Wednesday, November 30, 2011

P31 Study: Aishes Chayil a.k.a "Warrior Woman"!


So in this study I'm going to take about a verse a week and really dig deep into what each one says about The Virtuous Woman and explore how that might translate in our times.  I'm not a Bible expert or theologian, I've never been to Bible school or taken any kind of Bible lesson, I've never studied nor do I know Hebrew - I'm just a wife/mom from NJ reading the Bible and relying on God's Holy Spirit to open my eyes and give me wisdom (and point me in the right direction as far as tools and resources for my study).

Though I'm studying Proverbs 31:10-31, I want to also throw in the verse 1 as it shows who wrote the verses and for who.
 31:1: "The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him."

So apparently there's some debate over who King Lemuel actually is because he is never mentioned any other time in the Bible. Some people believe he is a King of a town called Massa (and some of your versions will actually call him that. See Amplified Version), while other people believe he was actually King Solomon, and Lemuel was just a family name for him.  Lemuel, in Hebrew, means "devoted to God", and so the thought is that since David and Bathsheba's first child was taken away from them by God, then the second child that God gave them would be thought of as "devoted to God" (  This makes sense to me (wife/mom from NJ) and so from here on out I will think of these verses as being taught to King Solomon by his mother, Bathsheba.

Which also got me to thinking… this is a mother teaching her son what kind of wife he should be searching for.  I've always looked at the Proverbs 31 (P31) woman  from my own perspective as a wife. But knowing that this was taught from a mother to her son gets me to seeing it from a different perspective.  I should be teaching this to my sons as well!  This is not just an example of who their mother (me!) wants to be, but it is an example of who they should look for in a godly wife.  And for my daughters, who they should aspire to be as a godly wife.  This lesson was so one dimensional to me before I realized that a mother was teaching this to her son.  Now it really has shifted my study and way of thinking - the P31 woman is a study not only for me, but for my children to!  Wow! I've learned so much and we're only on the first verse! I'm so excited!!

Next verse!

Proverbs 31:10a - "Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?"
The Jewish Orthodox Bible's translation "Who can find an aishes chayil."

The English translations virtuous and capable don't seem to do justice to the Hebrew words Aishes Chayil.  An Aishes Chayil is a warrior.  When I looked up the word Chayil in several concordances, it was used over and over again to describe army, strength, soldiers, wealth, and valor!  This woman is no weakling!  She is a strong and mighty warrior who takes charge in the role that God has ordained for her (note: she doesn't take charge of her husband! In the Navy you can be a commander of your seamen, but a captain is the ultimate head of that ship!).  When I think of a soldier or warrior, I generally tend to vision a strong, silent type with great integrity and morals.  So that's how I now see the Aishes Chayil, or the P31 woman, a woman who "quietly performing the duties of life, with strength and steadiness of character"( 

It now amazes me how so many people have interpreted a Christian wife to be this quiet, meek person who acted more like a puppet than a real person.  Girls are now taught that being strong means getting OUT of the house and working and showing yourself independent. But God's word shows another picture entirely. The woman HE created was an Aishes Chayil, a Woman Warrior! A strong woman of valor!  This completely changes the way I even look at myself and my role at home.  It takes a strong woman of valor to stay home and tend to her household.  What that actually looks like in this generation, we will explore in the next few weeks.  I'm so excited to discover more of this "new" P31 woman I feel I am discovering all over again.  But what of her worth?  Well, we'll have to wait for next week to see what God's word says about that!

For now,  I pray that I, and all you Aishes Chayils out there, would become the strong woman God has created us to be (after all, we are created in the image of the greatest man who ever lived! Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer and God!).

In Christ,

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Avoiding Arguments

I've been pretty sleep depraved lately as Sam is not yet sleeping through the night.  By 6am he is up for the rest of the morning and crying for his oatmeal; the three older kiddies wake up at 7am and life is just nonstop from that point on. 

During the day, Sam takes little catnaps and isn't down more than an hour and then he's back up again and crying to be held.  I try to sit him in his chair or lay him on a blanket, but it only works for a little while, not enough time to get more than a small amount of housework done.  And today I had an appointment outside the house I had to travel to with Sam - so that took another 90 minutes out of my day.

And before I know it, the kids are home, dinner needs to be cooked, HW needs to be done, and the laundry has sat in the dryer for the 2nd day in a row (ok, ok, it was actually sitting there all weekend and tomorrow is Wednesday…).   To boot, the kids are practically bouncing off the walls waiting to go out on our new Christmas Light Scavenger hunt… when daddy storms in the house yelling about the car doors… and my heart just sinks.  Once again I left the side doors (both doors this time) wide open after I came home from picking up the kids from school… and today it was raining.


I wanted to argue back and yell about MY day and how tired I was and just dig my heels in and fire back!  But I don't, that's the old me and, thanks be to God, I'm not that person anymore.  So what do I do?

1)    First I just close my mouth.  I know I should probably pray first, but if I don't physically close my mouth in order to stop myself from reacting, then I can't get anything else done.  

Proverbs 10:19 "Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut."

2)     Pray!  Just  a quick prayer asking God to help me do the right thing and not feed the fire in anyway. 
Psalm 34:17 "The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles."

3)    Give hubby space.  When my husband gets upset, he wants to be left alone.  He doesn't want to "talk" about his feelings or try to make nice… no, he needs to stew a little and be left alone.  So if he's downstairs, I will go up to our bedroom and relax with Sam or read my Bible.   
Proverbs 25:24 "It's better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home."

4)    Get busy and continue to pray!! Sometimes when I'm also upset (like I was today) I actually have to get busy! If I sit still, my mind will just stew in my anger and though I'm not yelling at my husband in life, I'm yelling at him in my head - which is just as bad.  So I will get to cleaning (or something else physical) and pray for myself for just a minute, then I move on and pray for others. I find that concentrating on praying for the lives of others helps to put everything in perspective for my own life.   
Ecclesiastes 5:20 "God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past."
 Psalm 104:34 "May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD."
Ephesians 6:18 "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."

These steps have really helped me on so many occasions when my first reaction is just to start an argument (which was the person I used to be!).  Granted, I'm not perfect and I will have my moments where I will open my mouth and argue - but those moments are getting farther and farther apart and I'm learning to recognize them quickly  now and quickly repent.

And please don't think that I think wives should be scared little mice, too afraid to speak!  The Proverbs 31 wife is anything but a scare little mice! She is a strong, industrious woman who isn't afraid to speak - but when she does speak "her words are wise" (Prov. 31:26)
God has definitely brought me a long way from where I used to be, but I know He has a more humble person that He wants me to be - more like Jesus was.  And I know that this is all part of making me more like Jesus.  My  heavenly Father is just purging the old me and purifying the new (Psalm 66:10).  So I am grateful that God gives me these opportunities to show myself worthy.  Father God, please help me to be what is beautiful in your eyes, to clothe myself "with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." (1 Peter 3:4)

In Christ,