Phew, it has been so long since I have posted, and it’s driving me nuts! I absolutely love blogging, and I am determined to never let this little page die. But of course, as a huge focus of my writing is Biblical womanhood, I have had to place my own duties as wife, housekeeper, mother and of course, work-at-home-mom first lately, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to try to squeeze in some time to write more regularly. I wanted to discuss a big area of godly womanhood that I particularly need prayer in, and I hope these musings can be a blessing to some of you as well.
One thing I love so much about the Proverbs 31 woman that I think gets overlooked, is that it provides excellent support for women earning money. There is a modern notion in the church, that I think is probably a very understandable backlash to second-wave feminism, that wives and mothers ought not to work outside the home. I don’t intend to address this at length today, I simply mention this to make the point that the Proverbs 31 woman worked, and she worked hard. She earned money and tended to the needs of her household and family. And now that I work pretty much full-time at home, as well as still keeping the house and starting homeschool, I’ve got my Proverbs 31 work cut out for me.
I don’t feel like the inspiring Virtuous Wife of Proverbs 31, but the timeless criteria for a godly wife still give me hope that it is possible to be a multi-tasking mastermind. If you measure yourself up against the Proverbs 31 wife, you will most likely feel that you fall short, or maybe even don’t compare at all. And if anyone understands this, it’s me. I’ve got a to-do list a mile long, a house full of disorganized closets and dirty windows, a list of random admin tasks that never seem to diminish, a half-finished podcast episode that has been sitting on my desktop for over six months, a blog I neglect, homeschool crafts I’ve never completed, a perpetually overflowing clean laundry basket in my bedroom, a car that needs to be deep cleaned, food that has not yet been assigned to meals, a dehydrator I never use, and literally dozens of half-finished sewing projects that I actually shipped from Hawaii to the mainland because I was that determined to finish them. And writing this all out, I feel even more anxious about how disorganized and unproductive I am. All this on top of the fact that I seem to spend nearly every waking hour either working, doing housework, getting groceries, tending to my children or, if I’m lucky, going to the gym at 10PM.
If you have a list of housekeeper imperfections as long as mine, you probably also feel a near-physical sense of pressure as the burning question weighs down on you: when am I going to get this all done?
Well, the answer is within the text of Proverbs 31 itself:
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. (Proverbs 31:25 KJV)
In some translations, this verse reads that she “laughs without fear of the future” or “laughs at the time to come”. Stong’s confirms that whatever translation you are reading, this is the sentiment: she is not afraid of not getting everything done, she is not afraid of the future.
The feeling of pressure to get everything done is not only stress, it is fear. And where fear rules, faith is lacking. When aspiring to be like the Proverbs 31 woman, it’s not her impressive feats of multi-tasking that we measure ourselves up against, but her faith. After all, this is the point of the entire proverb:
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:30-13 KJV)
A Proverbs 31 woman is successful because of her fear of the Lord. She laughs without fear of the future because she trust in the Lord. She doesn’t serve her own Stepford ideal of a successful wife, she serves the Lord. Her works praise her, the fruit of her hands are a testament to her faith. We will get things done when we get them done. There’s no point in being anxious the future, rather, we should rejoice in it, laugh without fear, take one day at a time and be grateful for every moment.
Now, remember, the Proverbs 31 woman is the example of not just a good mother, but that of a good wife. In my own experience, I get myself in the reeds when I am fearful not of the Lord, but of the future. I am not laughing at the future, I’m totally anxious not knowing how it will turn out and dreading it’s arrival before I get everything done. The same is true for marriage, we get so caught up in the world’s thinking of marriage as something that is finite, that will either make it or reach a point of perfection. We don’t focus on our marriages in the present, but what will become of them if ____ happens or keeps happening.
So this distinct characteristic of the Proverbs 31 woman, who rejoices in the time to come or laughs without fear at the future, is that she focuses on the present, looks forward to the future, and fears the Lord rather than failure. It is her faith and her sense of peace that allow her to get everything done and take pleasure in her work.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like Proverbs 31 is the proverb that keeps on giving. I am always edified, convicted and encouraged when I read the timeless example of a godly, virtuous woman. And especially lately, bogged down with seemingly too much to do and “times to come” that make me anxious, I know I need to focus more on rejoicing at the future.