I can assure you that my kneejerk reaction to that age-old question "Who can find a virtuous woman" is "if you're looking for a virtuous woman here, you've come to the wrong place!"
But what is virtue?
Merriam-Webster puts it like this:
conformity to a standard of right : morality, a particular moral excellence, a beneficial quality or power of a thing, manly strength or courage : valor, a commendable quality or trait : merit, a capacity to act : potency
I don't see any mention of scheduled Saturday cleaning, canned beans, manicured lawns, homemade dressing or hand sewn clothes!
But seriously. Think about it for a minute. You weren't expecting those things to be specifically mentioned of course. But when you hear the word virtuous I'm going to guess that if you're anything like me you're going to immediately think of several words or activities that say "virtue" to you. Quite possibly they will be the exact ones that you aren't doing.
But what if we explored the possibility of virtue a bit deeper?
What if we asked what virtue already looks like in your daily life?
If we included things that many virtuous women but by no means ALL virtuous women do, we'd get a (partial) list like this:
- bake homemade birthday cakes
- write long newsy letters
- phone lonely friends regularly
- do custom work for others
- keep garden mostly weed free
- use cloth diapers for babies
- make their own baby food
- run a part time business from home
- help in their husband's business
- keep their financial records up to date
- spring clean religiously
- change their own car tires
- can or freeze 8 or 9 cases of peaches
- make their own soap
- take time to play games with their children often
Consider the following list now.
Some virtuous women have NEVER:
- made pancakes from scratch
- sewn their daughter a new Christmas dress
- spring cleaned their house
- made their own money after they had children
- helped on a church project or committee
- mailed Christmas cards
- canned fresh vegetables
- grown geraniums or petunias or any other annual flower
- and on and on! :)
See heres the thing. We let others, whether family, friends, neighbors or church sisters, make up the "virtue" list and get frustrated because it doesn't fit us. We just can't fit into the box and we keep trying to fit all these "virtues" into our life yet grow increasingly frustrated and resentful because we're trying to be or do something that neither God nor often our husbands (or even others) require or expect of us.
Perhaps you, like me, are tempted to compare yourself and your virtue's validity by the distant yardstick of a friend or a mother or grandmother's values, talents and accomplishments.
Different time. Different person.
Let’s let God speak to each of us personally about OUR home. Let Him guide us to make our home HIS home. .. not our mother's or our mother-in-law's. Not the home of our friend or favorite blogger. But our home, our very own corner of warmth, love and hospitality, filled with the unique talents and priorities that compliment our family, our home, our neighbors - and us.
Tell me; which things do you immediately think of subconsciously when you hear the word "virtuous"? How are you already being virtuous in your home today?