If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time you’ve probably heard of her. She’s tucked away near the middle of your Bible. She seems to be a figment of someone’s cruel imagination…someone who wants to make us women feel bad about ourselves. She appears to be Maria von Trapp, Marie Curie, Dave Ramsey, Mother Teresa and Martha Stewart all rolled into one. Yes, it’s her, the Proverbs 31 woman. This “ideal” woman stares at us from the middle of our Bibles, flaunting her accomplishments and making us feel like failures as mothers, wives and daughters of God. Really, how many of us know how to spin our own wool or plant a vineyard? I may be able to bring gifts from a far away place via UPS but somehow I don’t think the plastic shopping cart from China counts. So why is she in the Bible? Does God expect us to stay up all night working, get up early in the morning to make an elaborate breakfast for our family, make our own clothing, trade our handmade gifts to make money, teach our children everything there is to know about anything and tell the world how wonderful our husbands are? Maybe, but probably not. I think hidden in these word are lessons that even the busiest moms can embrace and in doing so become her own version of this “ideal woman.”
So where do we start? How can we become more like this woman that was intentionally put into the Bible, God’s Holy Word? I think the first place to start is by looking at our relationship with our husbands. Verse 12 says, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life”. Do we honor our husbands with the words that we speak to them or about them? When we talk with our friends about the man we married are they words that build him up or tear him down? When he comes home from work do we greet him with kind words that build up his spirit or words that tear him down and make him want to return to work? Does he have confidence that the decisions we make while he is away are the best for our family? Or is he afraid when we come home and say that we’ve been shopping? I think the best place to start is thinking about how our words can either build up or tear down this man that we’ve chosen to do life with. Our words can power him up to fight for us and lead our family, or destroy him and send him inward. These words can render him ineffective in trying to lead us and our families. So, speak words of life and allow him to be the man God created him to be.
Secondly, get up before your family, or at least your kids. Verse 15 says, “She gets up while it is still dark”. Use this time to spend time with Jesus. We cannot be effective mothers without His help. I know first hand how difficult this can be. My kids go to bed early and thus get up early – like by 6:30am on a good day. I try to drag myself out of bed by 5:30am to begin my day with Jesus. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s my goal. I know that my day will go better when I make the extra effort to start my day with Him. I find that I have more patience, energy, and am able to provide that extra measure of grace when it’s needed if I give Jesus the first few minutes of my day. It also teaches my children that I need Jesus and shows them that it is important to spend time with Him daily. Yes, sometimes I roll over when the alarm goes off or my kids are up at 5:30am, and I have to take what I can get; but, waking up with my Savior is the best step I can take in becoming more like this woman.
Thirdly, work. Work looks different for all of us. Some of us work outside the home, some of us work at home, and some of us try to do both. But nowhere in this passage about God’s ideal woman is she idle. She is either working at home to provide food and clothing for her family or dealing with the outside world to bring good things into their home. She doesn’t sit around and spend hours in front of the TV or computer. She also exercises her mind and body. Verse 17 says, “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks”. Now, I really don’t like to exercise. I don’t like to get sweaty, and it takes time away from other things I need to do, like laundry and cleaning, or time to take a nap, but we need to take care of ourselves if we are to take care of our families. Find time, even if it’s only 15 minutes, to walk or dance like crazy with your kids. Not only are we making ourselves healthier, but we are teaching our kids that exercise is important and should be part of our lives.
Finally, she serves others. Verse 20 says, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy”. There are opportunities to serve others all around us. We are first called to serve our families. Throughout this passage we have examples of how she serves her husband and her children, but it doesn’t stop there. She also serves those around her. Jesus came to serve others and our daily sacrifices become acts of service to those in our lives. When we choose to read that extra story at bedtime instead of scrolling through Facebook. Or choose to wash the dishes instead of making our husbands do it. We are becoming Jesus to them. We don’t always have lots of time to go serve downtown at a homeless shelter but we can make a meal for that new mom down the street. We may not be able to volunteer for hours every week but we can serve for a service at church. There are opportunities for us to serve others if we just look and ask Jesus to show us where He wants us.
So, while I may not spin my own wool, buy fields to farm, or make tapestries to sell there are things I can do. I can speak words of life into my husband, wake up early to spend time with Jesus, work my body and mind, and serve my family and those around me. All of these actions become my attempt at becoming my own version of “That Woman”.
Julie Mabus has been married to husband Mark for 6 years and is a mom to Camille (2 1/2) and Ezra (9 months). She attends MOMentum at our newest morning meeting in Whitehouse. Julie is mostly a stay at home mom but works very part time as an occupational therapist. Julie enjoys gardening, canning, cooking, reading and art in general.CedarCreek MOMentum exists to connect mothers in all seasons by encouraging and supporting them, while guiding their hearts toward Christ. Subscribe to our blog and never miss another post!