Mrs. Proverbs 31

**Disclaimer: this post will likely mean more to my ladies out there, but will no doubt be insightful to any man interested enough to continue.

Mrs. Proverbs 31 is my hero.  I admire and respect Mrs. Proverbs 31 for so many reasons!  In case, you don't know who she is, I included the excerpt below. 

A Wife of Noble Character

10 [a]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm[b] clothes.

22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.

28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
— Proverbs 31:10-31 NLT

But wow, what a woman?  Chances are you feel one of two ways after reading about her: inspired or intimidated. 

Both are normal.  Both are okay.  I have always thought she was crazy good at the classic "womanly chores" and that I should try to be more like her, but only when I began to study her more carefully, did I realize she has so much more to offer than making me feel guilty enough to finally do my laundry.

I'll begin with the side of Mrs. Proverbs 31 that is most noticeable:

She is patient and kind, virtuous and capable, and she brings her family good, all the days of her life.  

She has an arsenal of useful skills (spinning wool, cooking, gardening, sewing, keeping the house) and she uses them to benefit her family. 

Mrs. Proverbs 31 is a dutiful wife.  She is quiet and respectful.  She works hard in the home.  But this is not all there is to her.  Far from it, actually...

You have to keep reading to truly understand her.

"She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.  She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night."

"She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants."

"She watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness."

She is intelligent, business-savvy, confident, hardworking, and profitable.  Mrs. Proverbs 31 is far from the bland, dutiful, tired woman that most picture her as.  She is motivated, devoted to her family, and dedicated to unleashing her full potential.

And amazingly, while she is keeping the house and bringing in money, she is gentle and calm.

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

So much so that her children bless her.  Her husband praises her.

And yet most women view her with indignation and exasperation... she has achieved a level of success and grace that intimidates us and leaves us disheartened.  She is a constant reminder of who we are not.  So we pass her off as impractical and outdated.

And the struggle for godly women continues...

With graduation approaching, it has been necessary for me to begin searching for my purpose and my ideal life.  As I've said before, I felt like conservative society was pushing me to be a subdued housewife.  Modern feminist culture was pushing me to pursue a meaningful career before meaningful relationships.  And I wanted neither.  Or actually, I wanted both. Choosing one over the other felt like I would surely be giving up an important part of my purpose.  The stress and confusion the unknown was putting on me was only magnified by my impending graduation.  I was torn and afraid.  Indignate and exaperated.

Until I remembered Mrs. Proverbs 31.  I remembered that she is... well, everything.  I don't mean she is perfect, or that to be just like her is the only right way to live.  I mean she has more potential than one unbalanced lifestyle can offer.  She truly maximizes her potential by being devoted to her purpose as a wife and mother, and as an individual woman.  Rather than weigh me down, Mrs. Proverbs 31 gave me hope that I didn't have to choose one extreme, but that it was possible to find balance and become exactly who I wanted to be.

"She is virtuous and capable" suddenly had a new meaning to me.  She is a beautiful and balanced mix of gentle and strong, selfless and independent, quiet and confident, respectful and smart.  She is both virtuous and capable. 

And the psalmist describes her as "More precious than rubies".  He asks, "Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?"  She is rare.  She is precious.  

Ladies, I wonder how our lives might change if we stop seeing Mrs. Proverbs 31 as who we aren't, and started seeing her as who we could be?

As I studied her, I began to understand that maybe my struggle to understand my purpose wasn't a result of my lack of knowledge or ability, but a God-given road block to keep me from making a dangerous decision until I saw my choice for what it was.  A choice between letting society define me, or pursuing my own beautiful balance of being virtuous and capable.  I will never be a perfect Mrs. Proverbs 31.  But I do want to live my own amazing version of a godly, feminine life.  I thank God for her influence in my life, and I pray that she would inspire and lift you up too. 

She is clothed in strength in dignity, and laughs without fear of the future.
— Proverbs 31:25

Here's to living out our God-given dreams!

M