The Proverbs 31 Project: A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised…

Proverbs 31 Project

Our last guest poster is Mandi who is one of the most inwardly (and outwardly!) beautiful women I know. She is my right hand when it comes to trying to come up with fundraising ideas for Kaia and I appreciate her help so much!

When I think of a Proverbs 31??well, to be honest, I try not to think of Proverbs 31. For me, those verses are daunting, a reminder of the kind of wife I should be but often fail to be. A Proverbs 31 woman seems perfect, unattainable. That is, until I get to verse 30: ??Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.??

Most of Proverbs 31 focuses on what a virtuous wife does: she provides for the material needs of her family, she is thrifty, cares for the poor, and speaks with wisdom. It??s easy to go through this ??list??, verse by verse and think of situations in which I have failed to fulfill these tasks. But verse 30 is one of the few verses that describe qualities which are not necessary for a virtuous woman to possess, in this case charm and beauty. While a good woman may be charming or beautiful , she need not be. What a relief!

You see, when I think of a perfect wife, I envision someone whose outward perfection matches that of her inner life. She appears lovely, poised, and charming. Some days that could describe me, most days it does not. This verse is a reminder that outward appearance is not only unimportant, it also can be deceiving. That??s not to say that we shouldn??t try to look our best or that all women who put time into looking beautiful are vain or acting charming are deceitful, simply that these things are not the basis of virtue.

When Jen presented this project, I read through Proverbs 31 several times discerning which verse to select. Each time, this verse spoke to my heart. Since my daughter was born in December 2011, I have struggled to feel physically beautiful. I often feel beautiful in other ways; I believe the love of a wife for a husband and a mother for her child is beautiful in itself and I strive to perfect my beauty in this way. But physically, I??ve felt anything but lovely. On days when I don??t work, I usually don??t leave the house because I??m embarrassed to be in public. I??ve always struggled with blemished skin but since Lucia was born, it??s been absolutely awful. While I had some body image and self-esteem issues as a teenager, since meeting my husband, I??ve felt very comfortable in my skin. I don??t tend to put much stock into physical appearance, but over a year of looking in the mirror and seeing ugly red and blemished skin has caused my self-worth to slowly diminish to almost nothing.

??A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.??

Proverbs 31 is a beautiful reminder that I need to return to looking at myself through God??s eyes and not the eyes of the world. Open any woman??s magazine and there will be article upon article about how to appear more charming, how to look more beautiful. Yet, even if you ??perfect?? your beauty and charm, these things do not last. If you seek to attain eternal life, you must cultivate in yourself everlasting virtues.

A God-fearing woman may be invisible in the eyes of society, but to those that she encounters, she is a blessing. Beauty and charm rarely have the ability to transform lives, but a woman who loves the Lord leaves a lasting mark of love, grace, and dignity with her loved ones. I may not be described as beautiful or charming, but I am praise-worthy in the eyes of the Lord. If God sees value in me, who am I to say I am without value?

frl-152Mandi is a twenty-something wife to David and mother to Lucia. When she??s not changing diapers, teaching Spanish, or playing word games, she??s most likely blogging at Messy Wife, Blessed Life.