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Strength And Honor Are Her Clothing


The virtuous woman, strength and honor are her clothing, proverbs 31


Being Clothed in Strength


My Dad used to say I was a strong little girl.


He would often find great amusement in my strong arms and tummy muscles. Especially when he tickled me.


I even remember my Dad being surprised and proud of how many sit-ups I could do, and when I couldn't do anymore, he would feel my stomach and exclaim, “Wow! Feel how hard that stomach is!”


This of course was a great feeling. Who doesn’t want to please their father with their strong tummy muscles?! Or show off strong biceps in arm wrestling?


Snuggling with my Dad, sometime around 1980.

Boy, do I wish physical strength was my strong suit now! But life tends to take a toll on a body - and what a toll it has taken on this body of mine!


Oh, if I could only go back in time and encourage myself to keep that muscle tone up!


My son gets up at 5 AM most days and goes to the gym.


I say, "Uh, No way."


But, I suppose it is a matter of priority.


All his hard work is really paying off, and he looks really good.


Right now, my priority is sleep, rest, sleep, rest, a little bit of coffee now and then, and maybe read a good book if I have enough energy.


Yes, I was a strong little girl at one time...


And yes, I was in good physical shape at one time too… and maybe I could get back there if I tried really really hard…?


But, I know my husband wasn’t referring to physical strength or muscle tone the other day when he casually said, we are strong people.


Did I hear my husband correctly?


Yes! He called us strong people.


Now, I know my husband is a strong person, that goes unsaid.


(Strong as in the physical sense of the word and in the spiritual sense of the word.)


But when your strong husband refers to you as a strong woman, too, that’s pretty awesome.


This wasn’t some random comment, either. This was something he had thought of before, I could tell.


We had been discussing someone that was having a hard time handling a tough situation, and our hearts went out to this individual, and as we were considering their situation, my husband said, “You know, we have just always been strong people...”



Conditioned to Handle Pressure and Meet Challenges


Meaning, we have met our challenges head on, by the grace of God, and not faltered.


I would’ve never called myself a strong person though, but once he said it, I realized, hey, yeah, We are strong people!


But then I became concerned -- wait, is being a strong person good or bad?


Let’s see, in my mind a strong person can either be STRONG, LOUD, and PUSHY, or calm, capable, and graceful under pressure.


I would like to think my husband was referring to us as the 2nd type of strong person vs the 1st type of strong person.


LOL!


But, people aren’t born this way, you know.


We aren’t born knowing how to handle pressure and be calm.


But rather, we tend to be loud and pushy, even demanding our way.


The more I thought about what my husband had said, the more I realized it has been a lifetime of conditioning that has caused us to develop this “strong” attribute.


A lifetime of hardships, trials and testings to prove our faith and character.


A lifetime of right responses to awful situations.


The Lord has been conditioning us for a long time; adjusting issues in our hearts, and purifying our motives.


He has been refining us.


He wanted to prove our responses to people, situations and disappointments.


Then, after we were proved, our right responses would become natural, like second-nature, so we could be vessels of honor, fit for the Master’s use, and rejoicing in how the Lord could use us if He chose.


Together we have faced a lot -- ups and downs throughout our marriage.


At times, we lived paycheck to paycheck, or credit card to credit card.


We were being conditioned.


Life’s dreams and crushing disappointments passed us by, year after year, seemingly unnoticed by others or the Lord.


There were brutal, agonizing disappointments.


We were lied to or lied about to others.


We were misunderstood.


The list could go on and on.


I’m sure you have faced a lot in your life as well.


All of us have.


But, it is what we do in the midst of the difficulties that matters most.


This response to tough times is the crux of the whole matter.


We can bring honor or dishonor to the Lord with our responses.



Being Anchored to the Lord


I can’t speak to how my husband personally met with the Lord during those hard times we faced, but, one thing I practiced often during my low moments was turning to the Lord.


He was my constant help.


After turning to Him, I would first give thanks for all the times in which He has helped me before.


Then, I would open my Bible, begin reading somewhere -- anywhere -- and open my spirit to see if He would quicken a word of life to me.


He was training me to look to Him first.



Oftentimes, He would give me a key for the situation I was facing.


Other times, if there was no specific word given, my faith was still strengthened while reading.


I would end up committing matters to Him before I finished, trusting Him completely with the outcome.


Who knew that all those times of seeking Him first in my trials was actually conditioning me to become the woman I am today?


So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, (2 Timothy 2:1, NET).


A woman of strength carries on in the midst of difficulties and is not swayed by the winds that come against her.


Why? Because a woman of strength turns to the Lord first.


This takes discipline.


An ideal woman of strength doesn’t jump to conclusions, ponder on imaginations, or seek revenge on those who hurt her.


This takes a LOT of discipline.



Being Clothed with Strength and Honor


Through the years, I was often inspired by The Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31 and sought inspiration and comfort from this chapter often.


One verse I clung to and made my own is found in Proverbs 31:25, "Strength and honor are her clothing, she shall rejoice in time to come."


After reading this verse over and over again during difficult times, I started to look forward to the time I would rejoice: the time when a trial would come to an end.


“Hallelujah! Rejoicing is ahead!” I would say to myself.


I knew this to be true, because His word says that there is a season for everything, and if I am in a difficult season NOW then there is a better season UP AHEAD!


One thing from this verse I had to remember was: STRENGTH and HONOR went together.


"Strength and honor are her clothing, she shall rejoice in time to come" (Proverbs 31:25, NIV).


