I just finished another month of reading through Proverbs. A Proverb a day has a way of burning truth into my soul...a place that needs truth desperately. Since September only has 30 days, on Friday I read both Proverbs 30 and 31. I always brace myself a bit when I prepare to read Proverbs 31 as it seems a little like having a job evaluation. Thoughts such as, "Excellent progress" or "Performance needs improvement" float freely through my mind. I read carefully, wondering what thoughts would fill my mind that morning. And then I read words that stung:
"[She] works with her hands in delight."
The NIV says, "She works with eager hands." I stopped right there. How could I really go on? It is hard to move forward when words like "delight" and "eager" are supposed to describe what I do. My mind quickly replayed the many instances that I did my work (whether it be cooking dinner, filling water cups, putting little people to bed, cleaning up messes or settling a sibling dispute) with anything but delight.
I love my role as a wife and mother. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I don't wish the days away, dream of when my kids "get older" or long to be out in the work force "doing something important." I truly believe I am doing the most important thing I could ever do. I truly believe that mothers who are fully committed to their role and embrace it as a calling from God can change the world. I don't wish I were somewhere else.
However, this doesn't mean I find each and every day or each and every task joy-producing. I grumble (often inward, sometimes outward) about what I have to do. I think to myself, "I don't want to get up and do _____________." I sigh, get up, do what is asked of me, all the while wishing I was doing something else. That is not "working with her hands in delight." That is not "working with eager hands." Instead, that is working with reluctant, lazy, and selfish hands..hands that would rather meet my own needs than those of my husband or children.
And so I have a new prayer on my lips. I want to work with delight and with eager hands. I want to find joy in even the most mundane tasks of being a wife and a mother. I don't think that changing diapers and washing dishes are the most fascinating activities in the world, but I want to find delight in knowing that I am fulfilling God's calling on my life. It is delight knowing that whatever I do, I do to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).