A big smile broke out across my face yesterday when I was showing my girls how to study the Bible using a Strong’s concordance. I had chosen Proverbs 31:10 and we were looking up the word “virtuous.”
If you grew up in a Christian home or church, you are well-familiar with talk of what it means to be a “virtuous” woman. Some women don’t even like to use the word anymore because its meaning has become jaded, its image attached to self-righteousness piety (sadly, but true). At best, we think it means “good, godly, pure.”
I was so surprised to see the word in its original Hebrew. Look:
a force, strength, ability, might, efficiency, wealth, army
And the writer of Proverbs rightly asks, “Who can find this kind of woman?”
I submit, she is still hard to find. She is hard to become. She is hard to raise. But we must commit to the task.
I’ve seen a disturbing trend among young mothers and wives the last few years and I’ve thought a lot about our response to it. With the ability to “peek” into the lives of others so easily through facebook and blogs, I see mothers who struggle, complain and all but give up on their task, concluding it’s too hard. They are weak, frail and emotionally volatile.
And I confess I’ve been her.
I think we need more pluck. I know I do, and I certainly want my girls to have it. But pluck is such a small word now. We need virtuous women.
It’s ironic that the stereotype of women who devote themselves to home, believing God has made them helpers to their husbands, should be “pathetic” and “weak.” The Bible gets blamed for “oppressing” women and giving them a so-called lower station.
But it’s in the Bible where we find that a virtuous woman is akin to an army, a FORCE, to be reckoned with, no doubt. And as we raise our daughters, we know they need to be strong to hold up to this arduous task of raising the next generation, as that work is done in the grinding out of days and weeks and months and years.
So we’re not talking here about “making sure they know how to mop.” That’s not the picture of the virtuous woman I see from Proverbs 31. There’s a whole lot to her, to knowing how to be efficient in all areas of life, to ruling her home well, to managing different personalities and challenges, to educating her children, to being wise, to coming alongside her husband and bearing him up, to saving money, to making money, to being alert to the needs around her, to ministering–she is an army in one lady.
I know that one little Hebrew word has breathed new life into my efforts as I seek to raise virtuous women. Efficient, mighty, able women. May we raise up a strong force for the glory of God!