Let’s go through this verse a little at a time…
“She dresses herself with strength…
This is described differently in a number of bible versions, and it becomes clear as to why that is when you expand on the meanings of the individual Hebrew words. To dress herself with strength is to ‘gird her loins’ or ‘gather her strength around her’…the intention being that this woman is ready and prepared to work, to move, to act. She is not sitting idly or distracted, watching the day pass her by, no - she is ready to get things done! Just as soldiers in her era would gird their loins by gathering their tunics up to their thighs and tying them in a knot so they could freely run, move, fight – so a woman can gird her loins mentally by being ready to work hard, and physically, by dressing appropriately for her labour. For example, I do not wear my going-out clothes to scrub the floors or clean the bathroom or dig in the garden; but I also do not wear old raggedy clothing around home either. I take care to always look presentable, as a matter of self-respect, and respect for my husband or any guests who should unexpectedly arrive.
For myself, adding external things which bring me pleasure as I work was a wonderful way to help me elevate in my own mind, the very privileged position I hold as mistress of my home. When I was young, Australian television didn’t have many shows which elevated the role of homemaker, but Nana and I would enjoy a few American programs such a Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, the Dick Van Dyke Show, and similar. Those programs really encouraged us girls, even though Nana was in her late 50’s and early 60’s and I was in primary school.
With an array of pretty aprons hanging in my kitchen, I can cover my freshly laundered day-to-day dresses (dresses which may be well-worn from years ago but still lovely and presentable) and extend their use…for there’s no reason not to look lovely when you tend home and garden. Some of you may wear shorts and tee shirts, or pants and blouses around home – it doesn’t matter what you wear, but dress with the intention of preparing yourself to work joyfully and confidently. Dressing for my role really made all the difference to my attitude and the ensuing sense of gratitude.
… and makes her arms strong.”
The word strong (‘amats in Hebrew) actually means to be courageous! It is the same word God uses in Joshua 1:6 and 1:9 when He commands Joshua to “be strong and of good courage…” It is the very same word used in Joshua 10:25 when Joshua himself commands Israel to “fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage…”
There’s much in this verse for us to consider as homemakers. The things we do to build up our homes as an expression of love and care for our husbands and families, may at times require us to be courageous and faithful, especially in seasons when we feel anything but. Learning to dress our minds with an attitude of preparedness, girding our homemaker loins with strength each day, expressing gratitude to our God who just as with Joshua, commands us not to be dismayed nor fearful, but to be strong and of good courage because the Lord our God is with us wherever we go and in whatever we do to His glory.
Today is the start of a new month, a month where we shall be focused on the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us be brave and pray that He would give us opportunities to increase our spiritual, mental, physical and emotional strength this month, especially as we ponder His own example of living (and loving) with a humble servant heart.
He, who can make all things new, will be more than willing to help us as women, homemakers, wives, mothers, sisters, grandmothers and daughters, to gird our loins, gathering our strength around us, growing in courage as we serve those in our care each day. May we no longer be dismayed by the disappointments in our life, but remember always that the Lord will be with us and we are never left alone.
DOWNLOAD block six The Virtuous Wife
I mentioned at the beginning of this block of the month last November, that because there are sixteen blocks in the quilt, I would be sharing two blocks per month twice in 2023. April is one of those months, so around the middle of April I'll share block seven with you.
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Hubby is back at work now, and life is returning to it's usual rhythm. I had written in my last post that blogging would return to normal at the middle of this week, but as you can see, it didn't.
I love having my man home on a holiday break, though these times are rare. We get a lot done around the garden, and he has time to catch up on a few home maintenance jobs as well. Life is not as regimented by routines because we have the ability to wake each morning and let the day unfold as it may - we were even able to take two day trips for picnic lunches in quiet country towns. The normal cleaning rhythms tend to 'go out the door' during these special weeks, as my husband insists I also take a 'holiday', even though we holiday at home. I still managed to stay on top of the daily tasks with ease, but gave extra time to doing things with him in the garden. During our much needed afternoon rest hours I spent time in the sewing room rearranging everything the first few days, but afterwards my rest times were spent hand sewing whilst watching an old movie or new episodes of Father Brown. Once things cooled a bit outside we'd both head back to the garden. As the sun began to set I would come inside to start dinner and hubby would pack up and put all the tools back in the shed. After dinner we'd go for a swim and chat about the day, and consider what to do next, always counting down the days we had left before his holiday came to a close.
So when hubby returned to work this past Wednesday, I decided to forgo any blogging for a while and give the house a jolly good clean so that it once again sparkled. I'm going room to room with fresh eyes and may change a few things around, but I shall enjoy every moment. In the late afternoons when things cool a bit, I can return to the garden and plant our autumn produce, for the days are very hot right now.
