Friday, 7 December 2012

a biblical lady

lady - (n)
1. A well-mannered and considerate woman with high standards of proper behavior.
2. A woman regarded as proper and virtuous

There are all sorts of people in the world. There are loud people and quiet people, outgoing people and shy people, crafty people and wordy people, hands-on people and theoretical people. There are just as many divisions within the different genders as there are in the collective group. And that's where it gets a little hazy. The Bible is pretty clear on this point, in some cases--it's very plain that the "loose" woman and the "contentious, brawling" woman of Proverbs aren't women to be emulated. It's equally clear that women like Mary, the mother of Jesus, or Mary Magdalene, or Rachel, are most definitely pretty good role-models.

But what form does this take now, in the twenty-first century? After all, life is so much different now...right? 

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

It is very true that modern young women are in lack of a good assortment of role-models in the here and now. We can read about past women who reached the goal of being a 'virtuous woman'--what I think is probably the best Biblical term for the modern conception of 'lady'--but it's more difficult to find women that live up to that in the here and now. Yet they do exist. You can find them in the kind words they give, in the gentle spirit they possess, in the fact that they're the sort of people who you would give up, whose worth in wisdom and love and pure beauty of the soul is far above rubies.

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 

These virtuous women--these ladies--are strong. Not just in the physical sense (because some of them aren't at all; one of the most beautiful ladies I ever met was old and frail), but in the sense that they have a strength that manifests itself as an ability to listen and never get tired, to be the gentle corrector, to offer advice when it seems something is hopeless, to be the one people go to when they don't know where to turn. That sort of strength, it seems to me, is so much more important than being physically strong, or even mentally strong. To be strong in the heart is a great talent indeed.

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 

These ladies are generous. They are generous with their strength--with the time they spend listening and helping and crying with and praying for--they are generous with their resources and their hearts and their homes and their minds. Not only that, but they are selfless. They think of others before themselves, of what they can do to help another. This part of being a virtuous woman is, to me, more about the spiritual than the physical. It definitely has a physical side--for instance, very often spiritual ministering includes physical ministering. But there is a need in the spirit, a poorness about some people's hearts that must be tended. A true virtuous woman, one of God's 'ladies', can sense that, and tries her hardest to do something about it.

She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

A lady is industrious. None of the modern-day virtuous women I've met are idle. They have their moments, of course (I mean, how many of us honestly have not had those days where we just want to curl up with a good book and spend hours immersed in a fantastical world, a very safe cup of hot chocolate nestled against one hand to keep it warm?), but they have a plan, a set idea of what they want and how to get there, and what to do while they're getting there. They work for their families, with their families, for other people, with other people. And that's kind of an amazing thing, when you think about it. Other people are one of the wonders of the world, and this lady is able to not only be with them, but do things for and with them, to create and sell and earn and buy.

 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 

A lady is courageous, and respected because of it--mostly because she respects others. This will lead to great rejoicing, for she who lives in peace with all will be loved by all. Something like that. (Try to figure that out if you can; I'm not quite sure what part of my brain produced that, but it sounds cool.)

 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

A lady is wise, and kind, and kind in her wisdom. Someone once told me that the most important thing to think about when interacting with other people is "will this help me love this person more?" That is both part of wisdom, and much of kindness. The wisdom to know what to say (and, more importantly, when to say it), and the kindness to temper those words born of wisdom when needed.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

As always, in everything we do, there must be God in it. Every Godly lady I have ever met did not get there by her own effort. She is strong, but not without the Christ, which strengthens us. She is industrious, but not without the creativity given her by the One who created her hands. She is courageous, and gives respect to all, but not without the Holy Spirit to whisper to her words of truth about the people she meets. She is wise, and kind in her wisdom, but the beginning of all wisdom is God, and His word, and she would not know kindness but for the God who gave His all.

She fears the Lord, not in the sense that she trembles because of the punishment he could send, but that she adores and worships and is amazed by the awesome power that is His. She revels in the love and the beauty that is her God, she delights to learn more of him, to hear His words and see His work in her life. Everything she does is an outpouring, not of herself, but of the reflected light of Christ. She is a woman, not because of herself, but because of the One who holds her up with His mighty hand.

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautiful post, Kyla. It's full of wisdom, and you did a good job explicating each aspect of Biblical "ladylikeness."

    I loved the advice, "will this help me love this person more?" How much pain could be avoid by following this simple rule on a constant basis?


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