Who’s walking as the Proverbs 31 woman? It’s my mom

The classic and often-quoted passage from Proverbs 31:10-31, in case you were not already aware, is actually about my very own mom: Debra Diane Brougher. This proverb discusses in detail what it means for a woman to be of strong, noble character. It is a passage that many women turn to for strength and direction in how to handle different situations life presents them with.

However, when I turn to this passage, I see the story of my mom. It is a pretty crazy parallel, so allow me to explain.

Proverbs 31:14: “She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.”

My little sister, Rachel, eats a pretty interesting diet that excludes sugar. But like most people, she still likes chocolate. To satisfy this desire, my mom orders 100-percent cacao chocolate nibs for my sister to enjoy (I have yet to find how these bitter and rather nasty black stones taste like chocolate, but I’ll take her word for it). Did I mention that my mom orders these straight from Colombia?

She brings her food from afar.

Proverbs 31:15: “She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family …”

This is also a sacrifice my mom makes to make sure her children have everything they need and desire. My little sister has cross-country practice early in the morning prior to the start of the school day. To accompany this, my mom awakens at a time I didn’t know actually existed — 4:15 a.m. — to prepare food for the day and to take my sister to her practice.

She wakes up while it is still night and provides for her family.

Proverbs 31:16: “She considers a field and buys it out of her earnings and plants a vineyard.”

My parents have spent the past decade working on creating an orchard, vineyard, garden and much more to prosper the ground (and hopefully to make apple pie).

She considers a field, and plants a vineyard and so much more.

Proverbs 31:17: “She sets about her work vigorously …”

Proverbs 31:26 “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

My mom is one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever seen, met or heard of. She puts everything she has into making sure that every child who passes through her class is not lost on their way but ensures that they prosper as she guides them to success. She puts in more hours than most would ever imagine, and all of that is simply because she believes in all her students.

She sets about her work vigorously and wisely guides her students.

Proverbs 31:20: “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”

I have gained my love for serving the poor and needy by watching my own mom and dad put so much time in to helping others around them. They actually have no free time and yet are able to help serve meals to the needy and give a helping hand where it is needed.

She opens her arms and extends her hands AND HEART to the poor and needy.

Above all else, I love my mom the most and most appreciate the parallel between how she handles life and what is shown to us in the passage by how she embodies Proverbs 31:30-31:

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

I love you so much, Mom. From the bottom of my heart, thanks for showing me how to truly live this passage and how to love Christ.

Columbus native Rebecca Brougher is a 2012 graduate of Columbus North High School and a junior at Indiana University in Bloomington. She can be reached at rdbrough@indiana.edu.