If you feel like you're failing at Motherhood: I promise you are not. Mothers have so many balls they need to keep in the air all at once. After I became a mom, I can remember avoiding Proverbs 31 like the plague because I felt I would never live up to the standards of the "Virtuous Woman."
Years later, I've given this passage another look and broken it down into 31 things that I truly desire to be (with God's help) as the mother of my children and wife to my husband. This passage does not call us to be perfect, but it does give us guidance on how we can run our hearts and our homes for His Glory.
Let's take another look:
1. She Is Virtuous
"Who can find a virtuous woman?.." -Proverbs 31:10a
The virtuous woman knows right from wrong. She has morals, and she practices them. She teaches them to her children.
2. She Is Valuable
"...her price is far above rubies." -Proverbs 31:10b
She realizes that she is valuable simply because of who God created her to be. This realization of her innate value enables her to be the best mom she can be; because she values herself, she also values her family.
3. She Is Devoted
"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil." -Proverbs 31:11
She protects her husband's heart as though it were her own.
4. She Is Trustworthy
"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her..." -Proverbs 31:11a
She does not lie or hide things from her spouse.
5. She Makes Others Feel Safe
"...so that he shall have no need of spoil." -Proverbs 31:11b
Her husband doesn't worry about her doing him any wrong. She makes her family feel safe because of her previously mentioned devotion to them.
6. She Does Good
"She will do him good..." -Proverbs 31:12a
She chooses to do good, even when tired, even when her heart and emotions tell her otherwise. She keeps choosing to do what is best for her family.
7. She Does Not Do Evil
"...and not [do] evil all the days of her life." -Proverbs 31:12b
She chooses not to do evil, even when she is wronged or hurt. She takes the high road.
8. She Is Resourceful
"She seeketh wool, and flax..." -Proverbs 31:13a
She finds what she needs and makes use of what she has. She does not sit by and wait for others to fulfill her needs. Her needs are already filled by God, and so she fills the needs of others.
9. She Works Willingly
"...and worketh willingly with her hands." -Proverbs 31:13b
She does not go around the house complaining and groaning about her work (we've all been there!) But she does her work willingly, as unto the Lord, knowing that when no one else sees her efforts, He does.
10. She Provides
"She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar." -Proverbs 31:14
She works hard for her family in whatever way she is needed to do so.
11. She Gives
"She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens." -Proverbs 31:15
Her focus is not on what she gets from those around her; it is on what she gives. Her inner joy comes from her focus on giving.
12. She Achieves Her Goals
"She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard..." -Proverbs 31:16
She considers, buys, and plants the field in this verse: she set the goal of growth and achieved it in these three steps without relying on anyone else to take the steps for her.
13. She Considers
"She considereth a field, and buyeth it..." -Proverbs 31:16a
She thinks about her decisions before she acts upon them.
14. She Plants
"...with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard." -Proverbs 31:16b
She desires to multiply the goodness God has given to her, and she does this through planting and providing for her loved ones.
15. She Is Hardworking
"She girdeth her loins with strength..." -Proverbs 31:17a
She makes herself strong so that she can complete her tasks. She is not lazy.
16. She Is Strong
"...and strengtheneth her arms." -Proverbs 31:17b
Her strength comes from the Lord, and it radiates from the inside out. She is disciplined, and she practices endurance.
17. She Is Perceptive
"She perceiveth that her merchandise is good..." -Proverbs 31:18a
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Perceptive means that she is "very good at noticing and understanding many things that people do not notice." For example, she notices the needs of her children and accommodates them as best as she can.
18. She Keeps On Shining
"...her candle goeth not out by night." -Proverbs 31:18b
She is a light, and her light never goes out. Regardless of circumstance.
19. She Helps Those in Need
"She stretcheth out her hand to the poor..." -Proverbs 31:20a
She does her best to meet the needs of others whenever and however she can. When she sees a need: her gut reaction is to fill it.
20. She Reaches Out to Others
"...she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." -Proverbs 31:20b
She is not closed off to others; she reaches out to them. She prays for them and takes action.
21. She Is Not Afraid
"She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household..." -Proverbs 31:21a
She knows her family is well taken care of. She does not fall into the mental trap of constant feat and worry about what might happen to them.
22. She Takes Care of Her Family
"...for all her household are clothed in scarlet" -Proverbs 31:21b
She makes sure her family has what they need. They are precious to her.
23. She is Practical
"She maketh herself coverings of tapestry..." -Proverbs 31:22a
What she can't buy, she makes. She uses what she has and turns broken into beautiful and simple into elegant.
24. She Cares About Her Appearance
"...her clothing is silk and purple." -Proverbs 31:22b
She knows that her outward appearance is not the most important part of her but a reflection of the God who made her.
25. She Is Creative
"She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant." -Proverbs 31:24
She makes, sells, and delivers. She creates with her hands to the benefit of her loved ones.
26. She Is Strong
"Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come." -Proverbs 31:25
She rejoices in the strength of the Lord and knows that she really can do all things through Him who strengthens her (Phil. 4:13)
27. She Speaks Wisdom
"She openeth her mouth with wisdom..." -Proverbs 31:26a
She does not participate in gossip and meaningless conversation. She speaks what the Lord has put in her heart. She considers her words before saying them out loud.
28. She Spreads Kindness
"...and in her tongue is the law of kindness." -Proverbs 31:26b
She is known for her kindness as she openly lavishes it upon those around her.
29. She Pays Attention
"She looketh well to the ways of her household..." -Proverbs 31:27a
She pays attention to her children and her husband. She lets them know that they are important, seen, heard, and loved by her.
30. She Radiates Inner Beauty
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." -Proverbs 31:30
She cares more about what God thinks of her than anyone else. She desires to please Him, which pours over and blesses her own family. This makes her beautiful on the inside, and it radiates to all who come in contact with her.
31. She Is Fruitful
"Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." -Proverbs 31:31
She is known for her good works and everything mentioned above. All of these things and more are why "her children arise up and call her blessed." -Proverbs 31:28
Photo credit: ©Getty/MoMo-Productions
Kali Dawson graduated from St. Thomas University with a B.A. in English and a Minor in Journalism and Communications. She is a School Teacher, Pilates Instructor, and Mama of two young children and a beautiful 2020 baby. She is married to her real-life Superhero. When she's not holding small hands or looking for raised hands you will find her writing fervently about faith and family. To read more, you can find her on Facebook at Faith, Family, Freelance.