Wonder(ful) Woman

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• Shouting to make your children obey is like using the horn to steer your car, and you get about the same results.

• Avenge yourself ~~ Live long enough to be a problem to your children.

• There are three ways to get something done: Do it yourself, hire someone to do it, or forbid your children to do it.

• The joy of motherhood: What a woman experiences when all the children are finally in bed.

• Money isn't everything, but it sure keeps the kids in touch.

• You know the only people in this world who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who've never had any.

• Oh to be only half as wonderful as my child thought I was when he was small, and half as stupid as my teenager now thinks I am.

• Motherhood ~ If it was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor!


• "How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far back?"

• "Yeah, I used to skip school a lot, too"

• "Just leave all the lights makes the house look more cheery"

• "Let me smell that shirt -- Yeah, it's good for another week"

• "Go ahead and keep that stray dog, honey. I'll be glad to feed and walk him every day"

• "Well, if Timmy's mom says it's OK, that's good enough for me."

• "The curfew is just a general time to shoot for. It's not like I'm running a prison around here."

• "Don't bother wearing a jacket - the wind-chill is bound to improve"

• "I don't have a tissue with me... just use your sleeve"

Well, it’s Mother’s Day, and no group deserves our respect like Mom. And if you haven’t said, “I love you . . . then you are . . . (that’s right, sorry!) Get with it!

You know, our moms deserve the greatest of respect, and they used to have it, but our culture has changed. Some women, wishing to break free from what they saw as patriarchal control have opted for a change in roles which has caused confusion and lowered the pedestal on which mom used to stand. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that generations past have witnessed a mistreatment of women in some cases, but the fruit of its correction has left us with more problems and less respect. In fact, if you are a “stay-at-home” mom today, you’ve probably experienced that quizzical look from another woman who is juggling home and job when you proclaim that you are tired. It’s sort of like, “Really, How could you be tired? You stay home all day.”

Well, if that happen to you, let me suggest something. The next time someone asks you what you “do,” instead of saying, “I’m a ‘stay-at-home’ mom, just answer the way Tony Campolo’s wife answered when she was in your position. Whenever someone asked her what she did, she’d reply: "I am socializing two Homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation."

And then Peggy would turn to her inquisitor and ask, “And just what do you do, hmm?” I love that! It simply accentuates the fact that, if you are involved in the raising of children, you really are doing the most important job in the world. And the most amazing thing is that, while respect has been lost for mothers, in many ways, expectations have actually increased! Now, we expect mom to do her part of the childrearing while also holding down a job and being a success in the business world. No wonder our ladies so often feel overwhelmed.


Now, I have to tell you that, if you look to the Bible, sometimes you can be even more intimidated. The job that the scripture sketches out for a Christian mother is quite daunting. One of the clearest descriptions of it is found in Proverbs 31:10. Read this with me:

10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. 15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Wow! It’s wonder-woman! This lady does everything! It can be intimidating to read. In fact, one lady wrote that about ten years ago, She found her mother at the kitchen table, reading and chuckling in frustration. She asked her what she was looking at. She told her that she'd been studying Proverbs for her devotions, and she'd just read chapter 31—the proverb that offers a list of what makes a virtuous wife. She was frustrated, because she realized she could never be the woman God describes in the passage.

They talked about it some more, and her mom finally arrived at a decision that she said still inspires her today. While it may not be easy to be a virtuous woman, her mother decided to just take it one verse at a time. Her mother said, "I'll work on the first item in the list. When I've got that one mastered, I'll move to the next one—hopefully I'll be a virtuous woman before I die."

She recently checked with her mom to see how she was progressing. Her mother laughed and told her she was still only seven or eight items into the list, but was currently stuck on, "Her children call her blessed."

"I might have to wait for all of them to grow out of their teens before I can accomplish that one," she said.

Last year, my sisters and I got together and made a certificate of completion in "Proverbs 31 Training." We took every verse from the passage, and we came up with an example of when she had fulfilled that requirement. It ended up looking like a real diploma, and it had her many accomplishments listed one after the other. We all signed it, including my dad. I read it aloud to her, and when we got to the last verse—"Her children call her blessed"—one by one, we all said, "Mom, you are blessed."

She cried and cried. I honestly think she never thought she would fulfill all the descriptions of "the Proverbs 31 woman." When we were able to point out an instance when she had done each, it was too much to contain. She'd finally reached her whole life's goal!

What she's going to do with her time now is anyone's guess.

