The Proverbs 31 Woman: Pipe Dream or Personal Challenge?

by Lee Ann Mancini

The beautiful description of a virtuous woman laid out in Proverbs 31:10-31 sounds totally unattainable. She is the perfect wife, has her own business, plants a vineyard, is busy day and night, gives to the poor, makes and sells clothing, has a great sense of humor, is wise and loving, never says anything ugly, her children adore her and grow up to be awesome.

Good grief!  I am exhausted just reading those verses. There are many times when I feel like a Marvel Comics superhero to just survive until bedtime. Forget about being winsome and industrious and wise and generous—on those days, sanity is my highest goal. 

When life feels messy even chaotic, when making a simple decision is nearly impossible, or remembering where you put your cell phone makes you want to cry, being a Proverbs 31 woman is more of a pipe dream than a realistic challenge. Yet our hearts yearn to be that virtuous, awe-inspiring woman who is adored by her children, loved and respected by her husband, and admired by those who know her. 

From where did this How-to-Be-a-Perfect-Woman list in the Bible come?  Not surprisingly, King Lemuel’s mother—like all of us mothers of sons—wanted him to choose a wife wisely. So, she provided him with her version of a modern-day “Godly Woman Infographic.”  When we look through that checklist of perfection, all of us can find things that we do well. And we certainly have no problem recognizing those things we wish we did better or more consistently—or even at all.  But how can we ever attain the lofty goal of becoming this Proverbs 31 virtuous woman? What is God telling us He wants from us in this Scripture passage?

We are loved and cherished by an amazing Heavenly Father. He wants us to cling to Him for everything we need. He wants us to trust Him to provide that. He wants us to believe He has our best interests at heart. God wants us to live in the knowledge that He has a specific plan and purpose for our lives and will walk with us every step of the way. When we do that, we can recognize that being a virtuous woman means being a woman who loves God and seeks to serve Him in all that we do. In ALL that we do: cooking, cleaning, working, playing, raising kids, caring, loving, forgiving, learning, resting, praying, and worshiping Him. When we live out Matthew 22:37, becoming a Proverbs 31 virtuous woman is no longer a pipe dream or a personal challenge, it is who we become through the perfect and faithful love and grace of Almighty God. 

“Jesus said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”  Matthew 22:37 (NET)

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author:  Lee Ann Mancini is an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. She is the executive producer of the Sea Kids animation series https://seakidstv.com that helps children to build a strong foundation in Jesus.

Lee Ann’s books, The Sea Kids series, has won over 25 awards, and is a favorite among teachers, parents, and especially children! Her podcast, Raising Christian Kids, is available on all major platforms. Her 10 -15- minute podcast will empower and equip all who are raising the next generation to have a strong foundation in Christ.

 Join the conversation: To what characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman do you relate?

Not Just Your Lord

by Carol McCracken

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matthew 22:37 (NIV)

When my son was six years old, my husband and I both worked full-time. Connor had a babysitter, Nikki, who loved the Lord. One summer she asked if Connor could attend her church’s Vacation Bible School. My husband and I heartily agreed.

After the first day, I picked Connor up from Nikki’s house and asked how VBS went. With a giggle, she told me Connor knew and loved his Lord. However, he had told her there was no reason for him to look for Jesus in her church because he knew Jesus lived and worked at his church. He did his best to correct Nikki’s theology. Nikki along with a group of her church’s VBS staff, finally convinced him to participate in the program by luring him with snacks and enticing playground equipment. They had four more days to work on him.

We tried so hard to make sure Connor loved God because God loved him first. Never wanting him to doubt God’s mutual love, we unintentionally taught Connor an exclusive relationship with the Lord. He understood his Heavenly Father knew his name, the number of hairs on his head, and that he was a masterpiece. We were delighted at how he took all of that in and deeply loved God back. However, it was clear we needed to teach Connor how to share Jesus, and to understand Jesus came for all His children.

