"A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies. " Proverbs 31:10
I've been reading Proverbs 31 again. I find that when I go through a slump of a bad attitude towards housework that I need to spend a few days reading Proverbs 31, boosting myself to do better. It generally works, as I read through all the things that the Proverbs 31 woman does each and every day, I feel less cranky towards my own goals for the day, and I feel better prepared to tackle them.
I just want to say, for the record, that when you increase your house size, it's AMAZING how much the work load increases. In our last home, when it was completely trashed, I could still get it company spotless in about 2 hours. This home, not so much. Gosh, I haven't come up with a good method or routine yet for that. The other day I was just getting discouraged about that, and that wasn't a good place to be, because that makes me not appreciate this wonderful home that God has blesses us with. Everyday as I look around my home, I am just amazed that this is where God wanted us, but I need to be mindful and take good care of our new home. And I need to remember that spending time cleaning it and keeping it nice is truly a blessing from the Lord as well. It really is my intention to try and keep the main floor company ready at all times- I want to be able to offer a refuge at any time to people who need it. I really believe that's one of the reasons we are where we are.
But the other day I was trying to get the house clean before going away for the weekend and I was grumbling to myself. I was just getting annoyed and not taking any joy in the work I had to do. I had to literally stop myself and chide myself for the bad attitude, and I had to take a moment to think about "what would the Proverbs 31 woman think" and I had to change right there.
"She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks. " Proverbs 31:17
Setting about her work vigorously implies to me that she has some gusto behind her work. When I have a bad attitude, sometimes the cleaning gets done just enough- instead of really being cleaned. A change in attitude will ensure that the cleaning gets done properly- and then it won't need to be done again as soon as if it had been done poorly. One way I change my attitude in a situation like that is to grab my mp3 player and put some rocking worship music on. That helps almost instantly, and I'm always annoyed with myself when I don't think of doing that sooner.
"She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness. " Proverbs 31:27
You know, I always read this verse with curiousity. I really enjoy reading historical fiction, and when I read that she watches over the affairs of her household, I always think of a plantation wife with a stately home. I think of a woman with a household staff- housekeepers, groomsmen, butlers, cooks, groundskeepers. And then part of me thinks that of course it's easy to keep a house when you have an army doing it for you- but then I really think about those women who lived in those days. They truly had to stay on top of their household. Martha Washington, in fact, would get up early every morning and take a lot of time to plan her households daily activities. Meaning that she planned out the entire days activities for every single servant. And then she frequently spent a good deal of her day checking up on each and every one of them- making sure they were completing their given tasks correctly and efficiently. In addition to managing the household, Mrs. Washington also made it a point to know how to do herself, every single task she would appoint someone to do. She always told her daughter that she couldn't expect someone else to do a task if she didn't train them to do it properly.
"She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life. " Proverbs 31:12
One of the not-so-good things I had been thinking last week was how it would be nice if Andy would help with the cleaning once in a while. It was just me being crabby and wishing I had help with what I was doing. In reality, one of my goals has pretty much always been to try and keep a clean and tidy home so that when Andy comes home after a long day at work, he doesn't have to lift a finger to do any of the household stuff. Oh, I'll save some of the more manly tasks for him- cleaning out gutters, some yardwork, taking care of plumbing issues, those kinds of things. But when he goes and puts in ten hours doing hard, physical labor, the last thing he needs to do is spend time scrubbing a shower or folding and putting away laundry. That's one of the ways I can be my husband's helpmeet- I take care of things at home while he's gone so he doesn't have to.
I probably say this every time I end up discussing this Wife of Noble Character, but I am just so glad she's in my Bible. I'm so glad that she's there to turn to- to read about her day and to gain inspiration from. And I love how every single time I do that, there is something different about her that speaks to me. This is a lesson that all women can learn from, whether married or not, young or old. When things start to feel out of balance, I need the reminder that all things are possible through Him- and sometimes that just means getting the housework done. But I can do that housework with a song in my heart and praise on my lips because this day is a whole new day that God has given us to live to its fullest.