Moanhood or Motherhood?
“Who can find a virtuous woman for her price is far above rubies”
I am often drawn to this text as I pray for God to mold me into the woman He desires me to be, no matter how much against the stream of normalcy it seems.
My Interlinear Bible, which is translated directly from the Hebrew, inspires me when I read, “Who can find an able woman? For her value is far above jewels.” The word “able” hit me with a giant thud. I wasn’t as pricked by the word “virtuous” as virtues seem to abound in the feminine sex! I’m only being slightly sarcastic! But “able!” “Able?”
As mothers and wives we often spend wasted brain space mulling over just the opposite. Do these words sound familiar? “I can’t do it anymore!” “I don’t have the energy!” “I’m drained! I have nothing more to give.” “I’m too tired! I’m completely exhausted and wasted. I can’t do one more thing!” We talk ourselves out of any last vestige of energy, and by the power of our minds we feel even more tired than we really are!
“Honey, not tonight! Actually I’ve got a headache. No, it’s a migraine.” “Oh, I just need some time for myself.” “I feel so used. Nobody appreciates what I do around here.” “I’ve got to get out. I’ve got cabin fever.” “I didn’t get a good sleep last night. Come to think of it, I never get a good sleep. It’s all making me old before my time. I found a new wrinkle this morning.”
Ugh! This is putting me in the doldrums just writing about it!
How can our husband value us more than jewels when our lives are one big complaint?
It is true that we talk ourselves into more than half of our problems. How can we be “able” women and how can our husbands and children truly value us above jewels when our lives are one big complaint? I think the key to being “able” is more about being positive than it is about all the talent and intellect we possess. There are many gifted people who never accomplish half of what the mere motivated and persevering achieve.
How can we be positive mothers when we have made a career of being professional moaners?
Have we embraced moanhood instead of motherhood? Just as negativity is a habit, so is a positive and happy heart. The more we think on the good things, the more they become naturally part of our nature. The negative muscles become floppy, weak and slowly deteriorate when we don’t use them. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are pure and lovely. If we make a habit of thinking about the lovely things, in turn, our lives will be a lot lovelier.
We can become negative by worrying about the future. We may dwell today on all the work we have to do tomorrow or even in the months to come. Again, the wisdom of the Bible frees our minds and makes for a happy mother when it says, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).
God is very interested in our thought-life and in the confessions of our lips. Here are just a few quotes:
“A merry heart does good like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).
“Gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Peter 1:13).
A positive attitude breathes life into our soul and body and actually gives us energy.
A positive attitude breathes life into our souls and bodies and actually gives us energy. Satan is all too eager to plant seeds of negativity into our minds because he knows they are seeds of death and make us “unable!” Negativity is based upon fear, which chokes the very life out of its victims and renders them practically immobile. Negativity holds us captive in a prison of gloom. Being positive frees us to succeed and thrive. Some people see their negative outlook as being realistic. This is another trap of the enemy; a smoke screen to blind us to the truth that will set us free to really live and enjoy life.
There are always two ways to look at things. I exercise everyday as part of my job description as a fit, healthy and happy wife and mother. Many times while on the treadmill I start thinking, “I feel awful. My legs are burning. I can hardly breathe. I feel like pulling the plug.” With every second I grow more tired and soon feel completely drained. The fact is everything I’m feeling is truth. However, when I “gird up my mind” I remember how good I’ll feel afterwards and that 30 minutes isn’t that long. “I’ve only got 15 more minutes to go. I’m breathing really well now, and hey, this is easy. I feel great. I’ll race anyone. I’m going to pick up my pace. Wow, look at me go!” There is as much truth in this second thought process and I injected myself with a bunch of energy and ended up with a full tank.
We can feel just as good as we can feel bad!
You may get up in the morning, sigh and drag yourself to the coffee pot confessing, “I was up with the baby for four solid hours last night. I can’t make it through today.” This may be true, but the other side of the story is that you had four good hours of sleep. We can feel just as good as we can feel bad.
