Take a moment and make a mental tally of all the things you’ve accomplished as a mother. Sleep schedules and breastfeeding, working outside the home and/or being the CEO of home, keeping your family fed, juggling a full family calendar, mastering algebra so you can help with homework, grocery shopping with a toddler, and the list could go on and on.
I don’t know about you, but if I’d known all that I would go through – physically, mentally, and emotionally – during pregnancy, labor, and childrearing, I would have thought, “There’s no way!”
And yet, here I am. Here we all are. You may or may not have felt “prepared” for what life had in store for you as a mother, but wouldn’t it be so much easier if we did feel prepared for the future, no matter what it has in store?
I want you to look with me at two people from the Bible: the Proverbs 31 woman and the Psalmist.
The Proverbs 31 Woman
You know her – the one who literally does it all? It’s a tough image to live up to. Verse 25 says, “she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared].” Is she cocky? Or rightfully confident?
As I read through verses 10-31 again with this idea of preparedness on my mind, one verse stuck out to me this time. The second part of verse 18 says, “Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night.” The amplified version clarifies that keeping her lamp burning all night means “she is prepared for whatever lies ahead.” Does this mean she has it all figured out all the time?
I don’t believe so. That would put too much focus on her abilities and strength. Being prepared for whatever lies ahead has more to do with her relationship with God. You see, verse 30 tells us that she fears the Lord; again, the amplified Bible explains that this reverential fear of God results in a woman who worships, obeys, serves, and trusts God. The Proverbs 31 woman trusts God to provide for her every future need. Not cocky. Rightfully confident.
Sometimes I think of all the unknown challenges that awaited me in those first few months of motherhood, and I wonder (and cringe) at what unknown challenges still await me in the months and years to come.
But instead of looking back and cringing, Psalm 77 shows us that we can recall past events as evidence of God’s faithfulness. The Psalmist is overwhelmed by his current situation and bemoans the apparent absence of God. His focus changes in verse 14: “You are the [awesome] God who works [powerful] wonders; You have demonstrated Your power among the people.”
What has God demonstrated to you in your difficult seasons? He has shown me that I have more to give even when I feel completely tapped out. I know that He provides the strength, hope, grace, and love that I need when I feel depleted. The Psalmist goes on to describe the events that God has shown up in. We can do the same! Praise God for every past victory!
If you ever feel unprepared for challenges to come, we, like the Proverbs 31 woman, can “smile without fear of the future” by simply trusting God and giving Him praise for His help in the past, knowing He is faithful to show up again in the future.