My first encounter with a Proverbs 31 woman was at a costume party held at our mission church in California when I was about twenty four, married for two years and newly a mother. I was walking around admiring the creativity of the ghosts, ghouls, and movie star wanna-bees. Then I spied my new friend, Trudy, dressed in a sheet with a burka wrapped around her head. When I finally got up the courage to ask her who her character was, she said, matter of factly, as if I should know, that she was a Proverbs 31 woman. I wish I could have seen the blank, perhaps even mocking look on my face as I tried to process what she was saying! Sadly, even though I had attended a Christian college, I struggled to get meaning out of my King James Bible. In hind sight, Trudy was so much more spiritual. I have to admit that I did not know who or what a Proverbs 31 woman was.
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31:10-11
As soon as we got home I pulled out my Bible and looked up the chapter to which my friend referred. Fascinated by the teaching of a mother to her son, King Lemuel, the characteristics of a Proverbs 31 woman rang in my ears. Who was this woman? As a young wife and mother, I was searching for my identity. Would it be possible for me to be like that woman? As I read the words, my mind said, “No”, but my heart, moved by the Holy Spirit said, “Maybe.”
Being a called worker wife, I was literally in a class by myself. My husband was one of two teachers at a school he had been called to establish; the other was a single teacher. Our pastor and his wife were older, a childless couple in their sixties. There were a couple of other young mothers in our congregation, but they were all seemed so different from me and I couldn’t identify with their life styles at the time. Outwardly, I worked to project self confidence. To others, I appeared to have it all together as by my husband’s side we served in our small, but growing school.
Inwardly, though, I was not at all sure who I was. There was loneliness in my soul. At that point I didn’t even know what I needed; I just knew that I was longing for something that was missing. Of course, I went to church. I was a baptized believer. I was serving the Lord as a teacher, organist, called worker wife, mother, etc. etc.
The truth is that at this point in my life, I had not been faithful in reading the Bible. I had studied the Word, but had not implanted it into my heart. I was resistant to learning God’s ways. I wanted to be seen as a godly woman, and yet wanted something different than I had grown up with or seen modeled for me. What I didn’t know is that God was getting me ready to grow.
Now this Proverbs 31 woman was intriguing. Reading the words, I began to desire to be like that woman. I wanted my children to be “clothed in scarlet.” Like this woman, I longed to be so productive and enterprising. I wanted to laugh at the future. Most of all, I REALLY wanted my husband to be able to truthfully say this about me,
Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Proverbs 31:29
For the first time in my life, I started praying for a mentor. I asked the Lord to send me someone to show me the way. I didn’t know what I needed, but the Lord did.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26
As I prayed, I started to let go of my expectations for a fabulous woman to show me the way. Ironically, there was one right in front of me. I just didn’t know that I had to ask her to be my mentor. Instead, I proceeded to sit back and wait for the Lord to send me someone else. You will never guess how my prayers were answered. Within a short time, my mentor showed up in white overalls in the form of a seventy-five year old man!
My mentor’s first advice to me was to be careful for what you ask, you just might get it! Through an unlikely match for a mentor, sent by a wise and Heavenly Father, my search for true meaning began. Mr. Haynes enriched my life and helped me grow in grace.
Stay tuned for the next blog in two weeks and you will marvel at God’s irony in our lives. The irony and the beauty is in your life, too. Once you see it, the journey of your life just keeps getting better and better.
Heavenly Father, you know what we need before we ask. We praise you for your wisdom and care in every aspect of our lives. We confess that so often we do not ask for your help and guidance. We want to do life our way. Then we get into trouble and cry for your help to get us out. Forgive our selfish and small-minded ways. Help us to turn to you in everything, trusting that you have many wonderful things prepared for us to do. Grow our faith and use us to show your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.