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I'm not proverbs thirty one

Have you ever read Proverbs 31? 

It describes a woman who is intimidating to me, yet I aspire to be. If you ever have time, read the chapter, if not, I'll break it down for you. In this chapter King Lemuel meaning "devoted to God" wrote a passage that was almost a perfect description of his mother, some say he was inspired by her wisdom. His mother, Bathsheba made her wisdom very evident when she was basically telling her son "not to fall into the trap of immorality, chasing after women will sap a king's strength. (Proverbs 31:3) I can only draw my own assumptions that Lemuel was inspired by that saying and wrote up a whole chapter based on what a woman of virtue should look like. I won't quote the chapter in this blog, although I must have read it three or four times tonight, and had it basically memorized at some point in high school, however I'll attempt to simplify with my such minuscule concoction of words.  

So, what is a Proverbs 31 woman? 
She is trustworthy, does no harm, ambitious, providing, productive, fruitful, servant to all, strong, confident, hard working, creative, charitable, plans ahead, cares for herself, supportive, respected, joyful, wise, kind, caretaker, efficient, praiseworthy, and most importantly fears the Lord. 
Upon reading each verse I just kept shaking my head in complete and utter shame. The chapter isn't meant to be a check list or a thing we, as women are supposed to achieve to perfection, however, am I even close? 

This past week, I feel as though God has been laying it on my heart, and revealing it to me. I used to pray for God to show me my truest desires of my heart, but I don't know if I ever meant it, because then I'd see so much dirt, hold so many broken pieces. However, lately, I haven't been asking for it, and maybe that's because He has been showing it to me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. 

I have written about pain, I have whined about brokenness, but the one who is stomping on my heart and dragging it through mud is the one and only...me. I have broken my own heart the moment I let the "Proverbs 31" woman intimidate me. The moment I became a person who does harm and hurts people with actions and words, the moment I lost vision of a greater purpose for my life, the moment I began serving myself and myself only instead of serving all, the moment I gave up strength to carry on and given in to the things that I knew were compromising, I broke myself the moment I forgot to look ahead, instead began to walk backwards, the moment I was no longer joyful, nor kind, and the moment I stopped fearing the One who breathed life into my lungs.  

"She's clothed in strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come." Was a verse my cousin used to describe me when I was about seventeen or eighteen years old. Remembering her beautiful writing on a wooden panel, I am devastated that I've stopped living up to that. 

Some people may read the chapter and think that it's just a domestic check list for women, and list that is expecting us to do everything in the household, to basically be a slave. Please stop and re-read, it doesn't portray us that way, it's solely the characteristics of the woman we should strive to be. In the daily tasks, in everything we do in the modern age we live in, how is our character shining through. What do people see when we're with friends, what do people hear when you speak, are the words kind? Are they uplifting? When you work, do people see that you're efficient, productive and hard working? In your friendships are you trustworthy, fruitful, and a servant? (to clarify the term "servant"- are you putting their needs above your own? Are you worried about people and their well being first and foremost? Do you do daily tasks that may be inconvenient for you, but helpful to others? Are we humble?) 

Finally, do I fear the Lord? I know I must be speaking some weird language tonight, and "Lord" isn't the first word you'd hear me say. Fear...no, I don't mean fear as in God is a scary guy who will smite you upon any wrong doing, but fear with reverence and respect, fear with shame and remorse. Knowing that my entire sinful existence hung His Son on the cross for my life, what do I do to show thankfulness? How is my life and my words show the grace that was depicted in the book I believe in with my whole life? 

My best friend said something to me that rang so much of sad truth, we were talking about church, and she said "Like you even go to church." and I appreciate that phrase so much, I've let it sink in so deep. Going to church isn't just to seem "righteous" it's literally for the sole purpose of keeping your mind on track, rejuvenated, to come together and be encouraged that you're not alone in your struggles. 

So, Proverbs 31 woman...I'll be you someday, but for now I'm proverbs 31 in progress, please be patient. 



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