He walks through the door to find me sprawled across the sofa, yoga pants spattered in spit up and spaghetti sauce.
The boys can hardly muster a “Hello” because they are transfixed on the television. Over dinner—takeout of course—I throw in a couple mentions of activities we did that day. The park. Storybooks. Playdough. Anything to make my time seem more valuable than I actually think it was.
Although I know my husband thinks the world of me, when he comes home from work to find me bone weary after what seems like a day of getting so little done—I sometimes feel as though I have to prove something to him; to validate the hours I spend at home with our children.
Us mamas tend to wrap so much of our worth up into how much we can fit into a day. We begin to quantify the value of our time by how much we can accomplish, how well we manage those pursuits, and how put-together we look while doing it. In this digital world painted by Facebook updates, blog posts, Instagram feeds, and Pinterest boards, we have a glimpse every single day into the homes of other moms. More energetic moms. More patient moms. More creative moms. Better moms.
We see moms running successful businesses from home and moms fitting in yoga classes between school activities. Suddenly we look around for our own accomplishments, and they can be so hard to find beneath the piles of dirty dishes and the colony of dust bunnies under the kitchen hutch. Whether we realize it or not, we allow these glimpses to craft a definition in our mind of what our own motherhood should look like. We begin to doubt our contributions. That’s when storytime and bedtime snuggles become not enough. That is when we become not enough.
I’m tempted to feel this way when I take a look at the “Proverbs 31 Woman”. She exhibits grace, strength, wisdom, and great commitment in all she does. She is everything I want to be. Yet instead of envying her or comparing myself to her, I find comfort from her perspective concerning her responsibilities.
We see it in verse 18.
“She perceives that her merchandise is profitable”
I’m apt to skim over it, but then the depth of that one simple sentence stops me, granting me room to breathe and rest. “She knows that her merchandise is profitable.” She did not doubt her work. And I need not doubt my own.
Of course we need to look at this characteristic of the Proverbs 31 woman in light of everything else we can read about her. She feared God, placing Him first in all things (Proverbs 31:30). She was also a hard worker. When we follow God’s call on our life, and depend on His wisdom and strength in order to fulfill that calling, then we can be confident that our work is good, because ultimately it is His work. We don’t have to play the comparison game.
We don’t have to shrink back in self-doubt when we see another woman with higher credentials, more life experience, more expensive clothing, or a Pinterest perfect home, or a thriving ministry. We can know that our work is good when we are working for the Lord.
Some day your “merchandise” might look like a successful business you can run from home, a ministry position, or a successful blog or book. But for today it might look like rocking a colicky baby, or making a sugar-cookie-mess of the kitchen with that aspiring baker you birthed into this world. And that’s ok. It is more than ok, really. It is beautiful, because it is Kingdom work.
This devotional is part of the 7 Proverbs For The Weary Mom free Ebook! Subscribe to get your full devotional Ebook here!
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
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