Posts filed under ‘The Proverbs 31 woman’

The Proverbs 31 Woman: A Sense of Humor

Finally!  We’ve come to a quality of the Proverbs 31 woman that I can actually relate to.  In Proverbs 31:25 we read:

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

It may seem a bit incongruous to link strength, dignity, and a sense of humor together in the same verse.  Strength and dignity tends to conjure up an image of a stoic woman, while a woman who can laugh is anything but stoic.  Yet I believe that in order to truly find the humor in life, one has to have inner strength and resilience.

I come from a funny family.  My dad is witty; my brother is even wittier.  My mother has her moments, moments which are funnier than those my dad and brother come up with because they’re usually completely unexpected.

When I was a teen, we had a rough few years with my extended family.  A car accident, a shooting, cancer, a heart attack – all of these things challenged my family’s faith and bond.  When I was 15, a tornado destroyed our home.  We were gone when it hit, and we arrived home to destruction and ruin.  We spent the next day and lots of days after that literally picking up the pieces and fragments of our lives.

Not much was funny that night.  But the next day – after the storm clouds had cleared and the sunshine had returned – we started to find the humor.  Jokes were made about my mother’s housekeeping skills as we cleaned up dishes.  We discovered the source of a strange smell we had noticed a few days before: a mouse that had crawled up above the dishwasher and died.  Every time the dishwasher heated up, so did he.  Little things that made us laugh kept us from breaking down.

Laughter was what kept me going after Grandpa George died.  At his funeral, the minister told stories about the pranks Grandpa and his coworkers used to pull on each other.  Every Christmas, my brother would give Grandpa a funny gift: Tasmanian devil suspenders.  A drinking mug in the shape of a toilet.  Every time I think about Grandpa, I think of how happy and silly those gifts made him, and I laugh.

I live by the credo that life is too short to be taken too seriously.  My goal is to always be able to find the lighter side of every situation.  Obviously, this may be more difficult in some situations than in others.  I love to tell funny stories about my life and the things that happen.  I hope that when others think of me, they will laugh.

The next entry will be the last chapter in this series – The Proverbs 31 Woman: Her Just Rewards.

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Married to a Respected Man
The Proverbs 31 Woman: Creative
The Proverbs 31 Woman: Financially Savvy
The Proverbs 31 Woman: Hard-Working
The Proverbs 31 Woman: An Introduction

February 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm 2 comments

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Married to a Respected Man

It’s been a few months since my last exploration of the Proverbs 31 woman.  So far, we’ve discussed how she is hardworking, financially savvy, and creative.  In short, she is superwoman.  I feel slovenly compared to her.

Proverbs 31:23 leaves off a bit from the characteristics of the woman, and instead focuses on her husband.  The verse reads:

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

My interpretation of this verse is that the Proverbs 31 woman is well-yoked.  She has not married a lazy man, or an ignorant man, or an abusive man.  Instead, she has married her equal, someone who is well-esteemed by his peers.  He is a leader, a thinker, and probably a hard worker.

When I was a teenager, I made a list of qualities that I wanted in the man I would marry.   Among the requirements were these: Tall.  Kind.  Sense of humor.  Love of God.  Ambitious.  Drives a truck.  (Huh?) I kept the list in my Bible.  Things were added and deleted throughout the years, but the core values remained the same.

I dated a lot in my 20’s.  Let me rephrase that: I dated A LOT in my 20’s.  And while there were some quality dudes among the pool of candidates, I wasted a lot of time on guys who just didn’t meet the criteria I had set for myself, or the criteria that God had set for me.  Some were uneducated, many were unmotivated.  More than a few were un-Christian.  In short, they didn’t match up to the list.

Despite knowing these things in my head, I tried to force many of these relationships to work, to become something that they were not intended to become.  I was compromising on the things I wanted most, because I was scared that I would never find love.  I told myself it was in God’s hands, but the truth was, I was clenching it tightly in my fists, unwilling to let go of control to Him.

