Chew like a lady.
My 6 year-old daughter would love a quarter for every time she heard that line. So what does it mean to be a lady? As awful as it may sound, this 30-something year old is not entirely sure of all the title entails. I’m still pursuing that goal in my own life so I don’t claim too much authority on the subject. Thankfully, I have the authority of the Scriptures to give more insight on what a lady ought to be.
Having been born and raised in the deep South, I must admit that the word “lady” conjures up images of finely dressed women perched on a veranda gracefully feasting on lemonade, iced tea and finger sandwiches. Also an image straight out of 18th century England, as in any one of Jane Austen’s novels, comes to mind. That may be far from the truest definition of a lady but I do think that manners and modest behavior are a part of the “ladyship” formula.
The best description I could give my daughter is that any girl can grow up to be a woman, but only those who live to honor Adonai and obey His Word will become true ladies. However, the Biblical definition of the word lady in Hebrew (na’arah) generally referred to a young maiden while woman (ish’shah) is used much more frequently to describe female adults.
Most of us in our current Biblical worldview desire to emulate certain “women” of the Bible but the way we define the digressing female roles in our 21st century culture, I guess it’s easier to view our Biblical role models as “ladies” rather than “women”. Maybe we could start calling our heroine of Proverbs 31 the “Proverbs 31 lady” since it seems to be a better fit.
I thought it might be fun to attempt to sum up at least some of the qualities of “the lady” in a top 10 list. This list is in no particular order and this writer makes no claim at possessing very many of these qualities (yet!)
- A lady loves and serves Elohim with all of her heart and soul.
- A lady dresses and speaks in an appropriate and modest manner.
- A lady puts the needs of others ahead of her own.
- A lady excels in the gift of hospitality.
- A lady honors and reveres her husband and adores her children (even when she doesn’t feel like it!).
- A lady not yet married is dignified, sweet and modest in the presence of young men.
- A lady takes care of herself in physical appearance and with good nutrition.
- A lady strives to learn new practical skills that will contribute to her household, bless others and potentially add income to her family.
- A lady does not follow the crowd of our culture in regard to entertainment and amusement (but be assured that a lady has more than her share of fun in virtuous ways).
- A lady pursues wisdom and knowledge of many subjects, the Scriptures serving as her final authority.
I’m sure this list doesn’t come close to encompassing all that is a lady but I think it gives me a good idea of where to start!
(This article was originally published in Volume1 Number3/Autumn 2008. You can request the entire issue in PDF on this page.)
Possibly sharing at: The Modest Mom, Mama Moments, The Art of Home-Making Monday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, Roses Of Inspiration, So Much At Home, A Wise Woman, Raising Homemakers, A Little R&R, Coffee and Conversation, Hearts for Home, Growing in Grace, Imparting Grace, SHINE Blog Hop, Grace and Truth, Fellowship Fridays, The Homemaking Party.