Life, as a stay-at-home, is a juggling act. It is comical to me when people snub their noses at the profound job of caring for home and family... as if "wife" and "mom" just don't carry enough weight to justify the air we breathe. I think this is why Proverbs 31 is so important to women, not as a check-list of all the hard-to-reach places, rather, as inspiration for all the possibility and impact of our 'position'.
Lately I have cycled back to a place of struggling. My home isn't as nice as hers... my kids aren't learning the awesome things those kids are... my voice doesn't matter in the din of so many others... my work as a wife and mother caring for her home doesn't make a difference... you know the mantra, don't you?
I want to say I have broken the Comparison Trap but, truth is, I don't think that trap is ever broken. We may tip-toe around it or ignore it for a season, however, the cycle always comes back around to that place where we find ourselves caged in comparison again. This past week, though, God was merciful in helping me see truth...
First, I stumbled upon a woman whose house had been featured in a favorite magazine of mine. She was giving a virtual tour of her vintage abode... with some side remodel projects going on, missing thresholds, messy piles and all! I barely recognized her videoed home compared to the one the magazine had colorfully featured. Suddenly my eyes were wide open: we aren't that different! Her house may be bigger but the walls were filled the same as mine: with carefully curated heart-felt belongings, life, and the people we love. Matching furniture and perfectly placed trinkets on every surface were NOT her main-stay, but her house looked like a HOME I would love visiting. I felt tremendously encouraged watching her comfortably take viewers through her less-than-perfect yet still beautiful rooms and halls and realizing how my home had it's own flow and beauty, in it's own right!!
Then, while linking up last week's Homeschool Mother's Journal article I 'met' a homeschool high school mom doing things much the same as we do. Not the big, fancy, curriculum I see so many devouring with enjoyment... but rather the simple little things which go a bit off the beaten path while still accomplishing the same goals. I had NEVER seen another homeschool high school family take this particular approach before and the inspiration lifted my heart beyond measure! I quit lamenting over what wouldn't work for us and, instead, kept plugging forward with all that did!
At this point I had to sit back on my heals and really take it all in... SEE the comparison I was slipping into and then remembering the Proverbs 31 Wife and a very particular passage which began to speak deeply to me:
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Who's household does she look to the ways of? HERS... not her neighbor's or the woman at market, nor was she concerned about the household of the leader's wife. Nope... just hers... and not that she wasn't benevolent towards others, Proverbs 31 also teaches about her compassion towards those around her. What I am pointing out is how she isn't wrapped up in comparison, rather, she is focused on her own sphere of influence and ability... not other's.
From this sphere, Proverbs 31 chronicles a great many things she dabbles in and, as mentioned, while it is not about a laundry list of to-dos, it is about her dedication to get things done well. How do we know they are done well?
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
her husband also, and he praises her:
While it isn't about the accolades of mankind when we set to doing the work God has for us, I do believe the response of our family is a small treasure God gives us here on earth for a job well done. Our husbands aren't going to praise us for keeping house like our dearest friend... nor are our children going to call us "blessed" because we hit the mark like Jimmy's mom. No, our families feel our love and hard work when we are focused on our own household and the God who rules over it all... they know it is not a competition, rather, it is the joyful surrounding of the bubble we call HOME. Our family blesses and praises because our eyes are on them and our household, not others.
I pray, wherever you are today, whether standing in the comparison trap or happily walking away from it, that you are able to confidently and joyfully keep your eyes on your household as you care for the hearts of the ones you love.
All this month I will be doing a series, in honor of Mother's Day and all the hard-working women out there, covering verses from Proverbs 31. If you are interested in studying this well-known section of scripture with me, sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter and I will send you May's edition with the P31 study attached! Info below....
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