Proverbs Day 31 – An excellent wife

An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
(Proverbs 31:10 ESV)

An excellent wife who can find, reminds me of the Jane Austen quote in Pride and Prejudice about the accomplished woman. Caroline Bingly and Mr. Darcy define an accomplished woman as one having extraordinary qualities.

“no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions”…”and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

To which Elizabeth Bennett replies,

“I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”

When I was first introduced to the Proverbs 31 Woman, I shared Elizabeth’s sentiments – who can find?

But on closer inspection, and a broader acquaintance of Christian wives and mothers, I find these excellent women are more common than expected. 

The excellent wife and mother works diligently from morning to night. She consistently provides for the needs of her husband and children – they lack nothing of value. She teaches by example as well as with faithful instruction. This woman cares for those in her community, willing to extend a hand or meet the physical needs of those less fortunate. 

The Proverbs 31 woman places her trust in the Lord, who gives her wisdom and confidence. She is strong and doesn’t fear the future. Her character is regarded, her husband is respected, and her children rise up and call her blessed.

This woman is imposing on first glance, but the Christian women I know reflect her image – Christ’s image. They rise each day to care for and instruct their children. They love and honor their husbands. They read their Bibles and seek to live out their faith in their homes and in their communities. They are strong, confident, and wise. 

I’m surrounded by such sisters in Christ. And though none of us are perfect, we are all striving toward the goal. 

Proverbs 31 ends with a verse which should not be overlooked.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
(Proverbs 31:30 ESV)

You are not overlooked my friends. You are to be praised. I hesitate to name you individually, but in my heart your names are being raised in praise for your love and good works.

And if, in this life, you are not regarded, be encouraged knowing the Lord will reward you for your faithful service in the life ahead. Amen!

Austen, Jane, and Clare West. Pride and Prejudice. Oxford University Press, 2008.

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