Lately, I’ve learned more about the Proverbs 31 woman, and how much more I have to go to match up to those standards! First, lets look at who she is:
The Woman Who Fears the Lord: Proverbs 31:10-31
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
You know what sticks out to me the most in this whole passage? This lady is NOT lazy! This is something I deal with daily, especially when I struggle physically. I do not want to work hard. I want to wait til I feel like it. But when I feel at my worst, I don’t feel like it! Well, God works in mysterious ways, and sometimes, whether we feel like it or not, he nudges us into a season of sanctification. A little trial by fire, if you will. We’ve been in one. Just recently. One that has given me an appreciation for the Proverbs 31 woman, and a taste of success in this particular arena. Not total success, mind you. Just a taste, but enough to have me wanting more. Just when we lose our guts and determination to hold fast to a set of ideals, God reminds us of where he had us heading to begin with, and gives us encouragement and strength to keep it going.
So what is our “trial by fire”? A rental property. One might not refer to it as that on average, but it is a growing experience of the most telling kind. In becoming a Landlord you learn skills like: Working hard, discernment, wisdom, how to read people, frugality, and realistic expectations. Just as I was nearing the (difficult, and physically demanding) 9 month of pregnancy, our current tenant gives us his notice to leave. This tenant’s leaving is a joyful thing, not because he was awful, but because it signals a positive change in his life, and a chance for us to finish the updates we put on hold to allow him emergency tenancy in a difficult situation. The unfortunate trial by fire began with the timing. I was NOT willing to get up on a daily basis, and traipse, 3 children in tow, a half hour drive to paint, hammer, clean and work all day, 9 months pregnant. No Siree. That doesn’t even cover my husband’s list of things to do, all things I was incapable of doing. Things like grouting a tub, installing a new bathroom sink, installing new flooring, carpentry, that kind of stuff.
But desperation, and financial needs have an effect on you that normal life doesn’t. The work HAD to be done in ONE month. Otherwise, we would be stretched too thin, paying two mortgages with no direct rental income. We had enough saved to make it 1 month. But not enough to make it 2. And so, I painted, I cleaned, I hammered. A friend, and my parents stepped forward to lighten the load, but boy did we ALL work. My thanks go out to them for their support. Mothers all around knowing that I was struggling to begin with, and now was saddled with this urgent responsibility, stepped forward to provide meals (Thank you to everyone who did that! Bless you!) At the end of a day that I had sat on a stool painting a door frame, or polishing a banister, etc. I was too exhausted to even bother cooking, those meals kept us going.
So what does this have to do with my Proverbs 31 journey? I learned: In womanhood, there are NO excuses. Sometimes you just have to woman up, support your husband, and do what is necessary to free him up for the work he must do. He did a lot more than I have, putting in late nights, and then rolling out of bed at 5am the next morning for work. I feel like I haven’t seen him in weeks. Meanwhile, to free him up for his work I had to manage to get my list done, plus manage a tenant search. And let me tell you, THAT is a fun Proverbs 31 woman business opportunity. Instead of considering a field to buy, I was considering a tenant to rent! Despite the discomfort, the (several) labor scares, the frustration, and the silent sense of accomplishment that accompanied my hard work this month, there is also an understanding of WHY the Proverbs 31 woman is so valuable, and why her husband is known in the gates. It has been my driving force this whole month:
“All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Simple, huh? Now I know there is more to the Proverbs 31 woman than THAT. But, at this point, it is the lesson I needed to learn. Even if I did have to figure out how to paint, hammer, and clean while sitting, and NOT inducing labor! 🙂 Laziness is not something that can, or should be justified by physical limitations. Ladies, as hard as pregnancy, health problems, or anything else is that pushes us down, it cannot keep us there. Hard work returns a profit, and it is hard work whether you do it sitting or not. When you are struggling through an illness, a difficult time in your life, don’t allow the excuse of “I can’t” stop you from being a Proverbs 31 woman. Be creative, because if she is anything other than hard working, it is creative. A Proverbs 31 woman creatively supports her husband.
I do hope this is an encouragement to other Moms struggling through personal difficulties. Desperation does breed some kind of ingenuity, but don’t let it stop there, learn a lesson from the hardest times, and carry it into the good times, because hard work DOES return a profit. Don’t get caught talking about being a Proverbs 31 woman, BE one.