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Reflection: Dancing in the Rain

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I started this year talking about the Proverbs 31 woman.

Today, I am back.

Proverbs 31, in words of wisdom a king received from his mother, talks at length about “the virtuous woman” or “the wife of noble character.”

She is an archetype, offering both an ideal for a queen to be, and an ode to womanhood in general.

The virtuous woman is diligent, ambitious, shrewd, and strong. She is compassionate, generous, prepared, and poised.

And verses 25-26 say this about her:

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

The Proverbs 31 woman is resilient and wise.

And to some people these two qualities seem obvious: If you are not a resilient and wise woman, you will soon be a dead woman, crushed by the harshness of life, and too foolish to get out of the way.

Survival requires a soul that both bounces back from adversity and learns from its mistakes.

Strength prepares itself for the next fight.

Dignity holds its head up.

And with both of these we can face life with laughter.

Have you ever met someone whose joy baffles you?

They seem so carefree that you think they’ve never suffered, and then you learn they’ve endured unthinkable pain?

People like this often make a choice. They refuse to let hardship steal their joy.

And this is the difference between the faith life we imagine, and the one we usually get.

We think peace comes from cultivating a life of sunshine and harmony, not one that praises God in the ugliest storm. We think peace avoids drama instead of confronting it to speak the truth in love.

We think joy comes from good times and reasons to laugh, not terrible times, and a choice to laugh in amidst the most painful circumstances.

We think faith comes from a life of answered prayer, not someone who chooses to trust despite heartbreak, who chooses to believe in the waiting.

We think hope comes from someone with unbattered optimism, not someone who has experienced the worst and remains standing.

We think love comes from someone whose never been hurt or betrayed before, not someone who chooses, despite every disappointment, to put someone else before themselves.

The Proverbs 31 woman is not just the woman who has lived well enough to bypass nonsense, or who is strong enough to shut it down.

She is the woman who has survived nonsense and is determined enough to live it up.

She is the woman who has overcome everything and chooses to love people around her by sharing the wisdom she has earned.

Women like these don’t just bless families; they change the world.

It doesn’t mean she’s perfect. She’ll probably mess up every day. She probably wrestles with her own weariness, and self-doubt. She’s probably healing from trauma and self-sabotage. She struggles. And that’s ok, too.

But, if you are this woman, I thank God for you.

And if you think you’re not, I’m not sure I believe you.

Today, I just encourage you to keep going.

Keep healing. Keep hoping. Keep loving. Keep living.

And don’t stop believing for the things you hold by faith.

It’s not over.

And your labor is never in vain.

(Photo Credit: Aleksandar Pasaric)

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