She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
Oh man. Here’s the verse I was dreading — the exercising one. Bah. Let me see if I can make it NOT about exercising… 😉
“Gird” is a weird word that we don’t use often. In fact, I’ve mostly only heard it in reference to girding one’s loins in preparation for battle. In ancient times, men would pull up their robes and tuck them into their belts to allow more freedom of movement in battle. (I mean, imagine wearing a maxi dress in a sword fight. You’d hike up your dress, too!) So “to gird” means to surround with a belt, or to fasten with a belt; eventually, however, both the verb and the entire phrase just came to mean preparing for action or for a difficult task. And here in the Proverbs 31:17, the more literal translation is also “She girds her loins with strength.”
This whole idea creates a weird image in my mind. I begin to picture her literally tying up her dress for battle like the warriors, but then I get stuck on the word “strength.” How do you surround your loins with a belt of strength? It started as a literal image in my mind, but then I wonder if it’s more figurative. I cannot wrap strength around my waist.
(Unless I exercise.)
This verse is cool, albeit convicting. It seems to apply to any kind of strength, including physical, mental, and spiritual. The physical is obvious: keeping house and raising children requires physical exertion. She girds up (prepares) herself for hard work every day, and her body is strengthened. You can apply this also to intentional exercise, and I think you should. Being a homemaker in modern, Western society does not typically require the kind of physical labor that Jewel was accustomed to. Frankly, being a homemaker today can easily lead to flabby thighs and bat wings, no matter how busy you are with being domestic. I see it happening to me, and I’m still trying to work out a way to incorporate exercise into my routine with a busy baby underfoot! So yeah, this verse is about exercising. (Bah.)
But it’s also not. Jewel is daily going into battle against her selfish flesh, against the schemes of the enemy, against the culture; essentially she’s waging war against the spiritual darkness that is relentlessly trying to invade and conquer the little and big hearts living in her home. So she must figuratively gird up her loins, or, as Peter instructs:
Therefore, prepare [literally: gird up] your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13
The task before us is great. We must be ready; we must intentionally seek to strengthen ourselves against the enemy. How? Well, we can’t do it ourselves:
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
The very best and most important thing you can do for your family — and really for everyone you come in contact with — is to stay grounded in Him. Gird your loins and make your arms strong, for we go into battle every day.
♥ ♥ ♥
My Son, is she a strong woman? I don’t mean the kind of strength that the world recognizes…the sarcastic and pushy kind. I mean the kind of woman with inner strength and fortitude, regardless of her circumstances. The kind of woman who is not shattered when her world shatters, but who looks up with bleary, blurred eyes and says to God, “I trust You and I praise You. Tell me what You would have me do, and I will do it.” Now that is a woman.
My Love, as per usual, I wish I were the woman I am recommending to our little guy! However, I take confidence in the working of the Holy Spirit as He refines me, and I am thankful for the wonderful example of strength and fortitude you are to me every day. I love you.
My Lord, You are the Source of all wisdom and strength, and only You know what each day holds for me. I ask for Your guidance as I face the enemy each day, and I pray that You fill me with Your supernatural strength to withstand his attacks and to guard my home.
♥ ♥ ♥