We are finishing up 31 Days of Proverbs today! I can’t help but feel some trepidation over this chapter. So much has been written on Proverbs 31 and the “virtuous woman” that I struggle to begin. Why? Because I don’t think I’m alone when I say that when I read this chapter I am tempted to feel inadequate. Go read Proverbs 31 and let’s look at it together.
My Bible subtitles verses 10-31, “In Praise of a Capable Wife”. I am going to take the word, “capable” to heart. Is it possible, then? What these verses should suggest to us is that though we might feel insecure in our own abilities–God wants us to see that we don’t have accomplish any of these things alone.
Only God Himself can give us what we need to be the woman He desires for us to be.
I am a pastor’s wife, mamma, nana, co-worker, daughter, sister, and friend; but those relationships don’t define who I am. Only one relationship can define the kind of wife or mom or friend I will be: my relationship with God. He knows me better than anyone else. He knows what I am capable of. He knows my weaknesses and my strengths–and I am given the opportunity to go my own way or to look to God and His Word to guide me on the path He has chosen for me.
Psalm 139:1-4 says,
“Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
You understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
You are aware of all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
You know all about it, Lord.”
So here we are, looking at a reflection of the kind of woman who is praiseworthy; she is trustworthy, hard-working, skilled and strong.
“Strength and honor are her clothing and she can laugh at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:5
This is where I struggle. Recognizing my personal strengths is not easy for me. I can clean toilets pretty well, but it’s easier to joke about where I fall short than to recognize where I shine. If I were to ask my husband, he would probably mention that I am a pretty hard worker, but that’s only one thing on that Proverbs list…
I am not saying that I am a horrible wife or mother, yet when my kids were younger I always felt like I was never quite good enough. If one of my kids acted up, or I got in a quarrel with my husband, my tendency was to always set myself up as a failure. My emotions and insecurities would take all the blame, and my perspective could easily get twisted. Mistakes can make or break us. Most of the time it was easier for me to love and forgive other’s mistakes, while finding it hard to forgive myself–even though I knew the truth of the Bible–that God forgives when we repent and turn from our sin.
My confidence should never be in my own abilities, but in God’s ability to use me.
I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot, a missionary to Ecuador whose husband was killed by a tribe he was trying to reach with the gospel:
If you look at the very next verse, you will see the reason strength and honor can be ours:
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26
We’ve learned through this study that true wisdom only comes from God. If we are going to be the woman that God wants us to be, then wisdom is not just a valuable tool, but a treasure. Being adorned with beauty or talent or riches doesn’t guarantee that we will be a Proverbs 31 woman. Those attributes come a dime a dozen. Most of us have seen plenty of examples of women who have all of those things but would not be considered virtuous. When our hearts desire inner beauty and we allow God to use what gifts and talents we have for His glory we can more clearly see our reflection with a more godly confidence.
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
I have never enjoyed accolades. The only praise I want to hear is, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. [see Matthew 25] When I walk through the gates of the heavenly city, I want anything that can be deemed good or worthy to bring honor–not to myself–but to the One who created me and gave His life for me.
If you have been following me on this journey through Proverbs, did you notice that I used succulents for all of the graphics I made for this study.? Succulents are a thick, drought-hardy plant that not only stores water in its leaves and stems, but can also thrive on limited water resources, such as dew or mist. Can you see how valuable it would be to store up God’s Word and the lessons we’ve learned so that when the dry or difficult times come we are prepared. Saturating ourselves with the Truth of the Bible equips us for whatever lies in our future. Deep, well-watered roots help a plant to thrive. If this is the first time you have read the Bible every day–or it’s been awhile, I hope you are coming to realize how beneficial it is to make God’s Word a priority in your life. Let this be the beginning of a lifetime of spiritual growth.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. I would love to hear from you!