Yesterday I heard two sermons based on Proverbs 31:10-31. It was Mother’s Day. One of the sermons was preached by a man and one was from a woman. Both were excellent sermons. Both honored mothers and all women, really. Proverbs 31 is about an almost perfect woman. The New King James version of the Bible calls her the “virtuous wife.” The New Revised Standard version calls her “a capable wife.” I personally kind of like the word virtuous more than capable. Sounds more spiritual, I guess.
The difference in the two sermons was that the man who preached referred often to his mother. He honored her with his words and with the scripture; he remembered his mother in a very positive and respectful way. And I would love to think my children might do the same for me someday. It was beautiful and uplifting and hopeful that sons will honor their mother’s in that way.
The female preacher’s message was from a female perspective. As a woman, I could relate to what she was saying. See, I have always loved this passage from scripture. It is a high goal to try and reach, though, and while I wish with all my heart that I could say I’ve met that standard, I know I am far from it. And, as the female preacher said, probably most women never feel that they measure up – as a wife or a mother. Most of us fear we have not been a great mother. In fact, there are times when we worry that we have done more damage than good to our children. Verse 28 says (King James) “her children rise up and call her blessed.” Oh my! What a wonderful thought. But, I don’t know if that’s what my children say about me, even though I know they love me deeply.
I miss my mother so much. My mom passed away right after Mother’s Day in 2004. She absolutely loved Mother’s Day and her six children would not have dared ignore that special day. It was her day! She wanted us all in church with her. She was proud to be the mother with the most children present. She would take us out to cut a rose to pin on our Sunday clothes and after church we were all together for family fun. I really loved picking out beautiful, fancy cards for my mom just because she loved them so. They meant the world to her.
My mother was a wonderful mom. She was loving and fun; playful and caring. She was the person I could always count on to talk to and to share my troubles with. She was compassionate and rarely got angry with us. Oh, but when she did, it seemed like sparks would fly out from those dark eyes.
Mom was an only child and so she was thrilled to have a big family. She loved having six children and she would take our bickering in stride. She had a way of ignoring a lot of it but also bringing us together again. She was very musical and she taught me to harmonize when I was three because she wanted to sing with me.
I miss my mother every day but on Mother’s Day there is such a mixture of missing her and of joy in the memories. She was a wonderful mom.
Yes, she was. A truly wonderful mom. But was she perfect? Well, no. In our eyes of love and devotion, she seemed pretty close to perfect, because, as they say, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” But the truth is, my mom – like so many mothers – was not perfect. Because she was human. And we all can relate to being human, right? My mom, your mom, you – all of us – are a part of the human race. As good as we might be, we are not perfect. We fail at times, we fall sometimes, sometimes we are close to perfect and sometimes we are far from it.
The thing I really respect about my mother is her faith. She loved the Lord and she served him all her life. She failed at times, but she was a person who believed in, and received, forgiveness and grace, who believed in redemption and, in fact, she practiced offering those things to her children and her husband when we failed her. She taught the faith to us all. She lived her faith as an example. And she prayed for us, that we too would have faith.
When I consider the Proverbs passage of the virtuous or capable wife, I know I have not, and will not ever reach those standards. The scriptures are full of examples of what it looks like to live a life of faith, a life of a disciple, as a child of God. We strive for it. We persevere. We fall and we rise, with the help and the grace of God.
I give thanks to God for the one who came to save us all, because of the greatest love ever. Jesus came to show God’s love to us and to offer us grace and forgiveness when we fall. And when we die, we can trust that death is not the end. We have the promise of eternal life with him – a place where there is no more sin, no more sorrow. Just light and love and glory. And, I believe, a place where we will meet our loved ones once again.
Peace and Grace!