a hearty eater
an excellent driver
a domestic goddess
the proud owner of a pert bum
has a fantastic cleavage
is super fit
she always has good hair.
Now that’s a woman I’d,
a. ) pay to see. And,
b.) want to stab. (Calm down – only with a fork. A plastic one! I wouldn’t really harm her, I’d just think about it. Probably.)
But – I’m a Christian and this is just a silly piece of tabloid fodder. Easily dismissed.
Where I really run into difficulties is when I’m introduced to such a woman in Scripture. Ladies, I think you know who’s coming. Darling of the conference circuit, the devotional and the woman’s group. Put your hands together for..
‘The Wife of Noble Character’…aka Scary Proverbs 31 Woman. (Check her out)
Glen has preached a cracking sermon on marriage in Proverbs – touching on the wife of noble character. See here.
But I’ve got to be frank. Everytime I open this passage, a little piece of me dies. Here’s the woman who’s got it all. She’s industrious, loving, charming, talented, businessminded, compassionate, God-fearing, family-orientated, respected, strong, gentle and dignified. She even has a sense of humour. So it was with a heavy heart that I met with a couple of girl friends to look at the passage again. Exactly what I need – another reminder of my shortcomings.
But as we read the passage together, I realised that I’d been making myself a mental list of tasks to match up;
select wool and flax
work with eager hands
get up while it is still night
provide food for the family
clothe them in scarlet… etc, etc,
I’d missed the heart of her beauty. Here is a woman who fears the Lord – and it is out of this relationship with the Lord that her character has been formed and out of which her actions follow. I start with the tasks and work back, but her actions are fruits of her character, not the character itself. Feminine beauty doesn’t come from charm or looks – or even good works. It is the outflowing of someone created by and dependent upon the Lord, whose character is shaped by Him and who then blesses those around her, like ripples in a pond. I might not have kids or a job or a husband or good health or any of the other attributes which seem at first to mark her worth. But I do have a Saviour who has created me female and placed me exactly where I am, with all my limitations as well as strengths. He gives me identity and beauty. He grants me wisdom, freedom from fear, strength and dignity to reach out to others, when my inclination is to shrink back. To encourage and bless rather than compare and envy.