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Proverbs 31 - Wonder Woman

When I was a young mother I was reading my Bible and discovered Proverbs 31. I was mesmerized by this astounding person! Most of the chapter is a tribute to a remarkable woman who has it all together. She was like Wonder Woman to me. A true super hero and I wanted to be just like her.

I read the chapter over and over so I could memorize her qualities. I tried to envision what her scheduled days must look like. I wanted to be admired the way that she was adored by her tribe. I did what every child does who has a super hero. I tried to emulate her.

Imagine how exciting it was for me to attend a woman's conference where the guest speaker would be talking about Proverbs 31. I arrived at the conference early to get a good seat and had my notebook and pen ready to takes notes. The speaker opened with a reading of the entire chapter. She then proceeded to tear my hero apart and expound on why it is impossible for any woman to attain to such lofty heights. She spoke of her as though she truly had super human powers and that nothing about her was real or attainable. She even implied that this woman was a figment of a man's imagination based upon what he futilely searched for in a woman.  A fire was kindling in my belly as I listened to her speak and it was almost more than I could bear. Appalled, I left that conference with a blank notebook and a broken heart. 

I can attest to the fact that this virtuous woman was, indeed, not a super hero; her superhuman powers were normal tasks in a normal woman's day; her virtues are very exceptional but within reach. Can I take a shot at sharing with you how I believe there are very attainable attributes in Proverbs 31?

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

Let's begin by defining "noble" so we know what we are trying to attain.

Noble - having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.

synonyms - righteous, virtuous, good, honorable, honest, upright, upstanding, decent, worthy, noble-minded, uncorrupted, anticorruption, moral, ethical, reputable, magnanimous, unselfish, generous, self-sacrificing, brave

11  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

Me: If she is managing his paycheck that he brings home, or helping to manage it there will be no lack and no need because they live within a planned budget. Every household should have a budget. If not, a great place to start is "Financial Peace" by Dave Ramsey

12    She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

Me: She will be faithful to him body, soul and spirit. She will aspire to grow in her character always raising the bar for herself and her family.

13    She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

Me: She goes to hobby lobby and buys a bolt of cotton at a really great price and makes her curtains, or she buys them ready-made and hangs them up.

14    She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

Me: She drove all the way across town to do budget shopping and used coupons to save money. She also got on Amazon and looked for the best deal for that new sofa, or TV or whatever.

15    She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.

Me: YEP this one is really hard! For me personally it literally took years to develop this discipline because I am a natural night owl. The purpose of rising before the rest of the family is so they are not facing a grumpy, disorganized wife/mom who is so busy trying to get her own stuff together that she cannot assist them with starting their day on the right foot. She is making sure that her family has food in their bellies before they leave for school/work so they can excel at their jobs. I've never had servant girls, but I have had seasons of life when I hired cleaners to come do my chores for me. There is no guilt or shame in relying on assistance. Some of these women had needs that we were able to fill as well.

16    She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Me: Grady and I had a plan to be mortgage free by the time we were 40 years old. Buy purchasing distressed homes in upscale neighborhoods we made cosmetic repairs and enjoyed the home for a few years while the housing market escalated. When we sold the home we rolled the equity into the next home. We attained our goal and were mortgage free by the time we were 40. What woman is not instrumental in selecting a place for her family to live, whether it is an apartment or a home? After you read Dave Ramsey's book you will see how attainable the goal is to own a home and become mortgage free.

17    She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

Me:  She’s a hard worker. Not lazy and she probably worked out at the gym.

18    She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

Me: Either she works a job outside of the home or she starts home business ventures. Painted furniture, painted clothing, drapery design, jewelry making, MLM, art, etc. You may never make a fortune but you will be able to help supplement your income and be available to spend more time at home. Her lamp didn't go out because she made sure the light bill was always paid and there were always light bulbs in the sockets.

19    In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

Me: She knows how to use a sewing machine or other crafting tools.

