A Wife of Valor
Recently I opened my Bible to Proverbs 31. As a female, this chapter is one very familiar to me. When I was 13 my mom sent me to a weekly Bible study for young ladies. As a tomboy who loved adventure and despised anything pink, a Proverbs 31 study brought to mind a neat orderly row of girls dressed in pink frilly dresses dutifully knitting socks while conversing in low tones. Turns out that picture was actually pretty accurate.
To attend, you had to wear a skirt or dress that was knee-length or longer (no pants or shorts allowed). Each week you had to memorize two verses of Proverbs 31, with the end goal of memorizing the whole chapter. Each week we learned a new skill: embroidery, cooking, sewing a pillowcase, and honestly I don’t remember what else, except that it had to do with becoming the model future wife and mother that Proverbs 31 supposedly dictated all little women should be. All I know is that it was the most boring time of my life (except for the snack break, that was the highlight for sure).
One week, as we sat in our skirts, embroidering roses on handkerchiefs, I mentioned in an exasperated tone how much I despised sewing (after pricking myself for the tenth time with the sewing needle). Fast forward to that afternoon, when my mom received a call from the study leader who basically said your daughter is being a bad example by saying she hates sewing, and we may have to ask her to leave if she doesn’t settle down and conform to the biblical image of femininity that we are trying to instill in these girls.
I admit my attitude was NOT where it should be. The heart behind that group was in the right place, and the leader genuinely cared about each and every student! I will also add that I was probably the only girl who didn’t enjoy everything, the others thought it was loads of fun.
But I have to be honest. That study ruined Proverbs 31 for me for many years. In my mind, that passage meant becoming a stagnant entity whose sole existence was to slave in the house and care for husband and children. The Proverbs 31 woman appeared to me as a passive behind-the-scenes person who didn’t really play an exciting role in the family unit. As a result, that scripture really fell off my radar as the years went by and I became an adult, a wife, and then a mother myself.
Until that day a few weeks ago when I opened up my Bible to that chapter and began to read.
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
I checked out the footnotes in my Bible for that verse, and it translated “virtuous wife” as lit. “wife of valor”. Hold up. Valor? I looked up the definition of valor.
Valor: strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness: personal bravery….Great courage in the face of danger, especially battle.
Turns out the word valor comes from the Latin “valorem”, which means “strength, moral worth” with the sense of “courage” added later.
This changed everything for me. I saw Proverbs 31 in a completely different light! The image in my mind of the P31 woman was formerly of a diminutive, forlorn, forgotten individual who rarely thought for herself, deferred to her husband in all things, and modestly remained in the background of life.
Yet what comes to mind when I read, “Wife of valor”? I see a woman who holds down the frontlines at home. I see a woman who courageously fights for her family, who puts their well-being first and protects them no matter what. Who trains up her children to be warriors for Christ. A strong woman who doesn’t fall to pieces when hardships comes upon her family. A wife whose husband trusts and respects and goes to for advice. That is a woman I will gladly aspire to become!
So, I challenge you, weary soul in charge of the daily ins and outs of your household, read Proverbs 31 in a different light. Look for the character of the godly woman it describes, and picture her going about the various tasks of the day with courage, bravery, and strength of mind. God knows full well that being a mother requires those traits just as much as a soldier!
Let’s be a wife of valor most importantly for our husbands. My husband needs a wife who he can trust won’t crumble when the going gets rough. A wife who can be counted on to share the burden of raising a family. A wife he can come home to with anticipation, knowing that she will be there with arms open wide to greet him, no matter how the day went.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
Learning about the wife of valor will be an ongoing lesson for me, one that humbles and convicts, but one that I am so thankful the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to. May it be an eye-opener for you as well, friend!
Written by Strength & Song Admin, Natalya Brown.