Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Proverbs 31 Woman

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
– John 10:10

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
-Psalm 40: 1-3

These verses describe my life perfectly right now. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been - the freest, the most joyful, the most secure. We celebrated two milestones this year – my 30th birthday, and our 10th wedding anniversary. We greeted both with joy and thanksgiving. I love my husband. Our love is deeper and richer than ever. I respect him. I’m proud to be his wife. I miss him when we’re not together. Excuse the cheesiness, but I couldn’t be more sincere.

Now there is a verse (one among many) that does not describe my life:

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
-Proverbs 31:25

I definitely have room to grow on the strength and dignity part, but it’s the second part that really escapes me. When I think about how wonderful my life is right now, it is always tagged with thoughts like, “not for long” and/or “something terrible is sure to happen any day now.” Now, I don’t believe these thoughts are entirely untrue, because bad stuff is always going to happen in this world. The death rate is still 100%. People I love are going to die, hopefully not tragically, but anything is possible. All sorts of horrible things are possible – house fires, violent crime, sickness, etc.

While bad things eventually happen in everyone’s life, surely it can’t be good to worry about it in advance. And of course I worry about worst case scenario. It’s like I’m trying to brace myself, so that something can’t take me by surprise, or maybe by living out the scenario in my head, It’ll be easier to deal with when it comes. It can't be healthy to stress oneself out over imaginary trials. Yet, despite the realities of this world, of which she is surely aware, the Proverbs 31 woman laughs at the days to come.

The Proverbs 31 woman is pretty sweet. If you've never read about her before, you should check it out (Proverbs 31:10-31) I used to feel condemned when I read about her, about how I could never measure up. Romans 8:1 says: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So I don't have to feel that way. She may not have been a real woman, but rather a portrait of the ideal woman, someone to emulate. I was reading the notes in my NIV Study Bible about the Proverbs 31 woman and I loved what it had to say. I’ll end this post with the authors notes:

Proverbs has a lot to say about women. How fitting that the book ends with a picture of a woman of strong character, great wisdom, many skills, and great compassion. Some people have the mistaken idea that the ideal woman in the Bible is retiring, servile, and entirely domestic. Not so! This woman is an excellent wife and mother. She is also a manufacturer, importer, manager, realtor, farmer, seamstress, upholsterer, and merchant. Her strength and dignity do not come from her amazing achievements, however. They are a result of her reverence for God. In our society where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realize that her appearance is never mentioned. Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character.


  • At 11:06 AM , Anonymous DJ said...

    Jen, what a refreshing post. I thank God that you have so many blessings in your life and for the joy and love He has given you.

    Here are some great verses on worry. I'm sure you've read these before, but they are worth reading again and again.

    1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
    Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
    2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
    And wither as the green herb.

    3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
    Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
    4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
    And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

    5 Commit your way to the LORD,
    Trust also in Him,
    And He shall bring it to pass.
    6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    And your justice as the noonday.

    7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
    Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
    Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
    8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
    Do not fret—it only causes harm.

    (Psalm 37:1-8)

    But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    (Matthew 6:33-34)

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    (Phillipians 4:6-7)

  • At 11:58 AM , Blogger Ceen_Marie said...


    One thought (among others) that I have when I read Proverbs 31 is that I lack - shall we call them - "marketable skills". I know I have good qualities and character, but what about WHAT I CAN DO for someone? This is something I have thought about a good deal. We should do dinner again some night and chat. Next time, I'll cook!

  • At 8:58 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

    Thank you DJ. Scripture is always the best weapon against fear. I especially like the part "Do not fret, it only causes harm."

    Colleen - dinner would be fantastic! Most of all, it's always great to spend time with you.


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