Thinking negatively involves the “me” word. It makes one too introspective. My mother always says, “If you are feeling depressed, go and do something for someone else. You’ll soon forget about your own problems.”
The negative “so called” facts are not truth at all. They are the enemy’s poisonous darts. To contemplate them digs their venom deeper into your mind. The truth is that we are new creatures in Christ. We are to crucify the “flesh man” and live by the Spirit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit such as patience and longsuffering are now our new character traits. In Christ we can bear way more than the level the devil deceives us into thinking we can handle.
The second line of Proverbs 31:10 reads, “The heart of her husband trusts in her so that he has no lack of gain.” The New Living Translation reads, “She will greatly enrich his life.” How can we enrich our husbands when our own lives are anything but enriched? We can’t give from a drained pot. Often we feel empty and exhausted, not because of our tedious workload so much as the state of our mental reflections.
How can a husband feel enriched if his wife is not contended and happy?
How can a husband have “no need of gain” if his wife isn’t happy and contented? If we greet him at the door with a tired expression, a list of complaints, and quickly pass off all the children to him, his welcome home will not be very enriching. It may make him want to retreat! Home should be a solace from the worry and stress with which the world assails him. It should be a place of enriching, a gas station to fill his tank before venturing back into his world of business and stress. Our homes should be an oasis where our husband can take a cool drink of the water of peace, love and laughter. We should meet him at the door with a bright smile, a warm welcome, and with a cheery atmosphere pervading the home.
If he asks how our day was, and we remember how Suzie cut off her little sister’s hair, how Johnny peed on the clean folded clothes, or how the baby spread the surprise in his diaper like peanut butter around the crib, we might feel compelled to say it was a “bad day.” But wait a second! Let’s get out of our negative tunnel vision and see the big picture. There were no major accidents. We are all still alive and breathing. Suzie did really well at her reading lesson and Johnny picked some weeds from the garden and said I was a “beaubibul laby.” It was a lovely day. Come to think of it, it was a great day!
When the atmosphere of our home is filled with optimism, our husband and children will feel they can do anything.
The Proverbs 31 woman “opens her mouth with wisdom and the law of kindness is on her tongue.” As hormonal creatures, we women can sometimes become so emotionally pent up that when our husband comes home we vomit our feelings all over them before they have a chance to take off their coats. We were made to be our husband’s helpmeet. We were made to complete him and enrich his life. God did not create man to be the woman’s emotional counselor or hormonal dartboard. The more we press into God and become positive-thinking women, the less we will be inclined to emotionally regurgitate. Spurting out a bunch of negative goo gah is not opening the mouth in wisdom. Nor is it kind. It is like serving our husband a glass of gravel instead of giving them a refreshing drink of happiness.
Men are not emotional sorts and just don’t get the problem. My friend told me how she told her husband that she was feeling “out of sorts.” He replied, “Don’t feel out of sorts.” This reply was the right answer but not the one she wanted to hear. Men are wired differently so when our skies look gray we need to go to God first and then maybe call a close girlfriend who will lend a listening ear.
Proverbs 31 continues with its description of the “able” woman. “She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms… she extends her hand to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy…strength and dignity are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come… she watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
A hardworking woman doesn’t have time to waste in negative contemplation. She has more important things pressing on her mind. If we are truly busy we won’t have time to stop and moan. I can’t picture Mother Theresa complaining about how tired she was or turning away another child.
I love the way the curtains draw on the “able” woman. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” The Hebrew word for “praises” is “halal.” It means “to shine, to make a show, to boast, to rave, to glorify, to make renown. The root of this word has the idea of radiance.” Are we worthy of such acclamation?
Let us take on a spirit of rejoicing and do away with negative gloom. We will then be free to be “able” women whose value is above jewels.
Primm Springs, Tennessee, USA