(People have asked me to write about the Proverbs 31 woman. I’m certain this isn’t what they were expecting when they asked me, but I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately and thought I’d share my random and biased thoughts…)

A Proverbs 31 Woman. The woman written about in the 31st chapter of Proverbs in the Bible isn’t all that and a bag of chips. Don’t get me wrong, she’s one amazing woman! In fact, the chapter tells us she’s priceless! Her husband thinks she rocks! She’s a hard worker, she’s like George Costanza working in importing/exporting. She gets up at the crack of dawn. She’s in real estate, not to mention, a sommelier and wine connoisseur. She’s got arms like Venus Williams, burns the midnight oil and is a fashion designer. She’s philanthropic, recognizing that the whole world doesn’t revolve around her and her alone. She pretty much invented sweaters and Pottery Barn. Her hubby is a big stinking cheese in town, revered among his colleagues. She’s got a great sense of humor, maybe even snorts when she laughs…She’s super duper smart, so smart she’s able to teach others. She doesn’t sit on her can watching soaps all day, eating bon bons. Her kids think she’s the best mom in the whole wide world and her husband is so whipped over her that he tells her, “Sweetheart, You STINKING ROCK!” Most importantly, she loves God with her whole heart and seeks to do His will, so according to the whole passage, that is why she should be known…not for all the other great things she does.

But here’s my beef: We all revere the Proverbs 31 woman, don’t get me wrong. Some of you have even had thoughts of resentment towards her, even though you don’t know her and you’ve never met her, so judging her is pretty lame. But my beef lies with verse 15. You see, most women wench about the first line which is, “she gets up early, while it is still dark”, so then they compare their lack of interest in getting up to greet the sun or use the lame excuse of not being a ‘morning person’…whatever works for you…Others get worked up about the fact that she’s up bright and early flipping pancakes and crepes for her family, making goat cheese and garbanzo bean omelets and homemade pitas and they are just trying to open the box of some lame named candy-coated boxed cereal while trying to aim the milk stream into the bowl, not to mention multi-task not burning whatever the heck is in the toaster and pack lunches at the same time.

My beef, however, lies with the third part of the verse:

“…and portions for her servant girls.” Here it is in context:

“She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.”

I know that certain cultures incorporate not the kind of servant hood that once plagued early American culture, but rather helping hands, if you will. I know a girl that was a missionary in Peru and it was insulting to their culture not to hire a laundress and cook because it provided work for the locals. So, yeah, the Proverbs 31 woman was a great woman, but keep in mind that she had AT LEAST 2 young women working for her because “girls” is plural, and given her husband was a big cheese and she seemed to rock the merchandising world, I’m guessing it was more than two…

So, the next time you start feeling badly about how much you aren’t accomplishing on any one given day, because, let’s say you are a busy mom, remember that you don’t have a staff working for you. If your husband gives you crap about not being everything Mrs. Proverbs 31 is, ask him when your cook and laundress will be showing up, and nanny if you have small children. HOWEVER, if you DO indeed have a staff of two or more helpers working for you and you aren’t measuring up to the Proverbs 31 woman, then you are a slacker and you should send your helpers to help the rest of us…

One day at a time, ladies, enjoy and love your families one day at a time.



18 Responses

  1. THANK YOU!!!!!!! 🙂 I so needed to hear this right now. Feeling a little like one of those servant girls lately. 😉

    (And your comment about her being like George Costanza was hilarous!!)

  2. I heard a sermon once that echoed these exact same sentiments. It freed me in ways I can’t explain. Thank you for reminding me once again.

    Now I’m going to go love on my big, freshly graduated 17-year-old son and my getting-so-big 7-year-old son. Their sister got married in May so I know the time is fleeting. I’m enjoying it all.

  3. So awesome, Adrienne. I am staffless and there’s a lot to do around here! 🙂

    We have friends who were missionaries in Kenya when their two boys were young. I started to marvel out loud about her apparent skills when she stopped me and said they had a housekeeper – part of the culture, like how everyone in America has a car, she said – so she could spend all of her time with her little guys. I admit I felt better.

    Kind of like how I feel better after reading your post.

    Now, back at it!

  4. YES! YES! YES!!! so perfectly said.

    When I lived in Indonesia I had a servant who bought all my food, cooked it, cleaned it up, did all the laundry, cleaned the whole house, and even cleaned off my bike when I came home from riding through the local rice paddies. So great! And then I came back to the states and became a Mom… and promptly informed my husband that we had to move to Indonesia so I could have some help!!! I told him that no matter what the rest of the women in the world we capable of, I was going to have to make a choice btwn a perfect house and well raised children. Obviously I have chosen the latter and never regretted it for one minute.

    (but i still miss that maid…)

  5. Thank-you. Really needed to hear that today as we leave for another out-of-state trip with dirty dishes in the sink and a hamper full of laundry. And the really sad part, the kids have been out of town so my house should be spotless. Darn laundress must have fallen asleep.

  6. Just read this proverb last night! I thought, ‘Good grief! How am I ever going to measure up!!!?’ Thank you for your timely message and insight! Now excuse me while I go finish cleaning my house!

  7. Love the ‘americanization’ of that passage! Having lived overseas I can attest that american moms are much more stressed out and foreigners just don’t get it, housekeepers and all. Incidentally, the BEST Prov 31 study I have ever done is ‘Because of Jesus’ by Connie Witter. It will set you free! I have gone thru it 3 times.

  8. Thank you, Adrienne. SERIOUSLY! I have 5 kids 12 down to 3 yr old. . .And I’m trying to get ready for a new year of homeschooling and lesson plans for teaching out of the house one day a week. . .And I needed to hear that. Proverbs 31 has shown me that it is a good trait to be industrious. I’m a really, laid back, naturally low-energy, chilled out kind of girl. But in recent years (last 7 or so), I’ve kind of embraced the idea that God has equipped me for the work that he has called me to do. That doesn’t always mean, “God won’t give us more than we can handle.” Sometimes it’s more like, “He’ll handle it, when I can’t.” His strength is made perfect in my weakness and all that good stuff. . .very freeing.
    Anyway, thanks for freeing us from the compusion that to relax is to, “eat the bread of idleness.” 😉

  9. So, so true. I heard a talk once that not only pointed that out, but also pointed out that it was likely talking about her whole life – not that she did all those things all at the same time, but that she likely had “seasons” of life where she did different things (such as the real estate, wine connoisseur – not the wisdom part).

    Great post! 🙂

  10. Great post…When I taught this Proverb to my 7th grade girls…years a go…and had them memorize it…I reminded them of the servant girls that we have that she did not
    1. washer
    2. dryer
    3. vacuum cleaner
    4. refrigerator
    5. dish washer
    6. oven
    7. stove
    8. microwave
    9. Electric mixer
    10. Electric toaster
    11. Blender
    12. Crock Pot
    13. etc., etc., etc.

    I wonder sometimes just how much time we save with all these “time saving” devices and then…what do we do with all this time????

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