The Proverbs 31 Woman

Proverbs 31 is pretty regularly regarded as the Bible text that describes the type of women that Christian ladies should strive to be. Unsurprisingly, the world paints a very different picture of the ideal woman for us. The world seems offended by the Proverbs 31 woman, thinking that she is overly dependent on her husband, weak, or boring. I won’t take the time to work through every verse in this chapter, but let’s take a short look at this woman and what she is really like, and which woman, the woman of the world or of Proverbs 31, is the strong, capable role model for our young ladies.

The 11th verse of this chapter says that the heart of her husband safely trusts in her. It reminds me of that popular saying “Behind every man is a good woman.” It seems that saying isn’t very far off. The husband of the Proverbs 31 woman rests assured that she supports him, encourages him, and speaks well of him to others. Many times women of the world are heard bashing on their husbands, talking about their shortcomings and downfalls. It simply cannot be true that Christian men are perfect, therefore the indication here is that although her husband has problems and issues, she will not broadcast these things to others.  Her husband knows this, and it leaves him with a feeling of trust and safety with her.

In a good portion of this passage, this woman is seen working with linens, buying, selling and trading. She plants, she sews, and she cooks. She works! In verse 17 she is even described as physically strong. It takes a physically strong woman to be so busy and active with her family and own business ventures. “Stay at home moms” are often regarded by the world as the type of woman who sits at home, just waiting for her husband to come back. That simply isn’t the case with the Christian housewife. She is busy, always working on new things around the house or finding appropriate ways to earn money and be productive. She is anything but weak.

Finally, a well-known verse in this chapter is verse 25 which reads “Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Other versions of the Bible like to translate the last part of the verse “She laughs without fear of the future.” In either translation, you can almost picture a woman, bright-eyed and smiling, with her face lit with joy over one thing or another. She isn’t boring! She’s a pleasure to be around. She laughs and smiles and rejoices! She doesn’t do her work with a scowl and mumbling to her family, she is exactly the opposite.  God tells us that women like this are to be honored for their strength.  It takes great emotional and spiritual strength to walk through the life of any Christian and be a person who often is found smiling, laughing and taking joy in life.

The Christian woman, the Proverbs 31 woman, is not an overly dependent, weak, or boring woman. We should never expect any of that of our women in the church. Instead, we should be women of love, strength and immense joy! So, instead of trying to be stoic, tough, and “savage” as the world likes to use as compliments for women today, let’s be the women God calls us to be in this passage. Let’s be the Proverbs 31 woman.

Suzie Kuiper

The Truth Will Set Us Free: Endorsing a Book Full of Lies!

Over the last few months I read a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. I want to share with you what that book did for my life lately. Yes, I am endorsing a book full of lies. But the book, of course, points out the lies in the lives (especially of women) and how we should respond to them in an appropriate way. There are eight sections in the book, covering lies about God, ourselves, our sin, priorities, marriage, children, emotions, and circumstances. I’m going to take one from each section here and explain a little bit about it. Here’s a couple that hit home really hard for me.

Lie #4: God is not really enough.  None of us would EVER admit to this out loud. Because really, what kind of Christians ARE we if we admit that we believe that God is not enough? We would be honest Christians if we did so. Deep down I realized that I was looking to so many other things to fulfill my life: my acceptance into my college program, my relationship with my boyfriend, my friends, my GPA, my job. I constantly believe that God is not enough for me, but as Nancy DeMoss explains, He is! We often fool ourselves by thinking “I do need God, but I need God plus ______.” This only leads to pain and distress in our lives. Rejecting this lie and embracing the truth that God is our all in all will give us true, lasting freedom!

Lie #11: Physical beauty means more than inner beauty. *Sigh* the ever-present “girl problem” of our day and age. I will be honest with you, when I look in the mirror this is what I often see: too short, stomach isn’t flat; face is breaking out, too many heavy curves, baggy eyes, overweight, downturned mouth. Sometimes I even see good things: soft brown eyes, hair that’s behaving, skin’s clearing up, maybe I’m even losing weight! We all know that Proverbs 31 explicitly shows that a woman’s virtue and her godly attitude are much more important, but how many of us live that way? How many of us find our worth in the godliness we exhibit, in the way we love others, in the selflessness of being a true child of God? That is where worth is found. In the eyes of our heavenly Father, who sees not as man, but who looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

Lie #13: I can sin and get away with it. Another one that I dare bet none of us have ever said out loud. We probably haven’t even heard any other Christians say this out loud. But this again is where actions speak louder than words. How often do we not know full well that God sees, hears, and knows our sin, and we do it anyway? Nancy DeMoss explains how this is one of the fundamental lies that Eve believed in the Garden of Eden. Satan had convinced her that she could sin (eat the fruit) and get away with it (not die, but become like gods).  We have to remember that God does know our sin, and there are often consequences for walking in sin. DeMoss goes through a number of sins common in the lives of Christian women and reminds us of the possible consequences of them. I’ll leave those details for you to read yourself, though.

Lie #20: A career outside the home is more valuable and fulfilling than being a wife and mother. This lie is in the section of priorities, and while there were several others that hit home for me (including the amount of time we dedicate to time in the Word), this one means a lot to me, but thankfully, it means so much to me because I made a good choice about it. From the time I was in grade school, I knew I wanted to work with animals. I wanted to be a vet. As I got older, I realized that veterinarians do not typically have a 9-5 life. They are called out on farm calls, emergencies and urgent house calls. Now, first and foremost, I know women who are fulltime vets and mothers, and they do a great job balancing work and family, but that wasn’t what I wanted for myself. When I went into my junior/senior years at high school I had a choice to make. I didn’t have a boyfriend and didn’t know if I would ever get married, but I knew I wanted to. Did I go for a full graduate degree and become a vet, assuming God would never lead the right man to me? Or did I go for a lesser degree, praying that a family is what God intended for me. I chose to go into veterinary technology, an undergraduate degree typically with a full or part time, flexible work life. In today’s world women are told “go to college, get degrees, get careers!” But then their children are raised by grandparents or daycare workers. That is not what God had intended for the Christian women. There should be no greater, more fulfilling job than to be able to stay at home and watch your children grow in grace and love for God. I believe I made the right choice concerning my work life, and I hope many other women will make prayerful decisions as well.

