I’ve un-followed the Proverbs 31 woman. She and her man had a joint account. He’s been a little over-the-top in his boasting of her abilities lately. Her name’s something like Genevieve. You know, exotic. Gorgeous. I’m sure she “throws together” 5-star meals every evening for that very clever, hard-bodied husband of hers while wearing a figure-hugging dress and heels. She’s an impossibly cool size-2 with four baby Gap children quietly playing in the corner, and oh, they never get dirty.
This ghost of a woman gave nightmares when my husband and I started our family. I wanted to throw in the towel. I just couldn’t see myself in her at all! I’m going straight back to the office! I obviously don’t belong in this house. I mean it this time, God.
I don’t even know who I am anymore!
I’d hiss the words to myself like a lunatic, shaking my head back in forth to nobody but Him. Dragging my feet in defeat, I’d begrudgingly respond to my crying toddler or preschooler in the same outfit I’d slept in the night before. My previous job in mental health seemed more stable at the time.
This I knew, God loved both Genevieve and me. I figured I was blessed too, even though few of my responsibilities sounded like hers. I didn’t sew like Martha Stewart. I couldn’t buy land for vineyards (no wine-making here). I’m not even sure that on any given morning, my children would’ve “risen and called me blessed” in those early days. Mostly they gave me morning hugs and let me know that the sheets on their beds had been, well…compromised.
I was out of my element and in my mind, I’d never measure up. The truth became clear when we moved to our current little sea town in North Carolina. I was exhausted and painfully insecure, but I also needed other women. I wanted to invite them in and shut them out all in the same thought.
Come closer, I’m lonely. That’s close enough, don’t judge me.
Loneliness is a double-edged sword because it isolates, but it also motivates. Loneliness can lead to desperation and desperation to change. I needed a change. At the risk of letting a Genevieve see the real me, I began to make friends.
My life never got tidier. In fact, it’s the messiest it’s ever been. My little boys are growing and there’s never a dull moment. My friends’ kids are these amazing pint-sized people with humungous hearts and wild stories. All of their messes have combined with ours and now we’re cluttering up the whole town with our sports seasons, holidays, and family celebrations. God answered my prayer. I’m finally laughing at the days to come…
A wiser, more seasoned friend of mine once said, “The Proverbs 31 woman could never be everything to everyone, and certainly not all at once. It took a lifetime. You’ve got a lot of years left, so be faithful in the little things. They’ll accumulate into a big story.”
I guess that makes me something like a “Proverbs thirty-and-three-quarters” woman…A grateful, imperfect, hard-working woman with an amazing clan. And any way I can be a part of God’s story is just fine by me.