There are many books devoted to teaching us women how to become “Proverbs 31” women. From my experience, many of the these books may include a list of works that we women need to perform so we are “godly”. These types of books can easily turn into legalistic practices in our lives, and I’m happy to report that this was never the intention of the author of Proverbs 31.
In Rachel Held Evans’ book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, she gives a different perspective on the woman in Proverbs 31, the woman of valor ~
~ “Eshet chayil—woman of valor— has long been a blessing of praise in the Jewish community. Husbands often sing the line from Proverbs 31 to their wives at Sabbath meals. Women cheer one another on through accomplishments in homemaking, career, education, parenting, and justice by shouting a hearty “eshet chayil!” after each milestone. Great women of the faith, like Sarah and Ruth and Deborah, are identified as women of valor. One of my goals after completing my year of biblical womanhood was to “take back” Proverbs 31 as a blessing, not a to-do list, by identifying and celebrating women of valor. “
Evans explains the concept more on her blog here.
Now that I know the application of Proverbs 31 is meant to be a call to praise the amazing women in our lives rather than a “to-do” list…here are some examples of how we could use this little phrase to spur each other on(and if you recognize yourself on this list, I hope you don’t mind, but I think you’re a woman of valor!!)~
A woman restarts her career now that all her kids are in school…eshet chayil!
A single mom works at several jobs so she can take care of her son…eshet chayil!
A homeschooling mom organizes a yard sale to benefit the poor…eshet chayil!
A mom spends endless hours helping her son with his math homework…eshet chayil!
A woman spends hours shopping for the ingredients to cook dinner for a friend…eshet chayil!
A woman shares her experience with the Lord at a woman’s breakfast…eshet chayil!
A woman cooks two meals in one night; one for her family and one to give to a family with a newborn…eshet chayil!
I suppose you get the idea. A woman doesn’t have to be married or a mom, or single…but she must be a woman who honors the Lord in all she does. Then she is an eshet chayil…woman of valor!