“She girds herself with strength; and strengthens her arms.” – Proverbs 31:17
The sticky mud and dirt rose as high as Lola’s knees, yet her eyes were set like a flint on the prize. There was no stopping her now. She was tougher than the dirt. Stronger than the slippery terrain. Stronger than her flesh desired.
And every rugged step she took in the forward motion brought to mind the naysayers — those who said she wouldn’t live to see this victory. Those who simply would not believe.
They said she would never walk again, but here she was running with the wind. They said she would be paralyzed, but here she was using those two feet. The road had not been easy (who was she trying to kid?), and it did take so many years to get here, too long in fact… but she did it anyway. She had beaten the odds of survival. Only a few more obstacles left now to get to the finish line. One. Two. Three. Four. Splash!
She could see the people cheering now. They were shouting chants of “Almost there, almost there. You’ve done it!”
In the midst of her tears she broke out in laughter. One. Two. Three. Four. Splash! She jumped over a puddle and with all her might she stretched her hands and threw them up freely into the air. Yes! Victory at last! God’s strength is real!
For centuries, we have defined the woman as the weaker vessel. The emotional being. The one with less physical strength. But let me tell you one thing I hope you’ll never forget: “Hell hath no fury as a woman who sets her eyes like a flint and “girds herself with strength” (Proverbs 31:17).
From the above definition, I can make a bold claim that to “gird” oneself with strength simply means to fasten strength around one’s waist so tightly (like a sword held by a belt), that it would be extremely difficult to take it off. You become “strength” and strength becomes “you.” No one will be able to tell the difference between “strength” and “you” because surprisingly, even when people see your weaknesses, they will call them “strength.” Yourself and strength will become sisters compelled to move forward as one unstoppable force.
Here are 3 practical ways for a Child of God to find such strength:
1. Protect Your Ears with the Right Voices:
What voices are you constantly listening to? What people are you constantly enthralled by? I tell you, it matters a lot! There have been women who have been told to stop trying, but because they were absolutely surrounded by the right voices, they kept pushing forward. Women have been told to stop dreaming. To stop hoping. Yet, they hoped against hope, trusted in God for the impossible.
“They said she would never walk again, but here she was running with the wind.”
It’s what you allow your ears to hear daily that will influence your thoughts, and your thoughts have the most direct impact on your actions.
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7.
Let your friends be those who remember the name of the Lord at all times. No, not naysayers — not people who will say you are crazy for wanting to “go there,” or people who will say “you can’t do it” when the Lord has said you can. If the Lord has said it, then who is bigger? Let your songs be the ones that lift your hands to worship. Let your words be words of refreshing, not words of doubt.
2. The First Step is the Hardest, But Just Take It:
If you have ever found yourself drowning in a puddle of laundry to be sorted, you know that once you take that most difficult step — the one where you have to fold the very first shirt — then you’ll know that after that very first shirt is folded, you’ll begin to grow in confidence that the rest of the clothes will be folded too. That’s when you can really start to swim at the deeper end of the water.
Start with the shallow end first, ladies. Just take the very first step in faith and watch your God in action. The first step assures you that it’s truly possible. That you’re not a loser. Or a quitter. Or a crazy person. That you won’t “carry last.” Lol.
3. Make the Boldest Requests:
The bolder your requests, the bigger your confidence in your Father. If you are thinking like this, “I’ll only try option 1 because I’ve always failed when I try to go higher,” then you haven’t met the God of Queen Esther. She made one of the boldest requests ever recorded in history.
Considering that she had not revealed her identity to her husband (the king) for the longest time (on purpose because her people, the Jews, were hated because they worshipped God), when a conspiracy arose and a decree was sent out to all the land calling for the death of her people, she took her stand boldly. She was a Jew and she would go to the king and seek justice for her people.
“Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Esther 4:15 (for context, read the first four chapters of the book of Esther).”
Please note that Esther did not make this decision immediately. At first, she wanted to “pass” by sending consoling gifts to the bringer of the news. Read it for yourself. Oh, but what a bold woman! When she realized that her own life and the lives of thousands of Jews were at stake, she decided to go to see the king and make a bold request.
Pause for a second. Could it be that you don’t think thousands of lives are at stake at the decisions you make daily? Do you realize that “generations” will come out of your womb?
Decisions will not always be easy, but the Holy Spirit will always point you toward the right direction if you are willing. The question here is, “What are you willing to do for your family as a Proverbs 31 wife and mother?” Do you want to settle or do you want to fulfill the calling of God upon your life?
Fulfilling Your Calling
To fulfill your calling, you cannot be mediocre. Neither can you settle for what everyone else in the world is doing. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you have to be bold to stand out. Inside your heart lies a spot for the Holy Spirit to speak to, listen to it. And when you’ve heard of the miraculous adventures God is asking you to find with Him, you have to be bold enough to ask Him to “show you the way.”
I don’t believe that God will ask every woman to do the “same thing.” He purposely crafted unique DNAs in each of us, so your path most definitely will not be the same as mine. But find it, you must. And if it is of God, yes, it will still achieve the “same” goals of Proverbs 31.
That’s where I’ll end this post today. For discussion purposes, I’d love to find out one thing that gives you strength to “do Proverbs 31.” Hit me up in the comments. Till next time…”God’s Strength to you, comrades!” (grins and waves!)