When I was just starting Mary&Marie, about five months ago, I met a fellow blog-writer on a forum. I was still feeling rather nervous about being so open about my feelings on these topics (based on previous encounters), and he was truly an encouragement to me. (His blog has also been very thought-provoking for me, you can visit him here.) This post is the result of a challenge he gave me: To reread Proverbs 31 and think about it "in terms of today's world rather than the world of 1,000 BC." So today, I'm doing just that. I could try to paint a very specific, descriptive picture of what this woman would look like today and what she'd be doing, but I'm going to try not to... for reasons I've already discussed. Today, I'd rather try to be more general, make some suggestions, and maybe ask some questions.
For those who aren't familiar-- the second portion of Proverbs 31 (verses 10-31) is basically the gold standard when talking about a Christian woman. (Although, note that many recent articles have begun to explore the fact that these verses are meant as praise for the woman-- although it has often been treated as a to-do list instead...)
So here it is.
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
Her parents have full confidence in her.
Her boyfriend has full confidence in her.
Her employer has full confidence in her.
Her friends have full confidence in her.
They lack nothing of value. She brings them good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
Her arms are strong for her tasks. Has she been hitting the gym? Does she lift? Or maybe she doesn't need to- her life is so active already. Errands to run, growing children to pick up, care for, play with. But something else-- she also seems un-self-conscious. She is strong. I cannot imagine this is a woman who is worried about bulking up and having an un-feminine physique. She doesn't need to be stick-thin, either. But she is healthy enough and takes care of herself enough to live the life she wants to live.
And again- her ambition-- she works vigorously. Her lamp does not go out at night. Maybe today, she's working while going to school. She's taking online courses at night to get a promotion or switch into a better career. Maybe she's a single mom with two kids to provide for. Maybe she's working two jobs trying to pay off her student loans early and improve her credit score. Maybe she's a Ph.D. student, like me, up late poring over papers and analyzing data...
To Be Continued...