Lately, I have been studying Proverbs 31 and trying to figure out exactly what kind of woman I should be practicing to be. There is a lot of controversy nowadays that surrounds being a “Proverbs woman.” In our generation, women want rights & women want to be strong. Those are GREAT things. However, it isn’t a bad thing to balance life out and still hold onto some ideals. Enjoying beautiful things doesn’t take away your strength. Lighting candles and creating a warm atmosphere doesn’t make you any less competent.
My mother is a truly incredible woman. My biological father ruined their marriage and left her with a baby girl and a toddler boy. Anyone who knows my mom would describe her as an extremely strong woman. The more I think about it, I really can’t think of many things that my mom can’t do. However-in the midst of her strength, my mother taught me some of the most important lessons about femininity and making things beautiful.
When I was little, we didn’t have much money. The incredibly fun part about being a child is that you don’t grasp the concept of money. I never thought we were struggling. I wouldn’t have been able to differentiate Crate & Barrel furniture from Goodwill. But there is a reason for that. No matter how small our home was, my mom went ALL OUT making it gorgeous. Even if we knew we’d probably end up moving again soon, my mom always decorated each room and filled it with life.
I have a mom who lit candles in apartments. I have a mom who hung curtains in the tiniest homes. I have a mom who would seek out the best bargain fabrics and be hard at work on her sewing machine for days perfecting beautiful pillows. I have a mom who brought beauty and life to our home…no matter what size it was.
A lot of people laugh in this generation (I find myself doing it, too), reading this part of Proverbs 31′s description of what women should be: “She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.”
The funny thing is, that doesn’t have to be outdated or out of style. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to make a home beautiful. You don’t have to be from the 50′s, straight out of “Pleasantville”, to be a homemaker. My mom is strong. My mom is tough. My mom has struggled. My mom can handle anything. But even she is the Proverbs woman…because she understood the value and importance of bringing beauty to the world.
The passage in Proverbs goes on to say:
“She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.”
One of my absolute favorite memories was Christmas time with my mom & brother. We couldn’t afford ornaments, so my mom cut a pizza box and we painted our own homemade treasures. I loved that. My mom could have easily given up. But instead, she created beauty no matter where we were or what we could afford.
Proverbs 31 wasn’t created to give us boring rules.
It isn’t there for us to feel inadequate.
It isn’t there to make us feel weak or powerless.
In fact-it’s just the opposite. It is there to encourage us and empower us as women! We have been given quite the task: to bring beauty to the world. I don’t know if you’ve ever walked into the average young, male apartment or dorm. There are some exceptions (my boyfriend & my brother are actually some of the very few tidy men of the world). As a general rule, guys don’t worry much with making things “look pretty.” Women bring life into the lifeless areas. Women bring beauty into the old, dorm rooms. Women bring warmth into homes with cold, white walls. We have been trusted with a very important job.
To become a Proverbs woman, it starts with becoming a Proverbs girl! Start with your home…no matter where it is or what the size may be. You will love your dorm SO much more if you walk into it and feel at home. I’ve lived in a TINY studio apartment for two years, and I still love coming home because I made it my own. It’s like my own safe haven…filled with color, candles, and atmosphere.
Remember: power, strength & creating beauty are synonymous.