Proverbs 31:18 says, “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.”
As I meditated on this verse in Proverbs, I was reminded of an incident in my early years as a mom, when the Lord helped me to overcome some frustrating moments. But first let me back up a little.
In my single years, I learned to sew, and I enjoyed sewing very much. When I wanted to make something, I would get everything I needed ready ahead of time, because my mission was to start on a project and finish it THAT day. My finished projects were normally constructed very well. I do not remember a time during those years that I was not successful in finishing the job nearly perfectly in one day. This is not to brag, but to share with you how this mindset became an obstacle for me in later years.
I continued to love sewing after I got married, and I bought fabric and sewed curtains for just about every room in our house. One year later, I first became mom to a precious little girl. I could hardly wait to start sewing beautiful little dresses for her! Well, my first attempt at sewing a dress for Kara, from start to finish, in one day, was a failure! The demands of a little baby in the house made it impossible for me to fully concentrate on my project. The many times I would have to set down the garment to tend to Kara’s needs were causing me to become frustrated while sewing, and I found myself eventually becoming impatient with my precious little baby. The garment that would have been easily “whipped up” in a day in the past, was now taking several days to finish. I was unhappy with the results, because to me, it wasn’t “perfect,” since I had had to rip out seams several times and fix areas that were not right. I remember thinking that I didn’t even like the dress once it was finished, because it had not been a fun project after all.
It was during this time of adjusting to “life with a newborn,” that things often did not go as planned. I was frustrated, because I felt I wasn’t as good at sewing as I once had been. This frustration was causing me to not enjoy sewing, and I even vowed- with a bad attitude- that I would NEVER sew again! But little by little, I learned how to accept that I could not be the seamstress I had been as a single person. I had new responsibilities, and sewing would have to take a backseat.
A couple years later, my husband and I welcomed out second daughter into this world. To tell you the truth, this time I had no vision of sewing beautiful dresses for my new little girl; she was going to be using her sister’s hand-me-downs! In fact, when Kendra was just a couple months old, I sewed the last little dress for Kara that I would sew, until there were no more babies in our home. Life was just too full of demands for me to fit in sewing projects. It wasn’t until our youngest child was almost three, that I did start sewing again, and it was with the full knowledge that I would probably never get a lot of sewing done during the day. Once the kids were tucked away in bed for the night, I would then try and get a couple hours of sewing done. This new mindset helped me to enjoy sewing once again, and I was much more pleased with the outcome of the product.
The lesson that I learned in this example was one I was able to apply in many areas of my life as a mom. Seeing to many responsibilities that come with being a mother of babies and very young children is an accomplishment, by itself (Sometimes just making a supper so that everything is done on time and nothing is burnt). I enjoy seeing moms of young children post pictures of delicious looking meals on facebook, that they have successfully cooked that evening. I understand how this is cause for celebration! Many times, because of failure after failure in meal preparation, moms often opt for the easy way out: prepared foods from a box. In the example of the Virtuous Woman, her “merchandise” was good when she worked into the evening hours, perhaps when her children were in bed. After a busy day, we may be tempted to hang out on the couch, watching TV, once the kids are in bed. We are missing prime time to get some major tasks done. You don’t need to work into the wee hours of the morning to get things done. Try taking 1 to 2 hours after children’s bedtime to do some meal prep for the next day. Make a breakfast bake, and put it in the fridge overnight to be ready to pop into the oven in the morning. Try browning up some ground beef to be used in tomorrow night’s supper. Sandwiches for lunch can be made up at night for the next day. There are many things that can be accomplished in those couple of hours after the kids go to bed, that will help the following day run much more smoothly.
I am sharing a meatloaf recipe that my daughter, Kendra, made and recommended for me to try. It has zucchini in it (perfect for this time of year when people are looking for ways to use zucchini), and is quite moist and tasty. The whole family will love it and they won’t even know there is zucchini in it! Put the kids to bed, grate a zucchini, and put in the fridge to be used for the following day’s supper.
Zucchini Ranch Meatloaf
2 pounds ground beef
1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
½ cup diced onions
½ green bell pepper, diced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 package ranch dressing mix
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup steak sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×9 inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine all but the last two ingredients together. Mix well. Pat into prepared pan. Combine ketchup and steak sauce, and spread over the top of meatloaf. Bake for 1 hour, or until done.