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 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.
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 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I think that many of us are working to be this woman. She is loved by her children and treasured by her husband. The townspeople know her and trust her. She is a hard worker and her labors are fruitful. She is kind and compassionate, and does wonders with a needle and thread. She’s smart and funny, her children are perfect (thanks of course to her impeccable parenting) and she’s beautiful inside and out. That’s a lot to live up to. I can manage some of it, for sure. But the whole needle and thread thing? Yeah maybe not so much. And it’s exhausting, striving all the time for this perfection. Is it what I want to be? Sure is. Is it what I try to be? Uh huh. But do I hit the mark every day? Nope. I sure don’t. My house-is far from spotless most, well let’s be honest, every day. I only rise when it’s still dark if I’m working the early shift or the babe is crying. My arms are strong, but I do have the “30 flab” (seriously, where did that wiggle come from??). And my labors? Well I work hard, but I’ve never labored a child.
But I’m ok with not being perfect, most of the time. Because one thing that I’ve learned is that every one needs a break now and then. A mental reprieve of the daunting day to day tasks and requirements of life. Fortunately for me, I have a hubby who understand that when I say I need a break, I need one, and he’s willing to jump in and be Mr. Mom until I come back. Sunday was that day. Between house hunting, and all the multitude of stressors that come with it, and all my jobs as mommy, maid and banker, I was done for. So I told my man I needed a mental health day, kissed the kids goodbye and headed to town.
Now, to truly get a feel for this, when I say “headed to town” you need to understand that this is an hour and fifteen minute drive. An hour and fifteen minutes of pure silence. Oh. My. Goodness. It was bliss. And it meant some window and sidewalk shopping (not really possible when you live in the sticks) a decent meal (totally out of the ordinary) and a little street fair. To top it off, it was the sand sculpture competition, and I saw some pretty cool things! Amazing what they can do with a little sand and water, huh? Puts my sand castles to shame!
After strolling around town I made my way to a great restaurant where I had an amazing dinner and spent some time with my latest work, the novel I’m writing. Then it was time for the drive home, accompanied by some yogurt covered pretzels and a Diet Pepsi. By the time I got back to the house, the kids were showered and ready for bed. And I felt like a whole new woman.
I think that often times we as women allow ourselves to be overworked and overrun. We take on everything that needs to be completed and have a hard time letting some one else pick up the slack. I mean, we think we’re Wonder Woman, and often we are. But there is something to be said for a day of rest. Of letting some one else take the wheel of responsibility and leaving our questions and concerns at home. That’s not to say I didn’t think about my kiddos, house hunting, or the ever-present bills on the counter. I did. But I also had a minute to breath, to write, and to remember who I am. I am striving to be the woman of Proverbs, but that doesn’t mean I have to be perfect. And it doesn’t mean that she never gets tired or needs a break. She’s human after all. After all the attributes that she masters, we’re left with the very last, and I think, the most important: “But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” That doesn’t mean a palpable fear. I concern for your welfare and worry over what’s to come. This is the Old Testament, remember? It is instead a loving reference to God as our King and our willingness to follow his commands. And that’s what the Proverbs 31 woman really does. That’s what really matters and what sets her apart. Because even though she may be Wonder Woman, even her cape needs a break every now and then.