Verses 19-20: “In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”
Our wool had already been spun into the yarn she used to knit our sweaters since we didn’t have any sheep in our city backyard. However, she did care about the poor and needy, teaching us to care, too. One Thanksgiving she bought a load of groceries for a complete Thanksgiving turkey dinner. After she talked with us about giving our dinner to a poor family, we had a wonderful time sneaking it over to a needy family without being spotted. We had ham that Thanksgiving Day.
Oh, yes, and there was the time my father told her to stop giving the hobos food because he saw our street address carved into wooden poles in the railroad yard. She just could not abide anyone being hungry.
Verse 21: “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.”
Not sure we ever had any winter jackets or snow suits in scarlet, but Mom made sure we had more than we ever wanted to wear to keep warm in the cold Montana winters. Pleading over not wanting to wear boots over our shoes was usually a battle I could not win with Mom, either.
Verse 22: “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.”
Yup, Mom did make coverings for the beds, too… quilting only once that I recall but crocheting lovely coverings was something I remember well. Beautiful work. I can’t recall her wearing fine linen, though she might have if she found a piece to sew into a dress. Purple? Again, not sure as that was my color but, probably, she had something purple, too, because she loved nice clothing.
Verses 23-24: “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.”
Okay, this doesn’t apply. My father was a respected man but not a politician. My Mom needed whatever she made for her own family so didn’t sell anything, linen or otherwise. No one was interested in linen sashes that I knew of in that period of time… maybe today, fashions change? Though, she did knit some caps and socks for needy soldiers and little Native American Indian kids in the various charity projects. But, she never sold anything she made.
Verse 25: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
This was, truly, my mother at her best. She was a really fun lady, though the death of my father and the aging process has, definitely, taken some of the zip out of her.
Verses 26-27: “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
Without a doubt, this could have been said of my mother throughout the many years of raising us and keeping a household going. Long past the time I lived at home, I sought my mother’s counsel. Often I wondered if she ever rested or had any fun for herself.
Verses 28-29: “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:’ Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’”
It is very easy to imagine my father saying something like that to my mother even in their latter years. I can’t speak for my siblings but I certainly do rise up and call my dear mother blessed! She has been, and continues to be, a major blessing in my life.
Verses 30-31:”Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
King Lemuel’s (Solomon’s?) mother is warning him not to look at the outward appearance for a noble woman; but, in addition, she is advising him to let the lady be praised for what she does, too. He need not fear her accomplishments and shouldn’t be jealous of her. Instead, he should honor her. I love that advice given to him about his wife from his mother! It speaks to Bathsheba’s own noble character.
So, dear Reader, how’d you do? Did you find some points you could identify as how you do things, too? When the proverb is broken down to our own way of life, it is easier to see how we might fit in… even if we are getting the clothing from Wal-Mart special sales or, my friends’ personal favorite place—Value-Mart, we are taking care of our family’s needs just as the Proverbs 31 woman does. We don’t really need to spin the wool and knit those sweaters ourselves.
God understands we need guidelines to check how we’re doing and see just where we might do a bit better. Don’t confuse God’s guidelines with his commandments or absolute laws. He never intends His guidelines to condemn us. He is always there to help us do better; though, in many instances, it is more that we need to understand what God is saying to see that we are really doing okay, after all
****The poem, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” will be posted tomorrow… Have a good weekend!