In the late 1970s, a popular singer-songwriter crooned a top-twenty tune with his definition of womanhood. According to this artist, the woman on his pedestal was amazing. Her smile could kill, and her gaze could slice. She was quick with a lie, focused on her own agenda, and could cast shadows with the best of them.
This lady was a force and if you didn’t appreciate her attributes, well, get out of the way. To this woman of questionable accomplishments, the words, “She is clothed with strength and dignity,” would have sounded like a garbled, unknown language.
As a young teen, I found myself singing along with the song’s catchy rhythm, slightly ill at ease with the disturbing message. But what used to be an unsettling undercurrent in our world, is now shouted from every media platform and accepted as the standard for womanhood.
Hollywood and pop culture continue the mantra: Beauty is in the eye of the latest trend, designer, or cover girl. Women are smart, sassy, and can do anything a man can do, only much better. To succeed, we must dominate every area of our lives, and sweep aside anything that might come between us and our ambitions.
But what about the one who longs for a life of depth and for days filled with righteousness and pursuit of godliness? How do we live in such a way that we are godly examples for our daughters?
For the woman who longs to live for Christ, the voices of our culture can be confusing. But if we take the time to still and quiet our souls (Psalm 46:10), God’s words will wash over us and light our way in the chaos. Proverbs 31:25 whispers a message of strength to the deepest places of our hearts: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Are these quiet words relevant to us today? Do they entail an anemic, colorless existence, or do they explode with a Spirit-filled life of vision and purpose?
For the woman who longs to live for Christ, the voices of our culture can be confusing. But if we still and quiet our souls, God’s words will wash over us and light our way in the chaos. @lthomaswrites #momlife #parentsTweet
I must confess that in the past, when a pastor or speaker taught from Proverbs 31, I would feel a touch (sometimes a hammer strike) of anxiety. Oh, good grief. I’ll never measure up to Miss Proverbs in her annoying perfection.
But to avoid feeling overwhelmed with what seems an unreachable standard of womanhood, we need to remember the context of Proverbs 31. These verses weren’t written as a checklist to women, but from a mother to a son (King Lemuel), encouraging him to live well. This concerned mom begins by exhorting her son-king to refrain from promiscuity and strong wine, to reach out to the poor, and to judge with wisdom (Proverbs 31:1-9). She follows with what the king should look for in a godly wife.
Also, in Jewish culture, men would sing portions of this scripture over their wives as a way to show honor and respect. The phrase, “a virtuous woman who can find?” from Proverbs 31:10 is from the Hebrew “eshet chayil,” which means “woman of valor.”
Oh, how beautiful! I would much rather be serenaded as a “woman of valor” than as a female determined to get her own way or who was untruthful and cruel.
Each day, we are clothed in something—despite what we’re wearing. We put on well-fitting apparel of peace, joy, and compassion, or we don smelly, tattered garments of apathy, bitterness, and a sense of superiority.
The wardrobe we choose depends on where we shop. Do we browse the latest behaviors and define our womanhood by mimicking the culture’s ever-changing ideals? Or do we seek to be adorned in holiness and to become women after God’s heart?
Our society is all about claiming rights—about living in the moment, with little thought for the future. Our world considers Biblical attributes of strength and dignity as an infringement on the freedom to live as they choose. Adopting the traits of strength and dignity brings accountability to the God who calls us to live in holiness. This responsibility to our Creator God is in direct opposition to the world’s assertion of personal rights at all costs.
Now, more than ever before, our homes need women of God who find strength and true freedom in taking up their cross and daily dying to self (Matthew 16:24). Wearing the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), women are needed who live and breathe the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and are sold out to Jesus (Matthew 22:37).
Our daughters need to see women of strength and dignity who keep a vision in their hearts and minds of living for eternity—of a purposeful life of loving God by loving and serving others.
Our homes and our world needs wives and mothers who listen for the glory of their Lord’s voice as He sings over them in delight:
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.Zephaniah 3:17
Our homes need women of God who find strength and true freedom in taking up their cross and daily dying to self. @lthomaswrites #home #family #momlifeTweet
5 thoughts on “Strength, Dignity, and What Not to Wear”
As I was reading your post, my heart shouted out, “I want that girl!” While my Ms. Diane may not be all that Proverbs 31 describes, I’m certainly not the husband that God’s word describes all the time either. I want (and am grateful to share life with) the woman who pursues that godly goal for their life. As I read your wonderful post, my mind turned to young female friends of whom I think God for because of the example their setting among their peers and those younger ladies/girls whom they influence through their lives each day. I had to pause and thank God for all those woman, young and not as young, who give us hope for tomorrow through the way they pursue God and godliness in their lives each day. I know your write this blog for ladies, but this old rancher is greatly enriched, encouraged, and sometimes instructed by your posts. Thank you!
Oh, J.D., you are such an encourager for us! Thank you for your wisdom and insight into being a genuine Christ-follower. Blessings, sir 🙂
YES YES, YES!! Leigh Ann this is a Great post. Thank you so much for keeping and teaching Proverbs 31 in the correct CONTEXT, just the way God intended and inspired it to be. There are not many pastors or preachers who handle that chapter correctly. Well done! Thank you for sharing your Heart and the Truth from Scripture. May God continue to bless your writing.
Terry, thank you for your encouragement! It’s such a joy to take deeper dives into the scriptures and I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Blessings on your ministry, as well. Happy autumn!
Oh, girl! Amen. Amen. AAAA-Men! You nailed so many points that I could well nigh quote your whole article.
This is one statement that resonated with me, “Our daughters need to see women of strength and dignity who keep a vision in their hearts and minds of living for eternity—of a purposeful life of loving God by loving and serving others.”
It’s a standard to live by no matter the decade, culture, or generation. Oh that we would consume the truth as opposed binging on the emptiness of movements that have a season and fade.