It has been another great week over in our Facebook Community, as we have discussed all the different parts of this weeks verse. Don’t forget to read Naomi’s summary post from last week to catch up if you need to!
“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.” Proverbs 31:13-14
I am going to try to summarise all the great things that God has been revealing to us all, as well as tying in some of the research that I have done over the week. If you have taken anything else from this verse then please do share either in the comments here or back in our Facebook Community! We must remember that this is NOT a to-do list, designed to make us feel like we are failing, but guidance and advice from a mother to her son and a blessing to speak over ourselves as women. It is something to aspire to and to take inspiration from, but never to make ourselves guilty over.
a working wife
It is strange reading this whole verse – I find certain phrases from society echoing in my head “Men are the hunter-gatherers”, “Men are the head of the household”. Yet here, the mother is giving her son advice to find a wife who will pull her weight, who will take part in all the household decisions and actively work and make decisions. This idea that we have been fed of a “domestic goddess” is far from the reality here, and we have to accept that the working mum is not a new invention!! Whether that means we are working away from the home, in the home or a bit of both, as women we have a vital role to play in our families and that is to be valued.
Wool and Flax
In our community, we discussed how she “selected” the wool and flax, she didn’t just go and get some, but she took time over the decision and made sure she chose the best of what was available. There is purpose in the word “select”. Why did she do this? Because her family is her utmost priority, and she wants the best for them. This is a woman who cares and who loves and who looks after. Lets be women like this! But not just in choosing clothes or food, but for our family’s spiritual life as well. Lets select the best resources, save the best of our time for pursuing spiritual health, and put it as a high priority.
Interestingly she selects two different types of fibre – both wool and flax. From research, flax is the plant fibre that makes linen, a fabric that is perfect in the summer, but not warm enough for winter. Whereas wool is perfect for the winter time but would be too hot for summer. So by choosing both, this woman is preparing her family for all eventualities. We can do that too, by preparing for both spiritually good times and bad, and giving our families the tools they need to deal with both.
Linen is very significant throughout the bible, so her choosing this would have been significant to Solomon as he hears this advice from his mum. Linen is used for the ephod that the priests wear to go into the temple and approach God. It was also used to wrap Jesus’ body after he was crucified. Linen symbolises righteousness and personal holiness, so this woman is selecting clothes for her family that will help their spiritual health as well as protect their health in all seasons of the year.
I love the way that this woman is described to have “eager hands”. Eager can also be translated as willing, impatient, keen, zealous, passionate, wholehearted. All of which describe an enthusiastic or impatient desire to do something. What a characteristic to have about her family and the spiritual life – to be so eager to do those things and provide and protect! We mentioned that sometimes life gets the better of us as mums, and we aren’t quite so “eager” to do the jobs that need to be done to look after our own families. Perhaps we can aspire to having more eager hands in the future!!
This was the metaphor that I was most looking forward to digging deeper into because it completely baffled me to start off with! I asked the question to you all about it, and these were some of your comments:
“It makes me think of going wherever it takes to find what’s needed. Sometimes we can just say ‘We don’t have that here.’ and settle for what we can find in our immediate surroundings, often making do with what’s left. But the purpose of these ships was to go and find where the produce was most prevalent, the quality was the highest, and bring it back.”
“The image of a merchant ship carries a weight of purpose – they’re not messing about or enjoying a cruise. They’re working to provide – all the time. But they’re solid and trustworthy vessels that can hold a lot.”
“I think merchant ships are essential for an economy. There’s a risk with a merchant ship (risk of shipwreck etc) but they also carry amazing goods (spices, cloth etc) which make that risk worthwhile. So it gives a real value to the work of bringing the family’s food to the table. ”
“I’m a merchant ship, that’s exactly what I am! And it’s lovely to belong to a whole fleet of merchant ships that search out for the best of everything, materials and spiritually to serve our families !”
Taking risks, going to get the best, trading and being resourceful, all for to serve her family. What a woman. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling inspired to become an even better woman who provides the best she can for her family, especially when it comes to our spiritual health and wellbeing.
Well what a week, and I for one am so thankful for the comments and encouragement from everyone taking part. Bring on next week when we continue our studies in Proverbs 31 with this verse:
“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.” Proverbs 31:15
The lovely Naomi will be leading the discussion this week, and to celebrate us reaching 500 members in the Facebook Community there will also be a giveaway going on! Watch this space….
(Sunday 23rd is the last day to use the “LAUNCH20” discount code in our etsy shop so go grab a bargain before its too late!!)