Women: The Splendor of Creation
Today marks the annual celebration of Mother’s Day, which always have my heart and mind percolating with reflection on womanhood. Naturally, not every woman is a mother, so the day itself can be gripping for some. Furthermore, though women are held in the highest esteem and with virtues of nurturing yoked about their necks, not every son or daughter has had a nurturing relationship with their own mothers. The day can be a two-edged sword.
Fortunately for myself, I have had not only a mother to provide nurturing in the highest degree, but have had a plethora of woman throughout my life to exhibit what it is to be a woman: what it is to exhibit those nurturing and care attributes that are so vital for our society.
Cliché as it may be, I am routinely drawn to Proverbs’ teaching in the thirty-first chapter on womanhood and motherhood. It reads:
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wood, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considerth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto merchants. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughter have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruits of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (For a more modern rendering, click here.)
Today’s society tends to depict the Christian faith as being oppressive or otherwise not appreciative of women. When you read Proverbs, that isn’t the case. The teaching is full of positive affirmations of womanhood. It speaks of a woman’s value in virtuosity. It speaks of her hard work both in small and big things. It speaks of her power of discernment and perception. It speaks of her ability to speak with kindness, love, and wisdom. It speaks of her beauty. It speaks of her excellence. It speaks of her worthiness to be praised. It speaks of her own independence.
Women — mothers or not — are an asset and a value in every imaginable way. They are the progenitors of humanity, yes; but they are so much more. They are the givers, the big-hearted, the appreciators, the menders, the forgivers, the fixers, the healers, the caregivers. They are the ones who see the work differently than we men do: with an ability to roll up their sleeves and get to the work — in their way — because there is a bigger picture seen. They are valued and loved and wonderfully made.
Happy Mother’s Day.