Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part one)

Last week, Refresh Mom posted a meme of sorts (what does that word mean anyway?) on her blog called “Ruby Tuesdays”. You can read more about it here. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably understand that I’m not one for this type of thing; still and yet, something drew me toward this one, and today I make my first offering in a series of Tuesday posts that will be directly linked to my thoughts about the Proverbs 31 woman. I know that your participation in Ruby Tuesdays at any level.

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10).

She’s always bothered me, this P31 woman. Not for the reasons you might think. I’m all about her flaxen and her early morning arrivals to the scene of her life. Her trading and her sewing, her spinning and her wisdom. Indeed, all noble qualities of an exceptional woman … back then. But this is now, and sometimes, it’s hard to draw the parallel between the two.What bothers me about her is that I’m not her. I don’t imagine that in my wildest imaginings I will ever hold that honor. And to be honest with you, a part of me resents her as my standard—bearer, the measuring stick to be used for my measuring up.

That being said, her epitaph is a worthy read. After all, it’s a part of holy writ—intended for contemplation and assimilation. And while I don’t reason her to be the sum total of my perfection, I think her life worthy of more than my immediate dismissal. It’s an itch that I need to scratch, if for nothing more than to find the ointment to soothe the ache between what I am and what God longs for me to be.

A rare find.

A woman worth more than rubies. A woman of noble character.

Noble. Chayil in the Hebrew language, a masculine noun meaning, “strength, might, ability, and efficiency.”[i]

Thus, a loose translation of Proverbs 31:10 … “A wife of strength, might, ability, and efficiency, who can find? She is more valuable than rubies.”

To understand the depth of such a statement, one must understand the worthy nature of a ruby. Accordingly, my contemplation begins.

1. A ruby is one of four precious gemstones, the others being a sapphire, emerald, and diamond. Precious gemstones are less common requiring a harder dig and a more intensive search, therefore increasing their value; semi-precious stones are more readily available, easier to find, and easier to pocket.

A woman of noble character, therefore, is a precious gem, less common and more valuable.

2. A ruby is admired and cherished for its color. Its color ranges from pink to blood red, with a vivid, medium dark-toned red (sometimes coined as a “pigeon red blood”) being the most desirable. Another words, the richer and deeper the hue, the more valuable the stone.

A woman of noble character, therefore, is a woman who exhibits the rich and the deep of a sacrificial blood.

3. A ruby is valuable because of its hardness. Hardness is a term used to describe the durability of a substance. The harder the gemstone, the higher its resistance to various kinds of shape change when force is applied.[ii]

A woman of noble character, therefore, is a woman not easily shaped by outside forces. Instead, her tough exterior allows her the careful protection over her tender interior.

4. A ruby carries imperfections within. The inclusions of rutile within the ruby verify its authenticity. Rutile is a mineral resembling silk like needles or slender crystals that occur naturally within the formation of certain stones over time. Rather than detracting from a ruby’s worth, it adds value because of its capacity to create asterism.

A woman of noble character, therefore, is a woman who allows her “needles” their place toward exemplifying her worth.

5. With multiple rutile intersecting at the correct angles, a ruby holds the capacity for asterism. Asterism is an “exclusive light effect (which we called special optical phenomenon) of some crystal. When light pass through these crystals, its exhibit [is] a star-shaped figure, which [is] called “asterism”. This figure is produced by reflected or transmitted light.”[iii] For one to “see” the asterism, the stone must be illuminated.

A woman of noble character, therefore, is a woman who allows her needles the Light’s illumination from within and behind in order to project the beauty of her star to an outward audience.

Thus, a ruby…

is a precious and harder to find gemstone.
is colored with the rich and deep of a sacrificial red.
is hard and resistant to the insistence of outside forces.
is filled with needle-like imperfections.
contains the capacity for a star’s illumination.

A woman of strength and might, a P31 woman?

Well, all of this and more. Indeed, who can find a woman like that? Better still, who can shape and mold a woman accordingly?

Only One. And He did. And He does. And He is and will always be…

the Light—our behind the scenes illumination—who purifies and refines our inward so that our outward becomes the stuff of star status. A noble and sacred beholding that points the way to Jesus and that leads the way to his heart.

May He be found in me this day. May He be found in you also. Thus, I pray…

Let me be a rare find in your kingdom today, Lord. Refine my imperfections for your glory, and shine your light through me so that others might see your star and find their way home. You are the Star, Father, not me. Forgive me for ever thinking otherwise. Make me strong; make me mighty; make me holy, and keep me willing and on the path to your perfection in me. How I long to be a precious jewel in your crown. Amen.


Copyright © March 2009 – Elaine Olsen



PS: Congrats to Beth E. She’s the winner of a family resource from the previous post. Please email me your selection, Beth!

27 Responses to Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part one)

  1. I’m not “her” either, but then again, God isn’t finished with me yet and I do know that He sees me differently than I see myself. Thank you again for something to meditate on. Have a blessed day!

  2. In everything I’ve ever read about “that woman” – *grin* – I’ve never read anything at all about the ruby. What a worthy goal for aspiration – thanks for the enlightenment!

    Hugs to you this day,

  3. All I could think of at first blush was the old Kenny Roger’s song: Ruby/Don’t Take Your Love to Town.

    I enjoyed the post, as well as the “facets” associated with this gem. Some days I feel like a rock hewn from the gray side of a cliff; other days I feel more like a cubic zircon. Then, on rare occasions, I actually feel like a ruby, or an emerald (my favorite), with shine and luster.

