Before reading further, make a list of the top 5-10 elements you feel must be present in order for a family to be healthy. Note that we’re not talking about “normal” because no one can really define a “normal” family anyway.
Most experts include the following elements in their list of what constitutes a healthy family. This list brings together a variety of sources, both secular and religious.
- Have a spiritual foundation.
- Make family a top priority by spending time together.
- Communicate well. This means listening and expressing affirmation, warmth and encouragement.
- Respect one another.
- Value service to others.
- Build healthy morals & values.
- Expect and offer acceptance.
- Limit stress.
- Discipline consistently .
- Love your spouse.
Now read through Proverbs 31:10-31 and list the elements of a healthy family present in the Proverbs 31 Woman’s family.
While there are others, the following 5 elements certainly exist in this woman’s family.
- Time. She begins each day with her family. Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day physically, it also can be the most important meal for a family to spend together. (v. 15)
- Confidence. She consistently meets the needs of her family. Much of what we read about the Proverbs 31 Woman points toward her making sure the basic needs of her family are met.
- Respect. The Proverbs 31 Woman receives honor from the people who know her best, her husband and her kids. More specifically, we read that “her husband praises her” and “her children stand and bless her” (v. 28). We’ll explore this point about her children more in a minute.
- Trust. Not only does her husband respect her, but he trusts her too (v. 28). This relationship certainly makes the family as a whole even stronger. Please see A Wise Woman Builds… Her Marriage for more on the significance of the husband and wife’s relationship.
- Security. The idea that “she laughs with no fear of the future” no doubt instills a sense of security in her family (v. 25). When mom is not worried, the family as a whole tends to function better.
What does “her children stand and bless her” mean for women today?
Probably the greatest reward a woman can receive is the respect of her children and her husband. Not only do the Proverbs 31 Woman’s children “bless her,” they “stand” in doing so. In today’s terms, this means they are not afraid to tell others how much they love and respect their mother nor are they afraid to back up how they feel with actions. There’s no being less respectful of mom when around friends. The idea of standing to bless her gives the sense of a deliberate effort on their part. What mom wouldn’t want that from her children?
Application for Today
The final words of Proverbs 31, and notably of the entire book of Proverbs, say, “Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” As we’ve read many times through this study, the Proverbs 31 Woman does so much in the way of deeds worthy of praise. Yet what stands out about the way in which these deeds are “publicly” declared comes through the people who know her best, her husband and her children.
Whether a single mother, a mother of young children, a mother of teens or a grandmother, realizing that our actions and the attitude in which we carry them out greatly influences our families holds significance throughout our lifetimes and well beyond into the lives of the generations that come after us.
Once again, we need to point out that no one expects any woman to be exactly like the Proverbs 31 Woman. However, the character traits that she cultivates within her certainly provide a guide for every woman to follow and a standard toward which we can all grow.
For Further Study
- Visit Proverbs 31 Ministries each day this week and read one of the articles on this wonderful blog by Lisa Terkheurst . Lisa’s blog provides a great resource for those of us desiring to cultivate the Proverbs 31 Woman’s characteristics within ourselves.
- Look back over the notes you made in our previous studies on the Proverbs 31 Woman. Specifically, review the character traits that stand out that you want to cultivate in your own life. Spend time in prayer each day this week asking God to help you with this cultivation process.
- Proverbs 31:26 gives additional insight into why the Proverbs 31 Woman’s children think so highly of their mother. Please take a minute to list those insights. (Hint: The graphic for today’s post might help in creating your list.) How can you better incorporate these insights into your approach to building your family?
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