Today I decided to read Proverbs 31. (Note to self: Bad idea. The idea of a perfect wife like that makes big neon signs saying ‘FAILURE’ flash repeatedly before my eyes until I get dizzy or scream. Or both.)
You know those perfect wives? The ones that cook great meals every night (complete with dessert), keep their house perfectly clean, take care of their family (and everyone else), and somehow still have time to shave their legs and blow-dry their hair? The ones that make your toes curl with envy? Well, that’s the Proverbs 31 woman. (Proverbs 31:10-31, NIV) I’m not saying it’s not something to strive for, but man!
It starts off in verse 10 by describing her like this: ‘A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.’ I don’t know about you, but the whole ‘noble character’ thing has me beat! (And personally, if I had to pick between myself and rubies, I’d be going with the rubies!)
‘Her husband has full confidence in her, and lacks nothing of value.’ Hmm…I can think of a lot of ‘things of value’ that he doesn’t have – but I bought him golf clubs! That gives me a few brownie points, right?
‘She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.’ How many times I have been impatient, angry, and hurtful towards him. (See that ‘FAILURE’ sign flashing?)
‘She selects wool and flax, and works with eager hands.’ Aha! This I can do! I have that much wool it is verging on ridiculous! I crochet at every opportunity! And I just bought a sewing maching so I can do the mending. Pretty sure I’ve got this one under control!
‘She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.’ Well, the shops are ‘afar’ aren’t they? After all, 5 minutes is a long way! (Can anyone else hear her laughing at me?)
‘She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.’ Getting up while it’s still dark to make hubby’s lunch counts doesn’t it? So I’m doing alright with this one. Servants though? I had to laugh – if only I could afford such things!
‘She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.’ Considering I can’t afford to buy anything and currently have no earnings I’m pretty sure I failed this one as well!
‘She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.’ This is the part where I get to flex my muscles and take a bow right? Ok, so maybe I get half marks for trying on this one.
‘She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.’ Trading? Are you kidding? Who has time for that? And as for my lamp not going out at night, I’m usually half asleep by the time we sit down for dinner! Another fail!
‘In her hand she holds the distaff, and grasps the spindle with her fingers.’ The sewing machine and mending thing counts here right?
‘She opens her arms to the poor, and extends her hands to the needy.’ Wow. This one hit me hard. At the moment I’ve been so busy thinking of myself and trying to get everything done that I don’t think I’ve even thought of poor or needy people. That ‘FAILURE’ sign is flashing again.
‘When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.’ My poor husband is still going to work in shorts in the middle of winter because I haven’t taken the time to go get him long pants. Failure.
‘She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.’ Please tell me making a throw rug counts. And as for clothes, I’m pretty sure ‘fine linen and purple’ means she dresses up beautifully for her husband every day, always wears gorgeous underwear, and has the most attractive lingerie available. I don’t think I even brushed my hair yesterday, let alone got dressed up or had gorgeous underwear! Failed again!
‘Her husband is respected in the gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.’ Pretty sure people respect him, however I don’t think that counts as marks for me. (Except if I get points for picking an awesome guy!)
‘She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.’ I can use the mending and crocheting thing again can’t I? I have sold some crocheting! (Ok, 3 items. But that’s progress!)
‘She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.’ Last night I had fit of the giggles, flung myself on the bed, whacked my head on the laptop and ended with an explosive headache. Dignity and I do not belong in the same sentence! I can laugh though! (I’m pretty sure that’s not what it means but you’ve got to give me a little leeway!)
‘She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.’ I rang my mother in a panic over an exploded casserole – pretty sure I’m the one needing the instruction!
‘She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.’ I try with this one, really I do. I try to keep things clean, I make sure the bills are paid, I do the washing (except when I forget and my husband has no work clothes left!), and I cook (ok, so sometimes I fail miserably in that department, but hey, last night we even had apple crumble for dessert!). I even do dishes occasionally! But I know have been guilty of idleness many times. I think I qualify for half a point yes?
‘Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”’ Since the children aren’t old enough to answer for themselves yet, I’d just like to say they think I’m wonderful. (Or they will, whenever we actually have any!) My husband however, tells me I am beautiful and talented and a great cook (he may have forgotten the casserole incident!). I don’t think this counts as points for me, it just means my husband is on the verge of insanity!
‘Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.’ I’m sure I don’t ‘fear the Lord’ nearly enough, but I think this is another point for trying!
‘Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.’ Well, there she is. The perfect wife.
I don’t even need to add up my score to know that ‘FAILURE’ sign is well-deserved. You only have to look at the current state of my kitchen to know that! But you know what, I don’t care. I’m not perfect, but he chose me. He loves ME.
Perfection is a great ideal and maybe one day I will get there. But for now I’m content to be imperfect. I’m happy to just be ME. (Although time to shave my legs would be nice!)