By the time I met Brad, I was done.  In a prayer one night shortly after another messy breakup, I let it go.  I relinquished to control to God.  And I met Brad one month later.

And for the most part, Brad lived up to the list.  Okay, so he’s not tall, but he’s generous.  And he’s educated.  He’s kind.  He’s a hard worker.  And he always makes me laugh.

His faith is not infallible, but it runs deep.  He often provides words of assurance when I express doubts about my own faith.  In many of the faux-relationships I had before I met Brad, there was always a nagging suspicion in the back of my head that this person was not on the up-and-up, that things weren’t what they seemed to be.  I knew Brad was the right one for me when I realized that the suspicion had never been alerted with him, that he was everything he appeared to be.

It’s been a wild 4+ years in this marriage.  I’m not saying it’s perfect; no marriage is perfect, so to make that claim would be an outright lie. Like all couples, our marriage is a work in progress.  But it’s easier because I have married a believer.  A man of integrity.  A man of intensity.  A man who is doing his best to improve his walk with God.

Coming up next – The Proverbs 31 Woman: A Sense of Humor

View my previous entries:

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Creative
The Proverbs 31 Woman: Financially Savvy

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Hard-Working
The Proverbs 31 Woman: An Introduction

February 16, 2010 at 9:50 pm 3 comments

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Creative

So far, we’ve explored how the Proverbs 31 woman is both hard-working and financially savvy.  Today, we’ll look at her next characteristic: creative.

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

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

Skipping verse 23 for this entry, we go on to verse 24:

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

I am creative in certain ways.  I can make up little songs and stories for my girls.  I can put words together in a myriad of combinations.   I am good at coming up with outside-the-box solutions for many problems.

The Proverbs woman’s creativity, however, lies in her ability to make things for her family.  She makes all of their clothes, their tapestries, even their bed coverings.  And I have to admit I earn a big fat zero in this area of creativity.

sewingmachineI can’t sew, not even a button.  I never took home ec.  I wasn’t a 4-H kid, which is where some of my peers learned their way around a needle and thread.  Mom tried to teach me years ago.  I was interested in it for about a day.  And then I was on to the next thing.

The ironic thing is that I have my grandma’s sewing machine.  A few years ago, Grandma bought a brand new sewing machine, but she still had one that was in great shape, despite its advancing age.  She gave it to me, and I have pulled it out a few times to try to figure out how to use it.  I always end up getting frustrated just threading the bobbin, so back into the box and on the shelf it goes.

I appreciate people who have this talent.  My sister-in-law, Janelle, makes costumes for her boys every Halloween.  My girls, I’m sad to say, will be relegated to a lifetime of store bought and pieced together costumes.  I would love to be able to save a few dollars and make clothes for my family.  But figuring out the ins and outs of zippers and sleeves and button holes?  Fuggedaboutit.

Sewing may be a lost art.  It’s certainly one that has declined over the past few decades.  After all, it is so much easier in our disposable world to simply go out and buy a new item of clothing, instead of repairing what we have or taking the time to make something new.  In the past, sewing was the only option for people who only had two or three items of clothing, and those items had to last years.  If they wanted anything new to wear, they had to create it themselves.

I hope that some day I’ll at least be able to sew a button on.  However, that’s one of the things I keep Brad around for.

Coming up next – The Proverbs 31 Woman: Married to a Respected Man

View my previous entries:

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Financially Savvy
The Proverbs 31 Woman: Hard-Working
The Proverbs 31 Woman: An Introduction

September 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm 2 comments

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Financially Savvy

Continuing with my exploration of the Proverbs 31 woman, today I’ll take a look at the next aspect of her character.  Today’s exploration is based on Proverbs 31: 16-18, 20.

