Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ideal Wife Part II: Characteristics

Part II:  Characteristics
                Proverbs 31 provides for us a very good list of characteristics to live by in our lives not only at home and at church but also in our communities which throws worldly attitudes and actions in our face.  I know I struggle with the outside world.  The negativity can bear down on me until I succumb to the same approach to life.  Now that I am a stay-at-home housewife, I don’t feel the crushing world around me as much.  Unfortunately, when I go out and am with the right people, I fall into my old habits.
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
                And she laughs at the days to come.  Proverbs 31:25
                The visual with the first line brings to mind that of a lady.  I see nice manicured nails, hair in the right place, and clothing that looks classy.  Hum, my nails are never done, my hair is pretty good, and I tend to like wearing jeans and football shirts supporting my son’s team or my favorite NFL team.  With the help of my Bible study sisters, they aided me to see more of myself in the line by redefining strength and dignity.  Instead of looking at the superficial outside of ourselves, we need to study our inside.  Do we have the strength to stand by our conviction even in the face of adversity with family/friends?  Do we display the self-respect of ourselves and others through our bearing, conduct, and speech?  Most of the time, I do pretty well.  Not always though.  I still need to be conscious of the traps that are set for me.
                The second line of the entire chapter of Proverbs 31 is my favorite.  “And she laughs at the days to come.”  The note in my Bible states, “Laughs at the days to come: anticipates the future with gladness free from anxiety.”  Isn’t that simply beautiful?  I do worry sometimes about the future until I remind myself that everything in my life is in God’s capable hands.  About a month ago, my husband applied for a temporary job.  The two main problems I saw about the job was a significant loss in pay and the potential of him traveling a lot.  With a teenage son in the house, I like having instant backup from my husband.  Yet, the fun he would have doing the job would be unprecedented.  I could have worried, but I gave it to God as did my husband.  I am so free to laugh at the future, wrinkles and all.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
                And on her tongue is kindly counsel.  Proverbs 31:26
                Wisdom and kindness seem to be lacking in our world.  Granted, I think I have many wise and kind friends out there; most of them are the ones that will be reading this.  And there are many others too.  Unfortunately, it is so much easier to listen to the frankly stupid, hurtful people.  We need to rise above this way of living and still be kind.  For the most part, I display wisdom and kindness.  Unfortunately, there are people out there who push my proverbial buttons.  I carry a cross of burden each time I have to work with a specific school secretary.  She never smiles either with her face or with her voice.  She never seems to know the answer to any of my questions or seems to care.  I have been so fortunate to know many amazing secretaries who are helpful, cordial, and personable.  This one is not.  So, every time I know I have to talk with this person, I pray for charity of spirit with a kind tongue.
She watches the conduct of her household,
And eats not her food in idleness.  Proverbs 31:27
                The one thing I am very stringent on is watching the conduct of my household which drives my family crazy I am sure.  Both of my sons have accused my husband and me of being overprotective because we set an age of when they could date and we expect to know their plans when they go out and about.  (Now that the oldest is in college, we don’t expect any of this, but I still like to know some of what is going on in his life.)  I will not apologize for any of what we have done with the kids.  Coaches, youth ministers, teachers, and adult friends comment on the maturity of my children.  They like my kids.  That is the best compliment a parent can receive.  Besides, we are raising them to strive to be the ideal Christians.  We are not settling for less.  We also don’t settle for less in my or my husband’s conduct.  We live what we discuss.
                I so don’t like the line of eating in idleness.  As we discussed this line in Bible study, the other women didn’t know exactly what was meant by it.  Unfortunately, I know it all too well.   My comment, “It is eating bonbons while watching soap operas.”  First, we shouldn’t be idle.  There is a time to rest when we are weary.  Some people have health issues and can’t do the same amount of work as others, but resting is different than being idle.  The definition I like the most from dictionary.com is “habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.”  Though I hate it, I have to rest more than the average person due to health issues.  However, my first year of retirement, I rested and carelessly overate at the same time.  To rest, I watch television or read.  Not bad things, unless adding food to that.  Now I am trying to cut the food and when I watch television, I crochet.  I am resting, but not being idle. 
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
                The woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors,
                And let her works praise her at the city gate.  Proverbs 31:30-31
The Bible note for this first verse is worth mentioning.  “The true charm of the ideal wife is her religious spirit, for she fears (loves) the Lord.”  We don’t need to be flirty, alluring, appealing, or the like.  As we grow older, this will slowly start to fade.  Our love for God will outshine all of the worldly aspects of other women.  What a contradiction to what the media sells all of us.  Now, I do dress nicely for my husband and yes, I flirt with him.  Okay, I confess.  I try to be alluring and appealing, but only for him.  I do believe this is part of being a wife.  However, I don’t do any of this for others.  Oh, and I don’t do it like the media does it.  I try to be a lady and not a lady of the night.  But, how do we juggle this?  It begins by picking the right spouse.  If we have a worldly spouse, he is going to want a worldly wife.  I was blessed by God in the husband God choose for me.  He is a faith filled husband who believes in Proverbs’ ideal wife. 
I want to go just a little deeper with this.  We need to teach our children this way of thinking.  I want my boys to marry women (unless they become priests) who want to strive to be the ideal wife.  I want my daughter to marry a husband who will reward her labors as she strives to be the ideal wife.  One day a young lady made the comment, “you are going to expect a lot out of your daughter-in-laws.”  We were talking about the expectation I have of my boys in taking leadership roles in the church while they live at home.  “No, I won’t expect anything of my daughter-in-laws.  I do expect my sons to pick good wives though.”  If they fail to do this, they will have to work even harder at their marriages. 
The media lambasts us with many antichristian viewpoints in all areas.  By their perspective, I should be 115 pounds, wearing heals and low cut tops, and doing everything in my power to look 25.  I am suppose to let my children have free reign of their lives with their own cell phones, televisions, new cars, and a million other material items.  Come to think of it, I should have a ton of material items as well to go along with a McMansion.   I don’t want to give the wrong impression of myself.  I don’t think there is evil in really nice homes or other material items.  I have a cool pickup that I love and love to drive.  We probably have too many televisions in our house.  I am also going to work on a new bedroom décor that isn’t necessary, but I want it.  But it is evil to make this a priority in our lives.  First and foremost comes our faith, without that, we are nothing.
We can change our world.  Instead of listening to the media, we need to reward women for their labors.  We need to praise them at the city gates.  So kudos to Holly, Diane, Heather, Diane, Beth, Pam, Cindy, Becky, Deidre, Patty, Amy, Pam, Michelle, and all the wives and mother’s out there striving to be Ideal in their roles as Christian Women, I commend you and pray for you.
Blessings to you all.

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