VIRTUE IN THE VALLEY
By: Felicia “Sugga Momma” Alston
As Soon as someone mentions “A Virtuous Woman” scriptures from Proverbs 31 come into my head. Along with those scriptures are many questions that cause me to see how I measure up to what I have been told is the epitome of perfection in a wife and a mother. Reading this chapter has caused me to readjust many areas of my life only to give up believing I could never be “virtuous” compared to the perfection this woman had obtained. I have even told myself that being such a lady was an Old Testament mentality and that Christ himself had come to deliver me from such an unrealistic expectation.
I mean come on, this woman has it all together right? Money, status, a popular husband, children who call her blessed and did I forget to mention she has time to run her own business to boot? How am I going to compare to that? Let us be real. I am not her. She is not me. Here I am struggling with a self-identity crisis, unpaid bills, broken relationships, unresolved childhood issues in addition to questioning my decisions as a wife and mother. The desire to get in the car and drive until the tank is on empty is a daily struggle. I am just putting it out there that my life is not filled with days of looking at all I have done and falling asleep with a smile on my face.
I tried to study the Proverbs 31 Woman. I really did. I just did not identify with this confident, entrepreneur whose husband and children look to for life-changing advice. That was not me, not at all. At the time, I was contemplating divorce and was in therapy trying to avoid a mental breakdown all while attending and assisting with church services. Not to mention the health issues that was costing me almost as much as I was making at my stressful managerial job. Nope. This Chick was not a reflection of what I was dealing with. Needless to say, that study didn’t last long
My desire to be a woman of God, a faith-filled saint and a mentor in the Kingdom has led me to seek further into obtaining the level of Virtue God has for me. I understand that just like Faith, God has given us a measure of Virtue. Virtue means different things, in different situations and therefore comes to us in different ways. It is our responsibility to recognize it and grab hold of it when it is available to us.
Webster defines Virtue as; Behavior showing high moral standards, an asset, uprightness and integrity. Let us face it…. I have not been the poster child for this definition. I have lowered my standards in some personal and professional relationships, even in some Christian relationships in order to make other people feel valued. Not my brightest moments but life happens. So, does this mean I have no hopes of obtaining Virtue? I asked the One who knows and sees all and I got an answer that both shocked and sustained me.
The Lord would not stop speaking to me about finding myself in a Virtuous woman so I tried a different approach. I simply asked Him to show me ME in his word. Where am I in these 66 Books? Where is my struggle, my insecurities, my frustration? Lord, show me where I am, so I can see which way to go. Everyday, I looked in the Bible asking God the same questions…. WHERE AM I?
I was in His WORD! Just like He promised. I was not the perfected woman either. I was the woman who had been through it all and had asked the same questions I asked. Do you see me? Can you help me in my imperfect state? In the middle of my mess? Can you be pleased with me in the spite of the naysayers? Yes! His answer was YES!
Now look here…I am nobody’s preacher and I do not know all the Hebrew and Greek BUT I do know when the Lord is talking to me. I just want to share this so somebody can get themselves FREE from the chains that bound them. I found ME! And in finding me, I found HIM! The Savior. The Healer. The Redeemer. The Restorer of my Soul. I found another level in loving myself and loving Jesus for who HE is. Here is how:
Luke 8:43-48 King James Version (KJV)
43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
So, this woman with the issue of blood was living MY life. Here she was with this issue that had been with her for years (insert: Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s Syndrome etc.) had spent all of her money (insert: copays, prescriptions, etc..) going to all of these doctors (insert: primary, endocrinologist, rheumatologist, neurologist, etc..) trying to find a cure (insert: Plaquenil, Steroids, Muscle relaxers, Pain meds etc..) to no avail. She had become invisible to society and ostracized for something beyond her control. She did not have anyone who understood her situation or circumstance. She was not invited to anything social (being that the issue of blood meant she could not be around people). How could she maintain a relationship with all of that going on? I am sure besides being Broke, Broken and Banished she was probably Bitter. Who wouldn’t be? I mean really, the scripture says even the disciples had an attitude when they saw her…yea, church folk.
You know what I found out? Sometimes you just gotta go for it. Go for your healing. Go for your deliverance. Go for your BREAKTHROUGH! Yes, go for it right in front of everyone who knows everything about you. That is what this woman did. She was desperate and she was tired of her present state. No, she was not popular, no she was not married to a politician, no she did not own her business, no she wasn’t rich but she knew what she NEEDED. Her mental state had to have been unstable too. I am just saying. She knew what would change her life and she was not going to let anything stop her. Not the people in front of her, not the disciples (bodyguards) of Jesus, not the naysayers. NOBODY was going to stop her from getting her Breakthrough.
So, what did she do? She broke protocol. She found a loophole. She literally made a back door into the Kingdom. She was invisible to them anyway and she used it to her advantage. Sometimes Christian people will count you out. Let them. You will not be allowed on the front row. You will not be allowed on the committees. Your name will not be called to come speak at the conferences. Do not let any of that stop you from getting to CHRIST. That is your goal. Press toward the mark of the High Calling and you will be changed. Learn how to move in silence, closer to HIM and you will not need man’s permission because HE will recognize you before they even see you coming. That will be left asking themselves “How did SHE get here?” God has a plan for you. Be patient. Set your sights on HIM.
I have not forgotten about VIRTUE…Did you see it? Right there in the Scripture? Jesus said, “Virtue is gone out of me.” Where did it go? Into the WOMAN! That is right. ONE TOUCH was all it took to change her from being a VICTIM to being VIRTUOUS! Glory to GOD. HIS Righteousness, HIS Benefits, HIS Integrity made her WHOLE. Do you honestly think she walked away from Jesus the same way she came to him? I think not. He stopped an entire procession to acknowledge and anoint this woman who everyone knew as an outcast. Baby was stepping ya’ll. I know she was. Head held high, smile on her face. She had to have been absolutely glowing as she looked them in the eye walking down the front of the crowd. Can you imagine the peace that overcame her after Jesus looked her in the eye? After all she had been through? I bet she slept well that night. She came with an issue but left with an anointing. Somebody better Holler!
That is how God is…He uses the situations that we are in to elevate us far beyond anything we can think or ask. I thought the Proverbs 31 Woman was unattainable, I see now that she is an extension of who I am today. She did not start her journey being perfect. No one does. She did not wake up with all that she had. She obtained it all while being an asset and a blessing to those in her life.
I think it is amazing that both of these women are nameless. It brings a sense of comfort because I now know there are times in my life when I can be either one of them and know that Jesus will be with me in whatever state I find myself in. I’ve found in my studies that It was not the possession that made the Proverb 31 the epitome of Virtue, it was her purpose. It was not the problems that defined the woman with the issue of blood, it was her pursuit of something that man could not give her…a SPRITUAL healing.
If you are seeking Virtue in the Valley, rejoice in knowing there is someone waiting for you to reach and touch HIM so that you can be made WHOLE.