through His Word
by Evelyn Wells
I sat, accused, feeling trapped in my pew. Once again it was Mother’s Day, and the pastor was preaching about the Proverbs 31 Woman. I could see her, clothed in righteousness. She had her finger pointed at me, as she screamed, “YOU! Who do you think you are? Why are you here, today of all days?”
I hung my head in shame, as I listened to the enemy whisper in my ear. “You’ve dishonored your upbringing and shamed your family. Do you think God wants you as His child? I think not.”
I knew I had been forgiven of all my sins. According to Scripture, they were buried in the sea of forgetfulness. Jesus paid for them and remembered them no more. But I didn’t remember that. I felt like a complete failure, defeat weighing heavy on my shoulders. My marriage had ended in divorce. My children and I were on our own, and it was hard. Hard financially and in other ways, as well.
The Proverbs 31 Woman looked nothing like me. She was a woman of excellence; her life was full of outstanding accomplishments, while I did well to provide for my sons. Cherished by her husband, she is described as being far more precious than jewels. I felt so unworthy.
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. (Proverbs 31:10-15 NIV*)
“Lord,” I prayed, “How can I ever live up to the Proverbs 31 Woman?” I felt God speak to my spirit, “Read Proverbs 31 carefully. I want you to notice something. She’s not who you think she is, and you’re not who you think you are.”
As I began to read, I saw something I’d never noticed before. Verse 20 says, She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. The Proverbs 31 Woman was compassionate, and she cared for those who were in need. She personally ministered to them.
Verse 25 says, She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. The Proverbs 31 Woman was strong in the ways that matter. She faced the future with confidence, no matter the situation.
And listen to Verse 30! Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. The Proverbs 31 Woman feared the Lord. What does that mean? Does that mean she was afraid of Him? Does that mean we’re supposed to be afraid of God? In researching the meaning, I found fear described in several ways. The first one is terror in a frightening situation. Another is respect, and the third shows fear of the Lord as reverence or awe in the presence of greatness. According to what is described in various places in the Bible, fear can mean any of the three.
As I read and reread the words of Proverbs 31, my spirits began to rise. I regained confidence that God loves me with an everlasting love, no matter the bad decisions and past sins in my life. He had forgiven me long ago on the cross of Calvary. And I had accepted that wonderful gift on my knees at an altar in a little country Methodist church.
I believe Proverbs 31 describes a woman whose life is centered around a reverent fear of God, compassion for those in need, and faithfulness and love toward her family. All of the ideals set forth in this Scripture are probably not fulfilled in any one woman. I certainly fall short at times no matter how hard I try, and I’ll bet that’s true for you, too. But each woman can seek to serve God, her family, and others with the ability and material resources that God has given to us. We don’t have to feel threatened by someone like the Proverbs 31 Woman.
We can be women of excellence, also, because God loves us from the inside out. God doesn’t love us any less when we’re not living up to who He created us to be, but He loves it when we put Him first and when we try to please Him.
*All Scripture verses are NIV.
© Copyright 2017 by Evelyn Wells
Evelyn Wells has a passion to glorify God by writing devotional material and creative nonfiction. She lives in North Georgia near her children and grandson.
This article was first published in the Refresh October 2017 Issue. Read more great articles in our upcoming issue which releases August 15, in less than a week. Contact us to subscribe to our Bible study magazine for free!
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