I needed to be honorable in all activities under pressure, or else I wouldn’t purchase this costly inner strength spoken of in Proverbs 31.


Yes, I could be a STRONG, PUSHY, LOUD person, but ineffective and offensive.


Or, I could be a calm, capable woman of grace functioning well under pressure -- clothed in strength and honor, bringing glory to my Heavenly Father.


This I found to be very true: inner strength is costly.


I know because I have had to purchase this many times over the years.


And let me tell you, it is hard to hold your tongue and not snap back at someone (such as your husband) who is under pressure themselves.


It takes A LOT of inner strength to not take things personally, especially when someone is treating you poorly.


I suppose this is the Bible truth of “turning the other cheek” come to life.


You want to know what else is hard to swallow?


When you are demoted when you should’ve been promoted.


Or, when you are being nice to a person who keeps snubbing you day in and day out.


Letting people ride over you like this is nasty business… but it is called longsuffering.


Inner strength is costly and suffering long is very, very costly.


  • It means you have to wait a long time for an answered prayer without begrudging the wait time.

  • It means you have to take the low place.

  • It means you have to wait your turn.

  • It means you let others take the place of honor and you are OK with it.

  • It means you keep your problems private and not expose your husband, or anyone else.

  • It means quietly carrying hidden burdens and trusting the Lord with the outcomes.


But then -- the promise: you will rejoice in time to come.


"Strength and honor are her clothing, she shall rejoice in time to come" (Proverbs 31:25, NIV).


The Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31 “Girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms.”


She accepts difficult times because she knows the Refiner is conditioning her and creating a beautiful vessel of honor He can use in time to come.


 

Last night at prayer service a beautiful prayer went up, and it went something like this:


Lord, thank you for your cleansing power that refines us.

We make mistakes and we do things wrong sometimes but You still love us.

You are causing things to surface in our life that You don’t want to be there.

Remove those things from our hearts and purify us.

We thank You for Your cleansing power.

Please remove those impurities from our hearts and help us not to be cast down by our mistakes. Help us to forgive ourselves and move on.

Thank You for your cleansing power.


Let me tell you, this prayer meant a lot to me.


Why? Because I have realized I am a work in progress.


There is so much more refining that needs to happen in my heart!


Yes, my husband sees me as a strong person, but I lack so much still.


Praise the Lord for His cleansing power that can remove all impurities from our hearts as they surface!


Lord, cleanse me from behavior that is dishonorable to You! And help me to forgive myself when I fall short of your ideal.


Your cleansing power can soothe and heal wounds and help us to pick ourselves back up and try to be our best again.


The good news is that the Lord still loves us when we fall short.


He knows who His children are and He sees our heart.


AND He doesn’t think of us poorly when we mess up but loves us all the more.


Why?


We are His workmanship.


Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 1:6, INV).


That verse is beautiful.


Do you want to know what else is beautiful?


What my husband sees in me.


In his eyes, I am a strong woman.


Aaron and I at a birthday party in December 2019.

Even though I make mistakes and fall short sometimes, he sees the core of who I am -- and he sees a strong woman.


That means a lot to me.


We are human and things come up where we fail the grace of God.


The Lord wants to purify us. He is showing us that there is still work to be done in our hearts.


There is still more conditioning that needs to happen.


I suspect this is a lifetime's work.


The Lord wants to lead us onto holiness and perfection, because He is perfect in every way.


Oh, that we could go on to perfection and be closer to the Lord!


Perfect Your righteousness in me Lord Jesus!


Make me a vessel of honor You can use!


Search me and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!


 

My Dad has always been a strong figure in my life and he always will be.


I’m sure I inherited my youthful physical strength from him among other things.


Valentine's Day, 1976.

But, you know what? Human strength fails.


Whereas my Heavenly Father's strength is everlasting.


The Lord has been a strong figure in my life as well.


Yes, I inherited my physical strength from my earthly father, but, my prayer is that I will inherit all my inner strength from my Heavenly Father.


He will never fail or fade away.


He will be my ever-present help in trouble.


May we live our life worthy to hold the title of being called a “strong woman” in every honorable sense of the word.


Let’s allow the Lord to search our hearts and to purify our motives, bringing to the surface any flaw in our character that isn’t honorable.


Let Him perfect His righteousness within us!


Then we may be equipped and ready for the Master’s good use when the time of our rejoicing comes!


Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work, (2 Timothy 2:20-21, ESV).


So you, my child be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, (2 Timothy 2:1, NET).


Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, (2 Timothy 2:3, NET).


Think about what I am saying and the Lord will give you understanding of all this, (2 Timothy 2:7, NET).


Charge to us Christian women:


So I endure all things for the sake of those chosen by God, (2 Timothy 2:10a, NET).




Blessings ~


Angie

The Founder of

My Sun & Shade Ministries




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Cathy Sharp
Cathy Sharp
Jun 26, 2021

WOW wow wow!!! I'm right there with you. JUST published E9 The Blessings of Suffering before your post came in. It is similar in many ways from your message. I have been so inspired and encouraged! Words that I truly have found strength from and very timely. THANK YOU FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS!!!

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Unknown member
May 09, 2022
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Love to hear when people get inspired!! Thanks for all your comments and encouraging words Cathy!

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Angie is a pastor's wife who started a blog for women

Angie is a pastor's wife, grammie, office administrator, pianist, artist, and blogger. She is currently editing her 1st book to be released sometime this year. Follow her spiritual journey to attain God's highest purpose for her life, as she follows God's Biblical guide for Christian women.

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