A ‘Proverbs 31’ Wife?

Today I decided to read Proverbs 31. (Note to self: Bad idea. The idea of a perfect wife like that makes big neon signs saying ‘FAILURE’ flash repeatedly before my eyes until I get dizzy or scream. Or both.)

You know those perfect wives? The ones that cook great meals every night (complete with dessert), keep their house perfectly clean, take care of their family (and everyone else), and somehow still have time to shave their legs and blow-dry their hair? The ones that make your toes curl with envy? Well, that’s the Proverbs 31 woman. (Proverbs 31:10-31, NIV) I’m not saying it’s not something to strive for, but man!

It starts off in verse 10 by describing her like this: ‘A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.’ I don’t know about you, but the whole ‘noble character’ thing has me beat! (And personally, if I had to pick between myself and rubies, I’d be going with the rubies!)

‘Her husband has full confidence in her, and lacks nothing of value.’ Hmm…I can think of a lot of ‘things of value’ that he doesn’t have – but I bought him golf clubs! That gives me a few brownie points, right?

‘She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.’ How many times I have been impatient, angry, and hurtful towards him. (See that ‘FAILURE’ sign flashing?)

‘She selects wool and flax, and works with eager hands.’ Aha! This I can do! I have that much wool it is verging on ridiculous! I crochet at every opportunity! And I just bought a sewing maching so I can do the mending. Pretty sure I’ve got this one under control!

‘She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.’ Well, the shops are ‘afar’ aren’t they? After all, 5 minutes is a long way! (Can anyone else hear her laughing at me?)

‘She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.’ Getting up while it’s still dark to make hubby’s lunch counts doesn’t it? So I’m doing alright with this one. Servants though? I had to laugh – if only I could afford such things!

‘She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.’ Considering I can’t afford to buy anything and currently have no earnings I’m pretty sure I failed this one as well!

‘She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.’ This is the part where I get to flex my muscles and take a bow right? Ok, so maybe I get half marks for trying on this one.

‘She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.’ Trading? Are you kidding? Who has time for that? And as for my lamp not going out at night, I’m usually half asleep by the time we sit down for dinner! Another fail!

‘In her hand she holds the distaff, and grasps the spindle with her fingers.’ The sewing machine and mending thing counts here right?

‘She opens her arms to the poor, and extends her hands to the needy.’ Wow. This one hit me hard. At the moment I’ve been so busy thinking of myself and trying to get everything done that I don’t think I’ve even thought of poor or needy people. That ‘FAILURE’ sign is flashing again.

‘When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.’ My poor husband is still going to work in shorts in the middle of winter because I haven’t taken the time to go get him long pants. Failure.

‘She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.’ Please tell me making a throw rug counts. And as for clothes, I’m pretty sure ‘fine linen and purple’ means she dresses up beautifully for her husband every day, always wears gorgeous underwear, and has the most attractive lingerie available. I don’t think I even brushed my hair yesterday, let alone got dressed up or had gorgeous underwear! Failed again!

‘Her husband is respected in the gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.’ Pretty sure people respect him, however I don’t think that counts as marks for me. (Except if I get points for picking an awesome guy!)

‘She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.’ I can use the mending and crocheting thing again can’t I? I have sold some crocheting! (Ok, 3 items. But that’s progress!)

‘She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.’ Last night I had fit of the giggles, flung myself on the bed, whacked my head on the laptop and ended with an explosive headache. Dignity and I do not belong in the same sentence! I can laugh though! (I’m pretty sure that’s not what it means but you’ve got to give me a little leeway!)

‘She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.’ I rang my mother in a panic over an exploded casserole – pretty sure I’m the one needing the instruction!

‘She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.’ I try with this one, really I do. I try to keep things clean, I make sure the bills are paid, I do the washing (except when I forget and my husband has no work clothes left!), and I cook (ok, so sometimes I fail miserably in that department, but hey, last night we even had apple crumble for dessert!). I even do dishes occasionally! But I know have been guilty of idleness many times. I think I qualify for half a point yes?

‘Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”’ Since the children aren’t old enough to answer for themselves yet, I’d just like to say they think I’m wonderful. (Or they will, whenever we actually have any!) My husband however, tells me I am beautiful and talented and a great cook (he may have forgotten the casserole incident!). I don’t think this counts as points for me, it just means my husband is on the verge of insanity!

‘Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.’ I’m sure I don’t ‘fear the Lord’ nearly enough, but I think this is another point for trying!

‘Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.’ Well, there she is. The perfect wife.

I don’t even need to add up my score to know that ‘FAILURE’ sign is well-deserved. You only have to look at the current state of my kitchen to know that! But you know what, I don’t care. I’m not perfect, but he chose me. He loves ME.

