If you have never read about the Proverbs 31 woman, go do it. Now. The section before it is actually really good too, my twin sister, Taryn, wrote an integrated poem on this with the Gospel here.
I don’t remember at what point in my relationship with Eric that I read this chapter. I think it may have been after talking with my sister, Kendra (you should check out her blog as well!) a little bit after Eric and I had started an “official” relationship. Anyway, this woman is amazing. She gets up before the sun, runs her own businesses, and never has to worry about her family in the winter because she has already taken care of everything. It says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain” (v. 11, ESV). This verse has been on my mind a lot since Eric left two weeks ago. Along with,
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is in vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gate.” (v. 28-31, ESV)
Wow. What if Eric talked about me like that? What if my actions as a woman of God were worthy of praise at the gate? What would that look like? Reverence for the Lord. To fear God is to respect Him, to revere Him, to know my place underneath a holy God and praise Him all the more because of it. The Creator of the Universe could wipe us all out in an instant, but instead He chooses to love us and to be patient with us.
When Eric and I were first hanging out, the best part was that I felt like I could finally be who I actually am, and strive towards who I want to be openly. I was finally walking away from a period in my life of nothing but self-satisfaction (this was the result of thinking I could self-propel over the transition state of life in Christ). During that period, I was having a lot of fun but knew I was not where I really wanted to be. I kept thinking I would put off change until I got to grad school where I could start over and people didn’t know me yet; but the more I got to know the Spirit, the worse this idea sounded. So, with Eric, I could talk about this war raging in my head. And he was patient. But he also spoke truth. The thing about being yourself is that others see where your sin is. Eric is really deep thinker; I love just sitting with him, letting him talk through where his head is at, because it’s rarely what I could predict and it is almost always beautiful. Eric would see my habits and recognize the deeper issue underneath.
I’ll give an example: coffee. I love coffee. I recognize, from a scientific standpoint, that addiction is bad but what I really enjoy is the comfort. I’m a sensate. Which means my style of worship involves my 5 senses. Using this characteristic to worship God is wonderful, using it to worship substances is not. I didn’t realize I had a worship problem. I didn’t know feelings could be idols. I had grown up knowing that, in our society, idolatry happened over tv, work, and video games but coffee?? That’s ridiculous. This has been a repeat battle between heart and mind. I so desperately wanted to hold on to coffee. It was my piece of the world that, in itself, is not bad…but how easily it became more important than God as my comfort was problematic. And there are numerous other examples I could give. I like comfort. I like being able to touch it and taste it.
SO! Where am I going with this? I deeply desire that Eric would have confidence in me. That He would look at me alongside the other godly women in our life and be able to say, “These other women are doing an awesome job, but you! You surpass them all.” I want every man to be able to say that about his wife. The only way to achieve that is by giving God my worship. I am in danger of compromising myself if I fear anyone but God. Why would Eric need to question his trust in me if God is my sole focus of worship? It doesn’t matter if I fail to keep the apartment clean or I burn dinner. [Let’s be honest, cleaning is not my strength…mostly because it just isn’t a high enough priority].
If I am walking in the Lord, I know He will empower me to love Eric in the best way possible. If Eric becomes my focus, I will fail Him as a wife…because he will fail me as a god.