Lady: a woman of refinement and gentle manners
(according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
My husband has been known to say a few times during our 14 years of marriage that there really aren’t many ladies any more. I find this sad to hear about my own gender, but as I really thought about the heart of what he was saying, I wholeheartedly agreed with his statement.
Call me “old-fashioned” if you will, after all, I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, but my Mom, who now resides in heaven, taught (led by example actually) my sister and me how to be ladies. Even as young girls, she taught us how to sit, stand to our full height, hold our shoulders back, wear proper undergarments as well as the art of fine manners. From an early age, growing up in the South, we were chastised for saying “yeah,” “huh?” or “what?” We were taught early on to say “please” and “thank you”; “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am”; “yes sir” and “no sir”. She instilled in us the importance of modesty, as did our Dad. She taught us how we should be treated by boys/men and in turn, how we should treat them.
I suppose I took for granted these attributes of a lady-in-waiting, so to speak. It was part of my upbringing and in no way did I feel like I was being raised too strictly. I was, as my sister, very proud of my Mom. In no way was she considered a frump, matronly, nor a ‘fuddy-dud’. She always sought to look the best she could and was respected by everyone who knew her. She was beautiful, radiant and graceful and the epitome of a lady, in my book.
So, when my husband made this statement, I was quick to remember how I was raised and came to the quick realization that he was absolutely correct. Truly, there aren’t many ladies anymore. It is a sad yet sobering fact.
I found myself referring to the Proverbs 31 woman that we read about in the Bible. It was then that it became even more apparent to me this fact of just how few ladies there are. Honestly, I can’t think of anyone that matches this woman. Sure, now and again we notice glimpses of this woman in some of our girlfriends but that is about it. Glimpses. It became apparent to me that in a world that has truly mocked modesty and femininity, I wanted to revisit this most admirable woman.
So, today, I’m going to spend some quiet moments reading about her and studying her. I figure if God included this woman in the Bible, there must be a reason for me to know about her and her attributes.
Hymn to a Good Wife
10-31 A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!