A Psalm 31 Woman

By Sunday, February 5, 2012 0 1

Some people treat Proverbs 31 like a formula for being A Good Wife. If a woman can do all the things the “woman of noble character” does in Proverbs 31, then her husband is truly the luckiest most blessed man alive!

There’s no formula for being a good wife. There is no formula for anything in the Christian walk*, especially not when it comes to relationships. Seems to me that formulaic living is exactly what Jesus came to abolish.

*Ok, there’s ONE cheesy formula: 1 cross + 3 nails = 4given

I long to be a Proverbs 31 woman, especially since I quit my outside-the-home job to stay home with Baby Girl. If I could sell land, make all our clothes, cook the week’s meals before the sun comes up and still have time for the gym (“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong”), I am sure this would be a happy home indeed. And if not happy, then efficient for sure. No, I am like the Proverbs 31 woman in only a few ways, and even then it’s spotty. Susanna doesn’t rise up and call me blessed. She rises way too early in the morning, which sometimes causes me to call her cursed. Which isn’t exactly “the teaching of kindness on my tongue.” After a hard night, or a hard morning, or just while I’m drinking my coffee and everything is peachy, I often eat the bread of idleness by watching a little Say Yes to the Dress on TLC.

No, I am not much of a Proverbs 31 woman. More of a Psalm 31 woman.

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!

I don’t mean to mock David’s plight in this Psalm. I know it is serious, that David’s life was in danger and he truly needed the Lord’s deliverance from actual death. But sometimes, when Susanna is crying and I can’t help her because I missed the nap window because I took too long in the Starbuck’s drive thru, I cry out to God for deliverance from the screams, which definitely make me feel ashamed. “Rescue me speedily” is the cry of a mama’s heart a thousand times a day.

For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

And daily, God provides. Sometimes, it’s practical – a long nap, an easy feeding session, a fun hour watching baby learn new things. When I go deep with the Lord, He reminds me that I am Susanna’s mama for one purpose: for His name’s sake, and He is leading and guiding me to that end.

I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
but I trust in the LORD.
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have known the distress of my soul,
and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
you have set my feet in a broad place.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
and my bones waste away.
Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love!
O LORD, let me not be put to shame,
for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
let them go silently to Sheol.
Let the lying lips be mute,
which speak insolently against the righteous
in pride and contempt.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the LORD,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
I had said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help.

Affliction, the distress of my soul, my life is spent with sorrow… make your face shine upon your servant! All I can say is that sometimes, this is how it feels to be a mama. The ups and downs are intense. And I have no doubt that parenting will continue to feel like this kind of battlefield. The Bible is clear that there’s a war going on, and the hearts and minds of our children are at stake. We must continually cry out to God for His protection, and also acknowledge His steadfast love.

Love the LORD, all you his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the LORD!

If I am faithful, it is because the Lord has preserved me. If I am strong, or have courage, it is because I have waited on the Lord and He has delivered me. He goes before me.

If Chris praises God for his wonderful wife, it is not because of the work of my hands. It is because of the work {God’s work} of my heart. If I am clothed in strength and dignity, if I open my mouth with wisdom, if I fear the Lord, it is because broken, desperate and pleading for mercy, I am a Psalm 31 woman.

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