“Who can find a noble wife? She is worth far more than rubies…”
If you are a Christian woman, you know exactly what the noble wife is. She is the scriptural example of a woman after God’s own heart.
The wife of noble character honors her husband in all circumstances, raises children who proclaim her to be blessed, and creates nearly every material thing her family needs through the diligent work of her hands. She manages a household staff, gives to those in need, and seeks the Lord in all things. She is the first one awake each morning and the last to lay her weary head on a pillow at night. Her home is immaculate, and she always possesses a spirit of joy.
The passage of scripture stops short of calling her perfect, but alas, that is merely semantics. We all know what and who she is: a portrait of who we should be.
Unfortunately, when many of us think of the wife of noble character, the above image probably comes to mind. That woman lives in a time and place that is no longer a reality. If my sights are set on becoming that woman, then I might as well desire to be Angelina Jolie…both are equally impossible.
The Proverbs 31 woman, however, is not meant to be an archaic, radically feminist guilt trip. I know a lot of fine Christian women, but none of them live lives that are anything like the wife of noble character. It’s not that they don’t live their lives in a Godly manner, but they don’t fit the wife of noble character’s mold. Some do not have children. Some work outside of the home, and some do not. Some attend college full-time while trying to do all of those things. Some are single, and some are divorced. And none have household staff!
I believe that the purpose of this scripture is not to corral us all into a cookie-cutter frame of thinking, but to remind us that God has standards of excellence in everything. Our responsibilities and titles change in different seasons of our lives, but the call to excellence does not. Our focus, then, should be on striving for excellence in all aspects of our lives. And if we strive to become wives, mothers, and women who please the Lord and reflect Him in everything we do, the fruit of our efforts will be excellence.
I certainly fail many, many times when it comes to reflecting that level of excellence. When my husband stumbles in the dark of our bedroom at 4:30 am, mumbling under his breath about having to wear a dirty pair of pants to work because I have not done the laundry, I know that he, just like the Psalmist, also cries out “Who can find a noble wife?” Or when I lose my temper because the dog pees on the couch, and then I scream at the kids for not walking her, I know that they must be thinking, “Hmmm…yeah, I’ll rise up and call mom something…”
In my heart, I desire greatly to be the wife of noble character. But it has taken me a long time to get to the place where I have an understanding of what that means for my life, and what I need to do to get there. I have lost that focus as I’ve become busy, and now I want to change it.
My husband and I are on the cusp of being empty nesters as our two youngest children are in the last few years of high school. The Lord has impressed upon me that I have a very small window of time to be with my family under one roof, and that I need to focus on them for this season in my life. In order to be the mother they need and the wife my husband needs, I need to find a way to balance my priorities and strive for that excellence in everything I do.
It has also caused me to realize that what I have thought was an attempt at being that wife of noble character the last few years has been a mirage. While trying to work full-time, attend college full-time, and be a good wife and mother, I’ve ended up stretched so thin that I’ve been unable to maintain a healthy balance in my life. I have fought depression and anxiety, I’ve developed unhealthy eating habits, and I’ve become so weary that there is nothing left to give to the Lord in our relationship. And that is not the life He wants me to lead.
About 4 months ago, the Lord began stirring in my spirit a sense of being unsettled. I was teaching at a Christian school, working on my master’s degree, and struggling to balance those commitments along with my home and family responsibilities. I thought that I was doing what He wanted me to do.
So when I heard Him tell me to separate myself from my job, I was confused. I loved my students as if they were my own children. My teenagers attended school where I worked, and it was the only school they had ever known. Why would God call them away from friends and teachers they loved, and me away from my ministry? I became confused and distressed, and I stopped sleeping.
At the same time, the Lord began stirring inside of me a passion to do other things, things He had told me years ago to put on a shelf unti the time that He asked me to take them up again. I was excited, but fearful. After several months of prayer and seeking pastoral counsel, and battling my flesh like no battle I have ever been in, my husband and I stepped out in faith. I turned down the offer of a job at my school and pulled my children out.
It’s not going to be easy making do without my paycheck, but I do believe that He has a plan to meet all of our needs during this time. I’m creating this blog to chronicle my journey…my noble journey…towards becoming the wife of noble character that I know He is calling me to be in this season of my life. Everything about my home, my marriage, and my career has come under the microscope of evaluation as my husband and I seek the direction that the Lord is pointing us in.
I invite you to share that journey with me and my family. At times, you may learn more about me than you care to know. But I desire your questions and comments and I need your encouragement.
Perhaps you are on your own noble journey…
If so, then what is God calling you to do at this season in your life? What changes is He asking you to make? What are your struggles, and what are your victories?
Are you reflecting that excellence that He desires?