Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

I have a friend who recoils like a cobra ready to strike the moment she sees or hears anything related to Proverbs 31. If you aren’t familiar, think God’s job description for the perfect wife and mother which seems unattainable and feels more like a guilt offering.

When we are in the throes of marriage and/or child rearing, the sobering words within the saintly scripture can unglue even the Theresa, as in Mother.

Instead of a sharing a list of qualifications for the ideal woman to be more or less proficient in, God subjects us to a mouthy inventory of perennial womanly duties akin to the pureness of the Mary supposed to be in us, as in another Mother.

Meh.

What if there is more to Mrs. 31 than meets the hopeless eye? God often asks us to break down our walls of defense and search His truth with some fresh lorgnettes (lenses). When it comes to the challenging call of Proverbs 31, a little clarity will help all of us.

At first skim of the proverb, God appears to set the bar high in describing the quintessential, gold-star child-bearer and bride. As we cast His light of perfection upon our own inadequacies and failures lurking in the shadows of our wifely and mommy journeys, the visual can be u.g.l.y. , as in we ain’t got no alibi.

During certain seasons, the reality of how far below the bar our actions rank compared to the flawless lassie portrayed on papyrus causes us to want to curl up into the fetal position and wail ourselves to sleep.

Although I have done the crying thing, and the guilt binging thing, and the denial thing oodles of times, one season of despair I took the defensive route and started a petition.

My goal was to collect a million signatures from women around the globe who think Mrs. 31 is kinda, sorta on the far side of fetched.

I figured I could slam the binder down on God’s royal desk and demand he loosen up the strings of faultlessness.

Then a still small voice told me to read between the lines of Holy Writ. A more realistic picture began to unveil; revealing a watershed painting to hang on our whitewashed walls.

Here’s what I gleaned, with help from a realist angel. My confused mom heart began to unravel a little:

A wife of noble character who can find?
Exactly; God posed this as a rhetorical question for a reason.

She is worth far more than rubies.
And there is no disclaimer in this verse about our value dropping on bad days.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Hear that hubbies? GOD SAYS we bring you good all the days of our life. So when we wear our crazy from PMS or sleep deprivation, remember we are really sheep in wolves clothing.

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
You can’t spin through the clearance racks fast enough to find a family wardrobe to fit a $200 budget.

She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
We get up while it’s dark because the middle of the night is the only time we aren’t being pulled in a zillion other directions. We have to go to the ends of the earth and back to find enough coupons to lessen our grocery bills and it ain’t happening unless everyone in the fam is catching z’s.

She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
Yes. We consider the produce at hand, and we buy it if it’s on sale. By being frugal with our earnings, we plant seeds of smart shopping within the hearts of our offspring.

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
Of course we work vigorously. We have five minutes to mop the floor and three minutes to lug laundry to the washer before junior wakes up from his nap. Our arms are strong from the chores, yes, but the natural tension means organic buffing.

She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
Our lamp doesn’t go out at night because we rarely sleep. Either someone is crying or our hormone levels are upside down. And it’s the only time of day we can scan a chapter in one of the five books about being a better mother we are simultaneously trying to read.

In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
We can chalk this up to stellar multi-tasking.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Yes. Yes we do. This one’s easy.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
In general, we do our best to have no fear for our household because they are clothed in Christ. Thank you, Jesus.

She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Duh. Targét. (I actually prefer the Maxx)

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
We come to realize the wife’s respect towards her husband is far more important than all the elders.

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Oh, we laugh at the days to come and the days at hand. In the former because we know our trials with our children will come full circle in their own lives as parents; in the latter because we’re nuts.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Sometime after age forty this begins to happen on a more regular basis.

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
AMEN. 24/7. 365.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Aw shucks. But, darn right!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Raising a family pilfers much of our charm and beauty, but the love gained is a priceless bounty. We fear the Lord because we know he giveth and taketh.

And while we haveth, best enjoyeth, crazy Mommas!

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog shelbyspear.com.

You’re Never Alone in the Trenches of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, color photo

This one goes out to all the mamas in the trenches. To the mamas in the kitchen stirring dinner with a baby on their hip. To the ones waking up an hour earlier than the rest of the house to pump after waking up countless times throughout the night to attend to both your toddler and baby. The ones who must take care of business from lobbies, bathroom floors, lunch breaks, and the carpool line. To the mamas who pass on their own birthday presents so their kid’s medical bills can be covered. RELATED: This is the Sacrifice of Motherhood...

