Proverbs 31: Rachel.

This week's Proverbs 31 guest post comes from my friend Rachel.  A wife and mother of two (soon to be three) beautiful kiddos who also runs her own business, Rachel is undoubtedly one of the coolest women I know.  She is also the super talented photographer who took some beautiful pictures of me a few weeks ago, though she's probably too humble to admit her immense talent!  Be blessed as you read her perspective on the Proverbs 31 woman, and be sure to head on over to her blog!

I’m finding that I may not be the only one who had misconceptions regarding the whole ‘Proverbs 31 Woman’ thing. I know for myself, that even though I grew up in a Christian household and a regular attender of church, that I often found myself ‘resistant’ to that passage of scripture.  I would roll my eyes when girls would dreamily talk about wanting to be a ‘Godly wife’ and not ever work and just stay home and raise their children.

I think that somehow in my brain I had convinced myself that being the ‘Proverbs 31 Gal’ meant that I needed to be quiet – never voice my opinion, I must maintain a perfectly organized home, and all meals must be made from scratch and waiting on the table as my dear husband walks through the door. I should never work outside the home because my duty is to put my children first, then my husband, and I will selflessly and obediently sacrifice myself for the wants and needs of others … as that is what a true servant would do. And if I wasn’t able to do all of that with a happy heart, well then certainly no good Christian man would want to marry me.

As ridiculous as that sounds … I really did think that way. I’d love to blame it on the  immature church boys who didn’t know what they were talking about, and had polluted my mind with their unrealistic expectations  … but more than likely it  was created out of my own insecurities since I naturally tended to be more opinionated, messy, a bit lacking in the cooking department and I absolutely loved working … and shopping. 

I distinctly remember an ‘incident’ that happened in my early 20’s. I was hanging out with a group of Christian friends and we were talking about relationships, rolls of men/women and I guess I was bit too ‘progressive’ for one of the guys there because he straight up told me that he could never imagine me being a Mom. And it wasn’t said in an encouraging way (not that I can think of ANY possible way that could be encouraging), but it was more of a statement … meant to sting. Then he continued on and said that I was probably one of those girls who would refuse to change her last name when she got married.

Now let me just get this out in the open – if there was one thing I was looking forward to about marriage, it was changing my last name. I thought my last name was pretty boring as it was only 3 letters, and 2 of those letters repeated themselves. But regardless – what’s wrong with a girl who doesn’t change her last name? WHO CARES? I didn’t realize that a requirement for a happy marriage and possibly salvation was that a girl needed to change her last name when she got hitched.

Later after the group broke up for the evening, each going our separate ways, one of my other guy friends stayed back and talked to me. He knew I was bothered and I remember just being really hurt and sad and asked, ‘WHY would he say that? What’s so wrong with me that would make him think I couldn’t be a Mom? Is it because I have opinions? Because I love working? Because I don’t want to be his perfect little Proverbs 31 woman?’ And very gently, I remember my friend’s response. He said, ‘there’s nothing wrong with you. That’s his problem, not yours. And I’m not sure what you’re thinking a Proverbs 31 woman is, but you’re closer to it than you think.’

Of course I just thought he was being nice, and sadly, it wasn’t until years and years later, that I truly discovered how amazing the Proverbs 31 Woman really is.

In order to save time and space, I’ll refrain from re-quoting the entire passage, as I feel like I could and break down each section as we go. But instead, I want to describe what I think a ‘modern day’ Proverbs 31 Woman would be:
She is someone who has a good reputation. She’s known for her character, so her husband has no reason not to trust her; she has his full confidence. She manages her home. This could be as simple as keeping up with the laundry, getting the kids to and from their activities, and working within their budget (this means there is NO SHAME in having a house cleaner or nanny  {or whatever ‘assistance’ she may need} or eating out occasionally – as long as they can afford it).
She’s resourceful and brings in additional income (side note – I think we as women are really fortunate to be in a world where we CAN have ‘side businesses’ that are run from our homes. Whether it be Pampered Chef, or sewing projects, or jewelry, etc., it’s definitely an option that ‘our Moms’ didn’t have when they were our age).  She’s not lazy, but is efficient and makes her time count – whether it’s in regards to her income producing activities or volunteering. She also had a charitable spirit and is conscious of the needs of others – and she will meet those needs if she is able. She also takes care of herself. She’s healthy and she looks good – and there’s nothing wrong with that!  She ‘does it all’ – and not only does her husband recognize what she’s able to accomplish, but her kids do as well.
Okay, honestly? I’m exhausted just reading that. Which is perfect because it allows me to bring up one last important thing to remember. Becoming a ‘Proverbs 31 Woman’ is not something you can just attain and be ‘done with’. It’s a life long process because as we get older, our lives change. We go from being single, to maybe getting married, maybe adding some kids, and those kids get older and they get BUSIER. Maybe you’ll start off in an apartment, then move on to a bigger house, then maybe go back to a smaller space. Maybe life will bring you job changes every few years, or the loss of loved ones. All of these things can throw a wrench in our daily routines, in how we think our lives are going to turn out, and how we handle ourselves.  So there is never an actual ‘finish line’, but more of a ‘goal’ that we’re constantly striving to achieve.

I’m pretty sure that I’m nowhere close to achieving that ‘goal’. Life as a Mother to small children is hard – I love it – but it’s still really hard.  So that makes me even more thankful that God has laid out such a clear guideline for me to follow.  Because on my own, there’s absolutely no way I would have come up with even half of that stuff.