Proverbs 31 Eternia
My grandmother was the greatest person I have ever known. She lived out the mantra, “is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” before she opened her mouth, carefully weighing out every word. Even in the pauses of her sentences I felt seen, heard and loved.
Lois Anne Craig did not have an easy life. She left school before the ninth grade to help support her parents and younger siblings during the Great Depression, leaving their rural farm in Alberta to be a live in cook, cleaner and nanny for a well-to-do family in the city. Later, she joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and at a social for soldiers she met my Grandfather. They married during World War II and six children followed. My Grandpa loved to “flip” homes before “flipping” was the expression… except the family always lived in his flips, so they were uprooted often. A hardworking and diligent man, Grandpa wasn’t known for his patience, and their marriage subscribed to the gender roles of their day. He worked all day, relaxing in front of the TV after a home cooked meal in the evenings, golfing with his buddies on the weekend, while she managed the household, children, the meals, the laundry, and the countless 24-7 details of domestic life.
In my thirty-three years of life with Grandma I never heard her complain or gossip about anything or anyone… ever. Her face radiated goodness, truth, patience and love. All the words in the Bible, especially those describing the Kingdom of God, the fruit of the Spirit, and life with Christ in the New Testament, would probably just be words to me still if it wasn’t for my Grandma exemplifying Jesus’ transformative love every day. She made God’s love real to me in practice. To this very day I have not personally known anyone closer to Christ’s heart than my Grandma.
When I read Proverbs 31 I have conflicting thoughts and feelings, As a mother I think to myself, “Yes! King Lemuel’s mother hit the nail on the head! What a good mother!” She knew, from experience no doubt, what it is required to run a household and support a powerful man. She knew what kind of woman would be a blessing to her son and necessary for his thriving and fulfillment of calling in the world. She was wise and her directions to her son were worth more than precious gems.
When I put myself in the shoes of King Lemuel I think, “Lucky him!” LOL. Any man should be so lucky to have such a woman by his side. A man can only prosper with such an industrious, hardworking and caring partner at home. She ticks all the boxes and because of her character he can exhale and focus on the great task at hand of ruling a nation.
But, when I put myself in the shoes of the woman described, I can’t help but think that she’s a tall order: a description of perfection. I immediately start to compare and see all the ways I fall short. I wonder if this woman is a workhorse, nose to the grind, or if she looks up sometimes and experiences joy, peace, fulfillment, and freedom? What is her interior thought life like? Where does she get all her tireless energy and vast skill set? Is she even real? My own doubts and feelings of inadequacy begin to sink me.
It is at this point that I think of my Grandma, and the scripture: “and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). I cling to this promise like a life raft and am encouraged by my Grandmother’s legacy of love, grace and tireless sacrifice as proof of theory. My Grandmother wasn’t a superhero, or a perfect person. But she was someone who trusted and obeyed her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in every moment of every day for every decision big and small. Because of this I know the woman described in Proverbs 31 is possible. Even in me.
“Not by might,
Nor by power,
But by my Spirit,’
Says the LORD Almighty.”