You’re not really supposed to say this as a Christian woman, but Proverbs 31 was always kind of a thorn in my side.

When I was a kid, we attended a legalistic church for awhile that had a class for young girls on becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. It was all about preparing ourselves for marriage, children and home-making–never any talk of college or pursuing the dreams and desires God had put within our hearts.

As a 13 year old, I was deeply indignant about my needs and desires already being put on the back burner when I wasn’t even out of middle school yet.  I wanted to go to college and maybe become a doctor, or a teacher, or a marine biologist. What about my dreams??

Ironically, I now want to stay at home with my kids and–gasp–even homeschool. But, I have made peace with Proverbs 31. I have come to understand that a woman of God can be passionate about her family (even completely devoting a season of her life to caring for them) and still pursue her dreams and passions if she so desires.

Joining The Influence Network has been huge for me. At the conference last September, I met several women who are devoted moms and are still rocking their careers–through online shops, running amazing blogs, and writing books. (Some great examples: Haley Morgan, Jessi Connolly, and Shauna Niequist)

The Sashes Market, the shop at the conference selling stuff made by Influence girls, was inspired by Proverbs 31 (v. 24 “she makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.”).  The Proverbs 31 woman is creating and selling and delivering; she’s rocking it.

During one session of the conference a man holding a tiny baby quietly walked through the hotel ballroom, approached the woman seated next to me, handed her the baby and then left.  She nursed the baby and then sent a text, and he returned and quietly took the baby away again.  I wanted to stand and applaud--both the woman for making the effort to invest in her career and her passions by attending the conference, and her husband for being so kind and supportive of his wife’s dreams.

 Kim of Oh, Sweet Joy! and Ashley of Written on Her Heart–two of my favorite Christian mama role models at The Influence Conference last September:

oh, sweet joy (1 of 1)

Kim taught a great workshop on monetizing your blog


Ashley onstage with her newest babe

What are your views on pursuing your dreams while being a Christian wife and mama? Has Proverbs 31 been a struggle for you, too?

***To my mama friends out there who aren’t pursuing projects and careers outside of their families: please hear me when I say that it’s admirable and brave for a woman to solely dedicate herself to her children for a season.  You’re a rockstar!!

  • Marianne @White Peach Potter

    This has me so excited to attend the conference this year! I can’t wait to learn from all of the Godly women that will be there.

    Caroline, this post is so great. As a somewhat counter culture youth I heard the phrase “well, er, you just march the beat of your own drum. don’t you…?” from youth leaders all the time (I was an artist, my hair was cropped & dyed a different color each month, I rolled my eyes when they took us to DC Talk concerts, talked way too much and way too openly, and lots of other things they didn’t quite know how to respond to from a girl). Proverbs 31 was a complicated matter to me for years. I WANTED to be that woman, but it wasn’t taught to me in an individualized way that fit who God had made me to be. I didn’t fit a mold, and it led to many frustrated years of trying to squeeze into a hole that wasn’t me.

    Anyway – I’ve since come to love it after it was framed completely differently to me as an adult – that God has molded me and will use me just as I am, and that I CAN be strong and independent and also glorify Him at the same time :) I’m not a mom (yet? ever? We don’t know yet) but I’m hoping to find inspiration from Prov. 31 through that as well if we decide to go that direction someday.

    • Caroline Grace

      Marianne, I can SO relate to you! I never quite fit the mold, either (still don’t). I’m excited to meet you at the conference this year. :)

  • AshleyWifey

    You are sweet. Hearing Jessi’s talk really helped me make peace with proverbs 31 woman too.

    • Caroline Grace

      Yeah, Jessi’s talk was so great! I really need to listen to it again. Maybe a few times. :)

  • Sarah

    I definitely have felt this way before. My mom is totally focused on family life, and I remember feeling that wanting to write or do ministry would make me less than (she never said so, but I felt it). I married this man that wanted to share responsibility, and he would tell me to go upstairs to write or plan while he finished dishes or laundry. It made me so incredibly insecure for a bit, and then we had some great talks that helped me realize my heart is the main thing, not the way it looks for our family. My priorities need to be in the right place, and my family should not suffer, but man, it’s a great realization to be able to do what I feel God’s called me to do (which INCLUDES mommying and being a wife and such).

    Woah. Long comment. I just loved what you said :)

    • Caroline Grace

      Thank you, Sarah! I’m so glad the post resonated with you. I think this whole work/family balance is SO hard, especially (it seems) for girls in our generation. It sounds like you married a sweet, supportive guy. :)