I first was introduced (or remember being introduced) to the “Proverbs 31 woman” in college. A group of men created a band of brothers that was really inspiring, so a group of us girls got together and focused on the Proverbs 31 woman..
If you have not read it recently (or ever), here it is, Proverbs 31:10-31:
“An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.”
I have heard a lot of things about these verses.. Ranging from “who has time to be that kind of woman/wife” to “every woman should always strive for these things..” even, “These just make me tired thinking about it..” … and, I have heard men and woman alike comment one these verses, some of the comments inspiring, others just make me want to break someone’s nose…
So, what do I think about this passage of scriptire? Well.. it certainly can seem daunting at times, I mean this woman I swear (can you swear about Bible things?) is the cream of the crop, and is a superhero! On days that I am particularly distant in my discussions with the Lord, I am absolutely the furthest from resembling this woman. Some days I think this woman is absolutely the most inspiring thing I have ever read… and then other days I do not even understand what I am reading. How would I possibly MAKE linen garments and sell them anyway!?.. haha..
But, the more I think about this passage the more I realize I (just myself.. because it is totally unfair to speak for any other woman) do actually strive to be this woman. Even though I am still single, so I am not bringing my husband any honor or glory, I am certainly bringing those same things to my sweet savior, and preparing for (possibly) being married later.
So, here are a few of the sections of this passage that really jump out to me…
For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
I love that immediately her worth is vast beyond any solid tangible precious jewel.. And that immediately after that it is pointed out that her husband trusts in her, and that because of that it is a good thing.. that every day of her life (not married life… but life as a whole) she will not do him evil (that means working at it now and cultivating the characteristics and wisdom now.. not just later after marriage).
She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
This is my kind of woman.. and one that I hope I will always be. I want to be financially able.. I want to work to help my entire life.. whether that means bringing home an income or merely planting a vineyard (haha.. I wouldn’t have any idea what that means…).. But, what I love most about this part is that she is able, she is not weak..
She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.
I want to always be this way.. Love and compassion I want to exude from me at all times.. (gosh I have so much to learn and so far to grow)
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
I really.. really like this verse, and it rings a bell deep within me to want to bring respect to my husband (or right now to God) because of the way I conduct myself… I think this is a really cool and affectionate verse because it has little to do with him except for that she belongs to him, and he is hers.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
I want this to be descriptors of me, all the days of my life… (I have a lot of work to do, but in an inspiring way, not a depressing way)
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Love this, and I hope this will be how I am described at the end of my life.
So, I really do not think the Proverbs 31 woman passage is overwhelming.. I think it serves as a good constant challenge and reminder about who I am and who I am becoming.
I also think it is imperative.. and probably impossible to do without Christ in my life, which means that every day I get a do-over.