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

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

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

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

It can be tempting to view women in the Biblical age as completely dependent upon their hands in financial matters.  Yet these verses illustrate a woman that is neither passive in business affairs nor ignorant in matters of finance.  Instead, the Proverbs woman wisely “considers a field and buys it.”  She then invests her profits from that field into another business, a vineyard.  In verse 18, she sees that her “trading is profitable.”  In other words, she’s financially savvy.

She’s also charitable.  Because she is good with her money, the Proverbs 31 woman has funds available to help the poor and the needy.  She isn’t stingy, and shares what she has with those that need it.

money-300x300I manage the finances in my household.  Brad makes the money and I pay the bills.  I update Microsoft Money each month with a record of our expenditures.  I set a budget and keep an eye on our expenses to make sure we’re mostly adhering to it.  This isn’t because I’m better with money than he is; in fact, in our relationship, Brad is the saver and I am most definitely the spender.  However, if I am directly managing our money, I am more likely to think before I spend because I know exactly how much is going out and to whom it is going.

Don’t get me wrong – Brad is also good at spending money.  However, he tends to buy more big ticket items – a new TV, sound system, etc. – whereas I’m more likely to fritter money away on a series of small (sometimes stupid) purchases.  Brad will hoard any extra money that comes his way until he has enough to buy the item that he wants.  My money burns a hole in my pocket and I must. spend. right. away.

I am working on it, though, mostly because I’ve been forced to get better about it over the past two years.  We used to be a dual-income, no kids couple, and saving money back then wasn’t difficult.  Now we’re a one-income, two-kids family.  Both of those kids still wear diapers.  One of those kids drinks nothing but formula.  Those items alone eat up a big chunk of our monthly change.

I’ve written a previous blog entry about our goal of buying a house in the next couple of years.  I know that our expenses around a new house won’t be tied up just in the purchase of the house itself.  Instead, there will be moving costs and decorating costs.  We’ll probably want new furniture.  Depending on the house, it might be necessary to spend some money on a yard.  If we upsize, our monthly utility bills will probably upsize as well.

Our other goal is to give more money to the church and to those who need it.  We do what we can now.  We tithe monthly and we support several charitable organizations.  We don’t do nearly as much as I would like to do, however.  I’d love to be able to be like the Proverbs 31 woman in verse 20, and open my arms to the poor and extend my hands to the needy.  We may not have much, but we have a lot more than some others do.

Coming in the next entry – The Proverbs 31 Woman: Creative

View my previous entries:

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Hard-Working
The Proverbs 31 Woman: An Introduction

August 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm 3 comments

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Hard-working

Last week, I introduced the Proverbs 31 woman.  Proverbs 31:10-31 describes the godly woman and her characteristics.  Today’s verses show us that she is industrious and hard-working.

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

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

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

One of the constant conundrums ALL women face is this: what to fix for dinner?  I struggle with this dilemma every day.  The Proverbs 31 woman literally had to forage for her food, while the most foraging I have to do is in the back of the refrigerator.  Every day she had to travel to the local market, or field, and gather the items to feed her family.  I have enough trouble curbing my impulse buys at Dillons when I am there once a week.  Could you imagine how much junk I would come home with if I had to go there every single day to get our daily bread?

And not only did she have to feed her family, she also had to provide “portions for her servant girls.”  I barely have enough energy in the mornings to throw some cereal in a bowl for Alissa and unwrap a Fiber One bar for myself.  I can’t imagine having to feed an army of people every morning.  And think about this – there was no eating out in those days.  I’m ashamed to admit how many times I’ve sent Brad to pick up dinner on his way home from work.  The Proverbs woman had to feed her family three squares a day, 365 days a year.

Verse 13 tells us that “she selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.”  It wasn’t that long ago when mothers created their family’s entire wardrobe by hand.  If my family had to rely on this, we would all be naked.  In a later entry, we will look at other creative things that the Proverbs 31 woman does, but for now, just consider this: there was no Bed Bath & Beyond of Yore.  Bedding, clothing, tapestries, etc. – they would have all been crafted by the lady of the house.

