Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Adventure with a Proverbs 31 Woman

I know that I am supposed to write about Thanksgiving and all the joys of eating turkey and cranberry sauce. But we are not going to do that. Don’t get me wrong, my thanksgiving was amazing but that is not what I want to talk about today.

Until very recently I had a least favorite portion of the Bible. The perfect woman in Proverbs 31: 10-31 has made me feel weak and inferior since I first discovered her in the pages of my Bible. These feelings are something that many women can relate to in regard to this passage. There are hundreds of books out on Christian women and their thoughts on the Proverbs 31 Woman. There are people who love her, people who can’t stand her, and people who just ignore her. In her book Set-Apart Femininity Leslie Ludy writes:
It’s easy to just roll our eyes at Proverbs 31 and assume that there is some vague, allegorical reason why it was included in the Bible and that we certainly aren’t supposed to apply its message to our daily lives. But a few years ago, I made some surprising discoveries about Proverbs 31 that shifted my perspective dramatically. 
“Who can find a virtuous woman?” The word “virtuous” here is actually a masculine noun that means “strength, mighty valor, and power.” In other words, the Proverbs 31 woman is a mighty, valiant woman full of strength and conquering power. It’s the very same word that is used to describe the valiance of David when the Lord chose him to be Israel’s mighty king…. the long and short of it is that the Proverbs 31 woman is a set-apart woman. She lives a miraculous, super-human victorious, amazing, fulfilling, poured-out life. She is stunningly beautiful, dignified, and strong; stronger than every other woman around her.  But here is the key- the source of her strength does not lie within herself. She relies on a power wholly not her own. Just like David, her superhuman strength comes from God alone.
This weekend I went to a dear friend’s home for Thanksgiving. This was a particularly emotional event for me. This was the very first holiday my younger sister and I have ever spent apart. She went to Nebraska to spend time with a friend from college, which left me free to go to east Texas... and learn more than I bargained for.

So what does this have to do with the Proverbs 31 Woman?
I realized that I know a modern day Proverbs 31 Woman. I have known this woman for just about a year now and let me tell you, she is incredible. If you go down the Proverbs 31 Woman list, she meets every single requirement.
This woman, we will call her Mrs. F, is up every single day at 5:30. She is 56 years old and she is doing strength training… and doing it really well. Her husband once told me that she was beyond measure.  She works hard at his side. She (and the rest of her family) are very tall and she has sewn her (and their) own clothing to deal with this particular issue. She then taught her children (the boys too!) how to make the adjustments to their clothing. Mrs. F home-schooled all three of her brilliant children (one doctor, one soon to be doctor and one child in full time ministry) and has shifted to an adviser role for them as they move forward into adulthood. She ministers to women in the community and acts as a mentor to multiple young women. Oh, and she is a phenomenal cook.
This weekend I got to see this Proverbs 31 Woman display “strength, mighty valor, and power”. She organized a service project for us to do this Saturday. Mrs. F is one of the most generous people I have ever met. She is generous with her finances, her home, and her time. So, we went to a local woman’s home (in East Texas) and helped to cut down and clear out a LOT of dead trees.  When all the trees were down and the guys were cutting them apart Mrs. F decided to tackle a falling down barbwire fence.
And tackle it she did.
This fence had vines and trees growing up and through it. Pieces were falling apart and very rusty. Scratches and tears in clothing ensued, but Mrs. F fought on. She cut, she bent, she kicked over the stakes. She was strong, she was mighty, she was powerful. Being a Proverbs 31 Woman does not mean that you can’t be vibrant. It does not mean that you have to fit into a cookie cutter. Mrs. F is NOT a cookie cutter Christian woman. She can clear the land, grow the fruit, and make a pie out of it. She is not weak, she is not little. She is a mighty woman of God, one that I am thankful to have on my team.

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