IDENTITY: Finding the Proverbs 31 Woman in the Middle of Kid Chaos

Words by Shauna Blaak

The Proverbs 31 Woman―you either love her, or you hate her. She will either inspire you to greatness, or she will remind you of your weakness.

Rising early, working late? No thanks.

I can’t compete with that. I am definitely not a morning person. Does that really mean that I’m NOT a Proverbs 31 Woman too?

Great. More guilt!

Years ago, when the kids were little, I remember having a conversation with the Father in the middle of Walmart, of all places. (Yes, God shops at Walmart.)

I had been complaining to Him about how busy I was. I couldn’t compete with all of the other super moms around me who really had it together. I wasn’t rich enough. I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t skinny enough. I wasn’t popular enough.

I remember saying, “Sheesh, God. Proverbs 31 sucks. It’s not fair that I have to do ALL of this stuff and Erwin doesn’t. He just gets to be the husband and be served all the time. I’m so tired. I can’t keep doing this.” 

In hindsight, I realize now Erwin had never demanded these things of me. It was I who put unrealistic expectations on myself, trying desperately to be the good wife. I was trying to live up to the Proverbs 31 Woman and exhausting myself in the process. No wonder I didn’t like her.

Out-of-the-blue, I had one of those almost-audible moments of hearing God’s voice.

He said, “Shauna, you are ALREADY a Proverbs 31 Woman. You see those boots in your cart?”

(I had about six pairs of winter boots in my shopping cart. Walmart was having an incredible end-of-the-season sale, so I was buying every size available because I knew that at least one of my four kids would need them next year.)

“Well, that’s just like verse 15, ‘She rises early and provides for the needs of her household.’  It’s not about being a morning person and working yourself to death—it’s about foreseeing the needs of your family BEFORE THEY ARE EVEN AWARE OF THEIR NEED.

“Your kids don’t even know they need boots next winter, but you do. You ARE a Proverbs 31 Woman!

“I’m proud of you!”

That moment radically changed my perspective on Proverbs 31 and my abilities as a wife and mother.

I realized that I had been looking at this all wrong. It’s not about working harder and performing better. Proverbs 31 isn’t a crazy ‘To Do List’ that I have to get done in one day. NO!

Proverbs 31 is a BLANK CHECK of purpose and destiny that I GET to accomplish in my lifetime!

What, seriously?

I GET to be creative and profitable.

I GET to be strong and beautiful.Tweet This

That’s awesome! I’ll take it!

——————♥——————

Let’s be honest here. Comparison is the silent killer of most women.

Comparing ourselves with the super mom down the street, or worse yet, the super mom on Facebook or some mommy blog. It’s no wonder that many of us slip into silent depression and give up hope altogether.

We don’t need to live that way any longer. The enemy has been a master at speaking death to us for far too long. It is high time that we hear the Words of Life that our Father speaks over us.

That’s exactly why I wrote, IDENTITY: Finding the Proverbs 31 Woman in the Middle of Kid Chaos.

We don’t have to hate her anymore. We don’t even have to compete with her. This creative and interactive study into IDENTITY and finding out WHO GOD SAYS WE ARE will have each of us breathing a sigh of relief.

You’ll love this book on your own, but you’ll love it even more when you do it together with friends. Perfect for mom groups and ladies’ Bible studies.

Find yourself in the unconditional love of a Good Father!

Shauna Blaak

Shauna is happily married to her college sweetheart, Erwin, and they have four teenage children. For the last decade, they have been living in South Africa and pastoring the worship ministry at Victory Church in Jeffreys Bay. She knows better than most the challenges that come with being the super mom of an international family. Shauna has a wealth of wisdom to share with other moms who are asking, “Who the heck am I now?” Find her at BlaaklistWriters.com.

Launch Party on Facebook + Giveaway: Saturday, May 6 from 9-11 a.m CST.

Win a copy of the book by sharing the “WIN a BOOK” announcement from the facebook page.

Excerpt used with permission from the author.

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Twelve, I Believe in You. You Should Too.

Twelve, what an expansive heart you have,

What a vision for joy,

Head thrown back laughter,

Everything a squeal or the stare

Of your own making.

You are quirky, querulous,

Totally in love with life

Except when it disappoints.

Twelve, do not let your heart be troubled.

