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Faith,  Mom Life

The Myth of the Proverbs 31 Woman

If you’re a Christian woman, it’s likely you’ve heard of the Proverbs 31 woman. It starts like this:

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.

Proverbs 31:10-13

It’s a beautiful verse. The scripture continues and describes how she gets up early to provide food, she buys a field and profits from it, she cares for the poor, she’s kind, she creates clothing and sells them, she isn’t lazy, her husband praises her, and then it ends with this:

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:30-31

She sounds amazing right? I mean, she’s a businesswoman, she uses wisdom, her kids and husband love her, her works are known in the gates, and it sounds like she is perfect. Right? She does everything from dawn to dusk with out a single moment of idleness. But is that really the case?

Mentors of mine recall the story of when their children were young. She was home with the kids all day and he went to work. He’d get home, the house would be a little messy (if you have children you understand why), dinner wouldn’t be ready, and she was exhausted.

It’s tiring caring for kids all day especially when they get to the age when they like to make big messes. I know I feel like all I do right now is follow my toddler and clean up after him. It’s exhausting work. There is little time for anything else some days except for keeping the kids alive.

But they recall the story of how one day, he came home and wanted to know why the house was messy, dinner wasn’t done, and he threw back at her why couldn’t she be like the Proverbs 31 woman. Ouch. Here was this amazing Godly woman caring for her kids all day without a break, and he wanted to know why everything wasn’t perfect. But her answer was priceless and it has stuck with me to this day.

This woman of God told her husband that the Proverbs 31 woman had servants. Where are my servants? She told him that when they could get her a servant, everything would be done that way, but until then, there would be messes, she would need help with the kids to get dinner ready, and you know what? He never complained about it again. Because she was right.

In verse 15 it says: “She also rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household, and a portion for HER MAIDSERVANTS”.

Ya’ll did you catch that? Read it again. The Proverbs 31 woman had not just one, but at least two servants. She had help. She may have prepared everything for the day, but it doesn’t say she did everything all day. While she wasn’t lazy, she also didn’t work herself into a tizzy trying to do all the things without an ounce of help. She did what was natural to her. She created things, sold them, made wise business decisions, cared for her children, and they called her blessed.

She had help.

How relieving is that to know that we don’t have to try and do it all on our own? I know some husbands have their own expectations, and moms and wives, it can be difficult to live up to them. But it’s important to have ongoing conversations about those expectations and to ask for help when we need it.

Men are not mind-readers. As much as I’d like for my husband to see that the trash is full after 14 years of marriage and just take it out, I know that unless I tie up the bag and set it by the door, it’s probably not getting thrown out just yet. And that’s okay. If I want him to take it out (we live in an apartment and we have to drive to the trash compactor, a bit challenging with 3 kids in tow), I need to help him. So I do.

We need to gently and respectfully speak up for our needs. Your husband won’t know you need a break unless you tell him. He won’t know you need help unless you tell him.  

Women, we are under so much pressure to conform to this image of man, but God calls us to conform to something greater.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

If anyone serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him my Father will honor.

John 12:26

If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

Luke 9:23

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1

We are called to follow Christ. We are called to conform to God’s design for each of us. Not all women will have a mind for business. That’s okay. Not all women will birth children. That’s okay. Some with be step-moms, adoptive moms, foster moms, and even spiritual moms.

We are all different and God designed each of us with unique gifts and talents to share with the world to point them closer to Jesus. That’s right. Our gifts and talents were given to us to glorify God. It’s pretty amazing.

Some ladies have incredible singing and musical talents, some create gorgeous products, some build business empires, some go to college to become teachers, nurses, doctors or engineers, and some spend their lives simply raising Godly children. Some become writers or actors or marketing professionals. They are all worthy vocations.

But none of these are our true purpose. Our purpose is to love God, and love others.

If we can learn anything from the Proverbs 31 woman it’s this:

  1. She wasn’t lazy. Moms, I know you need a break, but scrolling through Instagram and Facebook all day long is idleness. Don’t get caught in the trap. Take your break and get back to whatever it is you need to do.
  2. She cared for the poor. She was a wealthy lady. She bought land, made money, planted a vineyard. But out of her abundance, she cared for the poor. Jesus cared for the poor as well. Be like Christ and do things for others less fortunate than you.
  3. She was kind. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. It’s defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” Think about the last time you exhibited this quality in your life. Could you do it a little more often?
  4. She had help. You can’t do everything, but you can do the things that matter the most. If you don’t have help, ask for it. It doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human. We all need each other. I need a maid, because housecleaning is not my thing. I can clean messes all day and my house still doesn’t look like a room from Fixer Upper.
  5. She was a woman who feared the Lord. Ladies, this is the most important thing of all. She loved God. She wanted the works of her hands to honor Him. Be a woman who fears the Lord. Love Him and honor Him with your life.

Tell me about your Proverbs 31 experience. What did you know about her before today? Read through the whole passage a couple of times and tell me something that spoke to you.

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