Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wrestling with THAT Woman

"Who," you ask, "is THAT woman?"

Well, I haven't exactly met her, yet I've known of her all my life. Her reputation spans generations as she holds out that unattainable standard of womanhood. I find myself vacillating between genuine admiration of her great achievements and eye-rolling exasperation at her seeming perfection.

Have you figured it out? No, I am not talking about Martha Stewart. The woman of whom I speak is nameless, but her M.O. is found in Proverbs 31.

THAT woman did it all. She brought home the bacon, she fried it up in a pan! My Bible commentary says,"Traditionally this poem was recited by husbands and children at the Sabbath table on Friday night."

I can just imagine my husband and children reciting Proverbs 31 to me at dinner on Friday night. The laughter would begin at verse 15, when they try to say "She gets up while it is still dark" with straight faces. It would turn to hilarity by verse 27, when they talk about NOT eating the bread of idleness. "Idleness" is my favorite food group! I have no trouble seeing how that Sabbath tradition may have gone the way of the dodo.

I am somewhat comforted by the mention that this woman had "servant girls," because I could get a lot more done if I had a few of those buzzing around the house.

Anyways..love her or hate or, there she is--that Christian paradigm for feminine godliness. More often than not, I have heard Christian women distancing themselves from this passage, scoffing at it as "too idealistic" and preaching sermons on why we don't have to live up to that standard. I haven't heard a positive take on the passage in years. I think maybe we have allowed Mrs. 31 to intimidate rather than inspire. This intimidation is not the work of Christ.

So today I decided anew to embrace the inspiration of the Proverbs 31 woman. I will not strive after Martha Stewart perfection; but I can no longer stand to wallow in Roseanne Barr mediocrity either. The God who redeemed me promised to transform me. That's right--I'm a Transformer--"more than meets the eye!" My new name tag might read: Domestic Diva in Training.

I feel called, at the moment, to invest myself more in the area of cooking. I enjoy cooking, but as I have been working more hours and spending more days away from the house, I have begun to compromise, giving less than my best in the kitchen. I have a fresh desire to prepare nutritious, delicious, and visibly pleasing meals for my family. Just at the right moment, God brought me the perfect tool to help me on my way. My dear friend Holli has just gone public with her amazing cooking blog, which is packed full of what I will call "Family Gourmet" recipes, complete with careful step by step instructions and beautiful photographs. I strongly encourage you to check it out if you need a boost in your culinary endeavors, as I know I did! You can find her blog by clicking here: MamaHollioni's Kitchen

Tonight we will be having The Lady's Chicken Noodle Soup and Herbed Garlic Bread--both are recipes from Mama Hollioni's blog. I am using homemade chicken stock in the soup, which I made from scratch for the first time at Mama Hollioni's recommendation. Really, if truth be told, this dinner has not taken much time to prepare. The effort lies more in being organized: shopping with a meal plan in mind and making the most of the days I do spend at home.

Mealtime is so important to our family. It is sometimes quiet, sometimes silly, sometimes serious, but always a time of connection. And, we all enjoy good food. Dinner, especially, is a daily God-given opportunity to love my family in a practical way. I don't want to just get by anymore. Now I am not about to commit to 5 course meals every night of the week. The fact is, I do work outside of the home 2 days a week, and some days dinner will just have to be quick and easy. The problem is, I started making EVERY meal quick and easy, and that definitely is NOT giving my family my best.

The Proverbs 31 woman gives her family good food, even gourmet, I would say. The passage says:

She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

To me, this indicates that she planned ahead to ensure that her family was well fed. I aspire to do the same!


  1. Loved this one too. Your writing blesses me so much. Hope I didn't overdo it in our meeting this morning. I just had to brag on my talented friend!!! Karen

  2. You bless me! Not because you mentioned Mamahollioni's Kitchen (which was kind & flattering & did make me smile), but because you always raise the bar....I want to strive to be THAT woman too! Thanks Jen.