Hey, moms! Did you know that it’s BIBLICAL to work out? In Proverbs 31, when a virtuous woman is described, most translations say she also “girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms.” So let’s hit the gym this week! (Also, weight-bearing exercise strengthens our bones so even though we may *prefer* the cardio classes or walking/running in the park, we HAVE to hit the weights, too. Ick.)
Here’s the passage in the Darby Translation:
Here’s the passage in the Darby Translation:
10 Who can find a woman of worth? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband confideth in her, and he shall have no lack of spoil.
12 She doeth him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships: she bringeth her food from afar;
15 And she riseth while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and the day's work to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and acquireth it; of the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and maketh strong her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her earning is good; her lamp goeth not out by night.
19 She putteth her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the afflicted, and she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverlets; her clothing is byssus and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh body linen and selleth it, and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laugheth [at] the coming day.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and upon her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She surveyeth the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her:
29 Many daughters have done worthily, but thou excellest them all.
30 Gracefulness is deceitful and beauty is vain; a woman [that] feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.
The paraphrased translation The Message leaves out the arm strengthening, but has the best ending: “Festoon her life with praises!”
A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-GOD.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!
My mom deserves to be festooned with praise...she ROCKS! And anyone who ever met my grandmothers would also throw some festoons their way, too. God certainly blessed my life with amazing women!!
Garrison Keillor praises moms this way in his Mother's Day column:"You could come home with snakes tattooed on your face, and she still would see the good in you...Your father has a hard time remembering your Christian name, but your mother knows you by scent, thanks to years of doing your laundry. She knows when you're in trouble. And you will get into deep trouble someday. Count on it. Someone will file a lawsuit against you and subpoena your email, and it will all come flooding out, your dark secrets, your nefarious dealings, and your friends will cross the street to avoid you, and your brothers and sisters will fade into the woodwork, but your mother will still love you. Like an old lioness, she'll come running even if you're two thousand miles away."
I love that. (Say what you want about Keillor's politics, the man can write.) And his ode to mothers gives us one one more reason we need to "gird ourselves in strength and strengthen our arms"--our children may need us to come running someday...and God help the wretched soul who gets between the old lioness and her cubs.
***Update: 8:46 p.m.***
Wow. I knew Mother's Day celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008, but I'd never read THIS before! Poor Anna...how tragic...