She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. (Proverbs 31:17 ESV)
Yesterday we discovered the Proverbs 31 Woman is one hard-working daughter of God! She plants a vineyard which requires digging, sometimes fence-building, stomping, carrying heavy gallons of wine. She sweats and toils for her family’s sake, and thus it is no wonder she is physically strong.
Personally, I’m not the strongest woman. I don’t blame it on my petite and short stature, but I blame it on a lack of exercise. I’ll have moments, sure, where for two months I’m going strong with at-home workout videos, but I never stay consistent. But, by God’s grace, when I put my mind and effort to it, I become stronger.
So here’s the deal: I’m not saying we need to have chiseled beach bodies, but even just doing daily house-keeping cultivates strength: sweeping, mopping, pushing the vacuum cleaner, washing clothes, ironing, cleaning the dishes, watering plants, scrubbing the toilet bowl, these all require arm-work. It’s apparent why our Proverbs 31 Woman is strong. She’s not doing P90X workouts, she’s simply working hard at maintaining her home from the inside out. She keeps those arms busy, and that’s why they’re strong.
In year one and two of my marriage, I was a mess. I’d let dishes get so piled up, it looked like I was trying to construct a mini Eiffel Tower with cups and plates. The floor was filthy, our bed wasn’t made. When guests would come over unannounced and tell us they were downstairs, I had a mad scramble to make the place look just slightly decent.
Training myself to clean was a process. I’m not perfect today, but boy oh boy, I’ve come a long way by God’s grace. And the trend of continual improvement is an encouragement, and the cleaner I keep things, the more clean I want to be.
There’s a sense of … I don’t know how to explain it … peace, confidence, satisfaction, in seeing that our home looks cleaner. And every time I pick something up, hubby notices.
A clean house does something to a man. He feels relaxed and happy, appreciated, like he knows you keep it nice for him. But I think when it’s a mess, it can trigger stress, maybe a reminder of how hard or chaotic work was. Husbands just want to come home to a place of order. It’s in their design, orderliness. It frees them up to unwind and enjoy their family.
Proverbs 31 Women put their arms to good use, making their home a place of sanctuary for the family. It doesn’t have to be spotless, but just clean enough to where everyone is comfortable.
Are you ready to strengthen those arms?
Proverbs 31 Woman Prayer
Father, in Jesus’ name I thank You for the example of a strong woman in Proverbs 31. I pray that You help make my arms strong, that I fulfill my wifely duties in keeping my home clean for my family. Help me to be disciplined, and to not get stressed in trying to maintain the home. Holy Spirit, help me know when and what to do so that I don’t get overwhelmed, but stay at peace in the home You’ve given me. Amen.