Perfection is a great ideal and maybe one day I will get there. But for now I’m content to be imperfect. I’m happy to just be ME. (Although time to shave my legs would be nice!)

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‘It’s so loud, …

‘It’s so loud, I just can’t seem to slow this down
I need You more than ever now
Let the silence be the only sound

Your glory becomes the only thing I see,
Your beauty brings me to my knees,
The awe that You inspire in me
Makes me want to be still….’

Life at the moment is so busy, so loud. I am crowded by assignments and there is so much housework, cooking, dishes, washing, and ironing to be done every day. (Actually forget the ironing, I’ve given up on that!) Sometimes I feel like a huge failure as a wife. I am stressed wondering what will happen next year. And there are days when it all gets too much.

And I can’t get it to slow down. I can’t make assignments do themselves, I can’t abolish housework (unfortunately!), and cooking, dishes, washing, & ironing are all a part of life. (And this whole ‘wife’ business means all of it is doubled!)

But when it gets too overwhelming, when I can’t slow life down, I remember how much I need God. More so each day. His whisper reminds me that I need to ‘be still’ and focus on Him. And as I do, His glory really does become the only thing I see. So today instead of worrying, instead of trying to do it all on my own, I choose to be still. To kneel at His feet until He gives me strength to stand and get through this day.

Won’t you join me there?

52 weeks of happy (2/52)

Had some lovely little things that made me happy this week!

1. My husband and I went birdwatching yesterday and he happened to look inside a hollow tree to see if there were birds in it. The little brown eyes that blinked back at him didn’t belong to a bird however!

Little cutie sugar glider!

Little cutie sugar glider!

2. Yesterday I decided to go to the new supermarket that just opened up. And they had gorgeous little bunches of jonquils. So I had to buy one (naturally!), and now I have beautiful flowers decorating my house and smelling lovely and just making me generally happy!

3. Last night my husband noticed the floor was dirty and vacuumed it! Without even a hint from me! Miracles happen! And that makes me very happy indeed!

4. This morning I found that one of my recipes has been pinned several times on Pinterest! Put a big smile on my face!

5. I know I’m only supposed to do four but the sunshine today is just so lovely it deserves a mention too! It’s been so nice and warm – shame I didn’t think to do washing while it’s sunny! (Although, knowing my luck it would probably have poured with rain if I had done washing.)

So that’s some of my happy things from the last week (although they’re mostly centred on the last 2 days!). Can you find any little things to be happy about today?

52 weeks of happy (1/52)

Shortly after writing my post on joy in little things I accidentally stumbled across this blog post. And I decided to join in. The idea is to share 4 little things that have made you happy in the last week for 52 weeks. So here goes!

1. Coming in at number one is the awesome T-shirt I found while shopping on Friday afternoon. I had been on prac at the zoo all morning (starting at 6:30am, ugh), so by the time I finished the grocery shopping (Read as: trying to get food without being killed by numerous, crazy, and sometimes inconsiderate shoppers) I was well and truly worn out. My feet were sore, my back was sore, and I just wanted to go home and sleep. But I had parked miles away (due to the numerous other shoppers beating me to the good parking spots!) and had to walk past quite a few other shops before I got to my car. And as I walked, the aforementioned shirt caught my eye – it was just a regular T-shirt, nothing special – until you saw the word ‘WIFEY’ printed across the front in big letters! I was so excited! A definite must-have! So I bought it and my husband was suitably impressed.

2. In second place is the set of 3 pineapple doilies (crocheted to sell to a friend), that I FINALLY finished last night! Feels like I’ve been working on them forever and it makes me happy to see them all done! Here they are, all finished and wrapped, ready to go to their new home. IMG_3235

3. At number 3, I have finally started my birding album on Facebook! (I am a member of a Facebook birding group that is currently running a ‘Big Year’ type challenge – photograph as many different Aussie bird species as you can in the current financial year. Two weeks into the challenge and I finally have a start – 18 lovely little birdies in one Sabbath afternoon stroll! I know I am way behind the serious bird-watchers in the group, but at least I’m having fun!

My favourite shot of the day!

My favourite shot of the day!

4. And my last happy thing would be the washing bobbing happily on the line. And the clean dishes. (Considering I have barely done dishes in the last couple of days, I am quite proud of the amazing transformation of the kitchen!) After being on prac all week it is great to have time to wash and clean!

Strange things part 4 (Where I surprise everyone with my gardening skills!)

There seem to be so many strange things occurring in my house that I have managed to write 3 (nearly 4!) blog posts about them! Oh well, it’s good to have something to laugh at!

