Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Who is the Proverbs 31 Woman? Not Me Yet!

Self-Portrait, 2012
Who is "The Proverbs 31 Woman"?

(Not Me Yet!)

Proverbs 31 came to mind as I woke this morning.  Not that I had studied it recently, though I certainly should.

Our family is about to go through a major transition.  After a decade of working from home, my husband is hoping to start (if all goes well with the final technicalities) a full-time paid job internship next week.  During all these years of flexible schedule, he's been so helpful with fixing stuff around the house, cooking, laundry, dishes, yard work, taking care of the cars, paperwork, home schooling, chauffeuring kids, and so much more.  And now I need to step back up to the plate and take over more of these duties.  At least I don't have a house full of babies and preschoolers as I did back when he was last working full-time-and-then-some when I was out-to-here pregnant with our 9th baby.

Knowles family, with the new generation
But we've still got 8 of our 10 kids at home, though some of them are capable young adults with jobs and college classes to keep them busy. There is always much for me to do and I wonder how I will do more.  I look around my bedroom.   On my desk: a budget, a revised schedule with scritch-scratch changes to accommodate Daddy being away, plans for my daughter's birthday party, a pile of papers to be sorted, pictures of my sweet little grandsons, my weekly vitamin organizer (freshly filled this morning), my mending pile, folded laundry waiting to be put away, a bin of pictures to be hung, and a bunch of books I plan to read soon (for planning home school co-op English classes, for reading to my children, for dealing with family health/home/organization issues, and for my own spiritual nourishment).  My inbox is full. And that's just in my bedroom. I still have to wake up several of the kids up to get started with the day.  

All of it a bit much, I'd say.  Time to cut the fluff and make every moment count.  My ADD brain is having a hard time wrapping itself around that reality.  At least I've already started back with scheduling my mornings to spend an hour doing schoolwork with each of the three kids who need help with their lessons.  (That was a great practical encouragement from my logistically-gifted husband.)

And then there is my open Bible, with these words beaming their timeless encouragement up at me...

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.
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 dark;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her servant girls.
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.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Ah yes, the legendary Proverbs 31 woman.

Who is she?

Who am I?  

I'm not her, yet, though I've been told that this is a panoramic view of many seasons of her life, not just a snapshot of a single moment in time.

But it is clear: she is not a pampered princess, not a wilting wallflower, not a dependent  doormat.  There is no frilly fragility or prissy passivity about her.  I think she would embrace the belief that men and women are completely equal in Christ, that women are not second class citizens, that our lives go far beyond exclusive-and-perpetual domesticity.  She would not be cowed into idolatrous pseudo-submission by an Alpha Male who uses power to control rather than to serve alongside. She worships God - not her husband, or children, or home.  (Those are the ones she loves and serves out of the overflow of her full heart.)

She is capable, strong, wise, creative, diligent, intelligent, generous, resourceful, enterprising, versatile, confident, cheerful, firm, faithful, noble.

She can hold her own.

And I only hope I can hold mine.  I have a whole lot of growing up to do!  :-)

How about you?

Virginia Knowles

P.S. I wrote a related post that is more directly related to home schooling here -- and as a bonus, there are links to my free home school e-books!  Home School Day in the Life (2nd, 6th, 8th & 10th Grades)

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  1. She was one very hard working woman who didn't have time for afternoon sleeps!! She also worked outside the home on her vineyard (that many woman skip over) plus sewed whilst caring for her family and her staff (I wouldn't mind some of those) . She was highly intelligent and clever with her resources and money. It sounds exhausting to be honest, due to her wisdom and careful planning she was able to achieve all that was required of her. She wouldn't have time to put her feet up and watch TV or read novel!! And she never complained:))))))

  2. Thank you for sharing. Your husband has been wonderful to you!! You will somehow manage...the hardest thing might be because some of your children are busy working and going to college and cannot be of much help to you. God bless you. Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home.