As you may have already figured from the name of this blog, I tend to use Proverbs 31 as a measuring stick for my life.
There are other scriptures that depict the kind of life I want to lead. One of my favorites right now is Titus 2:4. But I always gravitate back toward Proverbs 31.
There are some things that I have to interpret for a modern context, like “she selects wool and flax and works with eager hands,” (v. 13) because I don’t know where to buy wool or flax, and I don’t know what I’d do with it if I did acquire some.
But other parts are more straightforward, like “her arms are strong for her task” (v.17). That I can do.
Well, maybe with a little more weight-lifting.
Anyway, there’s one verse in particular in this epilogue that I have always wrestled over.
“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” (v. 15)
While it is still dark? Really?
I am not a morning person. Anyone who knows me well, like Jason or my mom, can vouch for this. Nothing in me wants to get up while it still dark. (Do you know how early it stops being dark in the summer time? Way too early, that’s for sure.)
But I feel guilty for that reaction when I read this passage. If I was truly a virtuous woman, I thought, I would be able to get out of bed at 5:30 or some other ridiculous hour, with a smile on my face, thrilled to be serving my family.
One in particular caught my eye. It was worded like this:
She is risen in the night and has given food to the children in her house….
I read this, and then read it again.
Food for the children? In the night? Was it possible that instead of depicting a woman rising at dawn to fix her family an elaborate breakfast, this passage was describing a new mother stumbling out of bed in the middle of the night to nurse her infant? And in that moment, while I pondered those words, the most beautiful thing happened.
I made room for grace.
Where before there was guilt over not being the epitome of the “wife of noble character” described in this passage, there was now space to see that with God’s help, I am beginning to become the type of wife and mother He wants me to be.
I still fall short of the ideal. And that’s okay. Because I was never meant to fulfill it perfectly. Only one man could.
That’s why Romans says:
“There there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us.” (Romans 8:1-4)
So tomorrow (my birthday) while I may have to get up in the middle of the night to feed Garrett, I will not be getting out of bed early.
I may even sleep in.
And I won’t feel guilty about it.