Can Christian Moms “Have It All?”
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Can Christian moms really “have it all?” I say absolutely — YES.
I think of all women, Christian women can especially “have it all.”
If your definition of having it all is having a thriving career, family, and enough time to do your favorite hobbies… honestly I think anybody can do that. But when you have the relationship with God through Jesus above it all, I think you truly have it all.
More than that, I think “having it all” is a must for Christian women.
I think that if we aren’t actively living out or walking towards God’s mission for our lives (the true “have it all”), we may not be obeying God in certain areas of our lives.
I don’t think every woman is called to be a career woman or called to be a wife or mother (though I write this blog mostly for millennial moms). I think we are all called to take everything we have and use it for God’s glory.
The Woman Who Had It All
There’s a woman in the Bible who you have probably heard of… the Proverbs 31 woman. I think Christian women are getting tired of hearing about her, but honestly I think it’s because she has been used against us to make us religious robots who, when we fall short because we realize we’re human, either obsess over how to become like her or resist being like her altogether. But there is a reason this woman is in the Bible and I’m certain it’s not because God wants all of us to learn how to sew, or arise before the dawn to feed our servant girls, or plant a vineyard. (I don’t drink, but I feel like a wine joke would be appropriate here.)
Instead, I think God put her in there to inspire us to live our best lives.
For so long, Christian culture has idolized the Proverbs 31 woman, often putting impossible standards on Christian women as if we need to fill shoes that were never there to begin with. At the end of this month, I’m releasing a book (more on that later) that reveals this woman for who she really is — a figment of a royal mother’s imagination of who her son should marry! (The royal mother was epic in her own right and I mention her in the book as well.)
But the so called “Proverbs 31 Woman” is in the Bible for a reason. God wants us to see the possibilities of what a woman who fears God and acquires wisdom could do. And there really is so much we can learn from her, but NOT if we continue to read this passage the way we’ve always read it.
You’ve Been Reading Proverbs 31 All Wrong
Here’s the issue: most of us have been reading this passage in English.
Did you know that the Bible is written primarily in two languages? The Old Testament is written in Hebrew and the New Testament is in Greek with a little Aramaic sprinkled in. Because our version of Proverbs 31 has been translated into English, we can completely miss what this imaginary woman could teach us.
Side note: there is absolutely nothing wrong with her being imaginary. The Bible is full of parables and analogies that teach us spiritual truths. The Word of God is true, and like any other book, we sometimes need to read between the lines to get the full picture. And if we are trying to read between the lines of a translated text — especially a poem — an acrostic poem — surely we are going to miss something!
An acrostic poem is one that is written with the initial letters of each line spelling something out. Did you ever write one of those Mother’s Day poems where each line began with one of the letters in “Mother’s Day” like this:
Mom you’re the best.
Owls have moms.
Tigers have moms.
Hot dogs are my favorite when you make them.
Everyone likes your hot dogs, actually.
Really, mom, thank you for making great food.
‘So many kids wish you were their mom.
Don’t stop being awesome.
Alligators have moms, too.
You are the best, mom!
Well that’s how Proverbs 31 is written except it’s in Hebrew. The first letter of each line of Proverbs 31 corresponds with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Do you see where I’m going with this? Their alphabet and ours are completely different. The English translation does not keep the acrostic nature of the poem, it just translates it.
The Purpose of Proverbs 31
Keep in mind that this poem was written for memorization. Jewish husbands and children would recite this to them as a blessing, often during their Sabbath meal. With that said, if we wanted our families to memorize a poem with our alphabet, wouldn’t we emphasize the first word in each line so that it would be remembered? I would think so! No one would memorize my crappy Mother’s Day poem above. But maybe if the beginning of each line was actually an important word, it would be easier to remember. I think this is the key to finding out what God wants us to learn from the Proverbs 31 woman.
So to understand what we can learn from the Proverbs 31 woman, we have to look at the Hebrew words. I usually recommend studying the Bible with a *concordance so you can better understand the meaning of the Scriptures. You would use it the way you would use a Spanish to English Dictionary except there is sometimes more cultural background about the word and you look up the words by the verse you are referring to. It’s a must have for a deeper Bible Study!
However, just translating the words using a concordance won’t tell you what order the words were in originally, so you have to do some extra research to figure out the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, etc… It’s a lot. Who has time for that besides someone who is writing a book about the subject? Girl, I know you don’t have the time, so I went ahead and did the work for you. I have a free Proverbs 31 Printable that emphasizes the first words in each line so that you can read it the right way. You can grab it here! I am also doing a LIVE video Bible study on Instagram to go a little more in-depth about some of the words, and I would love it if you’d join me! Each Thursday in January at 9pm EST on IG Live, I’ll be leading a discussion about Proverbs 31 and principles we can learn from this scripture. PLUS, as I mentioned earlier, my book, How to Have It All: The Secrets of the Proverbs 31 Woman, is being released at the end of January! WOOHOO! Stay tuned for pre-sale info.
How to Have It All
The biggest thing I noticed as I was doing my research is the original Hebrew highlights the character of this woman, not just her accomplishments. Her accomplishments are GREAT. She is the ultimate boss mom! But the Scriptures make it clear that her character is what drove her to accomplish what she did. Her character is that of a woman who loves God, seeks after Him, is filled with the Holy Spirit, and obeys Him. Maybe that describes you! We can look at the character of Proverbs 31 Woman to confirm that we’re developing the character God wants us to have. And out of that character, we accomplish great things as we obey God and use everything we have for His glory. That abundant life, regardless of circumstances, is what Christ died for us to receive and it’s what the Holy Spirit lives through us. That is the best kind of life because when we worship God with our lives we find our fulfillment in Him. That is what it means to have it all.
Anyone can “have it all” according to the world’s standards. As Christians we are called to have it all according to God’s standard, and the Proverbs 31 woman is one story among stories of women who did and do have it all, namely you and me, in Christ. I’d love it if you’d join me in discovering what that looks like in modern times over the next few weeks. To stay up to date, be sure to subscribe to my email list and follow me on Instagram.
Your Turn: What do you think it means to have it all? Is it possible for today’s Christian woman? ⭐️
Hey sis! I’m Imani, the Jesus-loving pastor’s wife & toddler mom who is writing here to help you “be a blessing” in your day-to-day life. Also, I’m probably dancing to Michael Jackson right now.