I never liked this chapter in the Bible. Even after getting over my dislike for 1Corinthians13, I still couldn’t get over the hate dislike for this one. It was a very strong feeling that I had. The woman just gave me complex!
Ok, some of us had more complex than most, warraheck! Blame it on the system. A few times, having being forced had to share word in some sisters’ gathering or the other, or nursing the heart ache from another mutual crush friendship gone wrong, I would go and read it again. Carefully, in my closet. Just to see if what this woman had on me? How come she always got the guys things I wanted and could never have? Huh? What did her Mama tell her that mine forgot to add? None of these attempts fostered any love between us. Infact, we had more love lost at the end of each experience than before. Come to think of it, I used to like her as a little girl. I had hope that no matter how naughty I was, I still had hope of growing up and finding myself living her life, being like her. The life of knitting and watching out for trading ships, buying fields and praise singing husband and children choir. Colorful outfits, rolled up sleeves and loads of personal assistants! Hehehe!
But then, destiny was not it a hurry. She knew that on the 11th of July 2010, Funms, Zoe, Lightherlamp, Nolimit and the Salt dude would all gather and speak this woman in 21st Century English and I will finally find myself in her and find more of what I can be through the eyes of this woman who used to be the dread of me. (Yeah, I know, i like lyrical prose! hehehe!)
So, what have I found? I went back to read the chapter again. This time, with a more open mind. No condemnation, no guilt. I just wanted to see how far we both had gone with turning me into Mrs. Lemuel Jnr.‘s copy cat.Here’s what I found:
The Chapter starts with a warning to Mr. Lemuel. His mommy tells him
“Oh son of mine, what can you be thinking of!
Child of whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God!
Don’t dissipate your virility on fortune hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders” (MSG)
I loved that part! Aha! Now we are talking. Step 1, Mrs. Lemuel is the kind of woman whose Mr. Lemuel had a good mama (or mama figure) who taught him well on the things that are priority in life. And I am that kind of woman. I dont do thugs, don’t date hommies, I fall for good well brought up men. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that would qualify me as Mrs. Lemuel Jr.!
I liked this version too
“My son, I gave birth to you. You are the son I prayed for.
Dont waste your strenght on women
or your time on things those who ruin kings” (NCV)
Armed with more confidence I went on… All the way down to verse 9 were admonitions for my boo. He should not drink, reasons why, he should eat healthy, drink for health, blah blah, blah… Then verse 10. My mother-in-law to be starts off with saying it is almost impossible to find Mrs. Lemuel Jr (What? Like they threw away the manual that made her? yeah, right!). You know, I had to check about 6 translations for that verse. There opinions vary from “no one can find her’ to”it is hard to find her”. One thing they all agreed on was, however, that she cannot be quantified in terms of value. I was awed at how a single element could tilt the scales so badly. Just because a woman in described as “good”, she suddenly becomes an invaluable asset… I liked this version best:
“A truly good wife is the most precious treasure a man can find.” (CEV)
I think this translator finally got it. It’s not about how scarce she is. Yes, many women have tried to be like her and failed, but many never was the synonym of majority. So, this settled one thing in me immediately. I can be that Proverbs 31 woman! Mrs. Lemuel Sr. ain’t got ish on me! Cos, I’m like refined precious metal. It’s not easy to find me at my utmost charming best. It would have taken took me years of refinement to get there here, so when you find me and you see that in me, know that it’s invaluable. Nothing you can pay as dowry, no love you can show can quantify the price I paid, through the various lessons learned and mistakes made over the years. I am not just difficult to ‘conquer’, I am priceless!
I wonder why the KJV’s made it sound as if this woman only came in tens for every generation. I used to, as a kid, pity the guys who would end up with those of us who are not worthy of the Lemuel name. Well, tough luck to them! But I was wrong, virtous women? We are many! We are not a dime a dozen, but there is enough of us to go round for the discerning man. Notice that his mother started with the lessons she had taught him as a child. It was all to make him a successful king, and to ensure he got a complimentary help meet. So us both started life being prepared for each other! I like that, mama Lemuel! Imma teach your grandson the same thing!
Verse 11 and 12 then talks about me and my boo. You see, the bible says husbands love your wives, wives, respect your husbands. They say what you do not respect you do not attract (that’s a story for another day). As Mrs. Lemuel Jr., even before I can qualify, (thank Jesoz) I got to be attractive to my Lemuel. He’s got to see me and know that he can trust me. He can trust me not to be anything other than what he sees. In other words, I am sincere, and I’m down to earth real! I don’t fake my attitudes, fake my responses, fake my appearance. (ok, save for the weave, the lashes and the color of my eyes. then maybe the height thing too…) I’m not out to paint a different picture from what I am. My baby can trust me from Day 1. What he sees is what he gets. I like that! I mean, not me or him is exonerated from proper behavior here. But without saying much, my baby knows he’s got the real McCoy. The part that fits him perfectly. I don’t have to be quiet, loud, vivacious, conservative, artistic or yes, even a homebody! I just have to fit. And he must trust me not to change into some unrecognizable nightmare. Yes, Lemuel probably has a few attributes he’d like me to acquire, but majorly, he expects me to have come clean with my basics from the start. I wont lie about soccer if I know I’ll never be able to stand it. I won’t hide my calling just to make him think I can one day be a house wife if he makes enough money. I won’t say I love cooking when I know I’d rather eat out. He can plan on the rest of his life with the things he has seen and experienced with me. Cos, baby, I ain’t gonna spring a shocker on you. I am constant. I will grow, I will develop. I will discover new territories, explore most and conquer them. But I will remain constant. You will never wake up beside a stranger. When Lemuel identifies this in-depth sincerity, (He) trusts (you) without reserve (MSG).