Do not be dismayed,

For this is the crossroads which you have stood at already,

Where the world tells you what you SHOULD be:

Thinner, curvier, smarter,

Neater, faster, stronger, 

Always put together.

Twelve, I believe you.

I believe in you,

For you can do what you were made to do through Christ

Who gives you strength.

Maybe it will be one thing,

Or a million.


One thing I know, dear heart,

Yours beats to a rhythm all your own.

No one stands like you,

Giggles like you,

Glares like you,

Embraces whole-souled, just like you.

No one else on the face of the earth 

Has your perfectly designed DNA,

Which sings of glitter, paint, and melodies.

Your zestiness clammers up trees,

Splotches their trunks with color,

White, pink, and purple.

You lose yourself in joy.

You celebrate life

You ARE life

Because you are amazing.

If the world shouts a “should” at you,

(and, girl, it will)

Holler back with arms wide open, 

“No, thanks! I’m busy being me.”Tweet This

Beautiful twelve, press on toward what you KNOW

Deep in your bones.

That you are the clay, the brush, and the song.

You are the sparkle in your Heavenly Father’s eye,

(and mine too).

Twelve, I believe in you. You should too.

Happy birthday to my sweet Abby!

Five Minute Friday Retreat + Agenda

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday writing challenge. Our one-word prompt was SHOULD.

Join us for an inspirational and rather well-priced writing retreat this July in Kansas City! Click the pic and check out the agenda for the weekend!

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Creating with Limitation: Thoughts on Creative Identity

Words by Elizabeth Ivy Hawkins

“The difference between genius and stupidity, is that genius has its limits.”  Albert Einstein

One assignment I have my art and design students complete is a large compositional study. It starts with specific, limited guidelines. It allows only for specific line widths, thicknesses, and shapes. These strict rules are placed on the design process so that important organizational principles are explored. As the series of compositions develop, the limits are gradually released, culminating in a large composition that has none of the beginning parameters or restrictions.

The beginning of this process is frustrating for my students.

But the thing is, without those limitations, my students would have a much harder time completing the large final composition. There would be too many options. They would have no idea where to begin.  If they skipped any part of the process, the end result would not be as complex or compelling. I tell the students the frustration is worth it. Working within limitation is their friend. It prepares them to partner with clients who have limited resources and to be more inventive with less.  

I also tell them the story of Michelangelo, who carved the David out of a stone so flawed that no other sculptor wanted it. I remind them some of the best music is based on a simple-three chord progression structure. Sometimes serious limitations can lead an artist to their best work.
It got me thinking about how design limitations in creating art are similar to limitations I perceive in my life.

I have frustration when I think about limitation and about not getting the results I want. I see limitation as a lack of imagination. An absence of inventiveness. A villain to wrestle with until I get my way.

It may just be what gets me to the larger, more compelling movement in my life. It could be what forces greater creative awareness, a stealth usage of resources, of creating with leanness and purpose. What if lack was pulling me into a larger imagination?Tweet This

That’s hard to believe because we all have limitations. The partner who left. The dream that died. The once close friend we can’t forgive. Illness that is never going away. Full-time caregiving that leaves us exhausted, without creative outlet.  Some days my list of limitations are too many to count. Limits outnumber the stars. My creative vision becomes lifeless and blurry. I question what the point of creative ambition is.

Nobody likes working within limitation, but artists who embrace limitation make better art.

I think this principle is true in life, as well. Individuals who embrace limitation tend to be more inventive, optimistic, and lead more fulfilling lives.

It’s tough. I’m trying my hardest. My identity as a creative is rooted in a connection to life, to a divine ground of being I call God. The long narrative that exists from the beginning of time whispers that there is always creatively more. There is more abundance. There is more life. Some really bad stuff exists, too.

But if I can shift my attitude in the midst of challenge and limitation, to awe and wonder, how will that change me?

My rebel heart is learning to embrace an attitude of limitation. I’m using it to make art that sings within its bounds. Despite flaws in stone and life, I see my David. I pick up the chisel and begin.

