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The Proverbs 31 Woman - for both the married and unmarried



Ever since I was a little girl, I've read Proverbs 31 and excitedly waited to be a "woman" to be able to imitate this "Proverbs 31 woman". I thought that I had to wait to be married and have kids to follow the example of the Proverbs 31 woman, but the more that I study Scripture, the more that I learn that we don't have to wait to be a certain age or fit a certain rule to be able to obey.


We can follow the example of the Proverbs 31 woman right now, even if we aren't married with kids. I believe that even the guys can be inspired and challenged by Proverbs 31. In today's post, I want to dive into Proverbs 31 and what that looks like in our everyday life, whether we're high school girls or wives chasing around kiddos.


(Take a moment to read Proverbs 31:10-31 here. Go ahead, I'll wait.)


It's a lot, I know. But I pray that as you read this part of Scripture, that you are able to see the woman who works hard for her family, the businesswoman, the joyful mother, the humble wife, the beautiful, God fearing Christian. This is the kind of woman I want to become, but even more than that, this is the woman I want to be today.


Let's break it down.


First, I want to talk about the background of these verses. They are most often interpreted as a checklist for women to tick off, but in reality, these verses are spoken by a woman to a man. These verses are spoken by a mother to her son (who happens to be a pagan king who believes in God and who we also know very little about). So instead of these verses being a checklist for the ladies out there, it's more of some motherly wisdom about what her son should be looking for in a future partner. However, us girls can most definitely take these "tips" and apply them to our own lives and refine our character.


"A wife of noble character who can find? 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." (verses 10-12)


So many of us girls dream about being a wife. But here, I believe that it's not just being a wife that matters, but the kind of wife that matters. The Enduring Word commentary calls the noble (or virtuous) wife "a woman of power and strength.....full of mental energy". Being a wife is so much more than folding laundry and doing dishes, but actually being a strong, independent woman full of passion and vigor. This kind of wife is the kind of woman a man is looking for, who blesses her husband and her home.


She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it: out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. (verses 13-16)


These verses sound like a striving woman, who works and works with little to no rest. But I don't think that this is what Scripture wants to illustrate to us. I think that instead, this illustrates a woman who is busy taking care of her people, pursuing business ventures, and sacrificing time for her family. We don't know the timeline of when this woman is completing all these tasks, but it does show that being a wife, mom, and business woman is a lot of hard, rigorous work.


But even so, I think this also shows us a good visual of what it can look like for a woman (married or not) to be passionately and intentionally pursuing her own business. Becoming wives and mothers is an important, time consuming job, but this Proverbs 31 woman continues to chase her own dreams outside of the home. As us single ladies consider these verses, we should be encouraged to continue running after our goals and working hard, even once we become moms and wives.


She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. (verses 17-20)


These verses are giving us a visual of this strong, hardworking woman. She's physically strong, and is actively involved in her business. She's wise and wholehearted in everything she does. This woman is more than just a businesswoman or mother or wife though, because even still we see another aspect of her character - she's kind and compassionate, serving the poor and needy. She uses her business and work, in whatever capacity that may be, to actively jump in and help the people around her.


This is so inspiring to me. It challenges me to continue to grow - grow in my strength, grow my brand, and grow my love for the people in my community who need a little extra of that. For us, the teenage girls and unmarried women, maybe this is challenging us to strengthen all of us, including our physical strength, our dreams, and the way we serve others.


When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. (verses 21-23)


In these verses, I admire the woman who's not afraid, but instead provides for her family and trusts God to do the rest. I admire the woman who has been blessed by God because of her submission to Him, and whose husband leads the community in different ways.


Maybe these verses can remind us of how big our influence really is. When we passionately pursue the Lord, it affects more than just our life - it affects the people around us too. It affects our school, our church, our friends, and eventually, it will affect our future kids and husbands.


She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (verses 24-25)


I see a woman who yes, pursues business and provides for the people in her community, but who is joyful and genuinely strong. BibleHub describes this woman as having "dignity of a good and capable woman". This woman is independent but completely reliant upon the Lord; she's strong and not easily broken; she's worshipful and joyful in her everyday. She's not worried about the future, but she's present and intentional with her people.


I don't know about you, but I want to be clothed with strength and dignity, and I want to have that kind of joy. But this isn't something that we can create in ourselves; this is something that I can only find as I root myself deeper into the Lord and continue to invest time in His word and with His spirit.


She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (verses 26-27)


The Proverbs 31 woman is wise, and speaks the truth. She's not lazy and she's intentional about protecting her people. She works hard, and she's loving with her words. Instead of yelling or speaking harshly to her family, she's gentle and teaches with kindness.


I want to be more careful about my words as well. Again, I believe that this is something that can truly only be fully developed as we spend more time with the Father. This takes consistency in the Word, because we can't resist the temptation of idleness and harsh words on our own.


Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." (verses 28-31)


Ultimately, this kind of woman, mother, and wife receives praise and honor. This kind of humble service and passionate work is rare in our world today, and it deserves to be recognized. I love this verse because it's a beautiful reminder that no matter how attractive or charismatic you are, it will fade and fail, but when you seek the Lord and serve Him with your life, that's the kind of genuine beauty that lasts.


For us single ladies, we should use this as not an encouragement to seek praise, but instead an encouragement to seek the Lord. In the Lord is where we can develop all of these qualities, and where we ultimately develop this inward beauty that doesn't fade.

 

It has been so good for me to take a fresh look at Proverbs 31 and tackle it through the lens of where I'm at right now - a single teenage girl. I pray that you were just as encouraged and challenged by this as I am. If you have anything else regarding this chapter that you'd like to share, drop that in the comments down below so that we can learn from each other! Or, if you have any prayer requests, drop those below as well and I'd love to pray alongside you. :)

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