All of a sudden, woken by a whimper and slight commotion, she’s up. She looks at the clock – 2am, realizing she had only gotten 50 minutes of sleep since her head had last hit the pillow. She grabs the baby and stumbles into the nursery to change the baby and nurse her, desperately trying to stay awake.
Yep, that’s been me over the past month.
Fact #1: I am completely in love with my baby girl. At the same time these first few weeks have been a lot harder than I expected them to be.
Fact #2: You don’t know what sleep deprivation is until you live it day in and day out.
Three nights ago, my wonderful husband, during the nightly bible reading opened the book up to Proverbs 31 and started reading. In my exhausted state I was thinking “I’ve read and heard it a thousand times, this isn’t helping right now”. Little did I know that God was about to speak to me so loud it was going to change my perspective on our current day-to-day life.
I’m not going to dissect every verse of Proverbs 31 but I’ll just present some of the main nuggets God revealed to me from a mother’s perspective. But first let’s read Proverbs 31:10-31 with my added section titles:
I. A WIFE
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I. A WIFE (Proverbs 31:10-12)
This scripture starts with the overarching description on who King Lemuel is writing about.
A wife of Noble Character who can find? – Proverbs 31:10
It starts off with a wife. It doesn’t say “a woman”; no it says “a wife”.
“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22
God has prepared her to be a wife before she ever got married. There’s a season of a woman’s life where God takes her, molds her and instills in her the virtues of a godly wife in preparation for marriage; if she lets everything happen in God’s timing.
Of noble character: The word “noble” as defined in the dictionary means “having personal qualities that people admire” and “belonging to the highest class”.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
She belongs to the highest class. Being part of that class means way more to God than any precious stone.
Her husband has seen her on her knees praying to conceive this child. He has seen her pray over this child during her pregnancy. He has seen her struggles, her joy, and her excitement. He has seen her endure labor. He has seen her walk through good times and bad. She has stood beside him through his valleys and mountain tops. He knows what she’s made of and has full confidence in her. She respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:33) Through her respect she brings him good, not harm.
II. HOUSEHOLD (13-24)
She gets up in the middle of the night to feed and change the baby’s diaper. She makes sure her family is clothed in nice outfits, goes grocery shopping, and prepares meals with eager hands.
And now that diapers and wipe expenses need to be factored into that budget, looking for great deals online becomes a hobby. No impulse shopping here for clothes. She considers each purchase thoroughly before she goes through with it, making sure she gets the best deal.
She works hard day and night making sure her house is in order, so that everyone is set to tackle the day before them in the morning. She seeks out ways to make some extra cash by making and selling things. Hello ‘Etsy’, garage sales and Craigslist. She reaches out to her community with passion and love.
There is no lazy bone in her. And I’m not talking about resting and taking naps, she needs to rest and nap when the baby does or delirium will set in. No, I’m talking about no procrastination.
“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” – Proverbs 10:4
“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” – Hebrews 6:12
Verse 23 seems out of place at first. It’s embedded in the middle of her making clothes and doing business.
“Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.”- Proverbs 31:23
But at a second glance I realized it was placed in the middle of those scriptures for a purpose. Her husband is respected at the city gate because she has a good reputation; because she makes sure her family is dressed appropriately (actual clothes AND character traits); because she does business wisely; BECAUSE her house is in order. Her family is well taken care of.
III. CHARACTER (25-31)
This passage of scripture, Proverbs 31:10-31, starts off addressing her title, then goes into practical things and ends talking about her character.
She is clothed with strength and dignity. I don’t know about you, but the strength part I’ve just kind of read over and kept going. However, this one word is very important and again placed very strategically in this verse. Her strong faith, her consistency of mind, her character, and above all her joy in the Lord makes her the strong woman she is called to be. Her strength is seen in the good times as well as in the bad. Her strength in return clothes her with honor, or in this translation with dignity. Strength and honor go hand in hand. She can’t have strength without honor or vice versa. She speaks with wisdom, which means she is slow to speak and quick to listen and knows what to say at the appropriate times.
And again she makes sure her household is in order.
Because of her hard work, her diligence, her strength, her love and compassion, her husband and children call her blessed and her husband gives her the best praise:
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” – Proverbs 31:29
And as if the previous 20 verses weren’t enough evidence of her being amazing it seems as if the writer feels compelled to give an explanation of why her husband praises her.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30
Finally, we reach the last verse. And it’s not just one more verse. No, it’s a powerful charge to her husband:
“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” – Proverbs 31:31
She has done to others what she would have them do to her (Matthew 7:12). She has given her husband respect and brought him honor throughout their marriage and now her reward is being showered on her.
There are minutes, hours and sometimes days during which I feel completely inadequate to be my little girl’s mom. In those times I feel that I’m not good enough, I don’t know enough, I’m not skilled enough, I haven’t taken enough classes and on and on go the “I am not …. enough”. But I was reminded this morning that since I am in Christ, meaning because I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, I have taken on the name of Jesus. This means not only am I married to my husband, Shawn, who is amazing, leads our family in a godly way and loves me with such a love that is indescribable to me. I am also one with God. Therefore I am who He says I am. Through Jesus and the Holy Spirit living in me I am good enough. I can battle those thoughts of inadequacy with the truth of His word:
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you”. – Romans 8:11
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7
‘Rooted and built up in him”, it is written that we ought to be rooted in Him. If we are rooted in Him then we are one with “The Great I Am’. If He is “I Am” then we are what he says, and not what the enemy or our own mind tells us we are.
I don’t know if you are married to a godly man, have a troublesome marriage, if you are a single parent or if you are desperately trying to get pregnant. I want you to know that ‘The Great I Am’ is ALL you need to overcome the challenges set before you. You ARE good enough, you ARE strong enough, you ARE knowledgeable enough, you ARE fruitful. You WILL have kids, you HAVE enough love to give. Make sure you meditate on the Word of God and you are in communion with him. Intimacy is key for a good and godly marriage. I’m not just talking about sexual intimacy but conversationally, emotionally, and spiritually. How much more then is intimacy with God key for growing your relationship with Him, getting to know Him better, which in return leads to you finding out more about who He created you to be.