As I’ve grown through my walk with the Lord, I’ve read time and again about the Proverbs 31 woman. In case you haven’t run across this, here is the Bible excerpt.
Proverbs 31: 10-31, KJV
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
To be called a Proverbs 31 woman is a great honor, but it is also something that feels unattainable to many ordinary women. I would love to say that I always speak with kindness and that I excel all others in virtue. But I’m too innately human I suppose.
So when I first heard my pastor preach on the “godly woman,” I expected to hear more about that unattainable Proverbs 31 woman. Amazingly, his sermon went in another direction completely.
Instead of the classic Proverbs woman, the sermon was on Hannah, Samuel’s mother. Given the name of this website, it goes without saying that my interest was immediately piqued.
The first characteristic of a godly woman in the sermon was that she has real problems and troubles. Hannah was barren, teased by her husband’s other wife for being barren, and pretty much miserable. Wow. Can’t get any more real than that. While we all may not be able to empathize with each of Hannah’s problems, there is a good possibility that each of us at some time has faced big, bad real-world problems. I know I have.
Secondly, the godly woman expresses vibrant prayers. Hannah prayed so fervently that Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk. But God knew. There are moments when tears roll down my face and words scream from my heart to the Lord. When all the world turns upside down and the walls come tumbling down, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be praying. Fervent prayer? Check.
Thirdly, the godly woman experiences God’s provision. I don’t’ know about you, but my entire life is an example of this every day. The Lord gave Hannah a child. In my life, the Lord never fails to provide. There have been times when I’ve been down to two cans of veggies and a box of macaroni. Yet somehow, my family of four is able to eat not one, but two or more meals from that small amount of food. And I don’t mean starving and skimping with three kernels of corn each. I meet eat and be full. The Lord will provide all we need, and I believe that more than I can explain.
Next, the godly woman keeps her promises. Hannah promised her only child to the Lord. Now that’s huge to me. The idea of begging for a child only to give him to the Lord and leave him at a temple as a toddler has always blown my mind. So if Hannah can do that, what can I do? I can keep my promises. This is not always the easiest thing to do, and I’ve failed at keeping my promises many, many times in my life. But as I grow in my relationship with the Lord, I have found that my promises are easier to keep. I don’t have any magic answers to how that has happened, but I know that it has.
And lastly, the godly woman explodes with praise. Wow. What a criterion for being godly—to explode with praise. What is meant by this is praise even when it seems like nothing is going right. Glorifying the One who makes all things possible. Raising our voice in praise even when everyone around us thinks we’re insane for praising. And it means being thankful. I think I wrote a book about that? Being thankful every day of our lives. There is always something to be thankful for. I openly admit that it is not always right in front of us, but it is still there. And the more we train ourselves to look for it and acknowledge it every day, the more we will find ourselves moving closer to the Lord.
I have to admit, after I heard that sermon, I thought, “I may have a chance at this.” There’s more to a godly walk than just being a Proverbs 31 woman. While it’s a great thing to be called one, there is hope for the rest of us. And maybe—just maybe—if we strive to be a Hannah, we just may end up a Proverbs 31 woman, too.