Friday, July 20, 2012

That Perfect Proverbs 31 Wife
The Proverbs 31 wife is my nemesis. She makes me feel inadequate because frankly, I am more of a Mary than a Martha.   Given fifteen minutes to surf the net, I visit Catholic bloggers and spiritual websites over an arts and crafts site.   If I had $20.00 to blow on a bookstore, I’d get St. Monica’s biography over a Paula Deen cookbook or gardening how-to. The highlight of my homeschool day is not home economics or art class but receiving Eucharist and Catechism class.  So without proper resources, interest (and natural talent), I can’t measure up to the ideal Proverbs 31 wife.
Here’s a closer look at the lines of Proverbs 31 juxtaposed against my failures:

            1.         “She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household.”  Granted, I rise at 6 AM, when the toddler gets up but I’m reading the daily readings with one eye asleep and not cooking at that hour.  The longest I’ve spent cooking began at 10 AM and ended at 7 PM, concocting a Filipino delicacy called empanada.  You would think all the devotion would’ve ensured a feast, but the disastrous eyesore that I cooked looked like:

This reminds me of the entire afternoon I made bread bowls and forgot to spray oil on the bowl molds so, we wound up eating on wibble-wobbly ceramic sitting on top of bread:

Which prompted my husband to say, “Honey, you know we love your spaghetti and bean burrito.  You can always stick to the simple and basic.” (God bless him.)

2.         “She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle.”  Erhm… what’s a distaff and a spindle?  Is that Biblical term for modern day knitting and crocheting?  But, alas, remember when the yarn taunted me that I couldn’t knit?  Well HAH! I took my first step to silencing it by checking this out from the library.  

But my project will never be featured on Creative Knitting because I, uh, didn’t watch the video before the two week loan period ran out.

3.         “She makes garments and sells them…  She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed.”   Really, I would like to sew the girls pretty clothes like I see on Etsy.  BUT my girls receive a surplus of beautiful hand-me-downs (and wear their own favorites over and over) that I feel wasteful adding another piece of clothing to their overflowing wardrobe.   There is a distinctly fat line between triple and doubly clothed, isn’t there?    And my husband and I would rather I not cross it.  Besides, I don’t think I could ever sell clothes to my own children.  So I have no incentive to learn to cut patterns.

4.          “She watches the conduct of her household and eats not her food in idleness.”  During the school year, I try to keep the homeschool room organized worthy of a Pinterest picture and guard my wards but inevitably, when I turn my back to find a treat for recess, a pre-schooler mistakes the desk for gym equipment.

5.         “She is girt about with strength, sturdy are her arms, she enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamplight is undimmed.” Well yeah, the computer monitor is on in the wee hours of the night when I’m face-booking and these sturdy fingers can type a lengthy essay blog post. But good grief, these arms can’t open a jar of blueberry jam and barely last thirty minutes of hoeing and weeding.  

6.         “She laughs at the days to come, and opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel.”  Okay, I can laugh at the days to come.  I can laugh at anything (even my most embarrassing moments, on hindsight of course).  But I wouldn’t say wisdom and kindly counsel come out of my mouth at all times.   Last week, when my tongue was speckled with canker sores and it was agonizing to talk, I told my daughter:
“Get the wag and cwean up dat mesh.”
“Mom, you forgot to say please,”  she said.

7.   “She…makes cloth with skillful hands. Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar.”  I’ve only ever made one set of curtains for our home and re-upholstered one set of dining chairs when I was in the mood to decorate and was inspired to make my home resemble the tropics that I was born in and love.  But mostly, I like to browse Homegoods for sheets, towels and tablecloths.
 Well, that’s “securing provisions from afar kind of,” you might say.  But no, oh no, you’ll see the folly when I tell you that this coastal theme was set in a desert home.  And this Coastal theme followed me to our current country home.  HGTV  would beg me to do a home make-over but I can't say Bon Voyage to the merchant ships.

That makes it official: I’m a proverbs 31 failure.  My husband and children are not going to “rise up and call me blessed.” But why is it that night after night, when we say evening prayers, my husband thanks God for me and in random moments the kids present me with certificates and awards:

               Ohhh, I get it. My family hasn’t been blinded by the world’s bling and don’t know what wives and moms out there have to compete with. They’re satisfied with being fed, clothed, housed and loved. And for that, I call myself blessed.
To all of you invisible and underappreciated Marys in a Martha Stewart world, read Proverbs 31 in its entirety and you will find something astonishing: The last line says “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” and the footnote explaining it states:  “The true charm of the ideal wife is her religious spirit for she fears the Lord.”
Mary, after all, chose the better part and the real Proverbs 31 woman is my role model.

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Also hosted at  (It's not exactly Top 10 but math isn’t my strong suit –and Proverbs 31 doesn’t require precise counting skills)


Thomas at Listening for the Shepherd said...

Jesus thought Mary was doing better than Martha... ' nuff said.

mary333 said...


I laughed reading your post! I "flunked" 1 through 6 with flying colors. I DO rise while it's still night (insomnia...yawn) but the only food I distribute is to myself. As for number six, the laughing comes easily so I get a partial credit for that one too.

Good thing my name is Mary...

Anabelle Hazard said...

Mary, I always look forward to your comments. Distributing food to yourself, LOL. I think that and the image of you eating dandelions still has me laughing.

Anna Elissa said...

Ooohh this is an interesting take of the Proverbs 31 ideal! XD I think I'll do my own version some time! And why does it have to be garments, clothes, and spindles all the time??