Proverbs 31 Woman (Re-imagined)

When I say that I am strong, I mean this: I have been broken in a thousand pieces. I have been fused back together by grace.

When I say that I am treasure, it is because I am loved deeply. Completely. Unceasingly.

In the eight years that I have been married, I have said things I should not have said, done things I should not have done. I’ve ripped him with barbed sarcasm; I’ve let anger win over love.

But also, I have stayed in this thing all the way. I have sat cross-legged on the living room floor until we worked it out. I learned how to cook fish in a hot skillet because it’s his favorite.

Our jokes are getting a little frayed around the edges now, but we still laugh, doubling over in the kitchen over something not-that-funny, while Dane runs in circles around us. When we attend a belaying clinic at the Y, Andrew climbs fearlessly, trusts me to hold him up even though I am still, always, learning.

Every Sunday night, I plan the week’s meals. Healthy meals. Good meals. Recipes I’ve pulled out of glossy magazines. I make detailed grocery lists, painstakingly noting each ingredient. But around four o’clock on Tuesday, I realize we are out of milk and I forgot to buy paprika, so we have frozen pizza picnic-style in the living room instead.

The kids are hungry, and I am trying to finish a press release, tweet a blog link, jot down a beautiful sentence. I am always saying “Just a second.” I am always multi-tasking, always letting someone down, always a little bit unbalanced in my priorities.

But I can’t stop spinning the words under my eager hands, because this is my calling too, just as I am called to hold these children, teach them, wipe their tears. I get up at five, when the world is still dark. I drink too much coffee. I write imperfect things.

I try to sew a quilt from Andrew’s old t-shirts, and it looks a little off. The squares don’t quite match in all the corners; the hurried seams are coming undone. But he naps under it anyway on Sunday afternoons, his breath peaceful, even under this threadbare display of love.

We are playing backgammon while the dishes sit, unwashed in the sink. I am sitting with Andrew, watching a movie instead of catching up on freelancing. And it might seem like the bread of idleness, but I know better. I am learning that what seems like waste is really love.

Dane reaches up first thing in the morning, says, “Mommy hold you.” I walk in the door, and Liam smiles like the sun, and this is how they call me blessed. Andrew puts his arm around me as we walk, and it’s a thousand words of praise.

When I say that I am noble, I mean this: crow’s feet and stretch marks and blonde hair turned darker with age. I mean that my floor is covered in crumbs and I am still in my sweatpants at two in the afternoon and my kids are wearing garage-sale jeans. I mean that I am enough, just like this, just as I am.

21 thoughts on “Proverbs 31 Woman (Re-imagined)

  1. Perfectly said. This is a beautiful description of what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman. 🙂

  2. Just beautiful Addie. You have been given an amazing gift and I love how you share it with others.

  3. How do you do it? How do you bare yourself to the world like this every week? You, my friend, ARE courage – strength – and love. You amaze me.

  4. Addie, you are beautiful. (And way more “most marriageable” than I will ever dream of being…). 😉

  5. I loved this, Addie! I sent it to Anne, a woman who preached here for me on Prov 31 last summer. She said some things similar to your words. She also pointed out that Wisdom, in Proverbs, is that woman, and that men and women should seek the Prov 31 woman/Wisdom. I think you’d find this interesting. It is the sermon preached on 8/21/11

    http://www.evcl.org/sermon-archive/

  6. This is priceless, something every woman needs to read! I love you, the choices you are making and who you are becoming. Mom

  7. Those who’ve known only the pursuit of self-righteousness, in the name of a shadow of Jesus, approach Proverbs 31 as a call to performance. Those who’ve known the freedom grown up from the hard dirt of both private and public brokenness, and the grace lavished as a result, celebrate the beauty of the powerfully plain expressions of love like those you’ve shared here. Thank you for this rare contribution to the true grace of the gospel.

  8. Thank you all for the kind comments. It was so healing for me to re-imagine this chapter, as I’ve spent a good portion of my life trying to live up to it instead of live into it.

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  10. Beautiful. Brought me to tears. Thank you for following me on Twitter. Because you found me, I have found you. And I am so grateful!

    1. Thank you, Sara! You looked like my kind of people, but it’s always hard to tell on that limited Twitter profile. 🙂 So happy we found each other!

  11. I linked up to this post off of a FB friend and it was just the reminder I was needing today. We are blessed. So blessed. And, God is so good. Beautiful writing.
    Thanks!

  12. *LOVE*, especially, “But I can’t stop spinning the words under my eager hands, because this is my calling too, just as I am called to hold these children, teach them, wipe their tears. I get up at five, when the world is still dark. I drink too much coffee. I write imperfect things.” Anne calls it her monk work. I love your reframing of that. Thank you.

  13. I’m reading a great new book by Dr. Tony Evans and his daughter, Chrystal Evans Hurst called “Kingdom Woman” with some great perspectives on Proverbs 31 as well as to “challenge women to look higher than where you are to whose you are, and to be transformed by the truth of being a Kingdom Woman.” The book encourages women to set their eyes on Christ and to pursue what God has created them to be. It is true to that goal. I am thoroughly enjoying it! I also found they have free devotional downloads for the book at http://www.kindgdomwomanbook.com. I hope it blesses you as it has me!

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