My best friend re-wrote the famous Old Testament passage about the perfect wife. Proverbs 31: 10-31 is an expose of the Good Wife, or The Perfect Woman. “It is the fulfillment of the roles in the home assigned to her by society that causes her to be praised in the very gates of the city where Woman Wisdom first raised her cry”. *
Jenny Hurlburt says,
The review of Proverbs 31 on Mother’s Day has been almost unbearably difficult for me over the past few years. I had been interpreting the proverb as a list of “supposed to be’s” from two perhaps self-centred perspectives: one – an impossible list of my own shortcomings as a mother and, two – in my experience, a disappointing list of lack of being acknowledged and appreciated.
It wasn’t until last night, in a conversation with my daughter when I said, “I should write my own Proverbs 31,” and she said, “Yes… Mom… Do it!” So, with that encouragement I wrote a modernized version and found that Proverbs 31 is not so much a list to measure against, it’s a description of a woman’s life, full of the typical, everyday activities she does that reflect what a wonderful woman she is.
Proverbs 31…. Revisited
Some say, “A good woman is hard to find, she’s worth far more than diamonds.”
But I say, “No wonder it’s hard to find her, she’s not exactly standing still!”
If you were brave enough to matriculate to the world of a “good woman” you would, no doubt have to tango with the best.
If she has a husband, she does his books, washes the car, and cooks his frozen pizza on Friday nights. And he’s lucky she does. He trusts her to come home at night and do the laundry and he has never regretted this arrangement. She shares her dreams, her fears, and her pay cheque with him.
She shops for bargains, ensuring the children have something to wear for all occasions and she has fun doing it; she happily dumps out her bags at the end of the day boasting about her prowess at the superstore.
In the mornings, she drags herself out of bed, puts the cereal box on the table for the ‘Help-Yourself’ breakfast and drives the kids to school in her pyjamas. Upon arriving back home, she lets the cat in and the dog out, feeds the hamster and gets out the vacuum cleaner. Before sucking up every Webkin and Polly Pocket, she kindly puts all the toys in the hamper and shoves it into the corner.
She makes a honey-do list for herself while savouring a whiff of her vanilla-flavoured coffee and then gulps it down: time is flying.
Turn on the dishwasher, throw a load in the dryer, straighten the beds, stick the chicken in the slow cooker, push down the toaster. Hop in the shower, blow dry the hair, dress, shoes, grab the toast and run for the car. She hurries to work where she walks in with a smile, choosing her attitude!
Over the lunch hour she delivers the tax return at the accountant, picks up allergy pills for her husband, drops the overdue books in the slot at the library. She wolfs down an apple and 2 squares of cheddar cheese in the car.
Four more hours at her work, pouring herself into her job, she tries to be efficient, considerate, creative, supportive, and helpful and, oh yes, she remembers to smile.
Time to pick up the kids, she gives them each a healthy snack in the car and they head over to the soccer field for practice. She volunteers to organize a fundraising event, balances her cheque book, plans menus for next week along with the grocery list. Soccer’s over and she drives the kids home.
They disappear to the TV room while she sets out dinner for them, along with feeding the cat, the dog and washing machine. Her children love her and bring her breakfast in bed once a year on Mother’s Day. She is a good woman – to be admired and praised however, she rarely sits still long enough to receive it. She IS the diamond, with many facets and sparkles. She is priceless!
by Jenny Hurlburt
Jenny IS a good woman and a good friend. Not only does she write, but she found time to support my art exhibit too. She is a diamond to me.
What is your experience of The Good Woman?
*The Women’s Bible Commentary, p. 152, Newsom & Ringe, Eds., SPCK, London, 1992