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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)

TITLE: Missing the Mark on Mother's Day
By Sarah Heywood


“…And, our Father, we thank you this glorious day as we gather together…” I hang my head as my family slides into the pew, hoping that everyone in our congregation is more devout than we obviously are. Hopefully, they’ll all keep their heads bowed and their eyes closed and not notice our family’s late arrival…again.


No such luck. My son bangs his knee on the pew and his sister giggles. Oh yes, everyone knows we’re here now!

I sink into the cushioned seat, ready to receive a blessing from God’s Word. I notice then that I have a run in my hose. At the same time I observe that my son, who is still rubbing his knee with the intensity generally reserved for life-and-death injuries, has snuck out of the house wearing his Batman tennis shoes. They don’t go with his church pants, which is why I specifically laid out his dress shoes in his bedroom before we left this morning. My daughter catches my eye, glaring at me. She’s still upset about the eye shadow episode (the one that had me shrieking, “ I said, ‘no make-up until you’re in high school!’” just a half hour earlier). My husband looks at me quizzically. I sigh. I need a blessing today.

“I’d like you to open your Bibles today to Proverbs thirty-one” Pastor Mike announces. Seriously? It’s not enough that I get hammered at home by my inadequacies -- I have to get it at church, too? But, of course - it’s Mother’s Day and our minister can’t pass up his yearly opportunity to preach on the outstanding Proverbs 31 woman, subtly letting the rest of us know how badly we’re missing the mark. I have long suspected that he has a secret dislike of women, probably stemming from his childhood. Maybe his mother ran around in a bad perm or kept him chained in the basement or something. Of course, I can think of a couple children I wouldn’t mind chaining up in the basement for awhile…

My eyes drift down my Bible as Pastor Mike reads out loud.

Verse 13: She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands…You mean, like sewing? I recall more than one hem I’ve pulled up with safety pins.

Verse 15: She gets up while it is dark and provides food for her family…I’m guessing King Solomon wasn’t thinking about day-old Krispy Kremes here.

Verse 16: She considers a field and buys it… I could be wrong here, but I have a funny feeling that if I bought a whole plot of land without mentioning it to my husband first, marriage counseling might make its way onto my “to-do” list.

Verse 18:…her lamp does not go out at night…So just when, exactly, does this paragon of virtue sleep, if she gets up to cook breakfast when it’s dark and works into the night, too? I’d need more than one pot of coffee to make that happen!

Verse 22: She makes coverings for her bed…sewing again?

Verse 27: …she does not eat the bread of idleness…Ouch. Although, I’m sure that checking my friends’ Facebook statuses twenty times a day would definitely not constitute “idleness.”

Verse 28: Her children arise and call her blessed…Hah! I nearly laugh aloud at that one. If that day ever comes, I’ll probably be deaf from old age and won’t be able to hear them anyway.

As I listen to Pastor Mike expound on the ideal, outstanding woman as presented by Proverbs, my self-regard sinks lower and lower. Couldn’t he switch things up some Mother’s Day and maybe speak about some of the bad women in the Scriptures? It would sure make me feel better about myself, anyway! I sigh, mentally urging our minister to hurry it up and get through verse thirty-one.

Something pokes me in the arm. I turn, preparing to frown at the offender. But my husband is sitting there, grinning as he taps me with the church bulletin and then hands it to me. Scrawled across the front, he has written, “You’re MY Prov. 31 woman!”

I cover a smile with my hand and happen to glance at the rest of verse 28,”Her husband…praises her.”

Well, that’s half a verse that I’ve managed to accomplish! Maybe with some divine assistance and a lot more determination, I can knock off the other thirty and a half verses this next year and become an outstanding, amazing, and muchly-praised Proverbs 31 woman, myself.


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This article has been read 628 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke04/28/11
The Proverbs 31 Woman sure gets a bad wrap, but you did a delightful job of presenting what we women agonize over when we read this passage of scripture. Your ending was the perfect bow on a silver package of words.
Carol Penhorwood 04/30/11
I think you have been reading my mind!
Kristi Peifer05/05/11
Well done, Sarah! A very much deserved EC! I'm so proud of you!