An excellent wife, who can find… and thus begins one of the best known passages of the book of Proverbs. As I (John) sit here at my desk at work, eating the lunch my wife prepared for me this morning, I am reminded that very few men have the privilege of being married to such a woman.
Below, I will paste in some passages in that great chapter of Proverbs, and tell you how Katherine Elizabeth Powell poetically exemplifies that quintessential woman. I’m sorry, but I have no pictures.
Proverbs 31:10- “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.”
Katherine keeps our finances. I know of no other way in which a husband can trust his wife’s competency, trustworthiness and fastidiousness than for he to trust her with the check book. Never has Katherine’s husband wondered if she was sneaking money out of the account to pay for a frivolous pair of shoes. Never has her husband wondered if she was neglecting something to pay for something else. The heart of Katherine’s husband trusts in her.
Proverbs 31:15 – “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.”
Even now, as I eat my lunch prepared for me before I left for work, I’m reminded that my wife has never had a bare pantry. She has never let me, or my son go hungry. In her role in our home, she does with excellence the tasks that are constantly overlooked and taken for granted. Yet, she still prepares for them, and does them without complaint.
Katherine wasn’t too chipper this morning when she fixed my sack lunch. It wasn’t because she had a lack of joy, but rather, a lack of sleep. Three different times last night, Katherine was awakened to the sound of her pager going off, and her services being needed at various stations across town. This is certainly one who “rises while it is yet night” to provide for her family. And never a word of complaint; never a sour attitude.
Proverbs 31:17 “She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.”
Katherine gets up at least 3 times a week around 5:30, just to be able to go meet a friend at the gym. She arrives back at the house just in time for Gunner and I to wake up, and begin our days, while hers has already been going for several hours.
Proverbs 31:19 – “She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.”
More appropriately, Katherine ‘puts her hands to the swiffer, and her hands hold the mixer’. Every day Katherine takes dominion over her domain: cleaning, polishing, sweeping, cooking, preparing, folding, washing, drying, dusting, and wiping. Our house may be the house that love built, but Katherine is definitely the one that keeps it functional.
Proverbs 31:20 – “She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.”
If Katherine’s spirit could be summarized into one word, that word would be “compassion”. He heart aches to see children without parents, or to see any other form of hurt in this world. Katherine is constantly talking to and visiting our neighbors, and feverishly works to find ways to minister to others. A minister in her own right, a more appropriate spouse I could not have found.
Proverbs 31:21 – “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet”.
Scarlet could be interchanged with Carharrts, or cotton, or whatever because Katherine makes sure that Gunner and myself have just exactly what we need for every situation. Though she doesn’t spend a bundle on clothes, and our wardrobes may not be the most “robust” areas of our lives, we lack in absolutely nothing.
Proverbs 31:24 “She makes linen garments and sells them: she delivers sashes to the merchant”
While Katherine usually leaves the sewing to the half of our marriage that has the most experience with needle and thread, Katherine contributes so much through the job that the has taken on as a drug-tester. She recognizes that as the Provider and Protector of our home, I drive what we do, but Katherine diligently and faithfully brings home supplementary income that does not damage her family situation, and only serves to help build up the family dynamic that we are creating in our home.
Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”
If you have ever spent any time around Katherine, then you know what it is to laugh. I assure you that Katherine is not simple. She recognizes the perils of life, and sees the dangers all around her. Though, with simple trust she is able to laugh in the face of that, and enjoy the life that God has given her to enjoy in Him.
Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
This usually happens when I least expect it, or even least want it. Usually, I’m griping or complaining about something that I cannot do anything about, and Katherine’s simple, cutting, and true comment completely exposes and executes my pride in one sweeping blow. Katherine has been bestowed with the riches of wisdom, but beware, they yield themselves when one least expects it.
Proverbs 31:27 “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
Katherine has never slept more than I have in a given night. And I don’t like to sleep. Katherine readily sacrifices laziness for productivity, finding a sense of innate satisfaction in fulfilling her role as a wife and mother.
Proverbs 31:28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed;…”
While he may not be able to talk yet, it is no wonder whether or not Gunner loves his mother. He hangs on her every word and her every expression. The reason Gunner many times becomes entangled in Katherine’s feet, is because even a little 1 year old boy knows that this person is the one that feeds him, clothes him, and cares for him. It doesn’t take an extensive vocabulary for Gunner to even rise up and call Katherine “blessed”.
Proverbs 31:28b-30 “…her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised…”
I simply wish that every man could have the privilege of being the spouse of such an incredible woman. Many times in a marriage, as two people get to know each other better, the deep-seated issues in each person’s life rise to the top. That has been true in our marriage as well. The difference is that Katherine’s deep-seated issues are ones of compassion, integrity, honesty, sincerity and truth that are all but impossible to find. Every day that I experience Katherine, is another day of excitement and surprise at how gracious and kind God was to bring her to me.
In the relatively short time that Katherine and I have been married, Katherine has proven her worth over and over again. As a wife, she has never demanded even that I think of her first. She has only ever demanded that she is in the relationship to help me, as I pursue with unabated passion what God has given me to do. As a mother, Katherine has only ever found more and more satisfaction in what her hand finds to do. As a minister, Katherine has only found more and more joy in looking toward the future at the role that she will assume as the wife of a pastor. And as a friend, Katherine has never betrayed a confidence, and always been a help.
Surely there are many great women…. but Katherine has surpassed them all.