She is the one that stands out.
Not because of loudness,
but because of her wholesomeness.
Her husband has no reason to think lowly of her.
She has given him none.
Day in and day out, she adds goodness to his life.
Happiness in the form of kisses, I'm sorry's, and winks.
Her hands are always moving, working on a new project.
She seeks after good food and heartiness.
She rises early, working to provide for those that are hers.
She creates strength and builds.
She makes things of value,
and she does not allow her hands to cease to laziness.
But in confidence, she knows the good work she produces.
Her preparedness gives her confidence.
She has thought of all of the path before her.
She laughs at the days to come.
She delights in life,
Teaching kindness and practicing the same.
For she fears the Lord, the maker of her beauty and charm.
They are bust dust.
But her trust and foundation,
this will be her.
A few years ago, I was listening to this woman in my church share about her life. She was feeling unused and faithless to the call of the great commission as she worked tirelessly at home. The dishes were a never-ending pile, her life was diaper after diaper. And I remember this unexpected feeling of sweet delight for her and a full feeling of admiration. It was as if the Lord was saying to me, "Brooke, she is beautiful. She has worked so selflessly to care for her family well, and to make her home an offering. What she is doing, this is kingdom work too."
I think that we can convince ourselves that we can't possibly arrive at the status of a Proverbs 31 woman. She is unattainable. The perfect combination of spiritual and fun. Her energy never runs out, she doesn't need sleep. She's always nice, she's the kind that works out every day and has never stepped foot in a McDonald's. Her children have never used a daycare, and the house chores have never fallen behind.
But in reality, I think that when the Father sees us as women, covered in the blood of Jesus, He sees beautiful women that are working out their salvation, and declaring this proverb over and over in the small, detailed ways that we lay our lives before Him.
Poems have the ability to catch the anthem of someone's life. They are words that are a little bit less understood and up for interpretation, as most people's lives are. I felt this vague covering when I read Proverbs 31. It jogged my memory, bringing all of the women in my life in a line before me.
The single, the married, the moms, the grandmothers. I could envision the love flowing out of them in all of the ways their lives have been poured out. I saw it in all of the soccer game treats, the prayers, the free babysitting, the forgiveness extended, the smiles, the encouraging words spoken. I saw Jesus working through them, and thought 'yes.' These are Proverbs 31 women. This is her.
Proverbs 31: 10-31 for reference (ESV Version):
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[e] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,