As I was seeking guidance from the Lord recently on direction and purpose for my life, He led me to read the book of Proverbs. While I was reminded of some great wisdom like not making hasty decisions, the value of hard work, and the pursuit of "ill-gotten treasures," the last chapter is what God really intended for me to see:
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character (Proverbs 31:10-31)
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
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.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
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.
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
she can laugh at the days to come.
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.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
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.
I have to admit that it broke from my view of the "traditional" role of women during Bible times, and it revealed to me that I don't have to bear the burden of making life decisions or providing for my family alone. God intended for my marriage to be a partnership with a strong woman of "noble character," which I fortunately already have with an amazing wife who is doing everything Proverbs 31 describes!
My wife works full-time, waking up "while it is still night" to get everyone ready for work and school, before she heads off to work herself. She is an incredibly hard worker who is always productive in everything she does, and helps guide me in making good decisions for our family. And in my selfish focus on what "I" need to be doing with the next phase of my life, I had forgotten that with a wife of noble character, I don't have to do it alone. I need to take advantage of God's gift of a spouse and partner who has strengths I don't have, and I should be a better steward of the "earnings" she is bringing into the family, whether it's a job or the work she does at home.
As Proverbs so rightly says, having a woman of noble character brings honor to her husband, and he should be honoring her for what she is doing to prosper the family. If you are stuck in your purpose or what's next for you, what women in your life can you be leaning on for guidance and support? I'm thankful for the many women of noble character that God has blessed me with, including my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, cousins, aunts, co-workers, and friends who have given me wisdom and shown me the value of hard work, and in some cases doing all the work, to provide a good life for their families.
Are you honoring and seeking wisdom from your "women of noble character'?