While God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him, He also wants us to share His love with others. Connor had learned the greatest commandment of all quite well. He loved Jesus with all his little heart. That summer he also learned the second commandment, “…Love your neighbor as yourself“ (Matthew 22:39 NIV). Nikki and her church’s VBS staff showed some love to Connor. They brought that little boy to a fuller understanding of what Jesus wanted from us as His brothers and sisters.

A personal relationship with Jesus was never meant to be exclusive. Jesus has enough love for all of God’s children. He remains fully and divinely equipped to have a personal relationship with each one of us. Based on that, He wants us to put others before ourselves to show Jesus’ love to each other. That is a sacrificing kind of love like Jesus modeled in His earthly body.

Though Connor is our only child, we were reminded God has many children whom He loves equally. Thankfully, Connor learned to share that love of Christ. He came to realize Jesus as much bigger than he thought and not confined to living in a single brick and mortar church.

We were so grateful to those who used their gifts, such as Nikki along with the VBS staff, to help us raise our son to know the Lord correctly. Never underestimate the power or influence God gave you to share the love of Christ.

I took that thought to heart and volunteered to help with VBS at our church the next year. Apparently, I mortified Connor with my acting abilities as I taught all his fellow attendees from the stage. The following year, I showed the love of Jesus to others a bit more privately, teaching off the platform and in a small group, and he was able to hold his head up once again.

So, get out there and show the love of Jesus. For Connor and all other children, you could potentially mortify, but use your specific gifting in sharing Jesus’ love wisely. Just use it.

About the author: Carol McCracken has been a Bible teacher for over twenty years. She currently serves on church staff as Adult Discipleship Minister. Her passion is to make the Bible come alive for women and connect it to a real relationship with Jesus Christ in today’s busy and demanding world. She is an AWSA and Destin Word Weavers member.

Carol is a contributor to ChristianDevotions.us, Arise Daily and Mustard Seed Ministries. She published her book Wisdom: Where to Find It If You’ve Lost, Forgotten, Or Never Had It in November 2020. Connect with her at CarolMcCracken.com or on social media.

Join the conversation: What misconceptions about God have you had to correct in your children?

Am I Doing Enough for God?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

A mother of three young children, who works part-time, recently told me: “I sometimes feel guilty that I’m not doing enough for God.”

Have you ever found yourself saying that?

We live in a world focused on doing to the point of making busyness our badge of success. Multi-tasking in the church is what appears to others—and ourselves—as ultra-spiritual. But while a relationship with the Living God produces a desire to obey and serve Him, that service results in joy and rest, not perpetual stress!

I shared with that precious mom that her ministry was her husband and the three little lives she shaped and influenced on a daily basis. I also shared that God wanted a relationship, not a work record from her.

I believe God would rather have us be with Him than do a bunch of things for Him. We can see that desire in Jesus’ response to a man who asked about the greatest of all the commandments. Jesus’ answer was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NIV).

God is focused on relationship. We tend to be focused on activity. He is the One who tells us to “be still” (Psalm 46:10) and to come to Him and rest (Matthew 11:28). We are the ones who are striving to do more.

Yet, as we spend time cultivating a love relationship with God, we will know how to serve others well. But it will never be at the expense of overlooking our primary responsibilities (our families and those God has placed in our care) or feeling over-extended.

If you are a mom with young children, or a woman who works full time, or someone who has her hands full (and who doesn’t these days?), rest in the truth that as you grow in your love for God, your labor will naturally follow. As you sit at His feet, He will eventually call you to get up and serve Him. And as you are growing in your love relationship with Him, you will learn how to discern the difference between His loving voice and the voice of your own guilt telling you to do more.

Lord, help me to remember that Your greatest requirement of me is to love You before anyone and anything else.

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Am I Doing Enough for God? insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including her best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on Empty, When Women Long for Rest, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources Cindi McMenamin Long for Rest book cover (1)to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with guilt about not doing enough for God?