That’s the thing. The Bible lays out for us a clear picture of a godly woman and, if we are not careful, we can be intimidated. So I want us to take a closer look. In fact, I want us to try to condense this passage down to just three simple action steps you can take, if you really want to be a godly woman. We’ll just admit up front that, when we’re through, we’ll probably see lots of areas where we can improve and where we don’t really have it together yet. That’s ok! What I want us to see today are three actions we can take to move to the place where the picture given us in this chapter looks progressively more like us.


And, by the way, that’s something we really need in this culture today. I genuinely believe that Christian women need to refocus on what it means to be a godly woman. We, for too long, have been deceived by this secular culture. Satan has lied to women about their value; He has lied to them about their beauty; he has lied to them about their sexuality; he has lied to them about their roles in the home; he has lied to them about their priorities; and he has lied to them about their modesty. In almost every arena, today’s Christian woman is often following the siren song of the serpent to a lifestyle that has demeaned them, enslaved them, and compromised their walk with God. It’s time that Christian women learned what it means to talk like a Christian woman, to walk like a Christian woman, to dress like a Christian woman and, most of all, to THINK like a Christian woman. So, if you are a Christian woman, please listen today. God may just want to cut through the deception and the competing priorities and draw a new picture for you, if you’re willing to listen.


So just what are they? What are the three actions Christian ladies need to take to become truly godly women? How can you redraw your picture so that it looks like the portrait in Proverbs 31 and not like Abercrombie and Fitch? First, if you want to become a godly wife and mother like this woman in Proverbs 31, you can



There are five over-arching areas in which this wonderful woman in Proverbs 31 reveals her character. I want you to take a quick survey of them with me this morning and I want you to do that for a very important reason: Very simply, if you are to become like this, you’ve got to like this! Ok, I know that sort of went over your head so let’s try it again: If you are going to become like this, you genuinely have to LIKE this. What I mean is you have to value the qualities this lady exhibits. I didn’t say that you have to already possess them, or even be close to them, I said that you have to VALUE them. If you want to be like this, you must LIKE this. So what is this woman . . . like?

Well, the first thing I notice is her relationship with her husband. This wonderful woman has her husband’s trust. Notice v. 11. It says that her husband safely trusts in her. Now, he does that because she greatly blesses him. In v 12, it says that, because of his relationship with his wife, he has no lack of gain, that she does him good and not evil, and that, when he thinks about his relationship with his wife, he says, in v 29, “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” What I take from this is that this lady knows what’s important, indeed, what is most important in life and even in her family. Her kids do not come first: her husband comes first. She blesses him and he trusts in her, literally, he places his full faith in her.

And this relationship goes beyond her husband to her relationship with her children. V28 says that her children rise up and call her blessed. That means that they esteem her and declare their mother to be the one who knows how to live life to the fullest as God intended it. They respect her because she knows how to love them, how to care for them, how to enjoy them, and even how to discipline them.

And the reason that husband and children so respect mom is because of her work. No, not her work her HARD work. Notice what this lady does for her family. IN vv 13 and 21 it says that She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. . .She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. This lady is a seamstress! Now I know that many of you ladies cannot sew, but in our culture what that means is that you’re a good shopper. You know where the good clothes are and you know how to find a deal. THIS LADY CLOTHES HER FAMILY.

And then SHE FEEDS HER FAMILY: VV 14-15 say She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. In that culture she gathered the food and she prepared it. She feeds her family.

And then this LADY ENRICHES HER FAMILY. She carries on some kind of home business. It actually sounds like she was in real estate. Notice v 16: She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle . . . She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. Look up the original entrepreneur in the dictionary, and you find this lady’s picture. She is a shrewd business woman who has educated herself and brings pride to her husband through her business savvy and diligent work

But this wonderful woman’s family does not primarily respect her because she is a hard-worker. It goes much further than that. They respect her because she respects herself. She has grasped the beauty that God has placed within her and she, therefore, has the proper respect for herself. You see this reflected in how she treats herself. She doesn’t just sew for others, she, in v 22, makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. That is a significant statement. Fine linen was usually imported from Egypt, and purple dye was very expensive because it had to be refined from a seashell found only on the Phoenician coast. I do not take from this that this lady was seeking to be extravagant but that she had a GENUINE SELF-RESPECT that made her endeavor to look her best.

And that self-respect was more than outward. In v 25 it goes on to say that strength and honor are her clothing. That statement is further explained in v 26 when we see that she opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness. The idea here is that, because this woman has internalized the wisdom of God, when she opens her mouth to speak, she verbalizes the very essence of the thinking of God. And she doesn’t do this with condemnation or frustration. She SPEAKS THIS LAW WITH KINDNESS.

