Everyone recognizes her husband in the public square, and no one fails to respect him as he takes his place of leadership in the community. (Proverbs 31:22-23 The Voice)
My daughters are now in their twenties and living at home. Mornings at our house are a chaos of showers and clothing and make-up and jewelry. When they were young, I dressed them. Now they help dress me.
"No mom, don't wear that!"
"Oh, mom that looks great!"
"Mom, is there something special going on today? Why are you so dressed up?"
"Mom, did you put any make-up on? Come on, let me help you with that!" (oh no!)
Finally the one that makes me cringe: "Mom, you really need to lose some weight!" (Ok, I do!)
How I dress matters. Especial now with my adult daughters watching, going to an office each day, going to church and other functions with my husband, what I wear no only says something about me, but it says something about our family, about the woman my husband married, about the mother of my looks-conscious daughters. Twenty years ago when I was home with toddlers and later when I was driving elementary age children around to their activities, not so much maybe. But now that they can look at me with a critical eye, I know I am a model of womenhood for my daughters.
Am I attractive, but not gaudy? Am I stylish but too not young for my age (50+ can be dicey)? Is the neckline too low? Is it too harsh-looking? Are my clothing too worn and needs to be discarded? Is the outfit appropriate for the activity? Do the shoes and jewelery match?
As a woman who does not like make-up, is by nature careless about her clothes and looks, it gets tiresome. But the truth is, my first impression is important. People who meet me will judge me before I speak. They will listen -- or not -- depending on how I look. Moreover, as I study the text of Proverbs 31, it reminds me that how I look will also have an effect on how people view my husband as well. The amount of respect my husband receives will be impacted by how I am dressing.
Even what I wear should honor God. Paul tells Timothy to instruct the women of his church: "Women, the same goes for you: dress properly, modestly, and appropriately." (1 Timothy 2:9a)
Father, I have never thought of getting dressed in this way exactly, but here it is in Your Word. Help me remember this every morning, that my first impression to other people, my appearance, should be salt and light. Let it not hinder my message of love to them. Let it not hinder the beauty of Your Holy Spirit in me.
"...everything she wears is beautiful." (Proverbs 31:22b CEV)