The ideal woman isn’t a glamour queen. She’s a faithful, loving, resourceful woman whose value is beyond measure.
Solomon’s ideal woman is not often found today, but my mom was the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman. Somehow she managed to fill all the qualities of the woman Solomon described.
Verses 10-12: “When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.”
She was always taking care of us kids. My dad never had any fears. He knew the home front was taken care of. Dinner was ready as soon as he walked in the door and we ate together as a family.
Verses 13: “She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.”
Mom was an avid seamstress and raising three girls put her talents to good use. I remember one hot summer night I was preparing to take a bath. I brought down my winter pajamas to wear.
“Don’t you have anything else? It’s too hot for those!” She said.
I didn’t have anything else, because like all kids my age, I was growing faster than mom’s production of new clothing. I didn’t think any more if it and went to take a bath. When I came out, mom said, “You’re too fast. I didn’t finish.” She held up a nearly finished green gingham nightie, perfect for sleeping on hot summer nights, that she sewed for me while I was in the tub!
Verses 14-16: “Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar. She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household. She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”
Mom provided food for our family through her resourcefulness. We had a large garden every summer that produced most of the vegetables we ate all year. During the summer mom would send all four of us kids with buckets to scour the countryside for the fruit that grew wild there. We would come home with loads of black raspberries, elderberries, pears, apples and plums, which were then canned, frozen or turned into jams or pies. Thanks to mom no matter how tight things may have gotten financially, a food shortage was never a problem.
Verses 17-19: “She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms. She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle.”
Mom was always busy. Her lamp literally did not go out some nights and she would often be found at her sewing machine making something for one of us girls or in the kitchen baking cookies or cupcakes for class parties at school.
Verse 20: “She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.”
Even though we could easily have been considered poor when we were young, there was always enough for others who were in need. If we brought home a friend unexpectedly, there was always enough food to go around. I don’t know how she did it. I often wondered if she had come into possession of the widow’s jar of oil, the one that never ran out.
Verses 21-22: “She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed. She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing.”
Mom is literally described here in these two verses. Not only was she busy sewing dresses that us girls needed for school and church, she made quilts for all our beds and many of them had our favorite colors, or scraps leftover from the dresses she’d sewn for us.
Verse 23: “Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land.”
My father was a well-respected man at church and his place of business. A man cannot be respected very much if everyone knows that his wife is less than respectable herself.
Verse 24: “She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts.”
My parents operated a business out of our home. The bulk of the work fell to my mom. She made Civil War clothes for people who were involved in Historical societies and re-enacting. On some occasions she even supplied them with sword sashes!
Verse 25: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.”
Mom was a picture of strength and dignity. She was a strong woman with high morals who always stood up for what was right.
Verse 26: “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel.”
Faithful instruction is the job of every mother. I’m sure we can all remember words of wisdom spoken to us by our moms.
Verse 27: “She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness.”
Idle would never be a word used to describe my mom. Even if she wanted to go out and enjoy the sunshine after being cooped up inside at her sewing machine all day, she would stockpile handwork and take it outside with her. The only thing that remotely showed any idleness was the afternoon walk she would take to stretch her legs. This was time she often spent in prayer.
Verse 28: “Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her:”
She has earned her due. All of her children respect her and her memory. We are all adults now and we do “arise and call her blessed.” We give her credit for who we are today.
Verse 29: “‘Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.’”
There are many women who work hard and take care of their families. It’s harder nowadays with so many single moms raising their kids, but there are some women who just stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Verse 31: “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
Outward beauty is not something I think of when I think of my mother, she was much too busy doing for others to worry about herself. Her insides, however, were beyond compare! She feared the Lord and was faithful to Him.
Verse 31: “Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.”
Although I am sure she has received all the rewards God has to offer, I can’t be sure of what they are. She is in Heaven now and the rewards she has received there are beyond my comprehension.
Mom has given me something to live up to. If I end up being half the woman she was, I’ll be successful in life. Even though she’s gone, she has left me memories from which I am still learning and trying desperately to pass on to my daughters.
Do you know a woman who fits Solomon’s description? Get to know her well if you don’t already. Learn from her. She has much to offer.
Ruth O’Neil is a widely published author and homeschooling mother of three.