I’ve un-followed the Proverbs 31 woman. She and her man had a joint account. He's been a little over-the-top in his boasting of her abilities lately. Her name's something like Genevieve. You know, exotic. Gorgeous. I’m sure she “throws together” 5-star meals every evening for that very clever, hard-bodied husband of hers while wearing a figure-hugging dress and heels. She’s an impossibly cool size-2 with four baby Gap children quietly playing in the corner, and oh, they never get dirty.
This ghost of a woman gave nightmares when my husband and I started our family. I wanted to throw in the towel. I just couldn't see myself in her at all! I’m going straight back to the office! I obviously don’t belong in this house. I mean it this time, God.
I don’t even know who I am anymore!
I’d hiss the words to myself like a lunatic, shaking my head back in forth to nobody but Him. Dragging my feet in defeat, I’d begrudgingly respond to my crying toddler or preschooler in the same outfit I’d slept in the night before. My previous job in mental health seemed more stable at the time.
This I knew, God loved both Genevieve and me. I figured I was blessed too, even though few of my responsibilities sounded like hers. I didn’t sew like Martha Stewart. I couldn’t buy land for vineyards (no wine-making here). I’m not even sure that on any given morning, my children would’ve “risen and called me blessed” in those early days. Mostly they gave me morning hugs and let me know that the sheets on their beds had been, well…compromised.
I was out of my element and in my mind, I’d never measure up. The truth became clear when we moved to our current little sea town in North Carolina. I was exhausted and painfully insecure, but I also needed other women. I wanted to invite them in and shut them out all in the same thought.
Come closer, I'm lonely. That's close enough, don't judge me.
Loneliness is a double-edged sword because it isolates, but it also motivates. Loneliness can lead to desperation and desperation to change. I needed a change. At the risk of letting a Genevieve see the real me, I began to make friends.
My life never got tidier. In fact, it’s the messiest it’s ever been. My little boys are growing and there's never a dull moment. My friends’ kids are these amazing pint-sized people with humungous hearts and wild stories. All of their messes have combined with ours and now we’re cluttering up the whole town with our sports seasons, holidays, and family celebrations. God answered my prayer. I’m finally laughing at the days to come…
A wiser, more seasoned friend of mine once said, "The Proverbs 31 woman could never be everything to everyone, and certainly not all at once. It took a lifetime. You've got a lot of years left, so be faithful in the little things. They'll accumulate into a big story."
I guess that makes me something like a "Proverbs thirty-and-three-quarters" woman...A grateful, imperfect, hard-working woman with an amazing clan. And any way I can be a part of God’s story is just fine by me.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised..." Prov. 31:30
Photo Credit: London Scout
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm clothes.
She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
"There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Believer. Wife. Mom. Writer. Marriage and Family Therapist. Accidental Speaker. Crossfitter and Total Book Nerd.
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PEOPLE I FOLLOW:
BECAUSE I LEARN:
BECAUSE I LAUGH:
Elizabeth Laing Thompson
Liz Curtis Higgs
BECAUSE I ADVOCATE:
Juli Slattery at Authentic Intimacy
BECAUSE I CRY (HAPPILY):
Inspiring Writing Groups:
Suzanne Eller's #LiveFreeThrusday
Holley Gerth's #CoffeeForYourHeart
Kelly Balarie's #RaraLinkup
Jennifer Duke Lee's #TellHisStory
Susan Mead's #DanceWithJesus