Hymn to a Good Wife*
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!
(Proverbs 31:10-31, The Message)
Over the past twelve months, this amazing lady has shown us how to live out all aspects of a life “festooned with praises.”
Introductions: how we are all invited to be women of valor
Sex: her life in the bedroom (and yes, she has one)
Business: Jesus women in the workplace
Creativity: living out the image of her Creator
Home: cultivating an environment of grace
Virtues: what Ms. P is—and isn’t
Spiritual life: how she tends her heart
Health: building a life that flourishes from the inside out
Service: loving needy souls in practical ways
Holidays: her take on Christmas spirit
We’ve spent so much time with the Proverbs 31 woman this year that I find myself a little sentimental about her now. It’s like saying goodbye to a new friend on the last day of school. The good news is… well, there are a few good news(es?), actually.
1. This doesn’t have to be farewell; she’s not going anywhere. If this year has sparked something in you that longs to know more, check out the tons of resources on this virtuous woman. Dig through books, blogs, articles, podcasts, Bible studies, whatever your little heart desires. Start a small group. Celebrate praiseworthy moments in the lives of your girlfriends. Make a Proverbs 31 playlist.
2. If you watch diligently, you’ll start seeing her everywhere. She’ll smile at you from a sleepy new mama’s eyes or wink out of an impish grandmother’s face as she tells her favorite story again. Since she’s not one woman but a million, there’s no end to discovering her. Look close: you’ll even find her in your mirror.
3. The people around you may be oblivious to her existence. You have the phenomenal opportunity to show them how fun loving God and being loved by Him can be. As they wake up to new life, even more versions of this heroine are created, an ever-expanding sisterhood who show off their big Brother’s courage and their Father’s delight.
My hope for you in all of this is that you’ve realized how free you are to be yourself, the you God created you to be. Whether you’re excitedly making resolutions for a fresh year, just trying to survive until school starts back up, or are moving quietly into January with gentle steps, you can know that someone like you is hard to find. You’re worth far more than diamonds and can face tomorrow with a smile. Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all. The Fear-of-God in you is beautiful, sweet friend. May your life be festooned with praise!
*While The Message translates eschet chayil as “good wife,” it can also be interpreted “virtuous woman.” So single girls get in on this hymn, too.