May8WedMay 8, 2019
A few months ago, our only daughter turned ten and entered a new phase of childhood. To celebrate this occasion, my wife took her on a special trip which included activities that our daughter loved. They laughed, bonded and had deeper conversations – especially to prepare her for adolescence.
My wife and I are excited about walking beside her, and her older brother, as they both journey into young adulthood. But, honestly as a dad, part of me is absolutely terrified about raising a teenage daughter! In addition to awkwardness and acne, she will likely encounter enormous pressure to measure beauty and maturity based upon her physical appearance, her grade-point average and/or the approval of her peers. Our task, as her parents, will be to coach her towards God’s standards for Biblical womanhood. We will certainly need the Lord’s help for this!
Unfortunately, Biblical womanhood often gets mis-characterized as weak and therefore old-fashioned. However, there are twenty-one verses in Proverbs 31 which describe a godly woman as quite the opposite!
She is described as 1) hard-working, 2) generous 3) and confident.
Consider the work-ethic and business-savvy mindset mentioned in these verses: “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it. With the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her work is profitable…She makes linen garments and sells them.” (31:15-18a, 24a).
The woman described here is a small-business owner who is managing staff and merchandise while also caring for her family. Wow! (By the way, this does not, in any way, give husbands or fathers an excuse for being lazy or detached. See 1 Peter 3 and Ephesians 5 for these descriptions.)
Next, consider her generosity: “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in double thickness” (31:20-21).
This describes a woman to cares for the poor and is generous to give out of her abundance. Yet, she is also mindful to care for her own family’s financial needs. I think of a woman who manages money in a way which benefits everyone she knows.
Finally, consider her confidence: “Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come…Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (31:25,30).
This passage suggests that a woman may be outwardly gorgeous by the world’s standards, but her real confidence comes from somewhere else - her faith in the Lord! I think of a woman who seeks Jesus daily and is therefore not intimidated by any worldly challenge. That’s real and lasting beauty!
These godly characteristics for womanhood are not only important to know, especially as disciple-making parents, but they also serve as a way to verbally compliment the women in our lives. Proverbs 31:28 says that her children and husband praise her for these!
Whether you are married, single, widowed, male or female, we all know women who would love verbal affirmation for their hard-work, their generous hearts and their confident faith. As Mother’s Day approaches, I encourage you to compliment the women around you using God’s standards for beauty. The younger women, like our daughter, are watching carefully to what we praise. May our standards be consistent with the One who loves the women in our lives even more than we do!