The Adventures of Anastasiya Didok

Life and faith in a nutshell.

Category: Discoveries in the Word

Proverbs 31 Woman: Misconception #2 – She is a compilation of multiple women

Along side the misconception that the Proverbs 31 woman is a stay-at-home mom who cooks and cleans, I ran into another one: that the Proverbs 31 woman is a collection of women because no single lady could possible accomplish as much as she does. This misconception lies in not looking into the passage in-depth enough. I believe that if the Proverbs 31 woman was a collection of characters, the bible would have mentioned something about it, and that simply thinking that what’s on her plate is too much to handle is not reason enough to deduce that she is multiple people.

Besides, I don’t think there is too much on her plate. From what I am reading, she has a main business of making linen garments, supplemented by being a middle man between the tradesmen she deals with and someone else. From what she makes from that she later plants a vineyard. She also seems to make time to work out and cook breakfast for her immediate family. Sounds like any driven woman these days to me. I am deducing this from the following verses:

“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” Proverbs 31:16
“She makes linen garments and sells them…” Proverbs 31:24
“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:17

But what about the rest of the verses? Let’s take a brief look at each one that may be stumping you:
“She seeks wool and flax,and works with willing hands.” — in order to produce linen, you need flax. We will look at why she seeks wool in a later post.
“She puts her hands to the distaff,and her hands hold the spindle.” — this is what needs to happen to produce that same linen we talked about above.
“all her household are clothed in scarlet.” — IF she made her household’s clothes, it was a one-time deal and not something that takes up her time on a regular basis.
“She makes bed coverings for herself;her clothing is fine linen and purple.” — as in the case above, this is a one-time deal. I will write later why I don’t think she makes her own clothes or that of her household.
“she delivers sashes to the merchant.” — this is where I think the P31 woman serves solely as a supplier. It does not say that she makes the sashes, but possibly utilizes her connections with the merchants to get someone else’s work delivered to them. Either that, or the sashes ARE the linen garments that she makes. Stay tuned for finding out why she is so connected.

Did I miss any other verses that make it seem like the Proverbs 31 woman does more than a single person can handle?

Proverbs 31 Woman Misconception #1- She is a stay at home mom who cooks and cleans

Ladies this may come as a shock to those of you who have strived all your life to embody the Proverbs 31 woman as the ultimate homemaker. You may aspire to one day have your house as cleaned as hers and have three meals cooked for your family like she does every day. But let’s look into the passage again. Does she really do all that?

Here are the verses in the passage that correlate to cooking and cleaning:

“She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar”. Proverbs 31:14

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens”. Proverbs 31:15

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness”. Proverbs 31:27

The first verse I’m still somewhat confused about and haven’t quite looked into. However, what I deduce from it is that she imports foods that are not available in her region through either successful trade (about that a little later), or traveling to get it herself. What I do know for sure is that this verse in no way implies cooking that food.

From what I’m reading here, the most that the P31 woman may cook is breakfast for her immediate family. The ESV bible uses the word “provides.” She provides or gives meat/food for her household. It doesn’t necessarily mean she cooks it. It also says that she “rises while it is still  night” and does that. That would mean breakfast. Nowhere else does it mention that she also cooks lunch, dinner, and snacks. But wait, the next part of the verse might shine some clarity on the cleaning part of the story: she also provides portions (as in pay, not food!) for her maidens!!! That’s right. The P31 woman has hired helped that does the cooking and cleaning for her. What she actually does herself is “looks well to the ways of her household.” She is a good manager who delegates. She is not doing everything herself!

So to all the ladies who are beating themselves up because they just can’t reach the Proverbs 31 woman’s standard, stop it right now. This is an accusation that is probably wasting a lot of your energy that should be spent loving your family and enjoying life. Stay tuned to find out just how the Proverbs 31 woman got to the point of having hired help, and what it is that she actually does.

My love for the Proverbs 31 woman

I know that P31 scares some women and motivates others. I am most certainly in the “others” category, as this girl has built quite a fascinating life there for herself! I’ve read and re-read the passage hundreds of times, and recently got this brilliant idea to try to literally become like the woman in the passage! However, I did not completely understand it. In addition, when looking at different translations, the words I had my doubts about did not match up!

