It’s that time of year again. Mother’s Day is right around the corner. It’s a holiday that, until a few years ago, I never gave much thought. Buy a card, some sort of gift and have a special meal with Ma. Fun but little thought involved (other than the present). After getting married and waiting to begin our adoption journey, I learned that Mother’s Day can be a day of pain, tears, and feeling “less than.” From there, I began looking at the day in a new light. I’m still not a massive fan of the day. While I get to spend it with some of the amazing women that are part of my life, I often have to spend it with one of my least favorite – the Proverbs 31 Woman.
She’s like Michelle Duggar, Carol Brady, Oprah Winfrey, and Helen Mirren all rolled into to one. She’s too good to be true. Which is because she’s the ideal, not a real woman. She’s likely even the personification of Wisdom, like many of the virtuous women Solomon uses throughout the rest of the Book of Proverbs. Still, she’s often held up as the measuring stick all women should strive for and I’ve met several women who are frustrated trying to become this perfect woman.
Whether you hear another sermon on her this Sunday or not, perhaps we should take a glance around our congregation and see the other Biblical women who make up our congregation. Women, throughout the body who line up with some of the amazing women in the Bible whose stories often get too little attention:
Close to my heart, you can find Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2), longing to pull a little one out of the water and take on the title of “Momma.”
Across the room, Jachobed, Moses’ mom (Exodus 2), who would love to keep her child more than anything but realizes that, for so many reasons, she must let her little one go to be raised by another.
Down near the altar is Hannah (1 Samuel 1), a woman with fertility issues.
Standing in the back near the door, wondering if she is even welcome, Tamar (2 Samuel 13) remembers abuse at the hands of family members and wonders if anyone could ever love someone like her.
David’s mother is sitting there beaming so proud of her brood and how blessed they are.
Leah (Genesis 29) seems to have it all but is just putting on a brave face to hide the discontent she feels in her marriage.
Hagar (Genesis 16) comes in a few minutes late looking rushed and trying to get adjusted to life as a newly single parent.
A younger and older woman are worshipping beside each other. Their lives have been dedicated not to caring for families of their own but to meeting the physical needs of those around them and mentoring them spiritually. Their names are Tabitha (Acts 9) and Priscilla (Acts 18).
Rizpah (2 Samuel 21) still mourns the loss of her sons in a war she doesn’t understand. The only thing that makes sense now is preserving their memory and honor.
A pregnant teenage girl, Mary (Luke 1) thinks about the new life inside her, the changes it will bring and whether this religious group will still accept her.
Bathsheba’s (2 Samuel 11) life didn’t turn out like she thought it would. Two marriages, losing a young child would break weaker women but she has overcome and is pouring the wisdom gained from a life of hard knocks into her son, Solomon, hoping that the girl-crazy teen will finally realize that Wisdom is the dream girl he should be chasing.
All these women, and so many more, surround us every day. Hopefully, our eyes are open to see them and to love on those who need to know that they are not alone. May this Mother’s Day be one of joy for the things worth celebrating, comfort for the mourning times and understanding of all the different journeys all the different mothers of the world go through.