I am the daughters of Israel, who were hired as cooks and bakers in the palace of the king.
I am the young widow Ruth, harvesting crops to support myself and my mother-in-law.
I am Huldah the Prophetess. Though my husband had a good job as a tailor, I also worked outside our home as a college professor, which provided us, among other things, room and board at the college. My devoutness earned me the respect of priests, who consulted with me about God's will.
I am Lydia, a businesswoman with an eye for a "good thing." I recognized at once the truth of the gospel message an Asian missionary brought across the Aegean Sea to Philippi. I became the first convert in Europe, supported the ministry, and founded the first church in my home.
I am all these women. I am a career mom.
These women found me, respectively in Exodus 35:25-26, I Samuel 8:13, Ruth 2:7, II Kings 22:14, and Acts 16:14. I wasn't looking for them. I was just going to church, dealing with my reality as a single mom, and feeling the burn of the then stereotypical lack of acceptance the church had for working women. Notice even the term "working woman" has its own negative connotations. 8/ I felt like I was damned if I didn't work, and damned if I did, so to speak. I was doing "the right thing" and being told I was wrong by well meaning people. But, I continued to read my Bible, and understood that God does not see things as we do. Fortunately, today many people are laying aside those stereotypes, and most men admit their biggest fear about their wives working is that their wives will quit. :) The economy has a way of cleaning or clogging our ethics it seems.
But, I felt so bad about not being the image projected of the "Pentecostal Woman," a picture I looked nothing like, that one Mother's Day morning I found myself dreading going to church. I just knew the Pastor would preach about that Proverbs 31 Woman again. I couldn't stand her...she was so darn perfect. I would have liked to get my hands around her neck. But, this Pastor was a true man of God. He had his ears to Heaven's throne. And, of course, God knew my heart. I drug myself to church, to hear what a lousy woman I was again, to find a very different message about the P31 Woman. I was astounded as he went through the chapter, showing how she worked outside the home, bought and sold property with her own money, AND was a pride to her family. I was shocked to see she was a woman like me...not like that old lady on the magazine sitting in her garden, wiling away her days in the house while her husband worked.
Proverbs 31:10-31 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. She has a monetary value put on her worth. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. He doesn't have to take a second job, but is relieved to come home to a woman who will be a true helpmate. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She is a Home Builder. She builds up instead of tearing down her family. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She makes investments in textiles, and makes a profit on handspun goods. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She goes shopping and orders online to get a good deal :) She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She gets up before daylight and puts a roast in the crockpot so dinner will be ready when she gets home from work. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She bought and sold property with her own money...smart enough to know real estate value. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. Maybe she pumped weights and kept herself in shape at the gym because she knew that was important :) She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She stayed up late because she knew a lot of people were counting on her. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She had her own paycheck and wasn't stingy, but gave to the poor. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She knew where to buy the best clothes and materials. Second rate wasn't good enough for her family. She dressed them with care because she was a provider, and cost was no object when it came to her loved ones. I love this part! Go shopping ladies, it's in the Bible! She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. She dresses nicely and is not afraid to look good for her man. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. The men who work with her husband respect him for having this woman and her husband is proud that this smart, beautiful lady is his wife. How lucky he is to have her. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. She has her goods in stores all over town. Her merchandise is a household name. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. People listen when she speaks, and she speaks kindly to all. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. The most important quality she possesses is that she fears God. All the other things named can be taken away, but her faith in God will keep her through all circumstances. Then, even if her career, her husband, her children, her money is taken, she knows she will still be praiseworthy. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Give her her paycheck and let her enjoy the fruit of her labor all her life, because she works for it.
This Mother's Day, I hope all of you know what you are worth as Mothers. Happy Mother's Day woman! And, if your children get tired of being told what to do, remind them that Jesus did too, but in the end, even God did what His Mom told Him to do. :)
John 2:4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
*I featured this blog by the same name 1 year ago on the night before Mother's Day. I thought it was worth sharing again.