Even with the gap of several thousand years between when Proverbs was written and today, one thing is abundantly clear. Women have always been busy multi-taskers whose work is never done. If ever we thought that Jesus did not understand the workload of a woman, we now know that is not true. These words are manna to frazzled women everywhere saying, “I understand, I see.” That said, the Proverbial wife is a Rock Star. In reading these verses, we see a woman whose husband trusts her, who is a hard worker, and who brings in food from far away lands (probably organic). She is an entrepreneur who turns a profit. She gets up early, and she stays up late. Her kids are prepared for bad weather, because she has organized the glove and hand-me-down closet. She is kind to the needy, and she is dressed in beautiful clothes. She sounds perfect, so it is very easy to set her aside as made-up, unattainable and, therefore, irrelevant; but then we would miss our manna. I think she is offering us her secret.
There is a depth to her that goes beyond the things she does. Indeed, more than what she does is the spirit of how she does it. Verse 25 says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, she smiles at the future.” It is this verse that makes me stop and read it all again imagining her laughing as she goes, and yet doing everything with great strength and dignity. By smiling at the future, we know this woman is doing laundry, dishes, housework, and community service with a lightness of knowing that such work is simply part of something all together bigger and more lasting. And with strength and dignity as her clothing, we see a woman assured of a worth far beyond stocked cupboards and swept floors.
If we were to list the things we do in the course of our days, we could be labeled:
cook chauffeur tutor coach psychologist closet organizer housekeeper personal shopper banker decorator nurse...
We do a bit of all these things, but we cannot do everything to mastery every day. As such, in our exhaustion, we can easily begin to limp through our days feeling only the drudgery - no dignity, no smiling. So, how does this Proverbial wife do this with a head held so high?
One of the hardest questions for me to answer is: what do you do? I look at the floor and mumble something about being a mom and a wife. My mind swims with both the magnitude of my chores and the ambiguity of my ‘label’. I am answerless. And I think this is the difference between me and this Rock Star Wife . In her heart and mind, she is quite sure of who she is. While she does in fact perform all these mundane tasks, these do not define her. Instead, I think she has written God’s word on the tablet of her heart, and she claims boldly in the depth of who she is the labels that God Himself has given her.
They are labels like this:
Bride of Christ Daughter to the King Daughter-in-law to the King Beloved Aroma of Christ Ambassador of Heaven City on a Hill Light of the world Dwelling of the Holy Spirit Hands and Feet of Jesus Disciple of Christ Headed for heaven with a room being prepared Prized and adored by the King of Kings Worth fighting for, worth dying for
These are the labels she wakes up clinging to. It is with these labels that she brings great dignity and lightness to her work. Yes, indeed, for these current days she may serve as a midnight baby nurse and a housekeeper, but she is doing so as the Daughter to the King. To be sure, she will spend time in the classroom tomorrow, but she is doing so as an Ambassador from Heaven. She knows that the first list of labels lasts only for a blink, but the second list lasts for all of eternity. And so she is clothed in dignity, and, yes, indeed, she smiles at the future. And here is our manna: these are our labels too.