By Judy Brandon: Local columnist
This time last year I wrote a Mother’s Day column that received several comments. For those who mentioned it as one of your favorites, I am offering it again with some new insights.
How do we describe a successful wife and mother? Is she a CEO, an accountant, doctor, business manager, judge or real estate executive? Is she a successful entrepreneur? Is she a desperate housewife with millions of viewers? Is she a model, Miss America, president of a Fortune 500 company or Olympic champion? Certainly there are many successful women. Yet, the woman described in Proverbs 31 gives us a unique window on what is considered a worthy woman and therefore a success.
I know all about the Proverbs 31 woman. The introduction title for that part of the chapter reads “Description of Worthy Woman.” I had to memorize the chapter for a GA’s project at church when I was in sixth grade. It all sounded so fictitious to me. I winced as I tried to memorize those words. I figured out she was smart but didn’t understand “stretches out her hands to the distaff.” And the author said she was rare with this thought-provoking question: “Who can find such an excellent wife?”
By anyone’s standards, the Proverbs 31 woman is phenomenal. I didn’t appreciate it when I was 12, but now that I am grown, I fully appreciate this extraordinary woman. Her relationships with God, her husband, her children are all in tact. She is successful in the business world, buying land and selling it. She is prepared when winter storms hit and looks ahead, and all her family doesn’t have to worry about warm clothes.
Her husband “praises” her around town. She is a complement to her husband, not a trophy wife, but their marriage seems to be a model of dedication to each another. Her daily interactions bring a positive reflection upon her family. Her dress, her conversation and her weekly activities are all characterized by honor. I doubt that she would be in the weekly get-together to gossip about other people under the guise of “prayer requests.”
The townspeople even hold her in high regard. She helps the needy and “lends a hand to the poor.” What does that mean? Helps them get into a better house, buys them food, takes them to the doctor, and pays for the doctor bill? I don’t know but “lends a hand” indicates a wide range of possibilities.
She cooks, cleans, is creative, sews, prays and does the right thing in regard to all that she does. The Bible says that she “strengthens her arms.” I don’t think that that means she does cardio on Wednesdays and muscle toning on Tuesdays. I think that means that “she works.”
As a result for all the good she does, she is highly revered by the townspeople. Everybody appreciates, admires and honors her.
Amazing isn’t it? Her children and husband see her godly life and they all call her blessed. Is there any wonder that everyone calls her blessed?
That seems out of reach for me. But the good thing is that in reading the scripture, the woman has no name. She could be any woman and every woman. I would deem her successful emotionally, financially and socially. The writer said that “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (v. 30).
That’s the answer to success.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: