"Who can find a virtuous woman?
for her price [is] far above rubies."
I was studying Proverbs 31:10 here, and was a little surprised when I read the actual Hebrew meaning of the word "virtuous".
- strength, power, might (especially warlike), valour. . . to shew oneself strong, to display valour
- forces, a host. . . leader of the army
- ability. . .
- virtue, uprightness, integrity, also fitness. . . men of capacity. . . a virtuous woman. . . an honest or upright man
- the strength of a tree, spoken poetically of its fruits
I never realized that the word virtuous involved strength. . . maybe moral strength. . . but I believe this goes beyond moral strength. This, to me, means fortitude of the spirit -- the ability to push through circumstances in such a way that you prove yourself capable of running a household and leading a group of children. These meanings have me asking myself a few questions.
First, am I a strong leader to my children as I train and prepare them for spiritual battle? How do I strengthen my authority and keep myself strong?
Second, are there areas where my moral integrity could be in question? Are there things that I do, regularly, that cost me my children's respect? Things that make me unfit for my job?
Third, what does it mean, to me, to be a strong, fruitful tree; and how do I become a strong, fruitful tree?
I have to admit, that, lately, I feel that I have completely lost my children's respect. Somehow, I seem to have lost the position of authority and leadership in this home. I could give all the excuses in the world, the biggest being the extreme exhaustion of dealing with a nursing, teething infant. . . but the fact remains that I have been lazy in my dealings with my children. Instead of putting forth the physical and emotional effort to discipline bad behavior and attitudes, I resort to my mouth -- which does more harm than good, thus losing my children's respect and "fear".
How do I get back this lost authority? I'm not 100% sure; but, since we are talking about strength here, it seems I need to do some repetitive strengthening exercises. In other words, just like I would consistently and repetitively exercise my muscles to build physical strength, I must consistently and repetitively exercise my authority to build strength in my role as leader. This means that, instead of running my mouth when the children misbehave, I must grit my teeth and act, again and again and again until I have built my authoritative strength and the children begin to fall in line. And, then, I have to keep up the exercises to maintain strength and avoid atrophy.
You see, I think my fruit, as a mother, is not just bearing children but raising them for battle. No strong tree produces shriveled, rotten fruit. I must produce healthy, vibrant, luscious fruit. In order to do this, I must make myself strong. I cannot lead my children, I cannot grow strong children, unless I am strong myself.