And that kindness goes far beyond words to deeds. She has gracious generosityV20 says that She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. As if taking care of her own were not enough, her kind heart is moved with the needs of those around her and she doesn’t just feel guilty about it, she actually does something about it.

And because she is this wise, kind woman, she has gained a powerful reputation. v23 says that Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. I love that! We’d say it like this: Behind every good man is a good what? That’s right! A good woman! This woman so cares for and is devoted to her husband and has gained such a reputation for hard work and wisdom that when others see her husband, they automatically have respect for him!


Wow! What a lady! She really is wonder-woman! See why I said that this picture can intimidate you? You may be sitting there asking, “Who can I possibly place any realistic value on this picture? It’s so far from what I am and from what I ever even think I can be. What can I do?


Well, let me condense this whole valuing thing down to 4 specific steps you can take: First this passage tells moms that trust is your biggest asset. This kind of lady begins with integrity. Before you can gain your husband’s real respect or your children’s for that matter, you must gain their trust. Simply put, you must speak the truth and live the truth. Don’t try to fake it. Don’t try to be something that you are not. Live a life of utmost integrity. Don’t tell your kids not to do something that you plan to do. Don’t lie to your husband about the credit card bill. Trust is your biggest asset.

Secondly, if you are to be like this lady and value what she values, then family must be your highest priority. I mean highest priority. I know that it is necessary, in some cases, for a wife and mother to work outside the home, but I truly believe that a woman must put her family first, just like the husband should. That means that work will be the periphery of your life not the central value in your life. No, you may not be able to sew; you may not even be able to cook, but every mother can put her family first.

Third, if you are to be like this wonderful woman, then spiritual dignity should reflect your deepest character. These qualities that we have talked about cannot be faked. Spirituality withour reality is hypocrisy! Real dignity flows from the heart of a woman who is on the outside precisely what she is on the inside.

And when all of this is true, the result will be that a genuine generosity flows from the heart and touches the lives of all those who are around

And by the way, husbands and fathers, we can get involved in this too. If we are to create the kind of home where wonder women flourish we must get in on this action. Hey, if trust is your wife’s biggest asset, then your trust in her must be your deepest desire. What I mean is this: As men we must give our wives freedom. We cannot be constantly on their case, or complaining about them. We certainly cannot be harsh with them. We must long to trust our wives and do everything in our power to help them to develop into godly women. Trust must be our deepest desire.

And then if family is to be our wives’ highest priority, it must also be our highest priority! Many men try to shove all the home responsibilities off on their wives. If anybody goes to the PTA meeting, it has to be her. If anyone helps Johnny with his math, mom has to do it. If anyone washes dishes, it’s his wife. If anyone vacuums the floor mom’s got to do it. Men, if family is to be your wife’s highest priority, as the leader of your home, it had better be yours first.

And if dignity is to reflect your wife’s deepest character, then, as the husband, dignity must be our constant input. Guys, we must show our wives deep respect. We must put them on a pedestal, not because we seek to avoid upsetting them, but we must do it because we genuinely do respect them.

And finally, if generosity is to flow from their hearts, then generosity must become our daily discipline. I say it like that because I realize that men are, in many cases, less generous than women. Not always of course, but as a rule they are. For that reason, guys, we must discipline ourselves to be generous with others. This flows out of the necessity of our leadership. If we expect to raise a generous family and inspire generosity in our wives, we must be generous ourselves.


The bottom line is this: While you may not quite measure up to the wonder woman of Proverbs 31, your movement towards that goal begins with your desire. If you are to become like her, you must genuinely like her. You must value this lady’s character because you become like what you truly value.

For instance, sports fans around the world can rely on one fact about their sport: the home team wins more often than the visiting team. A 2011 Sports Illustrated article concludes: "Home field advantage is no myth. Indisputably, it exists …. Across all sports and at all levels, from Japanese baseball to Brazilian soccer to the NFL, the team hosting a game wins more often than not."

That probably doesn’t surprise you. What may surprise you, though, is why. A wealth of evidence disputes the most common theories behind home team advantage. For instance, thousands of cheering or jeering fans didn't change a team's performance. On a number of statistics—such as pitch velocity in baseball or free throw percentage in basketball (which over two decades was 75.9 percent for home and visiting teams)—home field advantage didn't make a difference. Their research also eliminated other likely theories based on the rigors of travel for the visiting team or the home team's familiarity with their field, rink, or court.

