"An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. "
I am in love with these verses. First and foremost they address the husband and wife relationship--as it should be. A mother's instinct tends to be pointed toward her children, but since I had my husband first, and our relationship is the most important earthly relationship in our kids' lives, my desire should be to him, like the Bible says in Genesis.
I am just realizing that I used a different version than I normally use in the above verses, but the meaning is the same here. A virtuous woman, an excellent wife, is very rare, especially in this day and age. Women tend to be like men have traditionally been in this industrial age--out for themselves, thinking ultimately of their career, themselves, and how the people in their lives can help them on their way. This is no way for Christians in general to act, but it bothers me a special amount when it's a married woman. God has called us to be the heart of our homes, to have our hearts turned toward home, to be keepers of our homes, to look well to the ways of our homes, to seek to do our husbands well all the days of our lives. Not once does He tell us to go out and be career women, to seek promotions, to compete with men, to leave our primary responsibility of our homes, to seek fulfillment outside our homes, or really, *anything* this modern world tells us women we should be doing. There are special circumstances, yes. It seems to me that every working wife and mother thinks she is that "special circumstance" when, upon evaluation, expenses can be cut, things can be done from home (as with the Proverbs 31 woman), and the vast majority of these women could be at home with their families (though not all, and I understand).
I speak so passionately of this because early in motherhood and marriage I WAS one of those women always seeking outside fulfillment. Didn't God know I needed something for *myself*? Didn't God know how BORED I was at home, doing the work of a *maid*? Didn't He know I needed to finish my degree so that when my kids went to school I could go out and have my own money, and do something for *me*? How could He not know how much we struggled financially and that our lives would be much easier if I brought home a paycheck? Ah, but God did know. He knew how He could provide, how He'd never give me peace about putting my baby(ies) in day care, or to leave my husband all night to go work (afterall, after years and years of doing that, my husband's parents had grown apart and divorced). God knew His plan was better. I can stay home and make the most of my husband's time by stretching the money he works so hard for. I can make homemade meals, educate our children so that we are never beholden to the state's schedule and have complete freedom with our time. I am here when hubby gets home to greet him with a kiss, I am here to be his best friend and exchange back rubs at night, I am here as his sounding board, as he is mine, I am here to witness all our kids' firsts, to breastfeed when the occasion warrants, to guide my kids when they rise up, when they lay down and when they walk in the way. I think mostly I am just *here*. I am here doing what God wants me to do, for whom He wants me to do it. I am not feeding my selfish tendencies, as I am always having to *die* to self. I am here doing my husband good, and not evil.
The road has sometimes been hard, but not because God gave me more than I could handle. It's not been hard because I have had to "obey my husband", or be "his doormat". No, when it's been hard it's mostly because I have had to surrender my will. How often have I wanted to lay in bed, rather than get up and make muffins for my childrens' breakfast. How often have I been irritated that my husband has a need because, gosh, doesn't he know that I am pregnant and tired and simply don't *want* to make dinner? You see, God has used my role to refine me. I do not have half as many selfish thoughts as I used to. Surrendering my will has been good for me. It's slowly making me into the person God wants me to be. It has a way of showing me how very long I still have to go. I just don't think I could have gotten the same effect from climbing the corporate ladder. I would still be looking out for number one and what was best for *me*. I can leave looking out for me to God, and take on the looking out for my family and forget about myself. And you know what I get in return? Joy. Fulfillment. Satisfaction. And all while staying at home!