“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:10-31 In the past 2 years, I've become very drawn to Proverbs 31 and what the Bible says we, as women, should strive to be like. During my discussion with different women of faith, I've heard the argument that this is no longer relevant because we no longer have to "til fields or make our own clothes". But I believe that this would be even MORE reason for us to strive to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. If she was able to do it without the modern commodities that we have, then surely we have it much easier to accomplish this beautiful demeanor. I feel there are 10 qualities shown in this Scripture that can directly correlate to women in 2018. Check them out below: 1. Self-Aware "For her worth is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10 This verse makes me think of a self-aware woman. Though the verse doesn't necessarily say this, we are all valuable; it's just a matter of whether we choose to believe that we are. So I believe that a Proverbs 31 woman KNOWS that she is valuable and is CERTAIN of her worth. 2. Trustworthy "The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain." Proverbs 31:11 When I read this, I thought of 2 types of trustworthiness. The first being the one most often associated with marriages - trusting us not to cheat. Our husbands should be able to trust us 100% when it comes to being faithful. As a military spouse, I see this way too many times among couples. The fear that when he's on a deployment, his wife will stray. (Yes...I know it goes both ways but this is about the Proverbs 31 woman, not man.) It is our responsibility to honor our marriage and to reassure our husband through our daily actions of this.The second type of trustworthiness that I interpreted was in terms of finances. "So he will have no lack of gain". Our husbands should be able to trust that the finances of the home are appropriated properly. What's this mean today? Smart Money Management - Your bills are paid, your necessities are taken care of, saving money if possible, and a big one society struggles with: getting out of/avoiding debt. He shouldn't have to worry about coming home one day and the power being shut off! I recently started following Dave Ramsey's method to getting out of debt and it's been a huge blessing for us! Plus it's faith-inspired!) 3. Loving "She does him good and not evil All the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12 Raise your hand if your hubby's ever come home and you're not the nicest person to come home to... Excuse me, while I type one-handed... Although that's not necessarily "evil", it also isn't good. We are to strive to love our husband at all times, verbally and physically. Some examples of this are leaving a note on the mirror, picking him up his favorite candy while you're out, walking up a little early to make him breakfast or lunch for work. Don't get me wrong; this can be SO hard sometimes. Humans aren't always easy to love and some days make it hard to love. I'm more guilty of this than I would like to admit. But this is where priorities come into play. Your hubby should be Second after God - not the kids, not the dishes, not the homework, nothing. Love is the most amazing thing we can give and receive, and it's FREE! Let's make it a point this week to be intentional about loving our spouse. 4. Hardworking "She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants." Proverbs 31:15 I love this verse so much because it can relate to both the working woman and those who stay at home. The Proverbs 31 woman wakes up when it is still dark outside to either A. Work to provide food for the family or B. Actually make the food for the family to eat. Despite all the other responsibilities she may have and how exhausted she may be, she gets up EARLY to serve those she loves. This also can relate to other aspects of the day also that may require some sort of sacrifice done for others.I personally love this verse because I wake up "while it is yet night" to teach English from home. Not only does it fulfill me to know that I am helping to provide for my family but it also allows me to provide in other ways, by getting my work done before everyone wakes up. 5. Entrepreneur "She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard... She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants." Proverbs 31:16, 24 She's a #BossLady! On top of EVERYTHING else, she makes time to invest into her own business. This can be tied into the theme of hardworking also. The Proverbs 31 woman sees a need in her family and she sacrifices her time and effort to make sure those needs are met. This also allows her independence, the ability to pursue her passion, and use her God-given skills. Have you ever experienced a moment where you got to do something you loved and there was some sort of reward? How amazing did that make you feel? Now imagine how that feeling would multiply when you also benefit your family by it. If anyone were to ask my husband when our relationship is at its best, he would say that it is when I am able to take time to do something I love that impacts our family for the better. The positivity that is generated can't help but roll over into all areas of your life. 6. Health Minded "She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms." Proverbs 31:17 The Proverbs 31 woman knows that being healthy and fit is important. However, strong means something different than what we think of today. I'm not saying we need to have chiseled abs like we see on magazine covers or Victoria's Secret models. But we do need to be mindful of how we take care of our bodies and I believe this can definitely be tailored to any lifestyle or interest. If high intensity workouts get you pumped up and you have the time and means to do it, GO FOR IT GIRLFRIEND! If finding a way to get to the gym causes mental or financial stress and can only walk around your neighborhood, GO FOR IT GIRLFRIEND! No matter what you do to improve your health, the point of this verse is that we should strive to be in optimal health. How wise is God that he takes time to think about this?! He knows that if we don't first take care of ourselves, then we won't be able to take care of those around us. "You can't pour from an empty cup". 