If you didn't read "Proverbs 31 Woman - Part 1", where I explain the process that brought me to even desire to be this woman in the first place. I came from laughing at her and all the "silly, submissive" girls who attempted to embody her qualities, to finding a productive reason to try. Here, I explain how and why this set of qualities is meant to encourage (and not burden) us. If you didn't read Part 1 - Do I Really Want This, go read it first.
I love the summary quote by Lysa Terkeurst, "Courageous women celebrating each other ... and those they love celebrating them? All under the banner of honoring God, serving out of love, and smiling at the future." I am reminded that God gave us His Word for guidance, comfort, and instruction. He didn't give it to us so that we can feel overwhelmed, and realize that we can never measure up. In the past, when I read Proverbs 31, I felt like my 10-year old son feels now, when I ask him to clean his room and then go back and say, "nope it's not clean yet." He feels overwhelmed, tired, and maybe he feels like I am disappointed in him for "failing". In reality, I'm not upset with him but instead I am persistently teaching him until he learns that cleaning up means pick up Legos (ALL Legos), dirty clothes in the hamper, shoes in the closet, trash in the can, curtains back, covers up, chair under the desk -- and I'll repeat this every day until you make a habit of keeping your room clean. Should my son die before he learns this (and you surely know that some men never learn this...) it will not change my love for him by one iota. THIS is how God feels about me and you -- He will instruct us daily in how to get ALL our "Legos" picked up, and He will do it daily until we get it, but if we die and are still falling short, His love for us will not change one iota!
Proverbs chapter 31 is the words of King Lemuel. Lemuel means "belonging to God" and it is supposed that this is Beth-sheba's name for her son King Solomon. The description of the Proverbs 31 woman are her words to her son, guiding him to find such a wife for himself. When you know the background, you can see this guidance in a different light. God allowed this passage to be included in our Bibles because He agrees that this is a great example to strive for. What He did NOT do was list our shortcomings. Take this example, spoken by a loving mother to a son she wanted to prosper in marriage, and feel how you want the same for your son. Yes, this is exactly the woman I want my son to marry. From there, realize that if she is what you want for your son, then your mother-in-law would probably want the same. That is where you take action to be this woman for your husband, just as you will want a woman to do one day for your own son.
So change the way you see this PRECIOUS EXAMPLE OF A GODLY WOMAN that we have so clearly laid out before us as an example. Relish her and start somewhere. Take the list of virtues given, find the easiest one for you and emulate it - do it daily. When it becomes a habit, grab another easy one and keep going until you have made it natural for you to embody as many qualities as you can.
I found roughly 22 characteristics for women to emulate in Proverbs 31. Where some are aimed at how to be a great wife and mother, I don't believe you have to be a wife or mother to make them habits, and use those characteristics for God's work. During this month of May 2020, and starting tomorrow (because I'm not perfect and I love to procrastinate) I am going to begin a series of blogs that breaks down one characteristic each day. I wish I could get all of your thoughts as we go.
There are more than enough resources on this subject, and on Nora Conrad's blog you will find a detailed list of what she believes to be the lesson of each characteristic. Melissa Ringstaff's A Virtuous Woman blog is so full of Bible-centered info that you can literally get lost in it. Lysa Terkeurst's Proverbs 31 Ministries website offers a blog and access to the many Christian books she has written.