There is a woman at our church and I don’t know whether to place her in my learn-to-love love file or ask her out for coffee. She’s perfect. Too perfect. She’s a member of what I call the shiny-haired crowd. You know who I mean. Perfect hair, perfect blowout, no split ends. I have perfectly shiny hair for about an hour once every six weeks when I’ve been in the care of my wonderfully gifted stylist. It isn’t his fault. I’m just blow dryer challenged and console myself the rest of the time that I have a good cut and color and look better with “the messy look.”
But I digress. She looks great in her clothes, which fit beautifully and are either handmade or purchased at incredible discounts. Her four kids, three adopted, are homeschooled, come to church on time well-dressed, well-behaved, knowing the answers to questions and without Kool-Aid surrounding their smiles. Her husband is a leader in the church and in the city, she has her own blog, teaches a Bible study and sells her crafts on Etsy with proceeds benefitting a women’s group in Africa.
So, coffee or learn-to-love list? The thing is – she’s really, really nice. She doesn’t brag about all this. She just does it. On time, neatly and without a fuss.
You know her. And you may have disliked her from afar. She’s the Proverbs 31 lady. So no, she doesn’t actually go to our church but I have really struggled with liking her.
When we went to India a few years ago, the director of the Leadership Training Center asked me to teach on the role of women in the church – a much tougher subject there than even here in the states. I chose to do one of the sessions on Proverbs 31.
Young and old, these women know the meaning of hard work. Many of them got their work out of the way before walking to take taxis in from the villages for Bible study. I’ve seen their homes. They weren’t using vacuum cleaners and dishwashers. And a taxi ride into town could euphemistically be described as an adventure.
And I was teaching them about the Proverbs 31 woman.
I don’t know if they got much from the lesson but I did. I learned that Mrs. P. doesn’t have to have shiny hair or sell crafts on Etsy. These ladies are kind and gracious and loving with hearts for service that are sold out for Jesus.
Really sold out.
When a person forsakes Hinduism, there is a very good chance they will be forsaken by their family and even persecuted so Christianity is not something these ladies take lightly. And the words I had for them reflected back to me from their lovely faces, as a lesson that I need to remember here in the states.
It isn’t about being wonder woman.
(It isn’t even about having a perfect blog.)
It is about getting out there and using what I have – in a sari, a suit, or a pair of blue jeans; with shiny hair or a messy ponytail; craftsy or not – and loving people. That’s what Mrs. P. did, isn’t it? When you boil down all of those cool, impossible things that she was fabulous at – making clothes, fixing wonderful meals, helping the poor – it was all really about serving.
We serve perfectly with imperfect hair through imperfect blogs, spreadsheets, muffins, paint, telephones and coffee cups.
And when we serve, we love. When we love, we reflect Jesus.
“Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:10