Several years ago while I was being mentored by my dear friend Kimberly, she challenged me to memorize a passage of God’s word specific to women, Proverbs 31:10-31. This passage was written by King Solomon for his sons to learn how to choose a noble and virtuous wife. It was originally written as an acrostic in the Hebrew alphabet to make it easy to learn and memorize. Not so acrostic-y for us English-speaking Americans, but I was determined to muddle through.
To help me in the memorization process, I would work through the passage at night with my husband, Steve. We came to use a tool to memorize of putting it into our own terms. Though today I can’t remember all of the paraphrases we created, one that stood out to me was Prov. 31:11-12.
For the section where “she does him good, not harm” we jokingly said in our best southern twang, “She don’t make him miz-bo” (meaning miserable).
In the years since I first began to move that scripture from my head to my heart, I have earnestly tried to live up to the standards set by this phenomenal Proverbs 31 woman (which scholars say is a culmination of the ideal woman, not an actual person). Nonetheless, she was industrious, an entrepreneur, a gifted mother, physically strong, exceedingly generous with her time, talents and treasure, AND a tremendous wife. Not too shabby of a list.
But I also know that so often, I fall gloriously short. To the point where my husband and I joke about my not-so-spiritual, far less-than-perfect “Proverbs 32″ moments. (And no, there is no such chapter in scripture, much to my dismay!) Because I DO make him “miserable” at times! My husband craves order and I bring chaos and am unorganized. He values being early and I am forever running … a good 5 to 10 minutes late. He likes to know in advance what we’re budgeting for spending on groceries and Christmas and for travel and I …? Can be so much more “spontaneous” and in the moment and have a hard time passing up a great deal!
Which is why I am oh so very thankful that God’s grace covers these moments with an abundance of patience and mercy! (I shared more about this in our study of Renee Swope’s A Confident Heart, in my post for P31 Online Bible Studies blog this week, on Ch. 10.)
I’ve got to be honest. I really don’t like to confess these moments here in the ‘public’ sphere. If I were to sit and have coffee with you, sure, I could pour out more soul. But in an actual blog that might be read by people who don’t know me well, right here in front of God and everybody? It’s no fun to think about. Who wants the shame and guilt that comes with all of THAT?
And then God reminds me, “This isn’t about you. This is about MY grace that is always sufficient for you. My gift to turn what’s messy into a message. My ability to encourage the discouraged. So would you just get yourself out of the way, please?”
So here I am. Trying my utmost to aim for the Proverbs 31 standard, and yet forever grateful for the fantastic grace — God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense — poured over my “Proverbs 32″ moments, that restores beauty amidst the ashes.
How about you? Can you relate? Any other “P32″ women out there???