So yesterday at Mass the first reading was out of Proverbs 31 which for me is the “How you suck as a wife” proverb. Mostly because I have had a low self-esteem most of my life, but also because I’m not like other “normal” women. Or my idea of normal anyway. I have always thought of normal as clean and organized. My mother is the cleanest person to ever live. The woman takes down her curtains once a month, washes and irons them and then puts them back up. My curtains have a half-inch of dust on them.
I am also not crafty at all. I was looking over my Timehop today and I found a post from a few years ago where I tried to do a craft with my kids and ended up losing a battle with tissue paper. I hate crafts. I don’t sew, I don’t like cleaning at all; as in, I would rather slit my wrists than mop a floor. I like to cook, but I hate getting off the couch to do it. I can’t plant anything and the idea of raising my own chickens makes me laugh so hard that my ribs hurt.
For most of my life, I have compared myself to my mother, my aunts and my grandmother. My grandma was nuts, but she cooked and took care of her family. It’s how all the women in my family roll. Growing up I saw my aunts sweep, mop and vacuum their house every day. Whhhuuuut?! I do it on Mondays and that is only so I can sit on the couch and read and write for the rest of the week feeling like I did something instead of feeling like a Proverbs 31 woman fail.
Yesterday at Mass I was rolling my eyes and having this conversation in my head about how hard it is to be a wife and mother in 2014 vs when the Proverbs 31 wife lived. Sure we have washers, dryers, grocery stores, stoves and dishwashers these days, but there is still so much that is hard. Like getting your husband to entrust his heart to you when everywhere he turns he is told that to do that will cost him way too much so he needs protect himself because all women are angry bitches. Oh, and I kind of am an angry bitch after being with so many men in my life who took advantage of my longing to love and be loved just so they could get in my pants. This is what was going through my head during Mass yesterday. How much life, love and marriage cost me every single day. For a minute I thought that maybe my problem is that I don’t know where the city gates are in the first place so how the hell am I supposed to claim my prize? And who even knew there was a prize?!
In the middle of my complain filled rant I heard God say to me that maybe the reason that everything is so hard is because I make it hard. I try so hard to do all the things that I think I have to do to be a good wife, mother, Catholic and daughter and the truth is that there is nothing that I can do to be any of those things on my own. There isn’t a list long enough of things that I could do on my own without Grace that would make sure that all the people entrusted to me will do what I think they should. My place is not to control any of them, but to let them make their own choices in life while loving them. Will they make mistakes? Yes. So did I and those mistakes all have helped me be who I am today. God loves them more than I do so what makes me think that it is all up to me to make sure they are ok? It isn’t. It’s all up to Him. What I am called to do is to show them the love that He has for them by loving them as they are, giving advice when asked for it and guiding them the best that I can while letting them know what I’ve learned from my mistakes. But I can never make their choices for them.
It’s also important to make sure and not lose myself in trying to do all the things perfectly. A beautiful woman is a woman who can joyfully love, serve and pray for her family while putting God first in her life but who also doesn’t lose who she is by doing that. Loving God, my husband or my kid doesn’t mean that I need to forget who I am, my likes, my hobbies and what makes me joyful. I am not Betty Crocker. There isn’t anything wrong with loving to cook, crafts, garden or any of that, but those just aren’t gifts that God has given me. Maybe He hasn’t given me 5 talents, maybe He just gave me two, but either way none of them are gifts like crafting, scrapbooking, sewing or any of those things. My gifts are daydreaming, talking, writing, reading, and an unfailing faith in and love for Jesus Christ. I am so much a Mary and not a Martha. If I clean my house it is out of pure love for Christ and my family, not because it makes my life.
By the time that I laid my head down to go to sleep last night I realized that the best way for me to be a Proverbs 31 wife is to not bury my gifts and talents that God has giving me trying to do things that I’m not good at just to prove to myself or anyone else that I am good enough. I already am good enough. I am thankful for the gifts that God has given me: first my husband and then my kids and grand baby. I was feeling like such a fail yesterday but when I look at my family I see seven human beings who God gave me to love and I’m so proud of them. God would never have put those people in my care if I was any kind of fail.