But, I don't want to be a Proverbs 31 Woman yet...
Proverbs 31 says:
Who can find a noble wife?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband trusts her completely.
She gives him all the important things he needs.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She chooses wool and flax.
She loves to work with her hands.
She is like the ships of traders.
She brings her food from far away.
She gets up while it is still dark.
She provides food for her family.
She also gives some to her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it.
She uses some of the money she earns to plant a vineyard.
She gets ready to work hard.
Her arms are strong.
She sees that her trading earns a lot of money.
Her lamp doesn’t go out at night.
With one hand she holds the wool.
With the other she spins the thread.
She opens her arms to those who are poor.
She reaches out her hands to those who are needy.
When it snows, she’s not afraid for her family.
All of them are dressed in the finest clothes.
She makes her own bed coverings.
She is dressed in fine linen and purple clothes.
Her husband is respected at the city gate.
There he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen clothes and sells them.
She supplies belts to the traders.
She puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes.
She can laugh at the days that are coming.
She speaks wisely.
She teaches faithfully.
She watches over family matters.
She is busy all the time.
Her children stand up and call her blessed.
Her husband also rises up, and he praises her.
He says, “Many women do noble things.
But you are better than all the others.”
Charm can fool you. Beauty fades.
But a woman who has respect for the Lord should be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned.
Let everything she has done bring praise to her at the city gate.
Here's my "thing" with Proverbs 31, the title of it is literally "The Wife of Noble Character", and I can't help but say that I don't want to learn how to be a wife before I learn first how to be a woman, how to be myself.
This verse is constantly being given to us as a guideline for what a "good woman" a " good Christian woman" looks like. It is given to us as a reassurance when we accomplish something as if its saying, "Great! You're on the right track towards being this Wife of Noble Character!" Instead of being on the right track to being the woman of God we are created to be? When we continue to grow up and comfortable in our skin, Proverbs 31 is shown to us as if at the core of who we are, we're becoming who we were always meant to be: wives.
Here's the thing, I do love and appreciate the wisdom written in Proverbs 31. I think that it gives us great tools that we can use, however for where a lot of us are right now, only certain verses are applicable to our single, anywhere from teenage to thirty year old (or older) selves.
So, here's where my fascination with Mary comes in.
Around this time, when hearing about the birth of Jesus, and old character friends such as Mary and Joseph start resurfacing into sermons, I find myself continuously being drawn to Mary.
We know a good deal about Mary, who she is, what she does, what she's known for.
Here are a few of my thoughts about who she/what she does etc:
- The only woman (as far as we know) to have an immaculate straight up spiritual conception
- The mother of Jesus (The Son of Man, the ultimate sign of peace and new beginnings)
- She has a certain faithfulness, that goes beyond being just loyal and consistent. She might as well be considered what we would call, a "Ride or die"
- She has a humble, non resistant servants heart
- She was pretty much the definition of "pure." (Pure of body, of heart, of mind and soul)
- She was bold, willing to take risks for the sake of what she believed despite what it could have meant for her future, her life, her family
I could probably go on and on but basically, Mary was a straight up BOSS.
To me, Mary is one of the greatest examples of what type of women we can be before (and if) we become Proverbs 31 women.
She is bold, holding the type of boldness where she doesn't need any validation outside of what God gives her.
In that boldness, she is fearless (not to say that she doesn't feel fear because she definitely probably almost peed her dress when the Angel came to her and said "Oh hey, by the way you're going to be pregnant, but not in the way that you're used to and your husband won't leave or stone you, pinky promise") but she is fearless in the sense that she didn't let what fear she did have shake her.
Instead, Mary said, "Here I am Lord, use me."
I wonder if she hesitated a little, if maybe she was a little indecisive, said yes but also said "Maybe just wait until I can sort of process this whole thing first."
I sometimes forget that she was so young, she had so much time to have a "normal" life. "Normal", as in marry Joseph in the traditional way, give birthnot while pretty much riding on a donkey or have all these people come see her shortly after before she even had time to take a nap and have a child who would grow up and carry out the carpenter business like his dad instead of dying on the cross FOR ALL OF HUMANITY!
Do you get what I'm saying here? MARY, is the type of woman who would speak in chapel, or write a really good book and we would automatically want to sit down and have coffee with her to pick her brain and quote her on Facebook.
She is the perfect example of why as Christians, as women, we shouldn't settle for normal, comfortable or traditional.
She responded to the angel (basically to her new life calling) by saying, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
She said "Yes, I will be unconventional, bold and full of a fear that I wont let control me, for the sake of Kingdom work being done. "
THAT, is the kind of woman I want to be.
I would dare to say, that Mary was used in the biggest, most transformational, most impacting story that the Bible has, the one that starts the very foundation our Christianity stands on.
Okay, now tying it all back into Proverbs 31 since that's the title of this blog and I'm about to end it so here comes the full circle...
I am not bashing Proverbs 31, and this isn't a hail-Mary blog, this is my attempt at re-aligning who we as women should first aspire to resemble (besides Christ himself of course).
There is one specific part of Proverbs 31 where I think Mary comes in hand in hand. Its in verse 30 and 31 where it says, "Charm can fool you. Beauty fades. But a woman who has respect for the Lord should be praised. Giver her the reward she has earned. Let everything she has done bring praise to her at the city gate."
Mary respected the Lord, in the way that most of us struggle to do...with her whole life. It wasn't about her and she knew that. It wasn't even about what she could get out of it, it was about the ultimate sacrifice, a woman who respected the Lord so much, who served him with her whole heart, her whole being.
I pray that I can be that type of woman before I know how to be one who can take care of a household, or know how to love her husband right. All of those will (hopefully) come into play but first, I want to learn a little from Mary. Learn how to be a woman who says "Yes", to an unconventional, nontraditional, sometimes uncomfortable life for the sake of kingdom work.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name." Luke 1:46-49
So here's to learning how to be women (maybe resembling Mary a bit), and learning how to be the best version of ourselves before we even begin to know what a Proverbs 31 woman could look like.