How are YOU?? I'd love to know what's happening in your everyday life, for something came to mind the other day after visiting Rosie, and then Blossom, and chatting on the phone to Fee...how very important it is, as a woman, to be heard, especially as many of our womanly thoughts would be foreign to a man. I believe most women process their thoughts verbally, and having a safe sounding board such as a loving daughter or friend who is genuinely interested in you, is a priceless gift. Mostly we do not want advice or even help - we just want a safe place to verbalise our thoughts and put things in perspective. I am very grateful for my four-corners of womanhood - darling Blossom, Rosie, Fee and Allie, and I thank God for placing them in my life.
So, friends, I shall be back again soon...but not just yet.
Bless you heaps,
I'm so hoping this comment works - blogger has stopped me from commenting on most blogs for the past few months!!! Lovely to catch up on your news - the past 6 wks here have been a whirlwind with the unexpected notice that hubby would need heart surgery. I'm behind on soooo much, overwhelmed with some stuff, trusting God to get me through in one piece..... and then that lovely little orange coloured tiger lily showed up in my garden (can you believe how many moves it has survived since you gave it to me)..... it brought such treasured memories forth - you are blessed to have those close female contacts xo
LOVE this. Thank you dear heart! I may never stitch these, but I might paint them! Right now my house is very topsy-turvy, with mum's stuff still in the living room and the furniture not put back, donation piles everywhere - but that's OK. I'm not in a hurry. My main focus right now is on getting through Sunday, and then just learning to love people like she did. Praying the Lord gives me a compassionate, loving heart, full of His mercy and goodness to give away. Love you dear one!!!!!!!!!
March has flown by ! So good to hear you have been enjoying time together at home and getting out to other locations :)
It's the evening of March 31st as I write this. Thanks for writing todays post :)
Enjoy the weekend !
hugs, take care,
So glad you are having a break Jennifer, always good for you. I have had two trips in March and once it stops raining! I am looking forward to getting out in the garden. xx
I was praying for you in the kitchen while filling my hot bottle for my back! And sat down in the sitting room! When your Lovely email came in!! While listening to Boomradio. Thank you I really enjoyed it. I understand when your hubby is home you like to do things with him. Yes it's important to have special breaks together. I fell in the garden on Wednesday and am getting better.! Hubby was looking for me! I had fallen behind Bay tree!! Lots of love Mary-Lou 🤗
Well deserved break for hubby and yourself! I always enjoy working in the garden beside my hubby (he does the heavy lifting) and it gives me a feeling of satisfaction that things are crossed off my to do list. Of course I'm constantly adding more! Can't wait for the weather to cool and do more each day.
How refreshing your post is. I have a group of women that we've met for 46 years monthly. It is so true that having a friend or friends whom one can share with is wonderful. Many blessings, Jenny.
Angie in SoCal.
Not only is the embroidery pattern as beautiful as they always are, but your words encouraging us to move forward in the strength of the Lord are timely and much appreciated. Thanks again.
Take the time you need and want, dear Jennifer. I'm so glad you had a wonderful two weeks with your sweet husband, and had time for picnics, as well as for work. For I think that's the kind of balance the Lord wants us to have in our lives, work and fun, joy and serious study, all things in balance. Things are okay here as I head down the last chemo this week ... until June 1, anyway. I look forward to having time to gain and keep some strength.
Here in Idaho in the United States, we are still experiencing snow almost every day! Spring seems to still be a long way away and I'm more than ready for sunshine and flowers and quiet times on our deck. It will come! Thank you so much, once again, for your lovely words. I count you as a friend!
My Dearest Jennifer,
What a delight to finally be able to sit down and check my email again. Life has been so very busy here trying to get gardens cleaned and things planted and compost down and fruit trees fertilized and seedlings planted and I am still busy out there . I went out and worked from 7:30 AM until 1 PM today. And trying to keep up with house hold chores too. I love this time of year but I just can't keep up any more.
I get tired so quickly anymore. You were blessed to have your husband home for 2 weeks. What a dream that is for my husband to be around. And be able to help with stuff. I do not have any local lady friends besides my sisters and mother. My Mom popped in day before yesterday for a short visit I gave her a anise hyssop herb start to carry home to plant and also a bee balm plant I rooted over the past half year for her. I love my mom bless her soul. She is getting slower but she still piddles in her flower gardens and feeds her birds. No sewing or crafting for me. I spend practically every moment awake trying to catch up. Thank you for the lovely Virtuous woman block #6. Have a blessed day Dear
I hope you are well.
Thank you so much. I hope to be able to make these when the children are grown.
I love embroidering scripture. Thank you so much!
Hi Jenny, Receiving your emails and blogs are the highlight of my day. Happy that you and your hubby enjoyed some special times during his break. I enjoy reading how you are preparing for a new season. I live in South Carolina in the U.S. Spring seems to have arrived after two false starts. Our grass is greening up and calling us outside to sit and enjoy. Thank you for your Bible study of a virtuous woman. Blessing to you and your family.
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