Proverbs 31.

Over the last few months, I hope that you have enjoyed reading and learning from guest posts from Amy, Rachel, Megan, Ashley, and Grace regarding the Proverbs 31 woman - I know that I have!  I had planned to wrap up this series a LONG time ago, but time got away from me and... well, honestly, approaching the topic of the Proverbs 31 woman was daunting.  In theory, it was a great idea!  In reality, I found it to be scary and intimidating.  Then, at my college graduation, I was given an award for my "life and ministry as a Proverbs 31 woman."  I was both shocked and honored to receive such an award... and for the next few weeks I found myself really wrestling with it.  I felt like I had nothing together, like I wasn't even close to being the Proverbs 31 woman I thought I should be...

Most of us ladies have this notion in our minds that all good Christian men want to find and marry a Proverbs 31 woman, right?  Well dang, that sure does put a lot of pressure on us women!  As a result, one of the biggest issues that I see directly affecting us is the desire to become just like the "perfect" Proverbs 31 woman described.  While we should definitely be constantly seeking to become more godly women, trying to meet all of the descriptions on the "checklist" is not only unrealistic, it's also extremely limiting and - I believe - dishonoring to God.  We were each uniquely made by the ultimate Creator to fulfill individual purposes that only we can do.  We weren't all created by Him to be the same kind of woman and do the same kind of thing.  Too often I have witnessed young ladies begin to believe that they need to fit the Proverbs 31 mold perfectly, and it breaks my heart.  While I was wrestling with my award, I found myself in a place where I needed to make a choice.  Rather than allowing myself to think that I wasn't good enough, I made the decision to look at the recognition I received as a reminder that I was created to be a faithful woman of God - a woman who fears Him, loves others, speaks wisely, extends grace, and pursues His will for my life every day - and to remain faithful to do so all the days of my life.

This is what I have come to believe: Proverbs 31 provides a great model for us.  The woman that is described is someone that we should look up to and desire to imitate; she is like a mentor.  We need to recognize that we probably will not be exactly like her, because we were not all made the same way, but we can and should follow her example.  On the flip side, I'm well aware that some ladies have been burned or jaded by the idealization of the Proverbs 31 woman.  If that is you, please don't make the mistake of ignoring her example!  We should all strive to study her characteristics, the things that make her "more precious than rubies," and then seek to grow in ways that will better glorify God and bring good to others (as she did).

Girls, you were made by God, for God.  You weren't made to meet some list of "requirements" that will make you a Proverbs 31 woman.  You were made to know Him and love Him, and to bring glory to Him in all that you do.  That is what truly makes a Proverbs 31 woman.  So keep pursuing Him by spending time in His Word and presence.  Be in constant communion with Him through prayer, and seek to grow into a more godly woman every day.  Lastly, be sure to check out verses 1-9, you know, the other part of Proverbs 31.  Read those sayings of King Lemuel, and I challenge you to think of those qualities listed as ones that you might desire in a man. 

Speaking of men, if any of you are reading... if you have always wanted to meet, date, and marry a Proverbs 31 woman, please remember that no one - man or woman - is perfect.  Please, please, please do not compare women of God to some sort of idealized woman that you have set up in your mind, because you may find yourself to be very disappointed when no one matches up.  We are all sinners, in desperate need of grace, and none of us is perfect in our own right.  Seek a woman who loves God, fears Him, and works wholeheartedly to bring Him glory with her life.

I hope that this personal prayer might be one that resonates with you...

Father God,
I want to be a woman of noble character.
I want to bring good into others' lives through my actions and my words.
I want to work eagerly and heartily at the tasks You set before me.
I want to provide for those close to me in any way that I am able.
I want a discerning spirit, that I may make decisions wisely.
I want the strength to work hard and to finish what I begin.
I want to develop and refine my skills and gifts, using them the way You designed them to be.
I want a more compassionate and selfless heart, that my eyes and arms 
may be open to those who are poor and in need.
I want to clothe myself internally and externally in a way that pleases You.
I want to be confident in the truth that I am worthy of honor and respect.
I want to not worry about the future, trusting that You've got it all under control.
I want to speak with wisdom and faithful instruction.
I want to seek You everyday, never becoming idle in the pursuit.
I want to be a woman through who others recognize You.
I want to be a woman who bows at Your feet in reverent awe of You.
I want to be the woman that You created me to be.