"Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come."
This is a verse to chew on. I looked up the words strength and honor in the concordance and it also had alot to say.
Strength is force, security, majesty, praise, boldness, loud, might, power, strength and strong. All very powerful words, striking in intensity. One of the major lessons I got from this passage about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she was very strong--both physically and mentally. Perhaps this is why the heart of her husband trusted so much in her. He had no reason to fear that she was not up to the task of being his wife and the mother of his children.
Am I strong? Physically, yes. Mentally, yes. Emotionally? Mmmm, I'd be curious to see what my husband thinks about that one. I am getting ready to finish 3 weeks without him and I would have to say I had many more emotionally weak moments than strong ones. I did not find strength in the Lord like I ought to have. Maybe this is because I consider myself mentally strong and much of the time, I must admit to my great shame, I rely on sheer will to get me through tough times. But, as I admitted to some online friends about a week ago, my will is what keeps me angry! I may be able to power through something, but there is no mistaking that it is my own strength that's doing it. The Lord is not shining through my life as I grit my teeth and display everything BUT His grace and mercy. Oh, mercy. I naturally lack that gene. I am all to willing to let my children "get what they deserve" while completely overlooking that the Lord spares me from what I deserve everyday. So emotionally, I'd say I have some work to do to be considered "strong".
Then there's honor that this woman clothes herself with. Honor means magnificence as in ornament or splendor--beauty, comliness, excellency, glorious, glory, goodly, honor, majesty. WHEW! That's alot to live up to! Not only is this woman strong, she makes the most of her beauty. I have posted before about the struggle I have with trying to keep up my girliness while raising my children. Some days I do not even see the mirror at all while I walk by on bathroom trips. And boy, does it show! I guess I am a decent looking woman, but sometimes it's hard to find it in smeared mascara and limp or frizzy hair and my husband's old t-shirts. lol. And my husband is one who really enjoys a little effort being put in. So once, again, I have alot of work to do. The Bible does not teach fawning over oneself, making sure every little detail is so in place that a woman could not possibly do any job other than sit on a fluffy couch and be pampered. But Proverbs 31 definitely puts some emphasis on doing our best with what we have. Girding ourselves with strength and beauty and doing our jobs as wives and mothers are not mutually exclusive.
I love the last part of this verse. Rejoicing (some versions say laughing) in times to come is a great visual. It points to a playfulness that probably made this woman very easy to be around. This passage is just all over me tonight! Sometimes I am such a stick in the mud with my kids and even husband that I can imagine I am no fun to be around. God forgive me for that! I think something would be missing for my kids to look back on their time with me and say "she kept a decent house, loved my dad, made us clothes, gave us a good education, but man, was she a killjoy!". Ugh. I've gotta show more joy around my kids. Life is not all about doing, but BEING. Being who God means for me to be. I think that's the only way I'm going to rejoice in time to come.