I wanted to be Proverbs 31 woman as a newlywed. I was pregnant with our first child by our first anniversary and just so happened to be a first year law student too. I believed I could do it all then. I had even studied this passage of scripture early in my marriage so that I would “study to show myself approved”! New wife, young mother, student/career- isn’t that the Prov 31 woman? Back then I thought so. She was the standard bearer for the Christian woman, right? Isn’t that what we were taught? Fast-forward twenty years. Well, today, after staring at and discarding a cup of fungus I found in a bedroom in my house. Then doing all that I knew to do not to totally snap out and lose it. True story. I believe differently. I know differently.
The Prov 31 woman is the type of woman that is discovered. She is formed. When we look at the scripture text we find that these were the words taught to King Lemuel by his mother. In some scripture texts Proverbs 31 reads as a prophecy or oracle. My layman definition of an oracle is a spoken prophecy. The Dictionary App definition reads: divine communication or revelation; a person who delivers authoritative wise or highly regarded and influential announcements. Arguably Proverbs 31 serves as both. It is directly stated as the words of King Lemuel’s mother who obviously was a person of authority and influence in the king’s life. Indirectly I would argue it is a divine communication and revelation as well. Where in the world is the Proverbs 31 Woman? King Lemuel’s mother said it this way, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” Who can find her? The virtuous woman is discovered and formed.
Each woman finds herself in Proverbs 31 at different seasons. There may be some seasons when more characteristics of this “virtuous” woman is alive and well in each of us; then other seasons when we don’t see ourselves at all in this portion of scripture. Touché`- my cup of fungus moment. The book of James tells us that the word can be like a mirror. (James 1:23-24). We can look into it and see what manner of woman we are. The word reminds us of whom God created us to be. The writer of the book of Hebrews describes the Word of God as sharper than a two-edged sword, dividing the spirit from the soul even down to the marrow and the bone. That’s pretty deep (Hebrews 4:12). If we as Christian women are faithful enough to keep looking into the mirror of the Word, regardless of what we see, we will learn that the Word, when mixed with faith, conforms us to the image of Christ. Proverbs 31 may be a set of guidelines (or prophecy!!) to help us to understand the virtuous woman. She pursues excellence in her marriage, family, business/career and community because she fears the Lord. Reverence toward a loving God will keep us looking in the mirror with faith believing that His Word is true-we are being changed from glory to glory into the image of Christ. So if you find yourself someplace like where I found myself, with a cup full of fungus, be encouraged! This too shall pass. Tomorrow is a new day with new mercy. If you are full of faith or even not so full of faith go get your mirror, the Word, and remind yourself what manner of woman you truly are-a truly virtuous one that believes (and does) the mirror of the Word. Touché. The Proverbs 31 woman is found in the Word; she is discovered, formed and then revealed by it. Amen.