2000-07-25 - A Woman of Excellence
Summer Question Series, Part 4
Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
"Although you said that you had enough questions for the summer, you also encouraged us to send more. Here is mine; I look forward to it being answered some day. I am not married, but I have a son from a previous relationship. The Bible says that Eve's punishment was in child-birth and Adam's was in labor. It has been explained to me that it is therefore against God's commandments for women to work. I need to work in order to feed and shelter my son and myself. I have been told that God would rather see us starve to death as a consequence of my sin of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage than have me "sin" again and again by going to work everyday. The man who told me this said that God still loves me and forgives my sins (which I made after becoming a Christian), but that He doesn't care about the consequences or punishments for my sin. I'm just a secretary, so I don't actually "labor" at work, if that makes a difference. I don't understand how God could forgive me, but watch me and my baby slowly die anyway. Could you explain this to me?"
My friend, I do have a thought on this, and I have thought about your question a lot. Here is my thought: Get away from this guy. I am usually very politique, or conciliatory, but sometimes you have to tell it like it is. This is one of those times.
You are right to care for, provide for, and look after your family interests. There is no question about it. The verse I started with is part of a passage that extols the woman of excellence. Verses 10-31 of this chapter (Proverbs 31) are so rich with how such a woman carries herself, I encourage you to read this passage. In fact, I encourage all of you to read this passage. Woman, this passage models what an excellent woman is. Men, this what an excellent woman looks like. And what is amazing is that being a woman of excellence has nothing to do with getting on the cover of Glamour magazine. A woman of excellence, in Scripture, is a woman of wisdom and industry. We all need to read this passage.
I am coming up on a year of marriage (wow, is this possible?). I did not marry until I was 32 years old. I waited, and waited, for the right woman. It was worth the wait. In fact, it was an ex-girlfriends brother who put the phrase in my head, "Don't settle," meaning don't settle for the wrong woman, wait for the Lord to provide the right woman for you. It was a long wait but, I am so thankful that waited and trusted the Lord.
My wife works, so maybe I am biased in my views. I am glad she works. She is exceptional at what she does. The fact that she is a woman has nothing to do with it, neither in respect to ability, nor as far as her gender. She was created in the image of God and is His representative, or ambassador here. This gives her a worth and dignity that far exceeds the curse that is the result of sin in Genesis 3.
I would encourage you to seek out the fellowship of other single moms. The church I currently belong to has a ministry to single moms simply because of their needs and numbers. There may be such a ministry in your area. Being a single mom means you have a situation that is different from the "traditional" family, but really not that uncommon. The Church is a great place to meet people who have similar situations, and who can encourage and support you as you seek to grow in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I must say that I think your letter shows that you have strength. You know the answer to this question, even before you asked it and you are doing the right thing by providing for and nurturing your family. I wish only to encourage you in this and to say that you are not alone in your situation. There are so many woman like you. I only hope that you can learn where they are and gain strength, fellowship and encouragement from them. Maybe you can start a group yourself at you own local church.
"Every child has a right to be both well fed and well led." Ruth Smelter
Soli Deo Gloria,