By Brie Gowen
I sat on the couch at the end of a long, hard day, and I read scripture. The thing was it hadn’t just been any old day. I mean, every day raising small children has its challenges, but the days are also full of those precious moments that remind you that you are blessed. But some days those moments are farther in between. Some days the feelings of frustration, inadequacy, and failure seem to overshadow the gift of being a mother and wife. I had just had one of those days.
So as I sat in a moment of rare silence reading my Bible I couldn’t help but feel on edge after a day that had started with me ugly-crying behind a closed bathroom door. Usually you cry at the end of the day, right? That’s how bad it was, but I digress. My eyes skimmed across Proverbs 31, and as I read I knew I was far from the woman described therein.
I was sure my behavior that day, the screaming about being the only person who knew how to pick up garbage from the floor; I was sure that wouldn’t encourage my children to rise and call me blessed.
In the midst of my flustered feelings I had reached out to vent to my husband, and I was sure he might not have felt “full confidence” in me when I told him I was going crazy.
I certainly didn’t “rise while it was still dark” to care for my family, and if I didn’t get my coffee there’d be no rising at all. When did that woman sleep?!
I wouldn’t say I always “set about my work vigorously” since so often I wrongly complained about it.
And what of “idle hands?” Oh goodness, how many fruitless hours did I spend on Facebook a week? Guilty as charged.
But then I read a couple of things that did ring true.
It says in the New American Standard version that “she smiled at the future,” and if there was anything I managed to get right it was that. I knew who controlled my destiny, and whose plans were to give me hope and a future that lacked no thing. I realized I fear the Lord, and that is certainly worthy of praise.
Knowing God like I do according to His word, I don’t think any single woman could completely and totally be the Proverbs 31 woman, and definitely not at all times. I think the descriptions in scripture describe many giftings, and as women we all have varying and unique qualities the Lord has planted inside of us. Perhaps I encompass a portion of Proverbs 31, whereas you pick up where I leave off. The Lord certainly doesn’t demand our perfection as women, but simply a heart that desires to seek His face.
He desires a woman who is strong, but also one who is weak. He desires a woman who helps others, but also one who isn’t too proud to ask for help. Ouch.
He desires women who don’t laugh in joy so much for the world that stands before us, but rather smiles in strong faith for the One who holds it all in His hand. And if we can do that, I think that’s really something. We can have bad days, poor circumstances, and undesirable situations. We can even feel lacking when the weight of it is too heavy for our own shoulders. But then…
But then we realize we are never truly lacking when it comes to the callings and purposes He has placed upon our lives. Perhaps I can never embody the totality of the Proverbs 31 woman, but I am enough. He says so.
I smile towards the future. I fear the Lord always. Sometimes I might even rise early, or go about my day with vigor. Some days I might just cry in the shower, but then I move forward knowing that when the Lord is with me I will not fail. Even when I’m nowhere near perfect, clothed in fine linen, or feeling like I’m worth more than rubies.