Learning from the Proverbs 31 Woman
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
I used to read the verses in Proverbs 31:10-31 with a sinking heart. Sort of how I feel after reading to the end of an advanced baking recipe. I think: “well that’s not going to happen.” Ha!
In the same way, it’s easy to read these verses and think we’ve stumbled upon Super Woman. She even sews her own cape! How can we ever live up to this lady? And worse yet—is the Bible instructing us to do that? Instant failure. No wonder we might be tempted to look upon this woman with disdain.
However, as I’ve grown older and researched more into the context of the verses, I realize this passage isn’t a condemnation of what most women will never be or achieve, but rather, a declaration of all the attributes women already display.
I love that these verses, while occasionally mentioning the word “wife,” aren’t exclusive to married gals. I know so many women today who are single and successfully running their own businesses, providing for their household after unwanted divorces, raising their children to the glory of God, and even occasionally making those super fun Pinterest-worthy lunches for their toddlers. These verses aren’t meant to shame women who can’t sew into creating their Etsy shop, but rather, to point out the crucial way women contribute and support and serve in the way we are uniquely wired to do.
Verse 30 really sums it up and gives us hope. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (ESV) This means that even on our worst days, the days of messy buns and stained clothing and Pringles for breakfast, we’re not failing if we’re fearing the Lord. We can fear the Lord just the same whether we’re a CEO or in the PTA, whether we’re toting a Prada bag or a drooling toddler, whether we bothered with makeup or whether the bed is made. Fearing the Lord is a heart posture, not a high-heel stature.
The Book of Proverbs tells us that it was written so that we could find wisdom (Proverbs 1:2). And before the verses about “the Proverbs 31 woman” begin, we see that they were part of an oracle by King Lemuel’s mother - written by a woman! Obviously, she wasn’t trying to set an unreachable bar, but was encouraging her son toward seeking out a wife in the ways that mattered.
Proverbs 31 isn’t a daunting checklist of things to achieve, but rather, an example of a heart to develop. She is trustworthy. She is hard-working. She is ethical and motivated and has a heart for her family and for those in her charge. She is modest and is a good steward of money and supplies and resources. She helps the poor and has compassion for others. She isn’t afraid of what’s outside of her control, but rather, is prepared and trusts the Lord. She has a reputation of character and humility. She is classy and dignified. She is wise. She is kind. She’s smart and savvy. And most importantly, she fears the Lord—which is the beginning of wisdom.
What woman in your life today could use a compliment on the way she’s currently modeling these verses? Take some time today to tell her—and don’t forget the one in the mirror.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha—no whip. Look for her latest novel with Revell, The Key To Love in bookstores everywhere. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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