"She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands." Proverbs 31:13
- She seeks how she can find things that will help her complete her task.
- She would rather not wait for things to fall into her lap.
- She is an "A" worker.
- This woman is not lazy.
- She does not need everything done for her.
- This virtuous woman does not look for a life of leisure or entertainment.
- This willing worker is content to be busy serving her family in her home and helping fill needs beyond this if time allows.
- She never needs encouragement to stick with her work.
Women of Steel...
Women of early history HAD to work hard because times were difficult. You see this in primitive cultures around the world today, who lead a life that is unchanged from hundreds of years ago. I have heard stories of native women working willingly with their hands in the heat of the day and give birth in a bush and return to their work minutes later. As the baby cuddles close within her sling wrapped around her shoulders, she is able to care for her new baby and continue on with her duties.
I can not even imagine how that would be. Nor do I recommend it, but this letter to King Lemuel was written in a time such as this. It is interesting to see the vast differences in the amount of work we do today verses the load of work that women of long ago and in primitive cultures still produce. I think these women have built up a threshold of pain and endurance that can not be matched. I see Amish women that work unceasingly. They will take a break after having their babies, though, which I think is really great for them. They hire a maid for 2 weeks that will take over all her duties on the farm and in the home-everything-so she can recuperate. It seems to be the only vacation she gets all year. I would take it, too!
Women Working Bees...
I have done working bees with a group of Amish women. You blink and a chicken is ready to go into the freezer. These women, without a thought, will walk over to grab a live chicken and the next thing you know, it is in a pretty package. What I have noticed, in our culture, is that women sometimes shy away from "dirty jobs" and strenuous tasks. To get a group of ladies together to slaughter 100 chickens all before lunch is served, is out of the question. Unless they were raised on a farm and know how its done. It is not a nice job, it stinks, it is disgusting work. I can assure you, it is not the life for everyone.
I had to train myself to work alongside the Amish. I remember times that I thought I would faint and die from standing there all day working until sweat drenched my entire dress. I mean, they WORK. And you do not just stand around waiting for them to tell you what to do, you just get in there and figure out what you can do to help. It made a worker out of me. I was a pampered city girl with all my pampered ways. I had to lay that aside when I was seeking to learn how to do various homesteading type jobs. Seeking out the teachers, the dirty work, and finding joy in the fellowship was something I will always carry with me throughout life.
I am not saying these things to hail the homestead life nor am I trying to say the Amish are the only ones that work hard. We all work hard in our own way with the time we have been given. Whether you are a city girl or a country girl, it makes no difference as long as you have the right heart in your willingness to work with your hands and serve your family as unto the Lord.
Attending working bees regularly trained me to work willingly with my hands. I seek to find more things to learn and accomplish. If I have an opportunity to learn from a quilter I will come ready to thread my needle. An older woman spoke to me this morning. I tasted her pretzels and I asked her if I could find out how she made them. I do not like to visit just to sit and talk. I want to always be diligent because my time here is short and my days are numbered. I want to do something that is meaningful and worth something. Investing into purpose and into things of eternal value. I want to work and learn. She told me it would be such a joy to spend an afternoon teaching me. I do not like to sit around and chat on the phone or watch Facebook feeds when there are things to be done. I know there is laundry to fold, meals to prepare, more I can improve on, more to learn, children to care for, and people to pray for. There is no end to the possibilities of things I could do or seek out.
You never know what your life could be if you never try-if you never seek things out and work willingly to its end. Sometimes when you try, you make mistakes. I see every mistake as an essential part of life. It is those mistakes that teach us the most.
On the Flipside-The Life of Leisure...
After many centuries and also the Dark Ages, there came a new concept to women. Mainly for the women of wealth or power. It was the concept of leisure. Leisure is the use of FREE time to do things of enjoyment. They had servants to do any hard labor, and they could afford the leisure of sitting in the parlor to read a good book, or play the piano, or paint a picture. It was a disgrace to see a woman of high rank dirty the hem of her dress doing a job outdoors. Some women in history actually hated the life of leisure because there was no balance at all. If she had a certain social status, she was not allowed the luxury of cooking or cleaning or even rearing her own children. They had nurse maids, servants, and nannies for this. I would have hated it.
We now live in a society that has a bit more balance. People do work but they also have time to relax. We are not bush people that hunt for all our food. We have luxuries and conveniences to aid in our work that streamlines things to where we have time to hop on the computers or devices to relax. We can sit in the recliner and watch movies. Times have changed. I do see a trend of young people playing video games and entertaining themselves for hours at a time. Hours that may have been better spent rather in something productive. It pains me to see the newer generations of girls without work. Young ladies that stare at the phones smiling because they see what their friend posted. It is a vortex, distracting and taking into its pull all their precious minutes/hours they have to make a difference in the world. Instead, if they could learn from our example to SEEK out things to do.
Today, many women are feeling overworked and unappreciated. The thankless job of the wife and mother is really daunting. There is so much to be done, work that never seems to end- but it takes doing. The children are observing us and what we do with our time. It is easier to let them go off into the silent mode of a virtual escape, but it will not teach them how to be a diligent worker in the long run. What is our overall attitude about the work? Are we huffing and puffing and nagging and ragging? Or are we willingly working with our hands in a joyful way?
I consider working with my hands the will of God for my life-Being a Keeper of the Home. I feel the best when I am doing a job with my children, knowing it is a good thing. Yes, we do have leisure as well. There has to be a balance. You have to enjoy working and playing together. It is not bad to have times of rest in between our work, or days of respite. God gives us all good things to enjoy. Somehow God saw fit to give us a picture of a virtuous woman in Proverbs. Proverbs is a book of good wisdom which contrasts foolishness and idleness with the upright ways of the diligent. The icing on the cake, the final admonition, is to praise this woman who can do it all.
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We need not beat ourselves down from all the years we may have failed. I have failed much, but also I have learned much. Finding a balance-not being a workaholic nor a lazy person. Working and playing in the time we are given. Enjoying the journey whether we are working willingly or whether we are taking time to smell the roses with our little ones. The beautiful thing about God is that his mercies are new each morning. We can get up each morning and choose whom we will serve. Is it ourselves? Is it our flesh? Or will we rise up and seek out the things that need doing. Let us find joy and contentment in what the Lord has for us today. Lord, give us a measure of grace to face our mountains and climb them one step at a time, yet take the time to enjoy the view. Let us not grow weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.