Elizabeth Ivy Hawkins holds an MFA in Painting, and currently is an Adjunct Professor at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI.  Elizabeth’s artwork has been exhibited regionally and nationally, including exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles.  She speaks on the importance of the artist’s voice, and mentors individuals and groups on how to cultivate individual expression as a way of being fully present in our daily lives.  She writes for the on-line publication Off the Page, and on her blog about creativity, relationships, and spirituality.  Her story, Where I Fell In Love, was posted on the Story Gathering Podcast.  She is a wife to the dashing and strong Bradford, and stepmother of one, and mother of two naughty and smart children.

You can find her at www.elizabethivy.com

Facebook Artist Page: elizabethivy.com

Instagram:  @elizabethivyhawkins

Twitter:  @elizabethivy

If you like the ideas shared and would like to take this information to the next level, sign up to the newsletter and receive a free digital download on Creativity and The Individual Voice here.

Essay used with permission from Elizabeth Ivy Hawkins.

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Your Source for More Power: Master of the Universe-Style

//Fingers plastered to the TV, my little five-year old arm extended, I channeled the power of a classy cartoon. He-Man. “I am the Power,” I chanted with him. The blond-haired super hero-fighter conquered evil with his silver sword. Chiseled arm and goofy skirt. I was his faithful friend, She-Ra. Kissing the TV glass, I just knew I could do anything with the Power.

1985 Cartoon Masters of the Universe: He-Man + She-Ra

Channeling the power is not as easy as letting imaginary strength surge through you.

Or is it?

This week I’ve been really tempted to do more to get the family and me through the next few weeks. We’re taking a big trip overseas, and I’ve been trying to think of every single detail. Packing lists, emergency items, outfits for every kind of weather, hiking shoes, lotion that doubles as sunscreen, snacks, doodle books to keep the kids busy, and everything in between. At the same time, I’ve been trying to schedule out blog posts for when we’re gone, get haircuts for the dog and me, and plan a 12 year-old birthday party. //

As you can imagine, I’ve been stressing myself out trying to do it all. I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. thinking of the travel documents I need to photocopy. I push away the picture of me dragging children who won’t wake up and a mountain of luggage through the Frankfurt airport.

Here’s the irony: every book I pick up, every text I get, every blog post is telling me to STOP.

But I’ve got to get this done! My mind screams. How does a girl get to the ultimate goal (or vacation) when there’s always more to be done?

Chasing more leaves us wasted. Rest is the more sustaining power source.Tweet This

I heard someone once say, “If God wakes you up early, get up and be with Him.” So I lie awake in bed and try to pray. Now more than ever, I know I am no master of the universe. I see that little girl stretching her arm out in faith to grab hold of more. Her prayer, “I am not the power, God. YOU are.”

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday creative challenge. This week our one-word writing prompt is MORE. Find details about our upcoming retreat here.

(// indicates the start and stop of five minutes.)

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You Are the Power of Not Yet

I am at the orthodontist. Before the assistant presses the clammy clayish mold into my teeth for the second time in sixteen years, she asks, “What do you do?” A giant heaping mass of nothing fills the oxygen between us. I inhale and suddenly need more air. Something comes out.

“I’m a writer.”

“What kind?”

“Um. A blogger. Well, a freelancer.” I pause, “Sort of.”

“What do you write about?”

“Courage, compassion, and creativity.” Does it sound memorized?

“That sounds cool.”

“It is,” I say, trying to convince myself I believe it. Can she detect the uncertainty?

Shoot. She isn’t saying anything.

She’s onto me. I might as well tell her the whole truth.

Thanks for joining us in Week 2 of a series: A Beautiful Becoming, Thoughts on Creative Identity from an Artist and a Poet.

Read the rest at Elizabeth Ivy Hawkins’ blog.

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I Was a Bird Singing

I used to sing my life away.

Like there was a bird caged in my chest.

When I opened my mouth,

She could fly.

That high

You get when you unconsciously push your diaphragm

Down and air

Rushes from your depths and into the world,

Vocal chords vibrating in hallelujahs,

Welled up in me today,

Not a belligerent strange bird pummeling herself at my window

Because she saw danger in her reflection, as I have been of late.

And therefore, forgot my song almost entirely.

Today I was a bird singing because she could.

Five Minute Friday Retreat

Come recharge with fellow creatives in Kansas City this July 21-23! The Five Minute Friday retreat will inspire you with a mix of writing knowledge sharing and spiritual renewal. Details here.

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