A woman of valor, who can find?…Her children rise up and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:10, 28 JPS).
The Proverbs 31 “woman of valor” must have been something of a warrior. After all, the Hebrew term chayil, translated “valor,” is a military term. When I asked my husband how he saw me as a fighter he didn’t hesitate. “You have fought hard for our children’s dreams,” he said.
It’s true. I’ve fought harder to help our kids reach their dreams than I ever fought for my own. Not that I didn’t love setting goals and working hard to reach my dreams. I still do. But this quote says it best: “Reaching your own dreams is fulfilling—helping someone else reach their dreams is sublime.” And when that “someone else” happens to be your own children, it’s joy on steroids.
I wonder if the Proverbs 31 woman (Proverbs 31:10-31 JPS) discovered this same joy in seeing her children reach their dreams? We’re told, “Her children rise up and call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:28 ESV). The Hebrew word translated “rise up” is very strong. It means, “to accomplish, to endure, to build or establish, to strengthen, to succeed.”
I’d like to think her children were now grown, happy, and fulfilled. They had reached their dreams, in part, because of their mother’s impact. She had taught them. Nurtured, clothed, and cared for them. Modeled a life of giving to the poor. She displayed joy, faithfulness, and laughter. Perhaps they saw their mom in prayer, seeking the Lord and fighting for their dreams.
Nothing makes me happier than when my children “rise up” and succeed. If the Proverbs 31 woman of valor poured life into her children, then I can imagine her exhilaration as she watched them flourish.
To love our own children, and other children who are like our own, calls for self-sacrifice. But we may just discover that loving others more than we love ourselves can be oddly liberating. Makes us less self-centered. Sometimes, that’s the best kind of freedom of all.
Adapted from: Marilynn Chadwick, Woman of Valor: Discovering the Courage and Strength God Gave You (Eugene: Harvest House, 2017).