Upon hearing that my mother had nine children, cooked, cleaned, and sewed, a gentleman looked at me and said "Your mother must have been a Proverbs 31 woman." The words gave me pause. I never really saw my mother through a stranger's eyes before.
"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value"
My dad depends on my mother's judgment, and she was (and still is) very good at managing the household finances, stretching a tight budget, clipping coupons and scouring the store fliers for the best grocery bargains. I don't ever recall being hungry or lacking for food that I enjoyed. We always had a present at Christmas and on our birthdays, and our sweets tended to be of the homemade variety.
"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."
Many, many mornings I remember laying in bed while my mother called for me to get up at the ungodly hour of 8a.m. It really wasn't fair that she expected me to get up and help her. It wasn't as if she had been already up for 2.5 hours cleaning or anything like that...
"In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers"
Mom sews. She loves it. She taught me how to take body measurements, how to lay out patterns, how to pin the edges so the sewing machine wouldn't hit the pinhead when running the seam...She has tremendous patience with these things. She has made approximately 6 wedding gowns and altered countless others. My sisters and I each had a new fancy dress at Easter, graduation ceremonies, and Christmas. If we ever went to her and said that we liked a certain dress or skirt, she was sure to hunt up the pattern, help us pick material and sew it up for us. She saved us lots of money and provided us with great quality clothing.
"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy."
By any standards, I suppose our family would have been considered poor. I never noticed. What I knew is that just as people blessed us with huge bags of clothing their children had outgrown, my family blessed others. We didn't have much, but what we had we gave with generous hearts. My mother never hesitated to take meals to the sick and housebound, and pitched in to nurse the bedridden when necessary.
"Her husband is respected at the city gate."
My dad is (and has been) respected in their church and my mother has much to do with that.
"Her children arise and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her..."
I know I can safely speak for my siblings when I say that while my mom is not without faults, she has been generous with her time and attention towards us, and towards her grandchildren. She continues to minister to us and to her grandchildren through sewing and helping us out whenever she can. She does not understand the concept of retirement or slowing down. She is a listening ear when I need it, and the source of abundant wisdom, and deep love towards me. I have a tremendous respect for her. Yes, my friend, my mother IS a Proverbs 31 woman.
Love you Mom! Happy Mother's Day two months early.