I Think Proverbs 31 Was Written for Ranch Wives
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I get a little sentimental. Well, maybe not sentimental, but more like a mashup of pride, appreciation, thankfulness and love for the many ladies in my life who’ve helped me along the way… combined with the amazing honor I have of being a mom to two wonderful children.
A few years ago, our preacher used Proverbs 31’s “Wife of Noble Character” as our Mother’s Day sermon. Quickly into the lesson, I realized this passage could have very well been written about my grandma. She fits every description. Then I got to thinking, while this is a roadmap for every wife and mother, I think it especially holds true for many wives and mothers in the agricultural community.
See if you agree…..
Proverbs 10[a]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
As ranch wives and mothers, our jobs are to support our husband and family. Our husbands trust us, and we are part of the family business. For some ranch wives, this might mean helping keep the ranch books, or helping register calves. It might mean checking the calving cows on those late nights while your husband is still in the field. Or maybe it’s bringing in and caring for the newborn calf that just lost its mother. Or keeping healthy Meals on the table, or all of the above. Or, just being a good co-pilot in the pickup and helping opening gates and giving a friendly smile. One thing about it, Agriculture is a business where husbands and wives work side by side, in their love of each other and the land.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
These verses definitely say that a ranch wife and mom is expected to work hard. It’s not an easy life, and that’s okay. We are capable and can do the job at hand. In fact, most of us welcome the challenge.
When I read this verse, one particular friend of mine comes to mind, Charolette Smith, a fellow Brahman breeder. She frequently travels to Mexico to select herd bulls for her family ranch. Just her. By herself. Buying herd bulls is quite possibly one of the most important jobs on the ranch. Her family – all men by the way – fully trust her do this because they have full confidence in her ability. Because she is a wife of noble character.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
Again, a keen business mind and a good work ethic is praised. Here, the wife of noble character is described as able to buy and sell land, manage sales and marketing, work alongside the men, and be an asset in her family business. I particularly identify with the “her arms are strong for her tasks.” And oh the tasks! We carry children. We carry feed sacks. Sometimes we carry feed sacks while carrying children piggyback at the same time.
It’s what we do. A constant prayer I have is not for a lighter load, but a stronger back. We welcome the responsibilities and never stop until all our jobs are done, and done well. Ranch wives and moms not only do the work with passion and pride, but also with grace.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
These verses, which describe charity and the role of women, are great guidelines for ranch wives and moms. Think of some of your favorite ranch moms and women, and they do all of these things…..Helping others. Helping the community. Helping animals. Giving back. Teaching children. Supporting their friends. Providing a safe and welcoming home for her children and others. It’s our calling.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
In these verses, for me, this helps me understand the importance of supporting my husband, who is the head of our family. I realize it’s my job to help him in every aspect of his business and life, and also for me to act in a way that only helps my husband, not causes him extra trouble. (This is the one I probably need to work on the most!) It makes me appreciate the hard work my husband does, and appreciate his big responsibilities to our family and community.
These last few verses are the ones that give me hope, on those long hard days, or day’s where I’m not sure that I can manage to “get it all done.” Yes, there are many nights where my head hits the pillow absolutely exhausted. And more than a few times wishing I could just go out to eat at a restaurant kid-free and enjoy a Diet Coke without having to worry about someone spilling it on me. And yes, times where I’d like to be the one riding through the pastures showing around bull buyers, but I stay home with the girls so they don’t miss their naps.
But these verses remind me, there’s no need to worry, and that my future is secure because I am a child of God, and that’s the biggest blessing of all:
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
As I read these verses, so many wonderful women come to mind. They are ranch wives. Ranch moms. Ranch sisters. And, ranch grandmas. In our industry, there are thousands of tremendous and wonderful women I’ve had the opportunity to work with as clients of Ranch House through the years. Women who work. Women who make decisions. Women you can trust. Women who inspire. Women who give unselfishly. Women who stand behind their husband and children. Women who make their community, and the world a better place.
To these women, I salute you. This week is for you, and I hope you know the tremendous impact you’ve made on the lives of so many, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day.