Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.—Proverbs 31:10
Feminists would like us to think that women who embrace “traditional” values will lead lives of repression, ignorance and inferiority. The lives of the women in the Bible testify otherwise. Eve, of course, is the mother of us all; Sarah, Abraham’s wife, mothered a nation as numerous as the stars in the heavens; Moses’s mother bravely protected the baby who would grow up to save his people; Jael killed an evil general; Esther married the ruler of an empire and petitioned him to protect her people. And there are more: Ruth, Hannah, Abigail, Mary, Elizabeth... The pages of history are full of women who changed their world simply by being godly wives and mothers, though there is often nothing “simple” about being godly.
If the home is the basic building block of society and the place where the people who shape society are formed, then—as wives and mothers—women are perhaps the most influential people in the world. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Women have the power to create an environment which strengthens and inspires the people who live in it to then go out and do more than she ever could, even in the most pro-active lifetime.
In the movie Mona Lisa Smile, Julia Roberts plays a teacher at a girls’ college in the 1950’s. After barging into a class on the etiquette of “How to be the Perfect Hostess”, she says, “I came here to teach tomorrow’s leaders, not their wives!” She did not understand the power a wise wife has.
So how does a woman, in the role of “wife,” put her mark on the world? Many wives still write books or blogs, work part-time or full-time, run businesses, teach, provide counsel, and their involvement in ministries is both vital and biblically mandated (Titus 2). But this is all in addition to her duties as a wife. You’ve probably heard that behind every man is a great woman and that a woman can make or break a man. Both adages are demonstrated in Proverbs. The Proverbs 31 woman is the ultimate example of wise womanhood and where is her husband? He is sitting in the gates with the elders of the land impacting the city. But there is another husband in Proverbs, one who is unfortunately married to a contentious woman. Instead of influencing the city, he is cowering in a corner or hightailing it to the wilderness. Anything to get away from that obnoxious woman at home!
Most wives nowadays won’t be able to serve God by offing the evil general knocking on her door. Nor will the average woman win a beauty contest and marry the emperor. Most women’s lives will be much more humble. Rather than seeking honor and worth in her own accomplishments, a wise wife gives herself over to serving her husband—encouraging him, building him up, being his helpmeet. Far from ending up repressed and inferior, she will be following in the footsteps of Jesus, the king of all creation, who washed the feet of his disciples. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:15-17)
The same thing applies to motherhood. The old saying, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” is so familiar it has has lost its potency. But it really is true. There are stages when mothering seems to be nothing but one diaper, one squabble, one boo boo after another. If there is blessing to be found in a teacher washing his disciples’ feet, then there must be blessings for the mother who wipes her child’s bottom. But then those little people grow up and head out into the world and the time they spent with their mother becomes the foundation which shapes the rest of their lives.
George Washington, commander in chief of the colonial armies and the first president of America, said, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”
When wives and mothers recognize the power they hold in the palm of their hand, without even leaving their house, and when they embrace it in wisdom and humility, then the world will be changed for Christ.
Article by Amanda Evans
Idealist, former perfectionist, now mother of five, Amanda Evans is also wife to Eli and co-owner of Exodus. Amanda instigates many of the behind-the-scenes developments at Exodus and her reviews focus on those items that matter to wives and mothers (which covers more than you might think!). Read more of them here.
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