If you are like me, you may sometimes dread reading that passage. Especially when I was very young and had toddlers and babies around me I would just beat myself up that I did not achieve high enough. In fact, there should be a just for fun version of Prov. 31 for the new mom. That would be entertaining and the theme would be "grace in the midst of continuous survival mode".
Yet I found myself this week anxious to get to Prov. 31 even though it was not up on the calendar Proverb of the day yet. I wanted to take an intimate look at it and filter out what were some real sensible practical goals, not for perfection sake, but for the blessing it would bring for my life and that of my husband and family.
Through the years I think we all as Christian mom's define in our minds what a Godly woman looks like. Twice in my married life I have gone all out in skirts and dresses thinking that this made me a more Godly woman. The funny thing to me was that both times, and especially the last time about two years ago, my husband said he wished I would wear pants! I was in such a state of pride at the time that, though I did not tell him this, I responded in my heart that he was just not spiritual enough and did not appreciate true femininity. Oh, the Lord convicted me on that one, and I put my pants back on. (of course I wear dresses too but he does not like me wearing them every day and for those reasons). Later on, I found it quite cute that he liked me in pants and enjoyed the freedom of that. I tend to be an all or nothing person so I have to be very careful of legalistic patterns creeping up in my life. The homeschooling thing started to become this in me too and as some of you know from reading here for a while...God worked on me in that one too. Oh, I'm so relieved he does not let me go my own way! I'm so thankful he does not let me find salvation in ANYTHING else but Him.
Oh, yes, so....
I am only going to touch on the first three points today because I don't want to wear anyone out. I will come back and complete this walk though as the week goes on I hope (I'm battling a bad cold right now so who knows but I may be nursing sick kids soon).
One my notebook, I wrote at the top :
Practicality of Proverbs 31
(kind of a "how does this apply to me?" or "what would this look like for me?")
One huge thing to note first whenever approaching Proverbs 31 is to remember that it is in fact a poem of sorts written in the Hebrew to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. So, it would be like you taking the ABC's and coming up with a set of goals for what a woman aught to be. Or you could call it a prayer. It is infact however an ideal scenario and should be taken as a target to shoot for in the grace and power of Christ and not my willpower or pride.
It is also set in (as John MacArthur in his study guides points out) a "wealthy home and the customs of the ancient Near East" but the ideas still apply to all.
Vs. 11-12: "The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. "
= He can trust me to use our resources wisely and responsibly. I show him my loyalty through doing this. My decisions on these resources add to our family rather than take from them.
This one is very convicting to me for when I make spontaneous decisions with money when I 'm out and about. I recently told Rick that the girls were both going to need new tennis shoes and asked if we could set some money aside for them in the next paycheck. I did not really think about it except that I knew if I did not say anything, at the place where we are now, there would be no money. The amazing thing though, and the thing the Lord brought to me later, was that he thanked me for letting him know ahead of time and told me that it was very helpful for me to do that for him. Huh.. so simple.
The other aspect of this, and I think this one is all I'm going to get to today because of the time, is that my resources are not only the money he gives me to use. They are also the time in my day, the decisions I make with it, the care of the stuff we all ready have (i.e. clothes, food, furniture etc.), and guarding as well as maintaining my own energy level. That alone goes into many other categories of decision making like what I choose to eat, whether I use all that we have or waste it, whether I get enough sleep to have energy, how much time I spend on the computer etc.
And on that awesome send off note, that's it for today. More hopefully tomorrow.
(PS: Please feel free to comment, the blog has been so quiet lately. I hope my mixing things up so much has not left ya all silent. I do love to know that you're here and any feed back you have on the writings, thanks!)