Hello creative friends. Today on the blog, we have the pleasure of featuring one of our awesome creative team members, Deidre!
When I was little, I made a list of “qualities” my future husband HAD to have if I were going to even give him a second glance. My adolescent self jotted a few things down that my “later” self could fine-tune. Ahem…
Nice house. (because if I was gonna clean it, it was gonna be NICE)
Plays an instrument.
Exhale; my list changed substantially (and many times over) as I got older and more wisdomous (yes I made up that word). In fact, after many failed relationships, and even one failed marriage, it was obvious to me that something more – and deeper – needed consideration…
Let’s read Proverbs 31, shall we?
Lemuel (whom some commentate is King Solomon) is receiving instruction from his mama in Proverbs 31. From about verse 10 on, there’s a daunting list made specifically for him when choosing his bride. “A virtuous woman, who can find,” she begins. I say, “AMEN!” Have you read this passage lately?? Who in this world ever has or ever will live up to this list?
Hang tight, she moves on, and the rest of the verses written are dedicated to defining “her” as many things: faithful and trustworthy to her husband, eager to do work (wait, what?), physically strong, smart (ish?), financially savvy, runs a business, gets up before dawn (oi…), clothes her children adequately in all seasons, does not worry about her home in the winter (not even leaky shingles, or extreme heating bills?), mindful of the poor (but what if she can’t make ends meet already?), dresses classy and modestly (ummm, what about just modest?), oh and let’s not forget, WISE, LIGHT-HEARTED and KIND (Kind? Even getting up before dawn?).
Now if that triple-double scoop sundae is not enough, Solomon’s mama dollops that with, “Oh, her hubby loves and praises her. And her children are excited over her and call her “blessed.”
I think a few times, I’ve misunderstood this passage. I have looked at it time and time again as the “check list” for the woman who calls herself “godly.”
Oh…. ladies, we’re too hard on ourselves, honestly. This is not a code to live by that God has laid out in scripture; it’s not a code at all. YES! PRAISE GOD!
Think for just a moment. Who wrote Proverbs 31? Solomon did. It was based on what his beloved mother told him. Who is this beloved mother? Well, if Lemuel is Solomon, is he not quoting none other than Bathsheba?
Bathsheba? The woman bathing on the roof that drew the attention of King David? The adulteress who became pregnant by another, not her husband, consequently losing her firstborn just moments after his birth?
The very same. Bathsheba. You can imagine her right? Sitting, writing, allowing her tears to crinkle her paper as she writes these fine points of character. These qualities that she has seen in her lifetime as the more valuable. The most “excellent.” The most “virtuous.” The most “noble.” Bathsheba, over the course of her days as a queen and mother, recognized true SUCCESS in the life a woman, and wanted nothing more than to see her son marry such a one. But would he ever find one that could check every box? Certainly not. No one ever has – that should be a breath of fresh air to us, AMEN!? Even so, Bathsheba brings it all together for us, delivering the key to having certain success in parts of this passage, and the ability to grow in the others.
Verse 30 says, “but a woman who FEARS THE LORD is to be praised.” That’s the key, ladies. THAT is what ties all of this up as the beauty bundle we know as the “Proverbs 31 Woman.” She fears God. She submits to His rule. She meditates on His words and delights in His commands.
So, yes, this woman is wise. She fears the Lord. Other parts of scripture mark “the fear of the Lord,” as the catalyst through which one may become wise.
Yes, she also laughs. She laughs at the future, not in denial but rather, in complete submission to God’s authority and sovereignty. She understands with pure joy that He alone is able to carry her from day to day regardless of what the current situation may reveal. And yes, she is kind. Bathsheba knew – probably better than any one in her day – the beautiful, eternal effects of kindness. Kindness comforts. Kindness heals. Kindness transforms. Were it not for the Lord God’s kindness and mercies to her, she would not have survived the messes we read about in the Old Testament. A woman who fears the Lord – understanding His tender mercies – is tender and kind herself.
This passage should bless us. So, I hope that it brings you comfort as it did to me. Bathsheba was a mess. So am I. Bathsheba feared the Lord more than for her own life. May this be true of me. Bathsheba grew in wisdom, kindness and joy throughout life, and found it important to share such valuable truths with her son, and then later, us! PRAISE THE LORD and AMEN!
God’s blessings as you walk through this day in fear only of Him who loves you beyond your understanding!