Saturday, September 25, 2010

“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

Today is my wife's birthday.  Have I told you about my wife?  I really couldn't even start to do justice to all the ways she is a beautiful blessing to me, to her children, and to all the people who benefit from her love and gifts -- often without even knowing it.

One of her friends who knows her well wrote this about Elizabeth the other day:  "You are... a complete giver.  I was just thinking about how you offer to help someone before you think through how it will affect your time (& energy).  What a testimony of true sacrifice."

The friend got it exactly right.  But she somehow got it right without knowing half the ways in which she got it right.

The Proverbs 31 poem may be more about wisdom personified ("Lady Wisdom," as opposed to "Lady Folly" -- see Proverbs 8 & 9) than it is about an actual woman... but still.  Every line applies.

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth.  I love you.

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
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 merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
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 scarlet. 
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

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