20    She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

Me: There are always places to volunteer to help the poor in our communities or churches. I personally started a 501C3 nonprofit organization to establish vocational training centers for survivors of human trafficking in India. That is extreme and it was a God thing. (another story for another day)

21   When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

Me: Make sure there is firewood for the fireplace to last through the winter. Just look online and call the firewood man and have it delivered. Make sure everyone has a warm coat to wear. 

22   She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Me: If you don't know how to sew you can always buy bed coverings. The point is that everyone had a warm blanket at night to sleep under. I believe her bedroom was beautiful and inviting. She cared about how she looked. She didn't go to Walmart in her p.js and slippers.

23   Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

Me: Her husband is qualified to be a deacon or an elder because his household is in order. He is respected by other men because of the quality of his home and his family.

24     She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Me: Again, the point is to do something to help the household with extra income whether it is a home business or punching a time clock at a place of business.

25    She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Me: She is emotionally strong and carries herself with dignity. She is not a loud and fool hearty woman drawing attention to herself. She is not afraid of the future because she is prepared.

26  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Me: She is a mentor to others and she can have faithful instruction on her tongue because she is stable, well studied/educated and familiar with the issues of the day.

27  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Me: She knows where everyone is at all times, keeps a well adjusted schedule and manages her time well.

28  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

Me: At first glance this verse appears to be the litmus test to summarize whether you have done your job well or achieved your goal to be noble; If your kids honor you and respect you and your husband praises you. I don't believe this is what is intended in this verse. That would make them your judge. So what is intended here? Most of the verses prior to this one entails a task, a skill or a lifestyle, all of which are within the control of the woman who is striving to be noble. Now suddenly the value or even very existence of her virtue is measured by the actions and evaluations of children and a husband. What if the children are in rebellion? What if her husband left her for someone else or simply abandoned the family? Does that mean that all of her labors were for nothing and she won't wear the badge of honor? This interpretation is up for debate but I believe that;

  • Sometimes when you have done all you can do to stand, you just stand. The goal is to stand un-accused; God sees your heart and God knows how you have lived. Mercy and grace must come into play in every persons life because we don't get it right all the time.

  • Many would like to think of this verse as the test that determines success or failure. It is not. There is always the probability that you could have done things better. Maybe things would have turned out differently if you had done it a different way. You may even consider yourself a failure. If you feel that God is speaking this to you. Confess it to Him and to those you failed. Ask for forgiveness and and start new. Sometimes the communication is broken and you are unable to speak to them. But you can confess to God, through Jesus Christ our advocate, and He forgives. This is called redemption.

29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

Me: It's true. There are some people who rise to the surface, like Queen Esther. I can promise you this rising was intentional on her part. It didn't just happen for her by a lucky roll of the dice. She planned it and lived within her strategy.

30  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Me: We've all done it; projected our happy, smiling charming self when deep inside we are as broken and insecure as the rest of womankind. Just be real.

31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Me: Lavish others with your words and praise them every chance you get. Your affirmation may be the only words of praise she will hear for a job well done. This is not a competition. It's a sisterhood.

Summary of the Virtuous Woman:

  1. She was social. She had a tribe of women that she worked with, ministered with and ministered to.

  2. She was observant. She made eye contact with other women and saw their need, whether it was physical, financial or emotional. She didn't live in her own self centered little world.

  3. She was a doer. When saw a need she found practical ways to meet the need. The reason she did this is because she cared.

  4. She was not lazy. In every instance where her virtuous qualities are mentioned she was diligent, disciplined and hard working.

  5. She was real. She didn't project her charm and beauty for self gratification because she knew that would be deceptive. At the core of her being she feared the Lord, lived well and the natural response of the community is that she was admired.

Be like her. Look around. There is someone that you know that is virtuous. She is a superhero. Study her. Learn her traits, characteristics and skills. Then do what she does.

You can do this thing!

Go with God.

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