The Proverbs 32 Woman

Among Bible-reading folk, there is a portion of scripture that emulates--and can intimidate, if not digested properly-- the best of womanhood. It can be found in the portion of the Holy Scriptures authored by King Solomon, the book of Proverbs. I find it a bit odd that the wisest man who ever lived did not actually pen THIS chapter, but rather King Lemuel did. Perhaps King Lemuel was Solomon's lesser-known half-brother, a bachelor who was the romantic dreamer and liked to spin tall tales. We shall not know on this side of heaven, but enough about Lemmy.

What I share with you today is what happens when a well-meaning, God-fearing woman who loves and respects her husband gets Proverbs 31 mixed up with the obscure and yet-to-be inspired chapter following it... Proverbs 32. If you will, a fresh-off-the-press of real life example (taken from my own, naturally):

Last night after the children were tucked in around seven, I set out to get out the few groceries that I had not wanted nor were available to purchase in bulk at my main grocery store, our local Costco (LOVE Costco, more on that in another post). I tore off my modest little list from the magnetic tablet hanging on the side of my (newlycleanedthankyoufornoticing) fridge, kissed my husband goodbye and eagerly jumped in my "I am sexy and I know it" minivan and sped off. 

As I drove in darkness, I quickly dismissed any feelings of guilt when recalling telling him I'm off to "Weis Markets" when there are approx. 32 grocery stores in closer to proximity to our home. He didn't ask why and I didn't include that the only reason I'm traveling the extra distance was because the same strip that hosts a Weis, boasts a Homegoods store. And the ONLY reason I was going to the Homegoods store is because it is the only place I know of that sells my favorite bribe. That was the ONLY reason. Ok...and maybe to take a quick gander at their throw pillows since our sagging couch is needing a touch of class. Just a gander.

I pull into the open space right in front of Homegoods (was that a light from heaven shining down on that convenient space? Yes, could argue it was the lamp post directly overhead, but there was such an other-worldly glow about it, I'm still not it's only source was a fluorescent bulb). 

I walked into the store and said a prayer. Unfortunately, it was not requesting restraint, but rather that I would not see a soul I know or have ever known.  With resolution, I went directly to the food section and after a little searching, found the organic, child-loving gold. Eight dollars for a lot of dye-free, decent-for-you lollipops was not a bad price, and it made me feel like a good, earthy mama. It is here where the first Proverbs mix up occurred. Where it reads in Proverbs 31, verse 15: 

"She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family"

I had mistakenly referred to Proverbs 32, verse 15 instead:

"She goes out at night,
and for the Good of her Home (Interesting."Home" and "Good" are in this passage),
responsibly purchases organic bribes for her children".

I decided to take a shortcut to the cashier, and went straight towards the middle where, Oh! Why lookee there! A bevvy of couch-enchancing pillows were piled high, awaiting a casual inspection.  There was a mental battle brewing there in the middle of the store, a battle that I emerged from victorious. I had put down the $19.99 pink hydrangea and french postscript pillow (in case you have pity and want to go out and buy it for my birthday, Aunt Lou) in the name of living simply and giving generously. Praise be! I had no doubt the angels were singing a "Onward Christian Soldier" in happy refrains, as another child of God had fought the forces of greed and materialism, holding her ground.

As I floated to the front of the store, awash in the glow of the Spirit's hold in my life, I nearly bumped into a table that held a collection of lamps, two of which I could not take my eyes off of. I shook my head (appearing to have a nervous tick to the bystanders, no doubt) and took a few steps away, abruptly turning around to go back and at least look at the price tag. And for a lamp, it was not bad. At all. Suddenly Mariah Carey's voice boomed on the overhead speakers "You're all I've ever wanted" and it's all I could hear.

Another battle--so quickly after the first--ensued in my tired, tattered noggin. I heard my husbands voice "We have two perfectly good lamps in the living room that we've had since our wedding"....and then mine, "but they've fallen off tables so many times they look stricken with a lamp-form of osteoporosis and the one no longer has a switch". Two minutes later, after a powerful and convincing wave of justifications relentlessly bomb my resolve, I picked up one lamp. And I purchased it. And I walked out of the store. And after yet another battle in the parking lot, not even having made it to the van, I walked back in and purchased it's mate. "Where two or more are gathering in His name..." I thought, but I ignored the knowing Matthew 18 verse 20 didn't mean cute, irresistible lamps.

Herein again, is where--when in the heat of battle--my mind erroneously fell to the wrong chapter in Proverbs. In chapter 31 it reads:

  "She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night"

Chapter 32:

"She does not shop at high end boutiques for light fixtures,
instead, she spends a fraction of her husband's hard-earned money
at discount home stores and her home is lit at night with pleasant lamps".

See where it can cast a woman into confusion??


After a quick cart-push through the grocery store, I drove home. I was not really happy. Lamps do not make people happy, even (or especially) weak-willed women. I had even considered taking them back the same night, but that was too much hassle. I was tired. And the lamps, well, I just wanted to see what they would look like in my living room before taking them back. 

Upon returning home, I unloaded the groceries from the van. The lamps stayed entombed in the shroud of darkness. I was not ready to reveal what I was not ready to keep and what another might not be ready to receive. As it says in Proverbs 32, verse 45:

"Forgiveness is easier to get than permission"

(Or was that Roe Daley, a Facebook friend, who said that?).

Let this be a lesson for you as it was for me...stick with the "Inspired" (ie: official) Holy Scriptures, for to do otherwise will lead you down the slippery slope of daring and deceit. For the gulf between the Proverbs 31 woman and the Proverbs 32 dame is wide and it is deep, and swimming the channel back to 31 can be strenuous, even in the light cast from adorable new lamps.


The next part of this sad, mixed-up tale is best saved for another post. This one has been entirely too long, but it has felt good to confess. 

Many thanks,
The Lady at the Coffee Cottage


For His Glory said…
I agree "forgiveness is easier to get than permission:)!" Ha! PS I think you are a lot closer to Proverbs 31 then you give yourself credit for.

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