So back in January, I secretly asked the Lord from the still quietness of my heart to teach me to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I told no one, maybe in hopes that if I failed miserably, no one would know and therefore the world would be none the wiser to my failures. Well, ladies (and gentleman), beware of what you ask for! I thought that since the year is well past 1/2 way over it was time for an evaluation of my progress to becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. I figured since I had asked the best educator in the business, that maybe I've actually learned something in these 7 or 8 months. So here is my honest review of how my transformation into at P31 woman is going...
First, lets review the scripture passage (taken from The Message translation):
10-31 A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day. She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden. First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She's quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks. Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers. She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: "Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!" Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!
Right off the bat, this passage is very clear that this is not an easy task! It states that "a good woman is hard to find"- this my friends is an exclusive club full of women that want to be set apart and used by God. If you aren't willing to be set apart, then don't expect to be called a P31 woman.
I love the part about the woman shopping around for the best yarns and fabrics and loving to knit and sew. If you'll remember a few posts back, I confessed that I had not been using my sewing machine, but instead used the sewing table to hold a computer. I am proud to say that shortly after that post, I dug out my machine, dusted it off, and signed up for a class!
Although I'm pretty sure I was the slowest sewer throughout the course of the class, I passed with flying colors! I successfully sewed many adorable clothing items for my children! I even shopped around for great fabrics, patterns, and notions! So I would like to say that I have done well in this area of being a P31 woman.
Check out the next set of verses, "She's like a trading ship that sails to farway places and brings back exotic surprises"; while I don't travel much outside of my regional area - I like to believe that when I bring home fun, unexpected snacks, or goodies from my trips of weekly household shopping, that I am doing this well. This used to be a task that dreaded - but I've grown to enjoy my trips out shopping both with my children in tow, and when I go alone.
I giggled as I read, "She's up before the dawn, preparing breakfast" because in our house, my amazing husband does this. I'm not sure if this means I fail at this task or not, but it's what works for our household, and my husband seems ok with this. The next few lines reference to the P31 woman "farming" land to grow food for her family. I also am not the one that does this in our home, but I do support my husbands ventures to garden and have proudly and creatively used all the harvest from our home garden this summer. So maybe that still makes me a P31 woman?
I am not a big fan of the part that says the P31 woman dresses for work and rolls her sleeves eager to get started. In fact, I have spent the last 8 months trying to figure out how to get out of having a daily job - the Lord however has remembered the secret cry of my heart and has made it near impossible for me to do so. And today I can proudly say, I enjoy my job and am eager for the upcoming fall schedule that will allow me more time in the office. This truly is a major change of heart and what I would call a success in the transformation into a P31 woman, I don't work because I love work, I work because right now that is what's best for my family.
So, the next set of verses reference that the P31 woman designs and sells dresses - this was probably the "work" the previous verses were referring to. I do not design clothes, but I do have a "side" business I dabble in with my Beach Body venture, helping people reach their fitness goals through supplements and home workout programs. So maybe I could swap out making dresses for building strong bodies?
Check out the next set of verses about being diligent in homemaking! Boy do I struggle with this one! Mostly due to the time and effort it takes to care for two little ones, and work, and sew, and, and and...but I manage to at least do a full thorough cleaning about once a week. Chances are if you drop by unannounced there is laundry lying around somewhere that needs to be folded...but hey - at least its clean! I do manage to cook almost every night of the week and provide a well-balanced meal for my family on a regular basis.
I would hope that I am "quick to assist anyone in need" but I am sure I am lacking in this area - as most days I'm the first to admit that I don't allow my eyes to see everyone and everything going on around me. So I think I need some work in this area. I would like to think I'm always available to help my friends, but what about strangers?
I try to only speak what is true, necessary, and kind, and usually if I don't, I realize it quickly afterwards and feel the pain that I may have caused another person. This year I have learned the hard way what power the tongue has and hope that I have truly learned from that experience, that sometimes its better to just love than "be right".
I love this line, "She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive." Isn't this stuff that Mom's are made of? As exhausting as it can be, I love playing with my children and teaching AK the ropes of being a P31 woman! I also pray that this next verse will ring true throughout my life, "Her children respect and bless her". I believe little AK does this now, but will she when she is 16? 21? 31? What about Lucas? He needs me now, but will he respect me for it later?
And finally, the final part of the test for becoming a P31 woman...is my husband saying this about me, "her husband joins in with words of praise: "Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!" Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!"? At the end of the day, my husband does tell me what a good job I've done, even when I feel like I've failed miserably.
I think if I had to grade myself on the journey to becoming a P31 woman I would have to give myself a C. I know I have tons of room for improvement. Some things I have down pat and can do with my eyes closed, while other things are a major struggle! What about you, how would you rate your journey to becoming a P31 woman? Have you even decided that you want to be a part of this exclusive set of woman? It's never too late to learn, and seek God about doing what it takes to be set apart for the sake of your family. These verses talk about how our husbands and children will call us blessed and respect us if we do these things - so in our effort to earn their blessings and respect, why don't we show them how much we honor and respect them by blessing them with our best P31 behavior?
The year isn't over yet - and I have room for improvement, but I'm pleased to see that I have made some progress in my journey. I'm even proud that I secretly sought for the Lord's gentle hand of guidance in this process. I hope that by the time AK is married and is a mother, that I will have set a good example of P31 living for her to follow, and when Lucas is old enough to choose his wife, he will seek out a P31 in the making.
Until Next Time Be Blessed, and Be a Blessing