Proverbs 31 Woman: You May Be Closer than You Think – Guest Blogger: Alexis Hassell

Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_7559261_the-proverb-s-woman.html’>designpics / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

The Wife of Noble Character: Wrestling with My Identity in Christ

If you have read Proverbs 31, then you might be familiar with verses 10-31, which are devoted to describing, “The Wife of Noble Character.” Even if you haven’t, you might have seen reference to it somewhere because this mantra for Christian women is literally everywhere. At some point in your life, maybe you have wondered: Who is this woman? Is she even a real person? Maybe you have tried to compare her with people you know or have encountered  in your life and even with yourself. I would venture to believe that most of us would think she is the “standard” of what a good Christian woman looks like. If that is true for you then this woman is everything you would want to be, hoped you could be, and is possibly the reason why you might have felt like you don’t measure up.

I can say that for me my journey with the Wife of Noble Character has been full of mixed emotions. Initially, this standard provided me with the groundwork of what a wife could be expected to do for her family and husband. In this department I need all the help I can get. So I got the crazy idea that I would write out this passage on my best paper in my best penmanship. I figured if I had it visibly as a constant reminder then maybe I would never forget what I should be doing. So I did just that. After I finished, I scoured my house looking for the perfect frame. None were good enough, so I vowed that I would buy one that was worthy the next time I was out running errands. I wish I could tell you that I had it hanging up in my home in no time. Unfortunately, my good intentions were short lived. I never bought the frame and there the paper sat. It sat just like my efforts to become this woman.

Years passed by and I pursued other avenues to assist me in becoming a better wife and mother. I went to seminars, took classes, consulted friends, and read books. You get the idea. I revisited the Wife of Noble Character from time to time, yet I didn’t find myself feeling that same enthusiasm. To me she had become the impossible standard, a nemesis actually, and a reminder that I didn’t live up to the expectations. The words of the passage that mentioned about getting up “while it is still night to provide food for her family,” echoed within, confirming that would never be me. I have always been a difficult riser and could never get up early let alone provide food for my family. My kids are very familiar with getting their own breakfast in the morning because Mommy has a hard time getting it together. Other words referencing “(that she) does not eat the bread of idleness,” only further highlighted my inadequacies. Forget eating an occasional slice of that kind of bread; I was probably eating loaves of it. Some days I would be successful but other days I was consumed by the weariness of responsibility. Many other verses in the passage condemned me as well. I felt like a failure. My heart sank and had convinced myself, why even try, this will never be you. I resolved to be good enough and instead, worked on accepting myself for who I was. So I prayed that God would do the same and resolve in me these feelings.

Months passed by and I grew discontented, I wanted more of myself and I wanted more than what I was seeing. At the very least, I wasn’t going to give up trying like I had wanted to before. And God was working inside of me. My heart was changing. I figured out a way to get up early; I was waking up at 6am every day.  I did see the value in waking up early, something that had been a mystery for so many years. This small act became a big miracle for me. I quickly realized it wasn’t ever really about me becoming an early riser because that was what the Wife of Noble Character did. God in His wisdom was teaching me something more important. God was giving me a victory and a glimpse of hope that things could be different. They could be better. Then a few months ago my eldest daughter had opened the Bible and asked my husband to read it. I had been sitting on the couch next to them with our youngest daughter. He read the words describing The Wife of Noble Character. Hearing those words read aloud that day, pierced my heart like a double edged sword. And without warning, my husband uttered the words, “That describes your Mommy” to our daughters. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing my husband say! I knew if he had taken a closer look at each of those verses, he would have known that that didn’t possibly describe me. They just didn’t. I mean how could they? But to him it didn’t matter if I did exactly what “she” had done. It was something he had seen inside “me.” It was the heart of the Wife of Noble Character. Again, it was the hope of something better.

My eyes and heart had been refreshed by God’s faithful work; I was convicted that the Wife of Noble Character represented something greater than a standard to emulate. Her greatest purpose is that she is and will always exemplify the woman who follows after God’s plans for her. These are her own individual plans that God had developed for her specifically. She isn’t following the way that she thinks she should because it’s what she thinks is best. What’s more, do you notice that it doesn’t mention that she is doing what everyone else is doing, or that she spends her time comparing herself to others, or that she is following a standard that society has set for her?  No, she is focused, driven and confident to stay on the path set out before her. She pursues it and doesn’t take her eyes off of the prize for one second. She knows what she has and is content but she also does whatever she can to keep it, to maintain it, to appreciate it. And something ahead of her is guiding her steps.