So yeah, ladies, what happens to being mysterious to keep the chase. I have heard this thing said countless times, a man know, within a few minutes/hours/days (different variations) of meeting a potential wife if she fits or not. So, there goes the chase myth, out of the window! Now this is not to say we should be lack luster and boring. Lemuel needs to know that he’s got life time entertainment that won’t end (you know how they are with toys and stuff…). So, by all means, be mysterious! By all means, turn on the charm! And puhleeeese, when/where the situation allows him, be the seductress! Provide him the type of entertainment he can’t get else where! But, in all your doing, babes, be the real deal. Let him know what is attached and what came from the factory. Truth is, men like boring stuff. They bought PS1, 2 and 3. Same games, same teams, different visuals. Project the basics, re-enforce them where necessary. But help Lemuel to trust you, at almost first sight (cos the bible didn’t say he grows to trust her, he says he trusts her, period!). He will trust you at the beginning, or not! So, in short, give him no reason to regret his decision to trust you instinctively. That is when you have earned his trust.
Verse 13 and 14 talk about her shopping for yarns (what tha…?), knitting and sewing, liking trading ships and enjoying that sail to distant places bringing back exotic surprises. In other words, this woman is an administrator. She can make things happen. She may not have all the skills, i.e. she can’t turn a rudder to save her life, but she knows some of the best sailors around. She can not for the life of her locate Katangwa market, but she knows the people that bring tasty soups to your doorstep for a small token. She can handle her business! Ok, verse 15 kinda threw me back. I have to wake up before the rest of the house? But why…? And before dawn too? Why can’t Lemmy boo boo boo mix his own cereal? Didn’t his mama teach him any culinary skills? I dont think I have an answer to that one, but I think the Holy Spirit is telling me that this woman, Mrs. Lemuel Jr. indulges her husband to the point that she spoils him. Yep, ladies, we continued from where their mamas stopped. We love them, we feed them and never think of leaving thier boney a*#@s! So, if it means waking up earlier to make sure his breakfast is hot and ready in good time, then it does it. I know I’m treading on controversial waters here, but hey, if you have a more liberal interpretation, I’ll take it! The truth of the matter is, as the woman, I am the home maker. At whatever cost to me, I have to make Lemuel feel at home in our house. He shouldn’t have to wake up wondering if the house is gonna run today, he should wake up knowing its gonna run! And if I have to wake up early or bribe him with hot steamy lovemaking to get him to agree to corporate maids (the ones that don’t eye husbands o), I have to get it done. I don’t think its a “well, he knows I’m working too, so he’d better be thinking about helping me out” situation. Remember, Lemuel had a good mama, who was someone like you. He got proper up bringing too, so he knows to take out the trash when it’s full. He also knows about diaper duty and vigil nights and all. And even if he was not so fortunate, the guy’s crazy about you, boo! He’d do anything to keep you happy. You just have to keep him feeling like the King while he’s doing it. It’s important for his ego and his ego is important for your protection and care.
Verses 16, 17 and 18 talk about her attitude to work. Mrs. Lemuel is the type that would make any man wish he conquered this lioness! She got her heart in her bizness! Yez bozz! When she’s at work, it’s about being the best. Buy the real estate at the best location! Roll up your sleeves and do your homework properly before that bid/proposal! Get a financial analyst or do your analysis well before going into that catering business or investing into that stock! Babes, get involved in what brings you money! I noted that the bible didnt say anything about whether the money/business/investments were hers or theirs (joint account versus separate accounts). See? Mrs. Lemuel Sr., was a smart woman! She knew where to stop. That business is solely for you and Lemuel Jr. to sort out. You both decide, not your mama (and her experience), not HIS mama (and her experience) and definitely not your girls!
Verses 19 and 20, to me, talk about her heart. She is rich inwardly. She has skills (don’t worry girl, we all have skills. You just need to find yours) and she uses them well to beautify her home. Whether is being able to decorate herself or her home or her husband or her kids, whether it is style, or maybe cooking, or cleaning and tidying up stuff, the Bible just says
“She is skilled in crafts of home and earth” (MSG)
That means it’s open. it’s not a know-it-all or have-it-all quality. She has just focused enough attention on herself to identify the skills, develop tham and know when and how to use them. The problem with some of us Mrs. Lemuels-in-waiting is us not knowing where and when to use the skills we got. Your strong will, babes, it’s a skill! Nothing fazes you, right? It’s not for you to make Boo Boo feel unwanted, it’s for you to run his house with! The strength of your will can and will run the palace smoothly! Lemuel will sleep without Valium, no matter the number of acres you both occupy! So, be like me, stop seeing that as a minus. Not all of us have to be sweet! Some of us are to down-to-earth to comprehend the notion. Oh, yeah, we have our moments when the besotted men in our lives label us as such. And yes, we know that deep deep deep deep deep deep (ok, I made my point) doooooooooowwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn in our hearts, we are real sweethearts. It might just take BP to discover that. It dont have to be that way! Channel your sincerity towards making him see through you to that deeeeeeeeep crevice (be sweetly transparent :D)! Ok, so, I’m favouring the stronger sisters! Well, y’all timid lot quieter ladies have been getting all the attention before anyway and you know how you do what you do. Plus, I have no personal revs that would benefit you. Mine will only confuse you! hehehe! Moral, discover your skills and use them in matters of crafts of home and earth.
My fingers hurt (truth). This will be continued.