“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come” – Proverbs 31:25
I’ve been lost, and it is only in recent weeks that I am, well really, that God is finding me. The lost get found, they get found by love and by grace. It is a beautiful journey, though I know it is far from over, especially as I continue to meditate on this verse. An Ideal Wife, a woman worthy of praise is clothed, she is strong and she has dignity, she is dignified. If you are like me you might hear the word dignity and think you know what it means, but actually trying to define it is a much more difficult concept. So, in my usual fashion, I turned to my ever-trusty online dictionary. Here’s what I found (and oh how my heart sang upon reading this!):
1. Bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
2. nobility or elevation of character; worthiness.
3. Elevated rank.
The first one sounds a bit wordy to me but I latch on to “self-respect”. It goes with everything else I’ve been talking about in this series, a woman who respects herself will be clothed, a woman who is clothed will have more self-confidence (though not always instantaneously) and therefore be a stronger woman. A woman who respects herself will have an appreciation for each situation that life puts her in, and because of her modesty and strength, she will know how to act accordingly. Okay, that’s nice, a good woman knows how to behave. If only dignity ended there…but it doesn’t. And thank goodness for that.
The second definition is where it is all at! Nobility. What woman doesn’t want to be noble? Aren’t we all princesses at heart? We may not all want the fame (and the paperwork) that goes with being a princess, but the honor and the glory due to such a woman – that is something we all long for. What we fail to realize, however, is that by the merits of grace, we are already princesses. We are daughters of the King of Kings, and the daughter of a king is what? A princess. So what is a daughter of the King of Kings? A Princess of Princesses. The cream of the crop. If the King of Kings is the King to end all kings, the greater ruler of all creation, doesn’t it follow that we, as His daughters, are called to the best of the best, the greatest princesses, the ones with the most elevated character? I should think so.
Where does this elevated character (a.k.a. dignity) come from? As I said in the beginning, it all builds on each other. God lays the foundation in our hearts and by turning our hearts to Him, we build on it together. We build self-respect, we build modesty, strength, hope, faith, love – those all go into the foundation and make it stronger as we add in friends, family, relationships, etc. Our elevated character comes from not only the knowledge but also the belief (and I’m talking about actually, truly believing this truth in the depths of your soul) that we are daughters of God. That knowledge, that belief, elevates our rank, not in an arrogant way, but in a way that is both humbling and uplifting. It gives us a grace, a peace about us that flows from within – it makes our souls shine and our faces light up. We seem to walk on the clouds. We have dignity because we are forgiven. Rather than being constantly weighed down by our sins, we seek the loving forgiveness of the Father and are restored to communion with Him and so we have the ability to stand stall, to walk with dignity because we are filled with Love.
Worthiness! My God, You wash me in Your love. I read that in the definition of dignity and had to keep from jumping for joy! This word could be a myriad of things…it could be a sign for another seed that has recently been planted and watered in my heart (more on that some other time), it could be a gift to some reader out there and/or it could (and is) a gift to my heart. It all comes back to being worthy. The world tells us we are not worthy, that there is no way we could be worthy, but the Scriptures, the Saints, Tradition, the Sacraments, the Church, Jesus Himself tells us over and over again that we are. We need to hear it, we keep coming back to it because we don’t get it yet. We let the world take over and we forget that we are worthy. Sure, my own name means worthy of love but I’ve long since believed that name is so much more than just a name – it is a truth I’ve struggled with much of my life and it is a truth that I have found that countless women and girls (and boys and men for that matter) struggle with. It is a truth that has been forgotten, one that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. The Ideal Wife, the woman worthy of praise is herself clothed in worthiness. She doesn’t just know that she is worthy in her soul, she is clothed in it. She wraps herself in her worthiness, she covers herself with it, her worthiness keeps her warm. Her worthiness is all about her, all around her – it never leaves her. It is in her soul and on her body constantly.
Lord, may the worthiness You shower upon me be so – may I know it and believe it in my heart and soul and may it keep me warm, may it keep me covered, may it be all around me, may it drive me to pursue You more deeply, You who are the source of my worthiness. AMEN.