Thursday, February 6, 2014

Learning to Remember and Making Peace with the Proverbs 31 Woman

I write so that I will remember.  I am a forgetful person.  Not just birthdays and directions and the name of the person I met 5 minutes ago, though I forget all of these things all too often. I forget what God has said.  I forget, in the light, what he said to me in the dark.  And I forget in the dark, what he has said to me in the light.  And so I need a reminder. 

I’m a stay at home mom, with 2 kids in school and 4 year old at home. She is old enough to have given up naps but young enough, and squirrelly enough that she needs to be watched all the time, engaged all the time or bad things happen.  Irrevocable things with permanent markers and scissors.  So, I spend the large majority of my time playing hide and seek and memory, reading books and playing a game called freeze (a game she invented that is a lot like freeze tag…though she swears they are different and plus in this one you freeze each other with fake guns, so she’s probably right).  I get almost nothing else done. 

I also lead a ministry for teen moms called YoungLives.  We walk alongside teen moms, living life with them and earning the right to be heard as we share the gospel with them.  It’s challenging and time consuming and transformation happens slowly.  So, so slowly.   

And so, as such, I have been struggling hard with value.  It’s not a new struggle with me. But, this time, the wound seems deeper because I thought it was gone. I thought I had licked it. 

But Satan is like a crouching lion.  He is roaming around and ready to pounce and he is the Father of Lies.  Lies like… “you are not that valuable” and, my current favorite… “you should try and do something to make yourself more special.”  I can usually handle, “you are not that valuable” because it just sounds like a lie to me.  I can usually wave that one off.  Several scriptures flood my mind and shield me from its grabby hands.  But, “you should try and do something to make yourself more special?” That sounds like it could be true.  I mean, maybe I should do more. And facebook and blogs and our ability to see all that everyone else is doing can add fuel to the fire.  As much as I love some of those witty blogs that encourage us to more, sometimes they can feel like a scissor kick to the gut.  I mean, some days, when that adorable 4 year old decides to fingerpaint on her sister’s bed with lotion and toothpaste (yep…it’s happened) I feel maxed out just being at home.  Getting the floors mopped seems a distant dream, so I know meaningful wisdom isn’t gonna flow from my fingertips and I’m certainly not starting a non-profit that will change the world anytime soon. How can I do any more?

I’ve struggled often with Proverbs 31.  I mean, who was this gal?  How did she get all this crap done?  And why, why is there a whole 21 verses in the bible dedicated to touting the accomplishments of this woman who obviously had perfect kids, a wacked out Circadian rhythm (who rises while it is still night?!) and a small sweat shop in the back of her house where the fine linen for her bed coverings and the scarlet clothes for her household were made.

And so it startled me, as I lay on my bed praying one night, confessing to the Lord that I had believed the lies and asking him to teach me the truth, that Proverbs 31 came to mind.  “I am hearing in my head, Lord, that I need to do something to make myself more special.  But I want to hear what YOU say?” I said.  “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” came the answer in my spirit.  “I do, Lord.  I love you, and your holiness and sovereignty both thrills me and scares the whooey out of me.”  “I know,” he said.  And that was all.  

As I lay there and let it sink in, it resonated in the deep places.  And also, just like that, I made my peace with the Proverbs 31 woman.  Because it’s not that there aren't things to do.  We are called to live out our faith.  To experience and bring the Kingdom of God to earth.  There is work involved.  But the work isn't what makes us special.  It isn't what made her special. Her value was directly linked to her relationship with the Lord.  Her fear of the Lord informed her work, her wisdom, her desire to care for others, her ability to laugh at the days to come. Her fear of the Lord was the thing worthy of praise. Everything else comes out of that.  Whatever it is, whatever we are called to, however big or small it is, begins and ends with knowing Christ. Our value is firmly fixed in Him, so knowing Him is the greatest pursuit we could ever undertake.

So, my struggle has magically disappeared, right?  Wrong.  Satan isn't put aside so easily.  And he has continued to do everything he can to steer me away from that truth.  So, I am battling hard.  The fiery darts he throws sometimes cause me to retreat.  He knows just where my scars are and his aim is true.  

But the greater truth, the one I learned in the dark, remains.  And I am learning to remember.  A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  It is my shield of faith, my belt of truth, my helmet of salvation. And in beautifully divine moments of clarity, I even find myself able to laugh at the days to come.    

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