She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchants.
True story, the first time I read these verses in scripture I thought, “well that’s outdated”. I brushed aside what God was telling me through His Word and moved along looking for something relatable and current. Scripture was written so long ago, surely God knew I was not going to seek out wool or flax, make linen garments, or deliver sashes to anyone. Nope, not me. I am too busy with my job, and my hobbies, and my home making responsibilities, and caring for my marriage. My job, where I work such long days. My hobbies, like writing, that I also put a lot of effort into. My home, that takes a lot of time and energy to maintain between housekeeping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and keeping it cozy for my husband and I to enjoy and find peace in. I figured, God sees how hard I work at so many things, perhaps he didn’t need me to live up to the standards of the wife He portrays in Proverbs 31:14-14 or 31:24.
It wasn’t until my husband lovingly told me how much he admired my hard work that I realized I was already living up to some of the Proverbs 31 standards of a wife. Now, this isn’t a direct quote, but he said something along the lines of how much he appreciates me for how hard I work and continue to work when I come home. God isn’t demanding much from us in His Word if we truly think about it. His Word is simply describing a woman who puts effort into all she does, works hard for her family’s needs, and does it all willingly. We can be that woman, in fact, we already are.
My husband really does appreciate the time and energy I put into home making. We travel so much, having a peaceful place to land is important to both of us. It sounds so minor and expected even, but creating a safe and peaceful place to call home for you and your family is a direct product of your hard work. Being a “housewife” is hard work. There is so much that goes into a house to make it home and maintaining it is absolutely a job. I bet most days you don’t even notice how much work you’ve put into your home until you’re sitting in bed, finally, reflecting on the day. Even then, when the effort we’ve put in becomes routine, it doesn’t always feel like we’ve done much with our day. But let me assure you doing dishes, cleaning floors, folding laundry, making beds, decorating, cooking meals, yard work, and running errands are all a lot of work! Heck, even grocery shopping can feel like bringing food from afar after traffic and packed stores. If you’ve done any of those tasks today, you, my friend, are a hardworking wife.
Maybe you’re like me and on top of your job as a home maker, you also have a career that helps pay the bills. You get up and leave the home to go to work, or turn on the home office, and earn an income. Whether you sit at a desk, travel all day, provide a service, fix a problem, make a plan, or complete any task, you are working and you are working hard. You don’t need to make linen garments or sell sashes to be a hardworking woman. Whatever it is you do, know that your work is valuable and necessary, and in fact, makes you a Proverbs 31 wife.
Maybe you don’t get paid for the work you do at all. Maybe you volunteer your time or have a hobby. My writing is a hobby at the moment, something I work hard at and enjoy doing, however do not make any income off of. Maybe you have something similar. Something you work hard at because it’s something you enjoy, something you take pride in. You are someone who can be admired for the time you spend in the gym, outdoors, crafting, or creating. You work hard at the things you care about, and that my friend makes you a Proverbs 31 wife!
I know this series is meant to bring useful ways to become the wife that Proverbs 31 calls us to be, but I want to reassure you that you already are. Whatever it is that you work at, working hard is a quality that sets you apart as a wife of noble character. Whether you make the home, have a career, nurture a hobby, or all of the above, you are a wife of noble character. The next time you have a long, hard day ahead, hold your head up high and remember that you’re serving not just yourself or your husband in this hard work, but you’re serving the Lord. Do it gladly and do it well, knowing you are living up to the very high standards of being a wife of noble character.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” Colossians 3:23.