Recently I heard a strange noise in my lounge room. It sounded like a finch. But I don’t have finches in the lounge room! (At least, not unless our finches figured out how to unlock and open doors and managed to get out of the cage and into the house!) So it couldn’t be a finch. I went investigating. And then it hit me – I had put the budgies in the lounge room. It was one of them masquerading as a finch! So now it gets even more confusing – the finches make finch noises, the husband makes finch noises (he has conversations with the poor finches – they are completely bewildered by it!), and the budgies are learning finch noises! Soon my furniture will start making finch noises and then I’ll know I’m really losing the plot! But until then, I guess I can put up with the weird finch noises in my house!

One night my dear husband arrived at the door to announce that he had a present for me. (Ladies, when your husband makes announcements like this, don’t get your hopes up – a present can mean anything from flowers to dirty socks. And more often than not it’s the socks.) In this case it was dirty socks, shirt, and shorts – all of which were filthy and covered in prickles! It took ages to remove said prickles but I did it. And then I washed it all and relaxed in the delusion that it would not happen again.

Ha! (Sometimes I have completely unrealistic ideas!) Anyway, this time it was a jumper and socks completely covered in prickles and mud with lovely grass seeds embedded in the fabric. I was busy for the next couple of weeks so I sat them in the laundry tub until I got around to it. Every now and then I had time to remove several prickles but I wasn’t making much headway. Then I went away for a week. When I came home they still hadn’t miraculously disappeared. So, several days later (after much unpacking and cleaning and procrastinating) I finally faced the worst. And as I was plucking prickles, I spied two green leaves. Upon closer inspection, I discovered  that a prickle was GROWING in the sock. Literally growing!! Roots and all! I may not be a wonderful wife, but I’m one awesome gardener! (Have YOU ever grown prickles in a laundry tub with no soil or water? See, there you have it – I am talented!) I found one more prickle sprouting in the other sock, but finally managed to get all the prickles out and wash them and rejoice in the beauty of a clean jumper and socks!

It was a little surprising but you know you’re getting something right as a wife when you can laugh with your husband at the horror of prickles growing in his washing!

Happily ever after….

I like fairytales – the kind where a handsome prince falls in love with a beautiful girl, rescues her from a dragon, and takes her away to a beautiful place where they live happily ever after. All of us love those stories. And deep in our romantic hearts we wish that could be us. We want to be the beautiful heroine in a dramatic story, with a handsome prince rescuing us from some huge dragon. We want lovely glass slippers and pretty dresses and a prince that makes us swoon.

And then when life doesn’t go like it does in our fairytales, we fall apart. We don’t get handed glass slippers or beautiful dresses and our prince is either stuck in a tree somewhere or he is flawed. So we despair of finding perfect love at all.

But the truth is, life isn’t a fairytale. Glass slippers don’t drop from the sky and pretty dresses don’t get handed around by fairy godmothers. Laundry and housework aren’t very dramatic dragons to fight. (And let’s face it, princes don’t do laundry and housework very often – looks like we’re taking them on by ourselves!)

True happiness isn’t dependent on beautiful clothes and shoes or the perfect prince. (Princes are rarely perfect in real life anyway!) And love isn’t perfect. Sometimes your prince may see things totally differently. (Men think on a very weird wavelength!) Sometimes he may not see things at all – this can include dirty dishes, work in general, a new dress that you wanted a compliment on, or the fact that you need him or just want a hug. (Remember that he can’t mindread – if you need him or you feel like he doesn’t care, tell him! I can pretty much guarantee that he does care but he is just too oblivious to notice!) Sometimes your prince may make you mad, and you might say hurtful things to each other.puss in boots sorry

But true love always forgives. It is always

willing to learn from past mistakes and

start all over again. And it is never too proud

to say ‘I’m sorry’. 

And I believe that is the secret to ‘happily ever after’.

That and flowers.

And flowers

Finding joy in little things!

Yesterday I made the long journey home from a visit with my family. I was grumbling as usual about the length and boringness of the drive. (Is boringness a word?) Anyway, about 2 hours away from home I came across a little town. As I was driving through it I noticed a little boy who couldn’t have been more than 3 years old playing beside his front gate. He had found a delicious mud puddle and was gleefully jumping into it, over and over. And each time he jumped, the grin of pure delight that came across his face made me smile. I spied his mum watching from their front gate – she was smiling at his happiness too. (I bet she wasn’t smiling later when she had to clean him up!)

As adults we often grumble and complain. We forget to notice the little things. A bird singing, a rainbow, a flower. And sometimes it takes the sight of a little boy gleefully jumping in the middle of a mud puddle to wake us up. To help us remember to enjoy the little things with all the enthusiasm of a child.

So today, remember to stop and listen to the bird’s song. Take a moment to gasp at the beauty of that rainbow. Smell a gorgeous rose. And if you see a mud puddle, jump in it! More than once! And make sure you smile – because joy is contagious!

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