So what drives home field advantage? According to the authors of the article, "Officials' bias is the most significant contribution to home field advantage." In short, the refs don't like to get booed. So when the game gets close, they call fewer fouls or penalties against the home team; or they call more strikes against visiting batters. Larger and louder fans really do influence the calls from the officials. The refs naturally (and often unconsciously) respond to the pressure from the crowd. Then they try to please the angry fans and make the calls that will lessen the pain of crowd disapproval. In the end, the refs' people-pleasing response can have an impact on the final result of the game.

You see, referees internally value approval more than they value absolute integrity. It probably isn’t conscious. It’s just instinctive. They become what they value. And so do you and I. Ladies if you are to be like this wonder woman, it begins with valuing her character. And valuing her character leads you inevitably to the next step, because if you really value the Proverbs 31 lady, you will then,



Now I don’t have to tell you how much wonder-woman contradicts the culture in which we live. For a woman, achieving significance in this culture usually follows one of two possible paths. IN the first place there is what I call the “Wow” path. Ladies taking this path seek to model themselves after the often anorexic pictures of models they see around them. They try for charm and beauty as the world defines it, often with disastrous consequences. The crazy thing is that, even though we know that the pictures of beauty we receive are unrealistic, we often still pursue them.


For instance, Regan McMahon, an Oakland writer, was recently writing about the unhealthy emphasis on outward beauty we have in this country.

She writes that “The ’60s saw the rise of the skinny model, ushered in by Britain’s Twiggy. Unfortunately for girls with a little meat on their bones, tha was fired by Ralph Lauren for being too fat, told the “Today” show that the distorted photo of her could make young women “think that it’s normal to look like that, and it’s not. t image has stuck. It has become so prevalent that models have succumbed to heroin chic, as was 1990s Kate Moss, and anorexia. When Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died of anorexia in November 2006, she weighed 88 pounds and inspired the current call for reform. The following year, the U.S. Council of Fashion of Designers of America issued voluntary guidelines to curb the use of excessively thin models.

But the obsession with thin continued. In October, Polo Ralph Lauren sparked international outrage by Photoshopping out the true girth of size 4 model Filippa Hamilton to create an image of an absurdly skinny body. Hamilton, who claims she

Last year fashion officials in Madrid and Milan established a minimum body mass index (BMI) restrictions to prevent underweight models from taking the runways, and France pushed legislation to fine anyone – including magazines, advertisers and Web sites – who publicly promotes extreme thinness.

But the obsession continues. Ms. McMahon continues writing that she . . . saw an article in a fashion magazine featuring a photo of a sleeveless Michelle Obama that declared, “Arms are the new face,” and detailed ways to get biceps as buff as the first lady’s. So now women not only have to be pretty, skinny and long-legged, we have to have perfect, muscular arms, too! Now, listen, there’s nothing wrong with the first lady being in shape. I think that’s great. The point is that our culture is constantly pressuring women, especially, to focus on their outward beauty to the point that their entire self-worth is based upon it. That’s the “wow” path to significance, and it is really nothing more than a dead end.


But there’s another path. I call it the “NOW” path. I use that as the acronym for the National Organization for Women. It is not the path of beauty, it’s the path of independence. Women are told that, in order to be significant, they must throw off the shackles of family responsibility which is only subjugating their desires to the needs of others, and seek their own independence, no matter what it costs. The result of this approach to significance has been devastating.


Nancy Levant, author of The Cultural Devastation of American Women writes, “why are American women, whose culture and males allowed them to have freedom from gender bondage, so incredibly stupid with their freedom? We are free to take vanity to bizarre standards and measures – those created by the beauty, health, and media industries – that mandate skeletal thinness, life-long photo-youth looks, tanning bed skin color, Botox shots in the face, fake breasts, fake fingernails”.

“We are also free,” writes Levant, “to become useless in our homes. We now hire maid services, landscapers, pool cleaners, painters, interior decorators, cooks, nannies, teachers and tutors, caterers, therapists, party planners, massage therapists, laundry services, etc., while losing every intuitive instinct of our female natures.”

“We are free to have extra-marital affairs, multiple lovers, to abort children... to use men like ATMs... and to take thousands upon thousands of family dollars for personal use in our missions to look like (and act like) teenagers. “We are free to have children with as many men as we choose, and to bankrupt multiple men with mandatory child support payments. We are then free to ignore children by paying far more attention to maid-cleaned, spotless, and magazine-cover homes, where no cooking is achieved, no family memories are created, and no shoes are allowed to be worn on the white carpets.... We are free to give our children computer software to keep them addictively occupied for YEARS, and then complain about their lack of social skills.