Obviously I do not measure up in the least to the Proverbs woman described in these three verses.   I’m working on it: I’m determined to become a better cook and start feeding my family tasty, nutritious meals.  (I have more of a chance to hit the nutritious part than the tasty part, but that’s another blog entry.)  I can guarantee that I will NEVER select wool and flax and create wardrobes for my family.  I have my limits, after all!

In the next entry – The Proverbs 31 Woman: Financially Savvy

See the last entry – The Proverbs 31 Woman: An Introduction

July 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm 4 comments

The Proverbs 31 Woman: An Introduction

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I don’t profess to be a Bible scholar.  The majority of my Bible knowledge is from years of Sunday school attendance at the Towanda First United Methodist Church.  And while we did spend a fair share of those Sunday morning sessions talking about events and characters of the Bible, many other mornings were spent playing Bible trivia, singing songs, or simply talking about faith in general.  Not exactly hard-hitting Bible study.

I have certainly never spent an extended period of time in the Old Testament.  We Christians have a tendency to focus on the promises of the New Testament, and neglect the seemingly “archaic” principles of the Old.  Most of us are familiar with the stories of Genesis, and perhaps Exodus, but from there it tends to get a bit murky.

More than once in my life I have determined to read a chapter of Proverbs every day.  In case you didn’t know, Proverbs has exactly 31 chapters, chock-full of advice for practical living and pithy sayings such as “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.”  (Proverbs 20:13)  Like most things in my life, however, I start out strong but peter out a few days into the project and move on to the next idea in my brain.

So I had never reached Proverbs 31, specifically the latter half of the chapter that describes how a woman should be.  My Bible entitles this section “The Wife of Noble Character,” and the passage outlines the characteristics that a Christian woman should have and the traits that she should demonstrate.  I was introduced to this passage during a Bible study I took almost two years ago at Central Christian; the Bible study is called Christian Home and is a nine-month, practical-application study about being a godly wife, mother, and woman.  (Click here to learn more about the Christian Home Bible study if you’re interested in participating.)

I thought it would be interesting to break down this 21-verse passage, and see how I live up to its standards.  I intend to do this through a series of posts over the next few weeks.

Today I’ll be looking at verses 10-12:

10A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

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

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

These three verses describe the characteristics of a Christian wife.  Verse 10 seems to be telling us that a “wife of noble character” is a precious commodity and difficult to find.  Why else would she be “worth far more than rubies”?  I like to think my value would be more than rubies.  In fact, could someone please tell my husband that my value might be worth – say – diamonds????

Verses 11 and 12 speak deeply to me.  In verse 11, the woman has obviously proven to her husband that she can not only be trusted with responsibility, but he has faith in her abilities and skills.  He doesn’t micromanage her.  Instead, he trusts her to do the things she needs to do and accomplish the tasks necessary to run the family.  He probably also trusts her decision-making capabilities.  While I know my husband has “full confidence” in my ability to care for the children, we are still working on his confidence in me as a cook and a housekeeper.  And rightly so – I’m a horrible cook, and only a slightly better housekeeper.

To me, verse 12 describes a couple that is a team.  How many couples do you know that seem to spend the majority of their time bickering at each other, regardless of who is in earshot?  I have known several wives who are adept at whittling down their husband’s character, and will vent their frustrations and petty grievances to anyone who will listen.  Eventually, they tear down their husbands’ egos instead of building them back up.   I think it is vitally important to the success of a marriage to be a united front – to the children, especially, but also to extended family, friends, and the rest of the world. If I don’t support my husband, and paint him in the best light possible to others, then who will?

In my next entries, I’ll be taking a look at the characteristics that the Proverbs 31 woman possesses.  Perhaps as I examine this passage I’ll begin to absorb the spirit of the Proverbs 31 woman and display some of her traits.

July 9, 2009 at 2:11 pm 5 comments


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