valuable than rubies.
She’s never spiteful and treats her husband generously. She makes her kids clothes and wakes up before dawn to make everybody exotic breakfasts. She plants gardens that thrive and then cooks dinner from the bounty. She loves work and working out. She faces every challenge with a smile and always has something worthwhile to say. She outclasses every other woman and her children rise up and let everyone in earshot know that she is the best mom in the world!
You may know one of these virtuous women… Heck; you might even be one, but hear this all you VW’s, as worthy as the proverbial author says you are, your worth does not lie in your proverbs 31 virtuosity. I so often find myself feeling secure or valuable because of the things I have done or in relationships. When those relationships evolve and leave me lonely, I feel unimportant. When I get frazzled over laundry and carpool traffic and find it sucks all my time and then compare that to the wonder woman who runs a business, makes her clothes and cooks exotic meals, I feel stupid and inconsequential.
Feeling worthless and inconsequential, and feeling valuable because you are a rockin VW are both wrong thinking. Here is the truth: We can only know how valuable we are when we realize the depth of our sin. We can only understand how awesome our God is when we see how boring, ugly and poor we are.
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 2:10 (NIV)
We are children of the day and it is time to get up and work and rejoice today. You and I are loved, more than we can ever imagine and it is not because our kids think we are awesome or because we have strong arms, clean houses and impressive resumes. The only thing you and I can ever give Jesus is our sin. When we offer Him that, there is nothing that can ever separate us from His love…. Not even the craftiest scheme of man or power of hell. You are valuable because the King of Kings and creator of the universe says so. God’s very own son died for you because you are valuable to Him and it is certainly not because you are a virtuous woman. Rejoice my sisters; The King says He delights in you!
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!” Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)