This lead me to do some more research on exactly what she does and who she is. What I’ve uncovered so far has been absolutely fascinating — nothing I’ve heard of before. I don’t recall hearing a sermon on Proverbs 31 in general, and what I learned through my best friend Google was most certainly not included in any sermons or studies I’ve found on the topic online.

Along with the fascinating discoveries in fashion, geography, and history, I’ve uncovered a ton of misconceptions about the Proverbs 31 woman. Some of them were irritating, some just didn’t dig far enough, some made me feel sorry for the women attempting to “chase” the P31 standard.

In the next few days I would like to do a series of posts on the P31 woman to share what I have discovered through my research. Stay tuned to find out more about the common misconceptions about this biblical character, a lesson in fashion, a study on shellfish, and what she has to do with Italy!

Losing a dream on a bet: Why we are not moving to New York (at this point)

Today I saw an ad on Craigslist for a job in NYC for my husband that would have been perfect in getting us to the city, with an income, with housing all set up, and the ability for me to stay home with our baby. He qualified down to the detail in the three-page requirements outline. I brought the listing to lunch in order to show him the job, but honey wasn’t exactly thrilled. (New York is as far as it gets from HIS dream location of “somewhere in the forest.”) After a difficult hour spent discussing the pros and cons of actually moving, we came to the conclusion that he will not be thrilled to move, and I will not be dissuaded to want to move there. So my husband, the wise man that he is, took out a penny and asked me to pick a side. I picked heads. It was tails. I lost the bet, so we are not moving to New York.

Here is why I will probably not give up on my dream of moving to NYC:

I understand that when you go heads/tails, it is a very fair and manly thing to do, and if you lose that bet, you need to tough it out like a man. Well, I’m a woman, so I can’t do that. I toughed it out at lunch, but right now I’m kind of a mess of sadness, anger, tears, and despair (not really this dramatic). So reason #1 is I’m not a man, so I will not lose a bet like a man, and therefore do not consider this a final say in my lifelong goal of moving to New York.

#2 is that I have a feeling he may have rigged the outcome. That penny didn’t fly high enough and why was it him that should be throwing it in the first place? So I am not taking the result at face value.

#3 My husband mentioned that he feels uneasy about moving if he hasn’t heard a word from God. So I’m gonna wait for that word, because to date God has not failed once to communicate to honey separately what he has already communicated to me. (I guess this was another situation in which I should have just shut up and waited).  In the meantime, on the car ride back from lunch, God reminded me of the word He has given me for this marriage. This verse has come to me over and over again in different situations and from different perspectives. Now it came in yet another light.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

I might share more on this in another post, but let’s just say that our relationship didn’t start out in a typical lovey-dovey manner with pink glasses and no faults. We dated for 3 intense weeks pretty much knowing that we are called to marry each other. In those weeks we had long and very serious conversations that dissected every inch of one another’s life, and searched out any excuse for the other person to back out. We basically flaunted our flaws up front, and put down our unyielding demands in advance.  It didn’t make sense to either one of us, and it was uncomfortable. That’s when God gave me the first part of that verse: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” It was only after my spiritual breaking point of letting go of certain aspects of my life, and surrendering everything to God, that He reminded me that the verse has a second part to it: “that He may exalt you.” For the first year of our marriage I lived on hope of that verse, as God painfully pruned both of our characters. But the longer we are married, the more I see that step by step this marriage has exalted me in ways that I cannot begin to describe, and served as a jump-start to some of my wildest dreams becoming a reality. It makes sense now that we couldn’t be a better match for one another, and of course God knew that in advance! I am just thankful that both of us were obedient enough to follow through.

Today in the car God gave me the third part of the verse: “at the proper time.” I guess patience truly is virtue. Since I am a firm believer that God leads the family through the husband, I’m going to practice what I preach, let go, and let God do His work either in my husband’s heart, or in my heart, so that honey will want to move to NYC as well, or so that my lifelong dream is completely eradicated from my mind and I become absolutely content with where I am right now.

