If you are a woman, have you ever wondered what it would be like to step in the woman of Proverbs 31's shoes, for one day. If you are a man, have you ever desired to have a wife who embodies every aspect of the Proverbs 31 woman? My husband has often told me there is a Proverbs 32 woman, and he says this woman gives her husband massages all the time, needless to say, I have yet to find that verse or chapter! :)
Very early on in my Christian walk, I confess I felt intimidated by the Proverbs 31 woman. She was so perfect! She worked hard all day and stays up late doing more work, she gets up early, takes care of everyone's needs with barely a blink of the eye. She helps those in need; she doesn’t appear to worry about anything. She is wise beyond measure, she is beautiful, she makes all of her and her family’s clothes, and she embodies all of the character traits that we all desire (strength, dignity, peace, honor, joy, grace). She is also not afraid to grow old. Her children bless her, and her husband, well, he is blessed beyond measure, and he knows it!
It wasn't until several years ago, when I was on a mission trip to the Appalachia Mountains, that I understood Proverbs 31. We were going to be ministering to the children and women, as well as repairing some homes. I was asked to lead one of the Bible studies for the women. The Lord put Proverbs 31 on my heart. As I began to study and pray, a light came on: This woman isn't real! This is simply a mother’s wish for the type of woman she wants her son to marry. She was giving him her "hopes and dreams for her baby" (see my blog Day 25). She was trying to explain the importance of finding someone who has her priorities right, not necessarily someone who is perfect. Suddenly I saw the Proverbs 31woman in a different light. Instead of being intimidated by her amazing qualities, I saw it as an example to strive towards.
As I wrote each verse out, I commented next to the verse to help me see the bigger picture. I wanted to relate to the words of the mother. I wanted be able to apply Proverbs 31 to my life.
I will type out the verses and (BOLD) my comment about each verse.
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. (Valuable like a princess-like the daughter of the King!-and if you are female and have accepted Christ in your heart then you ARE a princess! and if you are a male and have accepted Christ you ARE a prince! )
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 is a woman of integrity and she is trust worthy)
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 cares for her family's needs-she is not selfish)
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 takes care of herself. She is confident)
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. (She uses her time wisely)
She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy. (She is compassionate)
She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. (She prepares for the seasons and makes sure her family is ready for the harshness of the winter and the heat of the summer)
She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. (She takes care of herself; she dresses "nice"- she isn't frumpy or sloppy)
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. (Her husband is respected- in other words the mother is reminding her son of his responsibilities as well)
She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen. (She uses her skills and talents-whether they are designing clothes, writing, teaching, administrating, accounting, etc)
Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. (She has confidence and self esteem-she is not worried about growing old- she is willing to grow old gracefully)
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. (She thinks before she speaks, she has a kind tone, she is not lazy)
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." (Her husband and children love and respect her. They appreciate all she does)
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. (She puts God first in all she does. The key to her beautiful character is her spiritual life. She is a godly woman who fears the Lord)
There is HOPE in striving to be or looking for a Proverbs 31 woman. Proverbs 31 is not about perfection or unattainable qualities. It's more so about character traits and values that we all (men and women) should strive for in our lives. First and formost is the reminder to put God first in all that we do.
There is always HOPE!