Portrait of a Strong Woman – Part 2

In the first part of this series, we talked about a virtuous woman…and more specifically wife.
In the second part of the Portrait of a Strong Woman, we’ll be learning more about her work.

A Strong Woman works.

Ok, so we will probably touch on the controversial question should a woman work inside or outside the home….To be honest, that’s not an important issue. I don’t believe that working inside or outside the home makes a woman more or less godly. The real issue is work ethic.

“She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships. She brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household…” Proverbs 31:13-14
She’s got a work ethic. I’m reminded of Ruth and Esther in this instance. These real women had real jobs. They didn’t have the attitude that they were above working. Instead they approached their jobs as God-given responsibilities. 
Ruth had to break out of her comfort zone and depend on the ultimate Provider, God. Who not only blessed her to put food on her table, but also place her in the line of the Messiah.

Esther, had a position that while, not necessarily political in and of itself, gave her a sphere of influence that saved the lives of millions of people. All because she was resourceful and willing to be used by God.

How many times have we as women, and guys this goes for you too, battled the mindset that we’re just doing a job. I know holding down the same job for months and years can be  so tiring…but that’s the part where we need God to carry us. I know that I will not excel in every aspect of my job naturally….that’s why it’s called work. This being said, I pray that God will remind me that I’m a work in progress. 

The perfectionist mindset will only hold you captive. Please, strive for excellence, but know that we all have things to work on, including our attitudes toward work and work environments. Remember, “whatever you do, do unto the Lord, not as unto men.” There are days when the Holy Spirit has to majorly convict me in this area.

Work is important, but if we rely solely on our own abilities, we’ll become bogged down with worry. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” That’s because He carries it for us and beside us, whether we feel like he’s there or not. 

Portrait of a Strong Woman – Part 1

So….I’m late with this post. You probably thought it was going to be on another topic, but I hope you keep reading anyway.

I originally intended this post for Mother’s Day.

Yeah…I know you’re sick of Proverbs 31…That perfect woman with glistening teeth, perfect hair and an IQ of 160 that just makes you want to gag….the picture in mind resembles a Pinterest board life, ok, you know that you know what I’m talking about.
She’s the perfect standard of the perfect female…the Betty Crocker housewife, that never burns dinner. Oh, wait that’s our misconception of who she is.

“But wait you mean she’s not all that?”

I think if we read the passage carefully, we’d see that it’s more about her character and love for God and people a little more so than just her abilities.

I think our view of this passage is often clouded by the constraints we/society have put on women….we sometimes want to be anything but women…(you know that at a certain time of month you’ve thought that.)

So, let’s peel away the fluff.

Verse 10 starts with the question, “Who can find a virtuous wife?” The Hebrew translation is “woman of valor.” The other meaning is that she is a versatile woman, which implies personal growth. Let’s look at another Scripture that tells a strong woman’s story – Deborah and Jael.
Both were married women. Let’s talk about what they did.

Deborah was a judge of Israel and a military strategist. She basically guided people when tough calls had to be made. Talk about level headed. Deborah had the guts to speak the truth, but not in a humiliating way. She stood up and knew that her God was greater than an enemy army. She was married to Lapidoth, so she understood work/life balance. Being a judge in that day wouldn’t have been easy, it wouldn’t have been easy for a woman, especially, but Deborah was called.

Jael – this chick had the gift of hospitality…and also had the courage to take out a man who was one of the most brutal military leaders of his day. Sisera – a man commanding an army with iron chariots, meaning he would show no mercy to his enemies. She knew that if she did not act, he would destroy her friends and possibly move on to her people. But Jael was, while in the process of saving an entire nation, protecting her husband, Heber. There was a peace treaty between him and a neighboring people, as well as being distant relatives of  the Israelites. If she didn’t do something, it would put her husband at risk as well. She acted on behalf of her family, friends, and nation.
Which, segways into the next verse, saying that “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; he will have no lack of gain, and she does him good and not evil, all the days of her life.”

Take a look at Esther, a woman in a tough position, yet, her actions, not only preserved the line of the Messiah, they also prevented the usurping of her husband, Xerxes. In reality, she prevented an empire that was allowing the Jews to return to their homeland, from crumbling, and she was protecting her husband from evil counsel. If he had not trusted Esther, and if she had not behaved in a trustworthy pattern, he would never have listened to her. She wasn’t Persian, and had to hide her identity initially, but she gained his trust, and was able to show him who his true enemies were.

Just some thoughts to ponder. This is merely my perspective, but just because we’re called to godliness doesn’t mean that we can just go about our everyday lives, God calls us to be out of our comfort zone as women, and to take a stand when it counts. If you’re single, my advice to you, as someone who didn’t date often, is that you should live your life do bless the Lord, and if/until he calls you to marriage, experience freedom knowing that you can be challenged to bless Him. He’ll give you the courage. but He wants to see you step out in faith.

Are you versatile? What area are you being grown in? In what areas do you need more courage? I know that for me. I am hesitant to trust…large gatherings…bug me. I’m an extrovert, but I like to see everyone given the chance to contribute. This is a challenge because I married into a large family. So many opinions are difficult to tune out, especially when there’s stress in other important areas of my life. But God is working on me in a slow and painful process which is causing me to be more reliant on him and to let him fight my battles for me. Which in the long run, is far less stressful.

Let’s be courageous!

Julie