Devising Good

As we know, I am currently reading Proverbs and highlighting verses that pertain to wealth, healing, and love. My takeaway from this morning was a verse about love. “Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.” Proverbs 14:22

This is such a different take on love. We all search for unconditional love, and unfortunately often demand it in our marriages. This verse points out that sometimes a little bit of work might pay off when it comes to love! Different translations have the word love swapped with the word “mercy,” but “faithfulness” pretty much remains untouched, and we all know how important that is to a marriage. I believe that whatever is in the bible is a surer way to obtain what you need than any other plan, and apparently it gives a formula for faithfulness! Who would’ve thought? All I have to do to meet it is “devise good.”

What is devising good? To google I go. Devise — plan or invent by careful thought. This implies deliberation and time, but basically the definition can be divided into three parts:

1. Plan. What good can you plan today? Planning requires thinking about things ahead of time. This could be setting up a reservation for a night out with your spouse, or asking for some time off in advance to take a trip. This could be as simple (for women) as freshening up make-up on our way home from work because we are planning on seeing our husbands soon. This could pertain to bigger projects that require planning — such as a meal plan or time planned to exercise together. This part of devising good ensures that foreseeable troubles and opportunities don’t come unexpected, because we have planned.

2. Invent. This is a little bit more difficult than planning, as it requires for us to turn on our imaginations. Invention is something new, never seen before. Has your marriage gone stale and boring? This is a perfect time to invent something new! Inventing good would ensure that the rut that couples often get stuck in doesn’t happen. It could be a new way to spoil your honey, or a new way to help someone out outside the household. After all, helping others brings a couple closer.

3. Careful thought. This means that you have thought long and hard about the good. This also means that all angles have been considered. When you go out to buy your spouse a present, do you consider what they will think about it, or is it something that YOU think they will like (for no good reason)? Husbands, have you carefully thought about purchasing your wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas and considered how that might make her feel (like she is only there to clean for you)? Wives, have you deliberated carefully before giving away your husbands “clutter” without asking him, and thought about how it may make him feel (like his stuff doesn’t have a place in the home)? Sometimes what seems good to us isn’t exactly so. When devising it, it’s a good idea to carefully think about it.

This principle, of course, can also be applied to friends and acquaintances. How deliberate are we about doing good? How much time to we spend carefully thinking about it and planning it out? Or is good just something that we do as the opportunity comes up?

My goal after this is to be more deliberate about doing good — to devise it, especially when it comes to my relationship with my husband.

Talking my way into healing

I’m going to make a new category on this blog called Discoveries in the Word. I’ve been feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and hopeless lately, with several very specific issues that bugged me, such as our marriage, my health, and our finances. I searched for answers in books (we already know how that went and why I decided not to read as my new years resolution), but then it hit me that the only place I could find them would be the word of God — my bible. So I decided to get serious about it, and instead of spending time on my phone in the morning, dusted off a physical copy of the bible and a pack of highlighters. I decided to assign a color to each issue that was a concern, and read the bible in search of verses that correlate to each issue.

I began in Proverbs and after only two days of reading discovered that although I’ve read this book many MANY times before, I didn’t connect certain dots. Putting color to the word gave me quite a different perspective. What I figured out today was this: the words you say and hear somehow directly affects your health and wellbeing! Now, I knew that what comes out of our mouth matters. I learned to apply that principle to issues of finances and relationships. I knew that it wasn’t nice to curse or to call people bad names. I knew that being negative lowers the mood around you. But somehow it never clicked until this morning that words are affecting my healing.

But it was black on white (highlighted in orange):

“Hear my son, and accept my WORDS that the years of your life may be many.” Proverbs 4: 10

“My son, be attentive to my WORDS… for they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4: 20, 22

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you CROOKED SPEECH, and put DEVIOUS TALK far from you.” Proverbs 4:23-24

“A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with CROOKED SPEECH… in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.” Proverbs 6: 12, 15

“The REPROOFS of discipline are a way of life.” Proverbs 6: 23

“With much seductive SPEECH she persuades him… he does not know that it will cost him his life.” Proverbs 7: 21, 23

“Who fails to find me (wisdom), injures himself.” Proverbs 8:36

“…he who REPROVES a wicked man incurs injury.” Proverbs 9:7

My goal: be attentive and deliberabe about what I say and what I listen to.