Christian culture doesn’t get Proverbs 31 right, and the misunderstanding haunts women everywhere.
We keep telling them that it describes the ideal woman, the measuring stick by which a woman’s worth is judged.
But this is a proverb.
Proverbs are not historical accounts.
They are not law.
They are not commandments.
The “Proverbs 31 woman” is not a real person, nor is she a blueprint for true femininity. She’s a composite, comprised of examples of someone who lives life with purpose, courage, and strength. Proverbs 31 is a song of praise and gratitude for the
woman of valor in your life.
All women should breathe a sigh of relief. Stop trying to live up to the Proverbs 31 woman, and throw out any ladies’ Bible study curriculum that instructs you otherwise. It’s not about what you should be, but a celebration of the fantastic person of valor you already are.
And lest you think this isn’t about worship, it is. For the people of God, male and female alike, living a life of valor in response to Christ’s love is the ultimate act of worship.
This week, I will have been married to my supremely intelligent, thoughtful, and beautiful wife for eight years. To celebrate, I’ve written my own version of Proverbs 31 to tell you what an amazing woman I’m getting to spend my life with.
I have a woman of valor in my life.
Let me tell you a few things about her…
She is the strongest woman I’ve ever known.
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
At work, she diligently nurtures and admonishes and helps others to recognize the divine image within them. She gives hope to the hopeless, strength to the weary, and is never afraid to speak the truth, even when it’s difficult, even when her husband is too afraid.
She is revered by the members of her family. She is wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, fixer, playmate, confidant, counselor, comrade.
As a wife, she’s not a servant, nor a master, she’s a true partner in all things. She knows when to lead and when to submit. Her love is fierce, yet tender and sweet. She loves me as I am, but is always finding ways to help me grow. A lot of people resist the hard work of building a life together, but she knows how to get things done, no matter how difficult they are.
She’s also freakishly strong, especially when it comes to moving large items. If you need help moving a couch, the next best thing is not Jonathan. The next best thing is Kelsey. [Let me know in the comments if you get the awesome late 90s TV reference!]
She works hard to provide for us. And when little dreams pop into my head that involve things like degrees and conferences and lessons, she often works even harder to make those things happen.
She sacrificed her body to grow and sustain the most beautiful little son anyone ever had. She persevered at work through a tough pregnancy so that we could afford for me to take a pay cut to pursue my calling.
As a mom, she is supremely loving, caring, and nurturing, but she doesn’t let the role become an idol. After all, motherhood is not her highest calling. Being a wife is not her highest calling. Loving God and loving others as a woman of valor is her highest calling.
She’s a thinker, but never stuck in her thoughts. She’s a mover, but never moves aimlessly. She rests, but never is idle. She’s generous, but always plans for the future. She loves to play, but doesn’t tolerate crap.
In a world where there are no easy answers, she’s a tireless seeker of truth.
When Christian culture patronizes, domesticizes, demonizes, and marginalizes strong, driven, assertive women, she doesn’t settle; she unapologetically does all the wonderful things that are in her to do.
Her husband praises her, and holds her up as an example to all his friends. He arises and calls her freaking awesome.
Many women do noble things, but she surpasses them all.
If you know her, you already know these things. If you don’t know her, you’re missing out. You should really have a person like Kelsey in your life.