Cheese and Toilet Paper — Don’t Run Out.

She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
~Proverbs 31:21

Santa Claus is  coming to town!No wonder Santa dresses like that! I never realized that you should wear red when it’s cold!

Okay, so this verse sent me to the commentaries. Apparently the word translated as “scarlet” may also mean “double,” meaning that her family isn’t necessarily wearing red, but probably just wearing extra clothes. In fact, the CJB translates the second line this way: “Since all of them are doubly clothed.” This makes more sense to me, despite the few commentaries that work very hard to make “scarlet” make sense.

Jewel’s family, then, doesn’t have to worry when the temperatures drop. Mama planned ahead. Far, far ahead. I wonder how long it would take to make extra overcoats for everyone in your family when you have to start with a sheep!

Frankly, I can’t relate. She probably had to start in May to be ready for October, when I can just run to the store when I need to, even at the last minute. It’s helpful to me, then, to extend the core of this message — preparedness — to other areas of my life.

To me, this verse boils down to anticipating the needs of your family. There are things we know, like the fact that the baby needs milk and diapers. We also know that it’s usually cold at a certain time of the year and warm at another, and that we all need to dress appropriately. The mortgage payment is due at the beginning of the month. We all really need toilet paper and soap. Oh and cheese. For the love of all that is good and holy, do NOT run out of cheese.

These are things that are not surprises. If we’re caught unprepared, it’s because we simply didn’t prepare! Remember your English teacher saying that failing to plan is planning to fail? Or what about this one, “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”?  Well, she was right! Yes, I had that English teacher, and yes, I was that English teacher!

(That doesn’t mean that I’m always perfectly prepared!)

YES, I sometimes call my husband and ask if he will bring home dinner, pretty please, because I just didn’t get it together that day.

YES, I have taken my baby to Walmart in his very last diaper, praying for no explosions before getting back home with a box!

YES, I have completely run out of baby food because I just kept procrastinating and failed to make more.

YES, I sometimes faced a new school day with no idea what I was going to have my students do.

YES, I have a lot of other examples, but this is good enough.

The bottom line here is that your family looks to you to take care of them. It’s easy to resent that, wondering why it is always you who has to be sure you have toilet paper and cheese, but just because resentment is easy doesn’t mean it’s helpful. Daddies have a list of things that they could wonder why it has to be them, but it doesn’t go over so well if they hem and haw about taking out the trash or mowing the lawn, does it? So neither do we have the right to have a bad attitude.

Instead, we can view our responsibilities — mommies’ and daddies’ — as privileges. Mommy makes sure the bathrooms have toilet paper so everyone can be clean and healthy. Daddy makes sure the grass is cut to make it more enjoyable to play (and to avoid fines from the city). Mommy checks the fit of winter clothes in the fall so no one gets hypothermia, and Daddy kills the spiders so that everyone will just come on in and chill out about it. (Or you know, whatever jobs work in your family.) God gave us our spouses and children to love and to care for. This is an awesome and humbling and terrifying and amazing job.

Let’s try not to blow it by running out of cheese.

♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, is she an ant or a grasshopper? (Avoid the grasshoppers.)

My Love, don’t answer that question about me.

My Lord, thank You so much for the lessons You’ve taught me in my last seven years of marriage, and especially in my last year of homemaking. You are so patient and gentle and wise, nudging me to truths and revealing to me my purpose in my home. Give me a teachable spirit and show me more and more the beauty of loving and serving my guys.

♥ ♥ ♥


(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)

Open Arms

She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
~Proverbs 31:20

I have a secret to share with you. Someday, if God ever blesses me with a little girl, I want to give her the middle name Charity. I love that name, both because it’s pretty and because I’m all about name meanings. While I might love the sound of a particular name, if I don’t love the meaning — if it doesn’t carry any weight, any significance — it’s stricken from my list. I might use it for a potential book character, but never for a child.

Charity. I want my (someday maybe) daughter to be tenderhearted and sincerely gracious to everyone. I want her to File:Homeless man in Anchorage.jpgchallenge me with her desire to serve. I want her to love like Jesus loves, and that’s what I see in this verse. No hesitation, no questioning, no excuse-making. Just loving.

I read the verse above in the NASB, and it was just too familiar. I “got” it. Yep, she helps the poor.


It didn’t impact me at all, so I read it in one of my favorite translations, which I discovered on Just about every time I look up a verse in this version, it comes alive to me in a whole new way, and that’s what happened here. It put flesh and heart to this verse for me. See if it does the same thing for you:

She reaches out to embrace the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
-Proverbs 31:20, Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

This is not handing a couple of bucks to a bum with a sign.
This is not writing a check for a charity drive.
This is not making your teenager work in a soup kitchen at Christmas.
This is not gathering up unwanted items and asking Goodwill to come get them.
This is not emptying the change jar to help your kid’s VBS team win.

This is embracing.
This is opening yourself.
This is necessarily inconvenient.
This is inevitably sacrificial.
This is gritty.
This is real.
This is a lifestyle.
This is evidence of a heart totally transformed by Jesus Christ.

This is not a verse that describes me, and this is a major problem. 


♥ ♥ ♥

My Son, find a woman who truly considers others before herself. She will teach you much about Christ’s love that I have failed to show you.

My Love, pray for me.

My Lord, change me.

♥ ♥ ♥


(This post is part of a series on Proverbs 31. Click here to see all posts in this series.)