10 Who can find a capable wife? Her value is far beyond that of pearls. 11 Her husband trusts her from his heart, and she will prove a great asset to him. 12 She works to bring him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
My first thought after seeing this challenge was, “Sure I’m up for that.” I love taking a passage in scripture that I feel I am familiar with and delve into it, cause I know I am going to find something new and eye opening. First I want to start with some background on Eshet Chayil, which means woman of valor in Hebrew. On Friday night as the family is welcoming in the Sabbath, this hymn is sung. “Although only a custom, “Eishet Chayil” is sung at every Shabbat table throughout the world. If no women are present, “Eishet Chayil” is still sung in praise of Jewish women everywhere. If no men are present, the women sing it in praise of Jewish womanhood. In other words, no matter what, sing “Eishet Chayil”!” If you are curious to hear the song(Audio), or read through in transliteration(Lyrics).
My husband is always encouraging me to teach the children more Hebrew liturgy and I think I will link this up to teach the kids throughout the next week or so, they can learn a song so quickly! Its amazing. Now to get down to the challenge.
Over at My Heart’s Desire the challenge has been issued to compare our lives with that of the virtuous woman, the woman of valor, the capable woman. In verse 10 we see the word capable, or virtuous or valor? In Hebrew it is Chayil, a masculine noun that is often used to describe armies, hosts and men of valor, it is a word the describes strength and might. Not the moral sanctity that the word virtuous carries, but a strong woman of might and valor, maybe someone like Deborah? The translation that I used(CJB) translates her value as far above pearls, we are more familiar with the term rubies, however the Hebrew is ambiguous, it refers to a precious stone. The word is used 6 times in the Hebrew of the Tanakh and every use is translated as rubies in the King James. More importantly then what stone is it, it the sentiment, hew value is more than any precious stone, maybe we would say diamonds or some other important stone today to bring about the same meaning.
In April of 2006 my second son, my third child was born at home on purpose. In May my husband graduated with an AA and was called by an Army recruiter. Later that summer he signed his papers and was given a date in September to head off to Basic Training. We had been married 8 years, he trusted me, he thought I was the best thing that had ever happened to him, he knew I was an asset and that I had his best interests in mind. I would follow him to the ends of the earth and let him be the spiritual leader as well. But we had no idea what the next two years would bring and how we would be tested in these areas.
The time line of the next two years is as follows. DH leaves for basic in September of 2006, he comes home for two weeks in December, then back to training until July. On August 15 2007 we arrive at our first duty station, three days later we get word he will deploy on a 15 month mission to Iraq in the Fall. One week before he boards the plane we find out we are expecting our 4th child, then he leaves, we expect him back in 2008 for Passover. In October 2008 he comes home for good, whew! In two years he was home for 3 months total. Crazy right? My son started K when he left for basic and was in second grade when he came home for good. His daughter didn’t speak when he left for basic and was in Kindergarten when he returned home. My son born 4 months before his enlistment had all his firsts by the time he came home. In fact they new each other so little when my husband would pick up a meal on the way home he would forget to buy something for him. My Ephraim, had to learn what it meant to have a Daddy in the home.
Now what has that to do with Proverbs 31? I bet you can guess that he had to really believe that I was going to be that “far above rubies” wife, right! I was in charge of everything! He had to believe that I only had his good in mind and I had to make sure that he new that, when our only communication was phone calls and the occasional email. I had to overcome feelings of inadequacy in terms of being mom and dad, leading our family spiritually, and yet not overstepping his authority. I had to take a deep breath and spend all of “his” money as for the first time in our marriage I was not bringing in a paycheck. I had to listen to him and encourage him and turn him back to the Work and his relationship with the Most High. I had to not dump every “bad” thing that happened to me in the last week in his lap when he would call. I learned so many things during this deployment!
First your husband does not need to hear nor does he want to hear your complaints the moment he walks in the door.
Second there is nothing wrong with being able to do everything your husband can do. There should not be anything in your marriage that your husband won’t allow you to learn, because there maybe a time when you need to do it.
Third you can say you trust your husband when he is with you all the time, but do you really trust him when he is on the other side of the globe with access to sin? Trust is trust, either you have it and its real or you don’t and this leads to lesson four.
Fourth Do you trust G-d to protect your husband when he crosses the street to get the mail? Then you should have no problem with trusting G-d to protect your man when he is in a combat zone. There is really no difference.
And lastly the Fifth lesson has turned me in to a modern June Cleaver, I schedule my day around his, I clean all his clothes and soldiers where a lot of clothes!, I make sure his patches and name tapes and his Class A’s are up to date and ready to go, I fix the meals he likes when he can be home to eat them. When he’s deployed I stop everything for his phone call and make sure the children know he is my number one priority. There is nothing that will provide more stability for your children then a healthy marriage! I will mail him any silly little thing even when the postage costs more than the item, if he says he needs or wants it I make sure he gets it 🙂
So where can I grow, what can I do this deployment that will lead me to be more of a woman of valor? I am currently working on a study in Mussar, Jewish Ethics. I follow an outline and study guides offered at www.rivertonmussar.com I have been journaling and working on some key points of study mainly patience and calm. I hope for him to see a tangible difference in these traits when he returns mainly with my interactions with the children. My personal challenge this week will be to journal every night and read at least one article to support this week’s middah, which is humility. I believe that if I can grow in these areas of character I can reduce the tension that I contribute to the family dynamic when I loose my cool and become impatient with the children. I know that my husband hates a tense or stressful home and I want to provide for him a safe place to land, a place he longs to return to when his hard day at work is through.
If you are interested in a Woman of Valor challenge visit this site!