Lie #24: If I submit to my husband, I’ll be miserable. Ahh, the section on marriage. The holy, eternal bond that ends in less than 8 years (according to Ask.com—sorry for the poor citation) in the average American couple. I’m not married, but this lie makes me very, very sad. Marriage is supposed to be a bond representing Christ and the church! Are we miserable when we submit to Christ? Men are not perfect (and neither are women!), but when you love your husband, submission is not a painful thing. Nancy DeMoss even has a couple sub-categorized lies in this department, including “The wife is inferior to her husband,” and “The wife does not provide input or express her opinions to her husband.” Submission is not always easy, but a true man of God who loves is wife will not be tyrannical, but will be a loving, devoted picture of Christ, and make submission actually JOYFUL for his wife.

Lie #27: It’s up to us to determine the size of our family. Another touchy topic in society today. Basically this boils down to stepping back and recognizing God’s control in our lives. We may say that we are only going to have two children, and God’s plan (no matter what lengths we might go through to change it) is that we have 10! Or we might want to have half a dozen kids running around our home, but God is only pleased to allow us one or two, or even none. Nothing, not our finances, emotions, time constraints, or birth control pills will stop God from creating in our home the family that He is pleased to give us. Planning is wise, but plan with a knowledge that God will always make His will come about.

Lie #34: I can’t help how I respond when my hormones are out of whack. This lie really just lends itself to, as DeMoss puts it, “cater to our emotions.” We allow our emotions to control our lives and our reactions, when in fact that is not acceptable. This quite simply is not a valid excuse for reacting or responding in inappropriate ways. Yes it’s true that out of whack hormones make it hard to keep our heads on straight sometimes, but that does not mean we can use that as an excuse to fly off the handle.

Lie #39: I just can’t take anymore. Allow me to raise my hand right now and say “guilty as charged.” This is very accurately how I respond to trials in my life all too often. My GPA suffers? I just can’t do this anymore. My friends hurt me? I can’t take this anymore. My heart is aching over something in a relationship? I can’t take any more of this. We give up all too quickly. Why don’t I instead turn to God and say “His grace will lead [me] through!” I will study harder next time, communicate better in the future, and be more patient from here on out! Though I can’t keep those things perfectly, God will give me the grace and strength to continue to do what He calls me to do, even when my heart hurts and I just want to give up. Trust in Him alone!

This book was amazing, and I plan on re-reading it again and again, as I know that these lies will never be all completely gone, but I will need to see them continually and respond to their deception in my life, just as all of us will. I highly suggest this book to any Christian woman. It was easy to understand, and while some parts had hints of free-willed salvation, reading this book with Christian discretion is highly profitable for the life of the daughters of God.

Suzie Kuiper

God’s command to the woman (3)

In the past month we have been looking at God’s command to the woman to bring forth children and to serve her husband. We have seen how these commands can be applied to us as single women looking for marriage and in preparation for marriage and motherhood. Another important calling that God gives us is that we be modest in apparel and in our actions. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 commands us to glorify God in our bodies and at the same time to flee fornication, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own: For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

That this passage speaks first of fleeing fornication and sinning against our own bodies puts into me the awareness that we are called as God’s children to be modest. Our bodies are where the Holy Ghost dwells. God lives in us! And we always need to remember that in the way we dress. It is so easy, with trends and styles of clothing that the world tells us are beautiful or “cute,” to forget how important it is to cover ourselves. Girls and young women, you may be comfortable wearing short skirts or low V-cut shirts even to church, but why? Wearing those things to “look good” should not be our focus or goal. In fact, men, boys, older women like your mothers, grandmothers, and even a lot of your peers will tell you that wearing those kinds of clothes really isn’t that attractive. It gives you the wrong kind of attention, and to put it bluntly, can be the cause for a man to lust. Yes, that is sin, but it is also a sin to dress in a way that makes it easy for a man to fall into temptation. Girls, we have that kind of power, and that should make you cautious about how you dress! And that is why God calls us to flee fornication first. As a young woman, who are we trying to attract? Think about it. Personally, I believe that the man who loves me loves me for who I am on the inside first, and I do not want to place a temptation before him that will cause him to fall from chastity before that day when we can express our love in a sexual way as husband and wife. I want him to see me as a modest, Godly woman, whose love for God is seen in how I cover the body that He has given to me. Now, please don’t think I’m perfect or that I always think that way. Yes, I fall into sins too and don’t always WANT to be modest, but as young women, let’s encourage each other to love to think and dress that way.

1 Corinthians 6 also points out that our bodies are not our own. Our body is really a gift from God and we must use it to glorify Him! The best way we can do that is not pridefully trying to show it off to everyone, but humbly and gratefully serving Him with a modest heart and spirit. 1 Peter 3:3 brings this out as well, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of Great Price.” God looks at the heart, and He sees those meek, gentle women, who do not seek to glorify themselves, but to honor God first, and He calls them beautiful. Truly, those women who seek first to glorify God in everything will not want to draw wrong attention to themselves by their outward actions, and also by their dress. 1 Tim 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel…”

So let’s encourage each other. Next time you go shopping, or next time I do, remember what God’s word has to say and think of those close to you. Have fun shopping! But always keep in mind our calling to glorify God in our bodies.

LK