Quite to my surprise, I was asked to give a testimony of a virtuous woman. First, I would like to say how very unqualified I feel to be called upon to undertake such a venture. I am convinced that a true virtuous woman would never stand to sing her own praises. A true virtuous woman knows well the struggles of this life as she attempts to walk in righteousness, and because she knows how often she falls so desperately short, she could never claim such a title for herself. No, this would be something that I would be unable to do.
Then, can you imagine my surprise when my husband leaned over in a church service where the focus was on this type of woman and said: You are exactly that kind of woman. I, then, understood something more of this virtuous woman. Indeed, she didn’t make that claim for herself. Proverbs 31:28 says that her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
So it matters not what I may say about myself. The real question is what does my husband say? And, what do my grown children say? I suppose the realization of the qualities that this woman possesses comes more in looking back in reflection over time, rather than at one specific moment in time. It is the consistency, the steadfastness, and the faithfulness that has been repeatedly seen through the years more than what someone sees just today, that causes one to stand and praise his wife or mother as a virtuous woman. So, where does it all begin – being a virtuous woman?
The beginning place is always with God. And this, too, was the beginning place with me. I had to realize Who He is – the Almighty God, Creator of all things, holy and righteous beyond our understanding, but so loving and merciful that He would come to this earth, be born into the body of a human being, willingly suffer and die, taking the sins of humanity – including mine – in His own body to save fallen man and reconcile them to Holy God. What a God!
With this personal understanding of God, an additional thing took place in my life. Perhaps it can best be explained by a verse found in 2 Corinthians 8:5. There we find a phrase that says that they first gave their own selves to The Lord and to us by the will of God. My life had been given to The Lord. I no longer belonged to myself; I now belonged to the living God. My life was no longer my own; it now belonged to The Lord Jesus Christ. But the verse continues to say that they gave themselves to us by the will of God. And that is where the focus of my life changed. My life was the Lord’s and was to be spent for others. The others that surrounded my life, first and foremost, were my family. The Lord, by His grace, began to show me, step by step, and day by day,ways that I could serve them – ways that I could encourage them – ways that I could comfort them.
But in the day to day experiences of life, I found that I would tire as I served The Lord by serving others. However, because I had given my life to The Lord, I now found that my strength came from Him – a strength far surpassing anything that I had known. Scripture says that the virtuous woman is a strong woman. She girds her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. And strength and honor are her clothing. It was to The Lord that I would continually turn to find this ever-present help and strength from day to day. I knew that The Lord was my strength, and I could make no claim of possessing it myself.
The Lord also gave me great contentment in being a wife and mother, laboring in unseen ways. He taught me that a virtuous woman does not seek recognition of her own. She seeks to honor her husband and delights in him being known in the gates. I knew, in my heart, that was what my life was to be about – exalting my husband – serving him and my children. How did I maintain this attitude? Once again, it is The Lord. He has taught me that His ways are right and good; I must deny myself, and I must not strive for my own ways. He faithfully reminds me that my life is not about myself. It is about Him – it is about His righteousness – it is about His holiness – it is about His glory. I would slowly get a glimpse of this truth – that I must, above all else, reverence Him and His Word. I must seek to do those things which were pleasing to Him.
Living just one day at a time, serving The Lord and serving those around me turned into weeks, months, and years of serving The Lord. Then, amazingly, those years turned into a lifetime of serving Him. Please don’t think for a moment that these things were easy. How many times I struggled with myself. How many times I failed miserably in that which The Lord had called me to do. It seems, however, as The Lord forgives all of those failures, He also erases them from the minds of our husbands and children. We may remember them regretfully, but are humbled and amazed as we hear our children rise up and call us blessed and our husbands praise us.
And lest you think I could never become a virtuous woman I would like to encourage you. It comes little by little, day by day, so often in the simple ways. It occurs when you do your husband good day after day. It occurs when you take time to listen to your children. It occurs when you care for them day after day, when no one stops to thank you. It occurs when you cook, clean, and do laundry for your family, repeating the same tasks time and again. It occurs when you continue working at these things when you would rather quit and take a nap. It occurs when you reach out to help others that you see in need. It occurs when you speak truth to those around you because you truly care. It occurs when you look well into the ways of your household, refusing to neglect your calling. And it occurs when you do these things day after day, year after year, because these things please your Lord.
Who can find a virtuous woman? Give your life first to The Lord, and then to those around you. You may find, in time to come, that this virtuous woman is you!
Strength and honor are her clothing
And she shall rejoice in time to come.