Perfection…and me

The day has passed and we can all breathe a little easier.

For years, I have cringed a little when Mother’s Day rolled around and the Proverbs 31 woman was used as the text for the day. While she does present an admirable role model, too many sermons on this day caused me to realize I didn’t measure up…or even come close. Most versions translate this portion with “an excellent wife,” and I start to relax when realizing the rarity of this distinction. Then, I searched other translations for loopholes and descriptions that fit my situation and offered encouragement. This didn’t help when some of these versions avoided “excellent” but used “good woman” (The Message), “virtuous” (NKJV), and my worst find:  “competent” (CEB). When I am lacking the perfection of the Proverbs 31 woman – her “excellence,” I cannot even rest in simply achieving competence as a mother – that also describes her.

There are SO many ways that prove I’m not just in her league. I am NOT a morning person who yearns to rise before my household although I do stay up late like she did. She worked and bought property, served the poor and needy, sewed, gardened, was never lazy, and apparently her family never saw her bad side. On the other hand, my family saw my frustrations when I tried to do half of the things she accomplished. I can’t tell a vegetable from a weed until it’s too late. And I can guarantee that when my children were teenagers, they weren’t always blessing me – especially when curfew was enforced. My husband deserves kudos for having survived our early years together when my attempts at cooking were nutritious at best while not tasty; and some have commented he is deserving of sainthood after 30 plus years of marriage.

Now, I realize that this portion of Scripture doesn’t document her daily life – no woman could keep all this up. It likely represents a lifetime of accomplishments. I am also certain that she had bad days too, they just aren’t documented like so many bible examples.

Perhaps this is the reason for my angst. I can see myself in the doubts of Thomas, the “open mouth, insert foot” inclinations of Peter, the laments of David, and even the gratitude of the sinful woman among many others. I just can’t identify with the perfect excellence of this woman who is documented without flaws. As such, she condemns me rather than encourages me.

And so, when Mother’s day rolls around again, I hope and pray that my efforts aren’t mocked in the comparisons with her example.  My greatest encouragement comes when my children (now adults) and husband  love me anyway and thank me…and that is worth more than jewels to me!

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