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The Proverbs 31 Woman

I recently came across an interesting YouTube channel of an elderly couple who run a beautiful homestead in rural Azerbaijan. The most engaging part of these episodes is watching the elderly woman prepare home cooked meals from scratch. She does many things with much precision, ease and grace. She bakes rustic loaves and cakes without using measuring cups and spoons. She has a smoke house where she butchers and literally makes hamburgers from fresh meat diced small with a handy homemade knife. She pickles and cans and preserves a year's worth of the fruit and veggie harvests grown on her moderately vast farm. She even makes homemade pasta colored naturally using carrot puree, tomato paste and spinach leaves.

This lady amazes me. With all the convenience of modern life, she has a certain joie de vivre borne out of being resourceful, taking advantage of what has been made available to her, utilizing skills that have been passed down from generations.

This lady reminds me of my grandmother. This lady reminds me of my mother. This lady reminds me of women of old who were skilled and artisan. This lady reminds me of millions of women across the globe who keep it moving, despite their circumstances. This lady reminds me of women who've embraced the nature of their roles and who've chosen to gracefully navigate them. She reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman.

Woman carrying tray on her head

For a long time, I never quite understood the Proverbs 31 woman. To my mind back then, she was an impossibly impossible standard of womanhood. I now know better. When I look at the Proverbs 31 woman, I see the blueprint of how much God has empowered the woman with resourcefulness and grit. When I think on her attributes, I see a powerful car engine, without which the car would not move.

As we highlight the outstanding characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman, I pray that you'll be able see yourself in more than one of her elements.

  1. She's more valuable than precious jewels: The Message translation defines her as good woman, one who is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. The NLT calls her a virtuous and capable wife who is more precious than rubies. (Proverbs 31:10)

  2. She's an asset to her husband and family: This woman is trusted by her husband without reserve, and he never has reason to regret trusting her (v11 and 12 Message) Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm,  all the days of her life (v11 and 12 NLT) Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers. (v23 Message) She's never spiteful towards her husband and treats him generously all her life long. Her children and husband praise her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,  but you surpass them all!” (v 28 and 29 NLT)

  3. She's enterprising: She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day. Her hands are busy spinning thread,  her fingers twisting fiber. (V19) She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks. She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.

  4. She's savvy and intelligent: She looks over a field and buys it,  then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.

  5. She's hardworking and values her worth: First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

  6. She nurtures her home and is skillful: She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She is also prepared and a forward thinker- she doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.

  7. She's helpful and generous: She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor (v20 Message Translation) In the NLT, she extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.

  8. She's well put together: Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. (v22 Message) She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns (v22 NLT)

  9. She watches her words: When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly (v26 Message) In the NLT, when she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

  10. She is mindful of those in her home: She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. (v27 Message) She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness (v27 NLT) As a result, her children respect and bless her;  her husband joins in with words of praise “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” (v28 & 29)

  11. She fears the Lord: Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.  The woman to be admired and praised  is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves!  Adorn her life with praises! (v30 & 31 Message)

According to the 1828 Merriam-Webster dictionary, a resource is a source of supply or support , a natural source of wealth or revenue, a natural feature or phenomenon that enhances the quality of human life, computable wealth and a source of information or expertise. Dear woman, YOU are a resource. You are neither stuck nor incapable.

As we wind down on this series on womanhood, may you remember that there are gifts in being a woman. The Lord has deposited within you everything you need to thrive as a woman.

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