Today, I think I finally understand what it means to be a virtuous woman.
It’s not about beauty, although the women I met today were some of the most exquisite women I have ever seen. Each of them have gorgeous, dark, olive skin framing the most dazzling, white smile. Being a virtuous woman isn’t about style, although these women put me to shame with their kaleidoscopic suris, like snowflakes; no two alike. Their gold jewelry, valued as treasure, seems to shine brighter against their skin.
Being a virtuous woman isn’t about personality, although the laughter seemed unceasing in the small church we met in.
Being a virtuous woman doesn’t mean owning a massive house, because several of these women live in huts, without a roof.
Being a virtuous woman isn’t about having a handsome husband, because many of the women had been abandoned by their spouses after they decided not to murder their second baby girl.
Being a virtuous woman isn’t about wealth or success, as these women make their money from one cow’s milk or from working in the fields all day.
These woman taught me that being a virtuous woman is about holding on to faith in God, when there’s nothing else to hold on to. Being a virtuous woman is about doing the right thing; saving the life of a baby girl, even though it will require a sacrifice of all else. Being a virtuous woman is about perseverance and sometimes, hard work.
Nearly three years ago, my first marriage ended in a heartbreaking divorce. In the days that followed while climbing the uphill mountain of pain, I feasted on the Psalms in Scripture. At one point, I paused at Psalm 58:10, which read, “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the people; I will sing praises to you among the nations.” Next to that verse, I wrote: “I must urge myself to praise God and look forward to the time when I will bring a testimony of God’s goodness.”
Today, that prayer was fulfilled. One woman’s story stood out to me above the rest. I don’t even know her name, but she was beautiful in her orange suri and was the mother of an adorable little girl in pigtail braids. This woman had been abandoned by her husband and in-laws when she kept her baby girl and is working hard to provide for the both of them. Through a translator I told her that my first marriage ended in divorce and I understand a part of her pain. The translator wrote Romans 8:28 in her own language for her. I told her that Jesus had “worked all things for good” for me and provided a new husband for me and had given me happiness once again.
Her smile transcended our language barrier and we hugged, bonded by a common pain. Her little girl jumped up and pulled my face down to hers and kissed me.
I will never forget that moment. God has restored me. He has “repaid me for the years the locusts ate”. He has allowed me to sing His praise among the nations. God answers prayer.
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.” Psalm 58:10