Feb 1, 2012

Proverbs 31 Woman or Superwoman?

(Let's not mention my last post, and the fact that I almost moved to Australia, ok?)

I've got good news!!!  I just found this out last night. I was laying in bed reading my Bible, and came across Proverbs 31:10-31:

 10 A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I read that whole passage out loud to my husband. "So, let me get this straight...this woman of noble character whose worth is far more than rubies apparently stayed up late, serving and woke up early, serving. Her husband's needs were met in every way. He praised her, and had confidence in her. She had two business' going on.  -both real estate and sewing. (note to self: learn to sew. Duct tape can only hold a hem for so long) She made a profit from her business deals. She gave to the poor.  She always had the right thing to say. She was full of wisdom and kindness. She wasn't lazy or idle. She was a vigorous worker. She was the picture of health with her strong arms. She wisely instructed her children, who called her blessed.   She was a gardener.  She had seasonal clothes all ready to go for her family. (If anyone has an explanation as to why I just washed a bathing suit in the middle of winter, please send me an e-mail with a subject line of:  "Hey Loser Mom! It's winter! Try putting the summer clothes in a tote, so your kids don't have access to them."  -And, I will gladly never speak to you again.)

I continued to read that passage out loud, now with slight sarcasm in my voice, "Oh and look here!  Ms. Proverbs 31 made blankets for her bed....probably made her bed every morning, too!  She kept a careful eye on her household, and made sure everything was running swimmingly. She took care of herself and dressed nice.  She wasn't vain, but she was no slob, either. AND!! EVERYONE IN HER FAMILY AND IN THE ENTIRE STINKEN' COMMUNITY JUST THOUGHT SHE WAS THE CAT'S MEOW!!!" I put the Bible down in my lap, and looked at my husband completely exasperated. "WHO CAN ACCOMPLISH ALL THIS?????!!!!!!!! WHO?! WHO?! WHO??!!"  My chest was heaving. Beads of sweat were dripping off my forehead.  Joel opened one eye and calmly said, "Where in that passage does it say that she did all of that in one 24 hour period?"

-Light bulb moment!-

 My husband went on, "You're reading about her life's work."

"Oh."  -I curled up, and slept like a baby last night.

I don't know why that was such an epiphany for me, but it certainly was a glorious one!! I have read several books on the "Proverbs 31 woman."  I've attended ladies' Bible studies where we diligently dissected each phrase, and compared and contrasted her to today's woman.  I really did want to follow this woman's example, but she seemed so unattainable. I'd wake up with new found determination to put it all into practice, and after only a few hours, I'd feel exhausted, overwhelmed and defeated. (Australia ring a bell?) All this time, I thought she accomplished planting a garden, selling property, sewing clothing and blankets, feeding the poor, being Ms. Smarty pants, "Wife of the Year" and raising her kids up to call her blessed was just, "all in a day's work" for Ms. Proverbs 31.  Despite the fact that she did not do everything in a day, I still can learn much from this Bible heroine. She was obviously methodical in getting her work done, according to time and seasons.  She invested in people...real live people, not "Farmville." Her worth was far more than the price of jewels, because of her character, not because of what she could accomplish. My favorite part of all this is that "the Proverbs 31 woman" was human, not a Superwoman.
*huge sigh*  What a relief!  Now I can return that Superwoman suit. -It made my legs look fat. :0)

PS  I love him.