“We are free to completely ignore the FACT that our children are SUFFERING with mean-spirited and incompetent mothers – children who are hungry, starved for attention, and mistreated by non-stop extracurricular sports regimens, drive-thru bags of dangerous food, teachers and public school indoctrination camps, completely ignored spiritual needs, and disrespect and contempt of their children’s fathers.” Summarising all this, she states: “So another question begs – what does liberation mean to American women? Does it mean the freedom to vote? Freedom from historical gender bondage? Freedom from ownership? I don’t think so. Today’s American female is free to be an idiot – a shallow, self-involved, pathologically vain, completely incompetent, and angry person – angry to the tune of making the anti-depressant industry the largest profit maker, bar none, for big pharma. Stupid is what stupid does.”

Listen ladies, our culture is playing women for FOOLS, causing them to deny their nature and base their significance on becoming something they are not. The only possible end to this foolishness is terrible frustration and depression. That’s why a godly women must counter her culture.

How? Well, in the first place, you must seek real beauty. v 30 says, Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing. Simply put, the ability to use your beauty to get what you want out of life is deceitful for a couple of reasons. In the first place, covering your lack of inner character with outer beauty is only a temporary fix. Who you really are eventually eats its way through all your make-up’s attempts to disguise it, leaving the real you exposed.

In the second place, the bible writer here tells us that beauty is passing. There are only so many face lifts you can have. Eventually time catches up with you and beauty fades. Literally the Hebrew there says that beauty is but a “puff of air.” Like the mist on a muggy morning, the sun quickly melts it away. That’s the way beauty is. The answer is for you to seek the real beauty, as the Peter writes in his letter, of a gentle and quiet spirit.” That’s the first counter-cultural step you can take.

Here’s the second: Fear the Lord. Notice v 30 again Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. When that verse speaks of the fear of the Lord, it speaks of the loving reverence that causes a child of God to obey her Heavenly Father’s will. This will always bring you in direct opposition with your culture. A godly woman must daily hear the voice of her heavenly Father. She must spend time with Him; she must walk closely with Him. There must be a reverence for all God says and all God wants in her life. There must be a willingness to obey the Father when she chooses the videos her family watches. There must be a willingness to obey the Father when she chooses clothes for herself and her family. There must be a willingness to obey the Father when she responds to the never-ending needs her family brings her. There must be a willingness to obey the Father when she educates her children in the things of the Lord. Because she fears God, she obeys God and this great obedience becomes the wonderful beauty of her life. She doesn’t counter the culture to make some legalistic statement of her own purity. She counters the culture because her relationship with Christ naturally causes it.

If you are to counter your culture, ladies, you must seek real beauty; you must fear the Lord. Last of all, if you are to counter your culture, you must focus on your legacy. V 31 says Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates. Wonder-woman’s praise doesn’t come from people who admire her beauty on the outside. Her praise comes from those who admire the fruit that is produced by her life.

Susannah Wesley exemplified this kind of a woman. She was a woman who was dedicated to her home. Well . . . she really had to be: She lived back in the 1700's and she had 17 children. Wow! Can you imagine? Yet, even though she had 17 children, she spent one hour praying for them every day. It is said that, since she could not get away with so many children under foot, she would simply throw her big apron up over her head when she was praying. The children were trained to be quiet when she was praying. And she prayed consistently. I say that because she spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children. In addition, she took each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters. She took training her children very seriously. Here are a few rules she followed in training her children:

1. She said you must subdue self-will in a child and, in that way, work together with God to save his soul.

2. She said that you should teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.

3. She said that, in disciplining the children you should:

a. Give a child nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely.

b. She said that, to prevent lying, punish no fault which is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed

c. She said that you should commend and reward good behavior.

d. And last of all, she said that you should strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.”

You see, she was focused on a legacy and she left one: Two of her sons became preachers who shaped the faith of America. They were John and Charles Wesley.

You see ladies, countering your culture means you raise children who continue your culture-countering legacy. You raise families who have the strength to say no to drugs and yes to the joy of the Lord; no to worldly fashion and yes to modest dress; no to insidious materialism and yes to real godly wealth; no to the convenience of dishonest and yes to absolute integrity. You’ll never know the impact you have on your kids


Ladies, that’s the impact you can have. It all starts by valuing the biblical picture of womanhood and being willing to pursue that picture instead of the picture your culture is trying to foist upon you.

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