Saturday, March 6, 2010

I AM a woman of dignity

Recently I received a piece of scripture in my e-mail box via one of my many devotionals. It came from Proverbs 31 Ministries.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

The commentary that went with it did nothing for me but that passage spoke to me.

She laughs at the days to come. Really? Are you kidding me? How? How can she laugh? She’s going to be unemployed soon. She’s going to be receiving a very meager unemployment check and wondering how far she can stretch her meager savings account. She, if you hadn’t gathered, is me.

As I said in my earlier post, I have been given 2-weeks notice at my job. I like the company I work for and I love my job. It’s easy work. I’m good at my job. I can get everything I need done done in a few short hours in a day. I’m looking for work and trying to stay positive. I say trying because there are just moments that I don’t feel very positive. The reality of my possible future becomes overwhelming sometimes. Like when I watch the news. The media reports such a negative outlook on the economy and the job market it freaks me out. The paint such a bleak picture. The sky is falling and no one is finding jobs. Sigh.... My brain goes into overdrive. My heart begins to beat hard. My breathing becomes quicker. I’m on the verge of a panic attack. I change the channel... I may not watch any news for the next few weeks. I guess I’ll have to depend on my friends to let me know if there are things going on in the world.

So, back to this woman of dignity. Proverbs 31 is a letter telling a young man what kind of woman he should look for. The kind of woman he should want to marry and spend the rest of his life with. So, among other things, she is laughing at the days to come. Another variation states:

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. (NLT)

King James puts it this way:
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. (KJV)

That’s interesting. She rejoices in times to come. Paul tells us we should rejoice always. Actually he doesn’t tell us. He shouts it “Rejoice!” He screams it at us. Sheesh, Paul. OK. I get it. I get it. Rejoice and act with dignity.

The word dignity is only in the bible 4 times. Just 4 mentions of dignity. Isn’t that interesting? There are so many examples of people who acted with dignity but the authors only felt it necessary to use the word 4 times. Job, Esther, Paul, Abraham, Moses, Noah, Mary and Joseph. Jesus showed it daily. He hung out with sinners and tax collectors and befriended a Samaritan woman at a well. Jesus told stories, about people with dignity. The story of the Good Samaritan is relayed as a story of mercy. But I believe it is also a story of dignity. He stopped to help someone who just a day earlier probably would have spat in his face. I wonder if either of them thought about laughing at their future? Did the guy who was mugged laugh at what was coming? What about the Samaritan? I’ll be he would have laughed if someone said to him that in a day he’d be helping a sworn enemy. When Jesus is telling that story he asks "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" My answer is somewhat different than the disciples answer. The man who was the neighbor is the one who decided to put aside thousands of years of cultural history and hatred that separated these two men and acted with dignity. He laughed at what others would say.

So, what does it mean to act with dignity? The first part of the scripture seems to be the answer to me.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

She is not clothed with gold and jewels and the latest Manolo Blahniks. She isn’t going shoe shopping or purse shopping. It’s not about what she is wearing or where she is from. It’s about how she is acting. How does she appear to others? Is she cowering in a corner? Is she off eating pints of Ben & Jerry? I don’t think so.

She is writing in her journal. She is visiting her therapist. She is making lists. She is applying for jobs. She is examining her budget and making cuts. She is praying and reading her bible daily. She is blogging online.

She is figuring out how to laugh at the days to come.

She is a woman of dignity.


  1. Yes, you are a woman of dignity, Kathleen! I love this! Great post!

  2. And one more thing: She can laugh at the days to come because she KNOWS Who is in control of the days to come! She has learned to trust God for her present and her future!


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