** She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household and a portion to her maidens.** Proverbs 31:15
In these last few posts we’ve discussed the influence and value that a woman has on her family in the following ways…She has a healthy, affirming relationship with her husband. Or she creatively finds a way to add beauty and income to her home. Or she uses that creativity and income to trade or purchase what her family not only needs but also what it enjoys, the little extras. Her table is plentiful and varied.
You may have noticed my use of -OR-. Over the years, I have encountered many women who overwhelm themselves with the idea of being the perfect Proverbs 31 woman. Somehow, they have made themselves believe that there is a woman out there somewhere in past or present history that fulfills every verse of this chapter. I do not agree with that idea.
I know that when I was newly married, it was tough to balance our budget, put a decent meal on the table and to find the energy to go to work every day. I had NO IDEA what I was doing or where our family was headed. I was three years into my not-so-great marriage when my husband and I converted. I had a lot to learn about how to emulate this P31 woman and I’m still learning today.
What I have seen, over time, is that no one of us does or even needs all of these characteristics in every season of our lives. I, for example, am an empty nester. I do not have to get up before dawn to get breakfast on the table for my children before they go to school. In fact, I don’t even do breakfast most of the time. If my husband and I are in the mood for pancakes or something else that requires extra effort, my husband is the one doing the cooking. He was a short order breakfast cook in his younger days, so I cede to him in the breakfast kitchen.
So, how can we apply this verse to those of us who no longer need to get up at the crack of dawn, or those of us who go off to work each day and a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich is the closest thing we can get to a healthy start to our day, or a young mom that is sleep deprived?
Maybe what our verse is talking about for us is a more lasting meal. Maybe it is reading to her family while they breakfast. Maybe it is having encouraging words to help them face their day. Maybe it is prayer with them and for them. Maybe it is imparting vision and hope.
Or maybe it is her own time to read and pray before her family rises. Maybe it is feeding herself spiritually first so she can give a portion of what she learns to those she loves. Preparing ourselves for what each day brings is a great way to feed ourselves and our family.
The main idea is that laziness or apathy is not a part of her mindset. She looks ahead to her family’s needs and is up to the task. Whether it be material, essential or spiritual needs, she is ready to work, including on herself.
No matter what season of life we are in, or what size our family is, we all need a little meat to start our day.
I can’t discount the use of ALSO in this verse. It is very likely that we will need more than one of the P31 woman’s traits at the same time. The thing is, that as we learn to get a handle on one of them, it tends to become 2nd nature to us, leaving us mental, emotional and spiritual space to get a hold of another trait. So, don’t get me wrong and think I mean we only need one of them at a time. We will need several. But I have found that the Lord focuses on working only one or two of them in me at a time. He knows that all of these traits at once would sink me.
So, this P31 woman seems to have it all together, but life has taught me that there is a real possibility that each verse of this chapter reflects a life lesson and not a life of perfection. Don’t let it sink you, take it one day at a time.