Keep Reading

When You Stop Running into My Arms, I Pray You Run to Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child and mother walking on beach in sunlight

I love seeing the light in my little girl’s eyes when I pick her up from school at the end of the day. Her eyes open wide, and she runs to me loudly saying, “Mommy!” for all to hear. I pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss on her cheek. She smiles ear to ear and knows she is loved and adored. She feels safe in my arms, and I pray that never changes. I want to always be her biggest cheerleader and greatest fan–holding the streamers on the sidelines in shades of brilliant gold encouraging...

Keep Reading

Praying For Your Kids is Holy Work of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom hugging daughter by bed with open Bible

While excavating Mount Masada in Israel, archeologists discovered something extraordinary . . . a date palm seed. It might not seem like much (especially if you’re like me and totally expected it to be a new dinosaur or something), but this particular seed sat dormant in the dry desert soil for almost 2,000 years. Scientists ended up finding several more seeds like it throughout the Judean desert, and with a little TLC, they were able to sprout not just one but six of them. Six date palm trees, now bearing fruit that hasn’t been seen in two millennia. Incredible, right?...

Keep Reading

Choose to Be a Mother, Not a Martyr

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, black-and-white photo

There is a trend in motherhood right now . . . maybe it’s happened for a long time, but now since I am a mom, I am experiencing it: this idea that everything we do as moms makes us a martyr. And honestly, I am guilty here more times than I’m not. RELATED: You’re a Mother, Not a Martyr We have these inner, silent dialogues between us and our husbands, parents, in-laws, and friends. Things we say and think, but they never hear. They compound on each other in the hallways of our hearts before bitterness creeps in without us...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Reminds Me How Much I Need Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby in nursery, color photo

Parenting is not only about the work it takes to raise up a child, but it’s also about continuing the work of being raised in Christ. Stripping back our innermost layers of selfishness and laying our pride exposed. Seeing ourselves as the center of our own personal schedule is no longer an option. Feeling like we have power over anything quickly vanishes into thin air. Parenthood pushes us to surrender and accept God’s sovereign control. Parenting sanctifies us.  Parenting shows us our sinful attitudes. When plans are ruined, when another blowout spoils the perfect outfit you chose, when your toddler...

Keep Reading

When Did I Become Such an Angry Mom?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman with head in her hands

My oldest children and I had just navigated a tabletop board game. My son lost. My daughter won. I also lost. She’s four. For the record, I was trying my best. We were all putting the game away together when my son grabbed my daughter by the face and yelled, “IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYWAY BECAUSE YOUR BREATH STINKS!” And then, Mount St. Meredith erupted. I (not so gently) removed him from the situation and (not so calmly) insisted that he . . . brush his own teeth. Yep. For the record, I was trying my best. RELATED: Mom Anger: Taming...

Keep Reading

Angel Babies are Heaven’s Gatekeepers

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Mother and baby silhouette

I never seemed to have the right words. I didn’t have the right words at four years old when my parents lost my 11-month-old brother, and I never seemed to have the right words as I watched family members and close friends lose both the new life growing within their wombs and the beautiful, precious life resting in their weary arms. So, I did what I thought would offer the most comfort. I simply tried to show up and be there the best I could. I shopped for their favorite treats. I dropped meals off on front porches and toys...

Keep Reading

Secondary Infertility Took Me By Surprise

In: Baby, Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler by open door

Selfish. Unfair. Guilt stricken. Shameful. Those were just a few of the words that regularly stabbed my lamenting heart as I longed for a second child. Yes, I was grateful for my healthy, beautiful boy who made my dream of motherhood come true, but why did I not feel complete—was he not enough? Was I doing this motherhood thing all wrong and didn’t deserve a second child? Why did I long to give him a sibling so badly knowing millions were aching for their first—how could I be so insensitive? So many questions, so many buts and so many whys....

Keep Reading

So God Made a Farm Mom

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Family walking on farm road at sunset

One day, God looked down at all the fields, barns, pastures, and farmers and knew He needed someone to take care of all the families on the land. He knew it had to be someone confident in herself to see that the farm doesn’t come first, even when it sometimes feels like it does. He knew the farm needed someone who understands her role is important, too—especially during the seasons of motherhood when she’s not out driving a tractor. Someone proud to stand by her farmer’s side.  So God made a farm mom. God knew farm kids would need someone...

Keep Reading

Even If It Doesn’t Feel like It, God Is Holding You

In: Faith
Woman sitting against tree outside

Sweet friend,  When you’re sitting in that doctor’s office, waiting to find out what is wrong, I know you’re scared. I wish I could come and sit down beside you, hold your hand, and reassure you that it’s going to be okay. No matter what news she tells you, it’s going to be okay.  Your world might change in an instant. I know there are so many feelings swirling inside you and that you’re fighting back the tears, but it’s going to be okay.  Even if it doesn’t feel like it, God is holding you. He knows exactly what’s going...

Keep Reading