At breakfast this morning I was sitting next to Laura. She was enjoying her waffles & yogurt, and I my almond-flax cereal. While eating I was reading a news article on my phone. I glanced over at Laura and saw a strange sight. She was completely hunched over her plate, rounded shoulders and all, staring at me. In that moment I realized something…she was mimicking my every move. I was so concerned with reading that I had hunched over within inches of my bowl, completely absorbed in what I was doing. We had a similar moment the other day when after I had put on my make-up for church, Laura took my mirror and pretended to be putting her own make-up on. She’s done this with hand washing, cooking, and countless other things.
Usually I think it’s completely adorable and so observant of her to notice my little nuances & behaviors. Today was different. It made me realize that not only does she pick up on the good, but also the bad, and even the ugly. She is a mirror reflection of those around her, especially me since her entire day is spent with Mommy. Yes, she has a free will which she utilizes constantly, but she is a product of her environment. She will learn what she sees modeled for her in every day life. My values, beliefs, attitude, way of life–all of it will become her frame of reference, her “normal” that she will use to compare to the world around her. It will become her “known.”
There’s a huge responsibility that comes with this realization for me. What do I want her to see? What do I want her to mimic? What do I want her point of reference to be? I’ve been working hard on this idea. It’s been swirling around in my mind for months now. What kind of woman am I & what do I want Laura to see are two questions that go hand in hand.
Rather than write a list of what I definitely don’t want to see in my little reflection (which I interestingly find much easier to come up with), I’m trying to compile the qualities of a Christian wife and mother. There’s no better place than God’s Word, especially Proverbs 31, which I’ve been pondering and trying to make practical on a daily basis:
The Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Verses 25 & 26 seem to strike me every single time I read this section. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” On my best days, Laura seems some of this. She seems a mother who is gentle, soft-spoken, playful, wise, and faithfully trusting in God’s plan. On my worst days, I shudder to think of what she sees: a mother self-absorbed, angry, short-tempered, demeaning of her husband, loud, cruel, burdened with worry, and foolish. And sadly what do I see in my little mirror, Laura, on those days, the same behaviors–meltdowns, tears, anger, frustrations, fear, and sadness. May God forgive me of those times and wipe them from my daughter’s eyes and mind.
I’m thankful that lately, through reading more of God’s Word and lots of prayer, He has helped me to have many more good days that bad. However, Proverbs 31 is still a tall order, overwhelming sometimes. I fall short every day, multiple times a day. If I don’t like how I see my daughter acting, I’d better take a very close look at myself and our environment. I’m hoping that by finally writing these thoughts out I’ll remember to keep in mind that I have a little reflection and shadow following me. I want her to see Jesus’ love and grace coming from me–unconditional love, patience, and gentleness. Thankfully, I’m not working on this alone. God has placed people in my life who see the tremendous privilege that motherhood is and they strive to act in a manner worthy of being called noble. He’s blessed me with a husband who is forgiving and patient, who points me in the right direction. He has given me His Word to guide me as I make a million choices a day. Most importantly He’s given me forgiveness and grace as the most motivating blessing on earth.
Colossians 3:15-17: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
You were all I want to be. Your perfection has granted me eternal salvation. Help me to live my life as a reflection of my thankfulness. Help me show Laura how to live a godly life in every way. Help me to become a mirror of Your goodness and love so she may show Your grace all the days of her life. Give me strength to admit when I fail and the courage to try again.
In Your name, I pray, Amen.