I’ve hated the Proverbs 31 woman for most of my life. Reading about her made me feel utterly inadequate; in my mind, she was Barbie, Superwoman, Martha Stewart, and Mother Teresa all in one. How could any normal woman compare? Plus, I knew way too many well-meaning women in the church who’d had breakdowns trying to emulate her, overextending themselves and saying “yes” to things they were never meant to be or do. Having successfully avoided martyrdom most of my life, I felt like attempting to become the “perfect woman” was something I could comfortably sidestep, and be fine with.
God, however, had something to say to me about my mini-rebellion, which wasn’t working out that well for me anyway. In my quest to avoid becoming a Christian doormat, I’d turned saying “no” into an art form. Rather than wait for his direction with a soft and responsive heart, I’d become an automated “no” machine, as an overcorrection for being a recovering “yes” girl. I went from being foolish in my “yes,” to selfish in my “no,” following the advice of well-meaning friends and self-help gurus, rather than the Holy Spirit.
As I prayed for God’s help getting this part of my life just right, He gently led me back to Proverbs 31 in The Passion Translation. Fine, God, I muttered aloud, as I read it with a closed heart and a bad attitude.
This time, however, the words on the page spoke to me like never before. The real Proverbs 31 woman, God revealed, is “a woman of strength and mighty valor” (v.10) – a warrior. Her husband trusts her with his heart (v.11) – she’s his bestie. She “gives out revelation-truth to feed others” (v. 14), “sets her heart upon a nation and takes it as her own” (v. 16), “stretches out her hands to help the needy” (v. 19), and “lays hold of the wheels of government” (v. 19). In other words, she’s full of wisdom, a trusted advisor to all, and she’s a boss – both at home, and in the public arena. She’s “extravagantly generous to the poor” (v. 20), “not afraid of tribulation” (v. 21), and spoken of in “glowing terms” by her family (v. 28). She “delights in the work of her hands” (v.13), “laughs with joy” (v. 25), and is wrapped in “bold power and glorious majesty” (v. 25). She’s even dressed in Chanel – or at least the biblical equivalent of it (v.22)!
As these words jumped off the page, the Proverbs 31 woman transformed from a bedraggled housewife to a radiant Princess. She was never a sad, overworked woman, a woman living in denial, or any other role I’d disparagingly cast her as in my mind. Rather, this woman loves life, gives everyone and everything her all, and lives every moment to the fullest. Her marriage rocks, her friends and family love her, and she has enormous influence in the world. She’s wise, strong, and fearless, embodying the feminine ideal of power, purpose, and passion. She’s the ultimate “it” girl – not because of how she looks or what she wears (though she’s got great threads!), but because she pours selflessly into everything and everyone God puts before her to serve.
I want to be this woman – this woman who lacks nothing, fears nothing, and trusts in the Lord. I want to give more, love more, expand my influence, and laugh at the days ahead. Having recast the Proverbs 31 woman as my heroine, I am now able to envision with greater clarity what God has in store for my life. For far too long, I succumbed to Culture’s lies about what women could and could not be – in the church, in our homes, and in the world. I’m so grateful to God for shattering them all, and offering a heroine He promises to help me model my life after – for my benefit and the world’s.
Denise Gitsham Jones is an attorney and small business owner. Her career has spanned nearly two decades in legal, political, and entrepreneurial spheres. Previously, she lived and worked in Washington D.C. at the White House, US Department of Justice, and in the US Senate. Denise is newly married to the love of her life, Josh, and they live with their golden retriever Jack in San Diego. Follow along with her adventures on Instagram!