Wednesday, August 9, 2017

She Ain't No Gold Digger! (Adjectives Describing a Woman Who Fears the Lord)

By Rebecca Barnes

A few days ago I threw a small fit about the difference between salad forks and dinner forks. After the awkward silence that followed my tirade, my husband asked me how I ended up with him. Sometimes things as stupid as silverware remind us that we grew up starkly different.

When I was in high school my dad gave me a credit card for emergencies. So, I bought shoes, obviously. When my husband was in high school, a money emergency meant he had no money. This is a big financial divide. 

So money became something we argued about a lot in the early years of our marriage.

I took over managing our finances at some point. I managed to put my creativity to work with our money—figuring out how to stretch a paycheck. This is one thing rich and poor alike have in common—they can be thrifty.

It was also fairly early on in our marriage that I read Proverbs 31:1-31 through wife eyes and found it hard not to feel bad about all the wool and flax I had failed to buy and all the mornings I slept in instead of getting to work for my household. But the passage has too much in it to aspire to for me to see it only as a list of all my failings. 

It’s the A-Z guide for best wife ever. And it has nothing to do with sitting still and looking pretty. So that appeals to me because I’m not the type to try and work harder on my humility or patience. I like to be busy. I like to do stuff. I try hard to be successful. I love to give my family the best. I manage things. I make decisions. That’s me. Figuring out that being strong and capable is not only what the Bible outlines as the ideal for men, but the ideal for women as well, is absolutely freeing. 

Check it out: 

Who can find a capable wife?
She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will not lack anything good.

She rewards him with good, not evil,
all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax
and works with willing hands.

She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from far away.

She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her female servants.

She evaluates a field and buys it;
she plants a vineyard with her earnings.

She draws on her strength
and reveals that her arms are strong.

She sees that her profits are good,
and her lamp never goes out at night.

She extends her hands to the spinning staff,
and her hands hold the spindle.

Her hands reach out to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed.

She makes her own bed coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known at the city gates,
where he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes and sells linen garments;
she delivers belts to the merchants.

Strength and honor are her clothing,
and she can laugh at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom
and loving instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the activities of her household
and is never idle.

Her sons rise up and call her blessed.
Her husband also praises her:
“Many women are capable,
but you surpass them all!”

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
Give her the reward of her labor,
and let her works praise her at the city gates. 
—Proverbs 31:1-31(HCSB)

My two favorite lines are:

“She evaluates a field and buys it;” and “… she can laugh at the time to come.”

I love the idea of the ideal wife described in the Bible as a real estate investor. She’s a happy girl, who is secure in her financial future because she has taken charge of it. This is a much different picture than the one I grew up in church hearing about from Ephesians 5, where the wife always submitted to the husband. It’s a different picture than the one I saw growing up in a family where my dad put my mom on an allowance. That’s true. So, I love Proverbs 31. Think I’ll read it again and underline all the adjectives so I can pray that Jesus shapes me into those: capable, willing, strong, loving, … a woman who fears the Lord.

Rebecca Barnes is married to an amazing man, who encourages her faith and listens to her typing a lot. She has three daughters and a son-in-law. She loves to cook for anyone who likes good food, and she feels competitive about weeding her flower garden. She lives in Old Town Lafayette because it’s a little eclectic, like her.


  1. Such an amazing blog! Thank you! I actually read this entire scripture this morning. I guess God is truly reaching out and asking us to be the best women that we can be. I pray we hear him and follow the whispers.

    1. I love this too! Thanks Rebecca.

    2. That's cool. I love it when Scriptures come in serendipity. It's so confirming that God's Word is alive and personal, ya know?

  2. I love the thought of looking at Proverbs 31 scripture for all the adjectives! I agree it is freeing!
    The vast difference between Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 5 descriptions of a woman has forever been something I'm not sure I fully understand. Plus that in too many places, I have seen the Ephesians 5 being used to "put women in their place" kind of way.
    Looking at the two scriptures side by side sounds like a good book! Has anyone heard of a book that looks at those two sections of scripture together?

    1. Good question! I haven't seen any books like that but that would be interesting.

    2. I don't know of a book with this combo, but an Amazon search for Proverbs 31 books brings up quite a few studies that could be good. Searching for "Ephesians 5 woman" brings up some books that look kinda academic. Hope you find something.