Clothed With Strength
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for Michelle Terry’s blog- Lipstick and Laundry. Then I got the bright idea of asking Michelle to reciprocate- ah ha! Her turn! So her beautiful post below is what she wrote for me and you.
First, let me tell you, it is a bit tongue in cheek. But I beg you, read it twice. It is truly gallant (say that with an accent on the second syllable please) and I admire Michelle’s zest and vivacious way of looking at life (and the proverbs!). Thank you Michelle!
Proverbs 31: A Wife of Noble (Questionable) Character
Give me a task, a challenge, a goal.
Show me a map, make me a list, set a reminder.
I can do it, defeat it, smash it.
31 Days to a More Organized Home: Check
From Couch to 5K: Done
Train and run for a marathon: Twice
Become a wife of noble character: Um, how about a different assignment?
If you haven’t read Proverbs 31: 10-31, here are the high points. Verses 10-31 comprise a Hebrew acrostic poem; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. You’ll find references to the proverb on Twitter and in Pinterest because it’s an excellent self-improvement list–one for each day of the month. It seems that the Bible bloggers were obsessive list makers like me.
I imagine the Proverbs 31 wife as a woman with raven hair, a calm spirit, and laugh lines and curves in all of the right places. I named her Susie.
For three months in a row, each day, I’ve pulled out one of the 31 lines, and worked to become a faultless, noble wife. A Susie.
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
Per my M.O., when I’m doing something hard, I embrace the assignment and start out gangbusters.
Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. Maybe I can quit telling white lies about how long I’ve had that new dress. Easy, peasy.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. I took him to the ER after a chainsaw incident and then removed his stitches. He also lets me shave his neck, so basically, his life is in my hands.
She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. Do you think the hubby cares if I sew? Isn’t this starting to become more about me than him?
She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. Ugh! Once again, we have no groceries in the house. The act of putting food on the table for my family is my love language, but I fall short of that almost every day. When was the last time I cooked him dinner? One meal together people! How difficult could it be?
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. Ha! So, that’s how Susie did it. She got up early and hired some help.
She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings, she plants a vineyard. Vineyard = wine. Fun for everyone.
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. Now Susie is speaking my language. But, this applies to my husband how?
She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Most days, my lamp burns past the witching hour, but I know hubby just wishes I’d hold a candle for him. How many times have I said, “I’m too tired”?
Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. Children, husband, parents, friends. What a gorgeous tapestry is sitting in my hands. What if I screw it up? What happens if I thread a wrong stitch and rip the edges with my irritability, moodiness, and disengagement?
Then the verses break into more spinning, sewing, making bedspreads and dressing in fine linen and purple gowns—Susie must have been quite the crafter. Perhaps it’s the squirrel chaser in me, but each time I get to line 19, my mind starts to wander, and discipline falls to the wayside. I go back to being a self-centered wife who takes the man that I love for granted. I set the table with moodiness and serve food spiced with brooding and impatience.
Then, I jump ahead and find the line that sets me back on the path to being a wife of noble character.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. My mantra, my prayer, a reminder pinned to my Twitter page. Susie didn’t have Twitter.
My husband fills my life with laughter and cloaks me with his strength. He shows me who I want to be by his example, and his patience and wisdom set my caboose back on the tracks.
We have been married for twenty-five years, together for twenty-eight. Big numbers adding up to larger memories and bellies bursting with gratefulness. The Proverbs 31 practice shouldn’t be about making a list and checking off the tasks. It certainly shouldn’t be about perfection. Instead, it’s a metaphor and parable for trying to do the best we can, and not beating ourselves up when we don’t. Maybe that’s why we start every thirty to thirty-one days with a new calendar page—an opportunity to reset ourselves with new perspective and determination.
I’m thankful that he doesn’t expect me to be a flawless, flax-spinning, lamp-carrying beauty. I’m just grateful that he knows I’m trying and hopeful that he gives me another twenty-five until I get it right.
Michelle Terry is a purposeful wife, mama, writer, and healthcare professional – accidental photographer and tree chopper. Suffers from shiny object syndrome. Michelle has been published in The Snapdragon Journal, The Schuykill Valley Journal, The Front Porch Journal, and NASCAR Illustrated. She blogs at Lipstick and Laundry, and is working on her first book, due late 2016.
From Joanne- Happy Anniversary Michelle! May you and your husband have many more wonderful years together. Thank you so much for writing this post for us! xoxo