So I ask you, who is the Wife of Noble Character? It isn’t just her or someone else. It is YOU; each and every one of you has the ability to accept this identity in Christ today. I challenge you, if you already haven’t, to find your own path. Not in just any direction but the one that God has designed for you personally, the one that is the very best for you and your family. Don’t worry that it may be different than everyone else. Keep your eyes off of others and you will do just fine. The first step is taking one step and putting your foot right in front of the other. It might seem scary, but I promise you, it will all work out better than you could have ever imagined. And if you are looking for proof, take another look at the Wife of Noble Character.

Alexis Hassell is mom to two daughters, ages 6 and 4. She lives in Westlake Village, Ca with her daughters & husband, Kris. She has a strong passion for learning new things and a love for the Lord.  God has used this passion & provided the opportunity for her and her husband to homeschool their girls this past year…a journey to which they hope to continue on with in the years ahead.

 

 

Drill Sergeant Mom

Today a friend shared that her husband feels she is no longer “fun.”

Admittedly, she was taken back by the comment, then realized perhaps he was right.  Afterall, she explained, “I’m Drill Sergeant Mom, Drill Sergeant Wife. Of course, I’m no fun!”

Sometimes it feels that most of our dialogue encompasses shout-outs, commands, dos, don’ts , have yous and did yous with our kids. It is easy to feel that our fun and spunk have been replaced by a spirit of seriousness and warfare mentality. We have to remember in those moments of frustration, our children are not our enemies and neither are our husbands.

My friend ended her story with the reminder that when we trust God, we can enjoy life right now.  When we put our cares into God’s hands and trust Him to equip us at handling the challenges of the day, we are freer to have fun and capture that fun spirit that is a part of our identity as moms and wives (or that use to be more prevalent before we had kids or even in our single days).  Knowing that when we trust God with the demands that weigh us down, we can be released from their hold and we do not have to carry the burdensome affects that can often permeate into our homes’ atmosphere.

Proverbs 31:25 talks about the Wife of Noble Character: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” She can laugh, she can embrace the moment of the days and the days that are forthcoming, with whatever challenges they bring. The passage continues with: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)  When we draw our strength from God, seek the Lord first, and place our trust in Him, I believe He expands on the gifts that He has given to us to bless our husbands, children, parents, families, clients, friends and households. Those gifts may also come in the form of having even stronger attributes: possessing wisdom, discernment, reliability, sensitivity, compassion, in addition to the skills that make us successful in our careers, pursuits and ministries.  For in those characteristics that are continuously being strengthened in us, can result in love inside our homes and in our relationships, i.e., having children who cherish us and want to be in our company, a husband who is proud to be at our sides, who trusts in our judgment and appreciates our support. Powerful.

So the next time my friend is having a series of days where she is blowing her whistle, I know she is going to trust God with her cares by placing the whistle down, retiring her Sergeant’s uniform and perhaps grabbing a can of silly string or something to that effect to spray like crazy.

Her husband may just never know what hit him.

 Recommended Scriptures:

“An anxious heart weighs a man down. ” (Proverbs 12:25)

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (Jeremiah 31:25)

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

 

Is Your Husband Getting Godly Attention?

Our marriages have an identity of their own but they do not operate exclusively without our active help and contribution. There is often little time to feed our marriages….as busy moms and working women, we are all about the time sensitive and urgent. The things that are the most timely and important, receive our focus….could be anything from driving the kids to their activities, to feeding the baby to getting the next meal on the table.

Last weekend my husband and I attended a Weekend to Remember Marriage conference sponsored by Family Life Today. I  left thinking that just because our marriage isn’t attached to a gas pedal, stove or homework assignment, its existence is still in need of immediate care and attention…like all the other aspects of our lives that call for our time and receive it. Not only can our homes and children fall prey to the unhealthy effects of a marriage that doesn’t have unity at its foundation,  but the marriage ultimately will and the two people if not cared for in the right ways. The marriage relationship is  easily neglected in the ways that are meaningful and significant, and often, is left to fend for itself. How can the relationship that should take priority over all the others be at the bottom of the list in terms of what is getting my time and attention?

Today, my kids will make it to their gymnastics class after school. Dinner will be prepared. Dishes cleaned. Homework finished. Baths, teeth,  stories and prayers done and said.  Will demonstrating respect and support to my husband? Will an attitude of unconditional respect and honor be demonstrated? Words of gratitude said? Perhaps words of silence if I need to hold my tongue? Will forgiveness be sought and granted if an issue arises? Will I pursue oneness with my husband and seek God’s design for my marriage and model that for my children?

I better.

“A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” (Proverbs 14:1)