7. Philanthropist "She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20 "So wait, you're telling me that I need to take care of those outside of my family too? I can barely keep up with my family!" Sisters, how fortunate are we to have a roof over our heads, food on our table, and loving relationships. There are SO many in this world who are lacking these basic needs. You don't have to donate thousands or volunteer full time to be a philanthropist. You know that guy on the side of the road with the sign asking for help? Be a philanthropist (Sometimes, even a smile makes a world of difference). All the food in you pantry that you know is never going to get eaten? Be a philanthropist. The 20+ pieces of clothing that you never wear? Be a philanthropist. There are so many ways for us to bless others that require minimal effort. Think about all the blessings you have received and imagine your life without them for just a second. God blesses those who bless others. This is a tried and true fact. 8. Resilient "She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet... Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come." Proverbs 31:21, 25 It's a fact of life that we all experience difficult moments in life. Struggles do no discriminate. But the question is how do you handle adversity? People cope in so many different ways. Some shut down, others try to ignore it or "beat around the bush", while others make a spectacle of their situation for pity. Do any of these solve the problem and get your family to a better place? No. We are called to be resilient. This doesn't mean we cannot cry, worry, or stress but have your moment and then step up. We are the pillar of strength for our husband and children. How can we be resilient when we don't feel like we can be? Pray - Have you brought your burden to God and LISTENED for how he would like you to handle it? Analyze and research - What caused this problem to happen in the first place? Could it have been avoided? What are my options to solving this? Strategize - How can I solve this problem? Is this something that my family can do alone or will we need third party assistance? What can we do to avoid this from happening again? Communicate - Have you sat down and had a discussion with your spouse about this? If it is something that impacts others, have you made them aware? When we don't try to find a solution and wallow in our misery, we are acting in a selfish manner. Our lack of effort to move past a difficulty not only will affect us negatively but will ultimately have consequences on those we love. A moment of strength could mean the change of a lifetime. And a positive mindset is the catalyst to resolution. 9. Wise "She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness." Proverbs 31:26 Oh wisdom... this doesn't mean you have to be a genius. This means to ACT smart. Every action we make or word we say should be thought about before happening. It will only take a second of reflection and prevent the possibility of months of regret. Wisdom is the ability to foreshadow the effect of what we cause and weighing the pros and cons, before doing so. Growing up, my parents always told me that if you can't say anything nice, then you don't say anything at all. I have to admit that I struggled with this a lot in my life. I've been an impulsive person where I believed that if I felt a certain way, the person who caused me to feel that way had to be made aware. Let's just say that many fires have had to be put out due to this. In the past year, I have learned discernment and gotten better at biting my tongue. I still have moments of strong emotions where I falter but why do I try to not act like that? Because like the boy who thew the knives at the fence and then felt guilty, throwing the knives still leaves the fence ruined with holes even after you've regretted it. If I was still quick to say how I felt, my marriage wouldn't exist. My relationship with family members would be cut off. And quite frankly, I would probably feel bitter and alone. But when you put kindness into the world, you get kindness in return. When you put calmness into the world, you will experience calmness. This Scripture reminds me of a well-known prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference". 10. Motivated "She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27 Have you ever had those days where you just don't feel like doing anything and before you know it, the day is gone and all the laundry and dishes are still dirty? I have. Have you ever had weeks that were like this? I have. Months? Years? The Scripture says that the Proverbs 31 woman watches over her household and is not lazy. We are called to get off our rear ends and do something around the house! Think about it... your husband comes home to a cluttered home after a stressful day at work. You try to relax and go to sleep in a room that has clothes and cups all over the place. You have an event come up and you're struggling last minute to find what it is that you need. Laziness feels great in the moment but it starts to affect our mental wellbeing and our ability to function as efficient adults. When I fall into the temptation of laziness, it is usually followed by a whole slew of negativity in our home. I'm mad at myself for not being efficient, I have trouble sleeping thinking about my 'to-do' list, I start my day annoyed because my house is a mess, and my husband feels overwhelmed by the clutter after a long day of mental clutter and stress. So how can we avoid the bread of idleness? I like checklists and rewarding myself. So for me, the way to be motivated is to make a list of what I want to get done and what I'm going to treat myself with when I finish. I not only get excited removing things from my list and seeing it shrink, but I also love accomplishing my reward. My rewards range anywhere from a $1 fry at McDonald's to a Mani-pedi at my favorite nail salon. At first, it will be awkward and uncomfortable but I PROMISE that the change in your life when you get into a routine will be so worth it!I hope that this blog post opened up a new way of viewing the Proverbs 31 woman and how it can be applied to our lives today. Please don't think that I have it all together but rather see this as a learning experience that I am also going through and striving to be more like everyday. I pray this blesses you in some way.