This week's "2x4-to-the-forehead" moment is brought you by Proverbs 31:1-2 and Good Morning Girls.
I hate the Proverbs 31 woman. Hate her. She is a vision of perfection sent to torture me and nag at me as I look around my messy house with a screaming baby and an over-budget checkbook. I've always been pretty ticked off at Solomon, too. What business did the man with 4.2 million wives have in writing about the perfect wife? He had an army of wives playing for Team Solomon. No wonder they had it all together. Right?
Except Solomon isn't the voice in Proverbs 31.
Maybe I'm a total nitwit who just doesn't pay attention, but I honestly never saw verse 1. In 32 years I never noticed that the voice here is a mother. In fact, it's a mother teaching her son what to look for in a wife. For crying out loud, that makes much more sense!
But then I got a little annoyed again.
First of all, she's THAT mother. You know who I mean - the mother who has a set of qualifications for her child's mate. The mother who always has an eyebrow raised because something about the current situation doesn't live up to her standards. I dislike her just as much as the superwoman she's describing.
Second, if a mother is going to teach her son to look for those things shouldn't she live up to her own expectations? It would be an awfully big double standard for her to preach these things to her son without doing them herself. Great. More pressure.
And then I read verse 2.
The mother is reaching out to her son. She says, "What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows?"
Son of my vows.
I immediately went in search of a footnote or cross reference to tell me what exact vows she was talking about, and whaddya know, I ended up at 1 Samuel 1:27-28.
"For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him. Therefore, I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord."
This is what hangs on the wall in my ten-month-old's nursery.
My husband and I made a similar vow to God not too long ago. After multiple miscarriages, years of infertility, and struggling to come to grips with the realization that it might not be God's will He gave us our Samuel.
This mother - the one who describes this seemingly perfect woman - is not acting based on her own standards. She isn't setting a lofty goal or checklist for her son's future mate. She is teaching him about the qualities to look for in a wife. She is teaching him about the character of a woman's heart, and is showing him the results of that character. She is fulfilling her vow to God by raising her son to be the leader of a Godly family.
It's still a tall order. That's a long list of impressive character traits, and I'm here to tell you that I like to sleep late, waste time on Facebook, neglect the yard work, and run my mouth when I shouldn't. But I have a new perspective on this illusive Proverbs 31 woman today. I have new motivation to work on bending my heart toward becoming this woman. I have a vow to keep.