A few nights ago I had trouble sleeping and began dwelling on my earliest memories to pass the time. As per usual, overthinking ensued, and this article was the result at 3 in the morning. At a more sober time, I began to realize that I had written a potentially hurtful piece on how my own mother couldn’t be trusted, because everything is fallible. It just so happened that I did a devotional on Proverbs 31 the next day, where the passage on The Virtuous Wife revealed itself to me at a perfect time.
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
If one should ever say that God is for men and not for women, kindly point them to a chapter such as this. I love how the last chapter of Proverbs, the book of collective “tweets of wisdom”, is dedicated to profiling a godly woman!
The wife is the cornerstone of the household, almost a businesswoman in the manner she conducts her affairs and invests her energy. She provides for the house and works with her hands. She provides for her husband, those who serve her, and even goes so far as to show kindness to those who are needy. She does more than manage what they own, she even makes a profit with her skills and wise choices. The head of the household (e.g. the husband) trusts her and considers her a treasure.
I think of my mom when I read this chapter. Her light does not go out at night; she burns the midnight oil and never eats the bread of idleness. She has kept watch over the household as my siblings and I grow. She teaches and guides us according to our need, but more importantly, she advises my dad, who leans on her for guidance. To us, she is worth far more than rubies because of the strength that she teaches and lives.
She is wise and kind and unafraid of misfortune, because she has girded herself with strength. Why and how does she have this joy and such energy to work? She fears the Lord, and her works duly reflect her inner beauty.
There are so many standards, double standards, and idealizations of what a woman should be in every day and age, and they are always changing. As a woman and a human being in constant interaction with society, I often feel that my personality and my appearance detract from my value. But the value of the virtuous wife is not in charm and beauty. She is praised for her works that are rooted in a godly heart in fear of the Lord.
I love how Proverbs more or less begins and ends with the same message: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we truly put this first, then we have no need of fear of anything else. The virtuous wife has no fear for her household, she is clothed in scarlet – the scarlet of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Let her own works praise her in the gates! Her children rise up and call her blessed. Mom, if you are reading this right now, this is what I’m doing. I am the fruit of your cultivation – you have fed me with your wisdom and kindness. None of your toil has been spilled on infertile ground. You have done me only good and never evil each day of my life. I can safely trust you, not because you are perfect, but because I trust in the God that works through you and lends you his grace, and who is the author and finisher of your faith.
I love you, and I truly don’t say this enough. I’m only glad it’s not too late right now.