The Women Behind the Man: Motherhood and Proverbs 31 Women
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:29)
Over the time of the pandemic I have been shown time and time again the power of grace working in the hearts of the ordinary saints around me. The love we have shown one another during this difficult time is proof that the Spirit of Christ flows into broken hearts and lifts them up above the limits of their weakness to heights we seldom see.
Nowhere has this light shone more brightly to me than in the wonderful women in my life – my wife and two daughters. I have been blessed by such beauty in the midst of such an ugly time, as I watch God’s grace unfold in their lives. It is so precious to me that it breaks my hardened heart and causes me to tremble at what it means to have them in my life.
From the Classroom to the Throne Room
My wife Christina teaches 1st Graders and was at first overwhelmed at the thought of having to create some type of long distance learning for them in the span of a few days. But I watched in wonder as my tech-challenged spouse took on the monster that is the Internet and Google Classroom, and within a short time became master of virtual worlds, working with her fellow educators to create materials, links, and videos to keep her students learning. Her days were long and her eyes weary after starring at a computer screen for hours at a time. And yet, my bride did it all for the love of those in her care.
One of the things that melted my heart was to see her in virtual meetings with her students. Her love and concern for each child was evident in her voice as she listened to them read books to her and encouraged them. It was more than teaching. It was the power of the Proverbs 31 woman, the one who wakes early to prepare for her family, who creates garments of praise for these little ones, who guides those she loves through the dignity of her character. Watching her mold each young heart certainly made me feel like the proud elder at the gate – the husband of the gracious woman of God.
From Disappointment to Determination
My daughter Lina Rose had to cut short a school ministry internship in Africa due to the dangers of the virus and return home to virtual learning and online ministry. The one who had been preparing since the 6th grade to serve the poor and lost of this world watched as her dreams appeared to collapse before her eyes.
Her first two weeks at home where the most difficult. No words seemed to comfort her in her distress. She wondered if she would have the strength to continue and felt the fear of failure looming around her. But then, little by little, my precious daughter walked through her dark night of the soul and looked to the days to come when she would return to school and the possibility of local ministry for her final year.
I had one special conversation with her where she shared her thoughts on what had happened and what was to come. Her resolve to her situation and her trust in God revealed her strength of character – character that had been shaped by her trials, refined by her perseverance, and transformed into hope, not in a better situation, but in the Father who had carried her through it all.
From Moping to Maturity
My daughter Hope Elizabeth may have had the most difficult time of all. Here was a teenager, confined to home and days spent in virtual classrooms, removed from her friendships, worried about her family, and uncertain of what was to come. To add to this, she was watching her mother and older sister shining like lights on a hill while she felt her world crashing down around her. And yet such sorrow only served to push her to a place where the God of the universe could step in and tune her heart with a new song.
As the days went by, my beautiful daughter took on the challenges of homeschool, spent time with her thoughts in the backyard, and began to step up more and more around the house. She took long walks with her mother and sister and shared her heart in ways she had not done before. She baked cookies for her friends and with her mother drove them to their front doors. She hugged her father more often, spent sibling time with her brother and sister, and brought her innocent and broken spirit to the throne of God and laid it down in trust.
Mother’s Day this year became a more meaningful event for me because God allowed me to see in the women of my life the character the holy woman of God. Like the mother of Jesus who surrendered herself to the grace of God and pondered all in her heart for the sake of the Kingdom, my girls took the troubles of the pandemic into their hearts and let the struggles and the striving transform them from fearful children into faithful saints. My wife went into motherly overdrive and loved her family with a passion and prayerfulness that has left me awestruck and breathless with love.
As you celebrate Mother’s Day with your family and look to the future with all the changes this pandemic has brought to our lives, I hope you will apply the wisdom of Proverbs 31 to the women behind the man that you are. May you be blessed by your mothers, wives, and daughters as you live and love and learn what it means to love as Jesus love us. God bless!