  4. Elaine, I love the depth of your teaching. I have always felt so inferior to the woman of Proverbs 31. To be like her is beyond my own ability. Surely, it will take the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and the word of God to be even close to her. Thank you so much for sharing about rubies. Being the frail creature I am, I love the part about imperfections. Perhaps this is related to His strength being perfected in our weakness. Again, thank you for sharing, and many blessings to you today.

  5. Lots of food for thought as usual, Elaine.

    I never knew much about the Proverbs 31 woman until we studied her last year. One thing I found refreshing was that she wasn’t a 1950s version of the pollyanna housweife that makes me cringe. The P31 woman definitely deserves a “You go girl!” She excels outside the home by being resourceful, industrious, entrepeneurial, intelligent with a good head for business.
    Of course I fall desperately short of this ideal woman (who is the personification of wisdom), but I am delighted at the strong, godly example we can all aspire to.

    Thanks for the lesson on rubies…I learned some things today!

  6. As usual, I’m blown away by the depth and perception you have given us today about rubies! A comparison worthy to strive for in our lives as women!

    I,too, don’t think that I will ever equal the famous “Proverbs 31” woman. But still we must try I suppose!


  7. We may not be like ‘her’ – but that shouldn’t stop us from striving to follow her example! I love Proverbs 31. I studied Proverbs last summer and loved this chapter so much. I long to be ‘her’!! I have a long way to go – BUT – in saying that – I used to hate this chapter because I thought it was impossible to be like ‘her’… But now so glad that God isn’t finished with any of us – just yet!

    Our God is the God of the impossible! May we strive together to live and love as ‘she’ does!

    Elaine – I too, echo Andrea. I love the depth of your teaching! God has gifted you to share in a humility of heart that I long to have. Bless you for your obedience to His call on your life!

    Looking UPward and Choosing JOY,
    [Time to FLY]

  8. Yes, she is something else…that P31 woman!! Elaine, your post is so so good! I love depth of the research that you did! You never fail to teach us so many nuggets of truth! Thank you!


  9. Elaine,
    I love to read your posts! God has given you such a wonderful way of expressing yourself. A truly awesome gift.

    I agree with Sassy Granny. I sometimes feel like the “Only $19.99” version of what God wants me to be! I’m striving to be all I can for Him. Some days are great, some days are not. Praise God for his mercy.

    Blessings to you, friend…

  10. Love your “precious” (pun intended!) reflections on the ruby, Elaine. I appreciate your consistent willingness to dig deep and unearth the Lord’s treasures.

    “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Proverbs 25:2)

  11. The ruby is my hubs birthstone and next to the diamond his favorite stone.

    I loved how you really dug in and shared with us what you had learned about the Proverbs 31 woman and keeping it real. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and I fall so short but as you said this is God’s standard for those of us who He calls, Daughter.

    Love to you,

  12. I know what you mean about being bothered by the P31 woman. I certainly am far, far from being like her. She is a compilation of many aspects of a woman and therefore worthy of study.

    Thanks for such an indepth post. You challenge us to be better women.


  13. Ah, that we should recognize the importance of not trying to be like this P31 woman,

    but that we should desire to be more like her Maker!

    You are one fine ruby to me, Elaine!

  14. I love the way you analyzed this Elaine. I never thought to examine the ruby like that, but I should have. How insightful. I really enjoyed this. I just love your perspective.

  15. Oh my, this was just INCREDIBLE Elaine!

    I’m going to print this one out!

    Gosh, what a gift God has given you, and how faithful you are to use it for HIS GLORY!

    Blessings my sweet friend♥

  16. This is so incredibly, beautifully done, Elaine. So much truth that we can all use. I will never read this passage again without thinking of what you’ve written. Lovely.

  17. wifeforthejourney:

    Love your details about the nature of the ruby, but mostly I love having precious you for my wife. Your good humor, common sense and uncommon faith have all been so good for me.


  18. I know I will never be that woman but what a wonderful picture to aim for! Great post and have a really super day!

  19. Hey Mrs. Elaine:)

    I too want to be more like the Prov. 31 woman. I want to be noble, and have strength, might, ability, and efficiency!

    Blessings, love in HIM, ((HUGS))


  20. Elaine, what wonderful insight you’ve added to the familiar passage with your teaching about the ruby. Good stuff! 🙂 Loved your prayer, too, and I pray the same for myself…


  21. Hey sweet friend. I just read you post on the Proverbs 31 woman and it is fabulous! Thanks for stopping by my site. You are such an encourager and I love to read your comments.

    I will not be teaching today at MOMS. We are taking a week off for Spring Break! I forgot to tell you, but we will return next THursday and be back at living a life of JOY! Thanks for standing in the grandstands of my life and cheering me on! blessings.

  22. Oh Elaine-you don’t know how I needed to here your lose translation…“A wife of strength, might, ability, and efficiency, who can find? She is more valuable than rubies.” This is the verse on the cross you see with each of my postings. It is on the top of my jewerly box and in a frame in my bathroom to remind me daily as I primp. And like most women, the word nobel has intimidated me. Though I know the P31 women described here is throught by many scholars to be Solomon’s mother, a women with a seedy past, it has been easier to interrupt noble as someone without “the past”.

    What a refreshing take on this, an uplifting reminder of what we are to become.

    Personally, I think it describes you quite well!!

    In His Graces~Pamela

  23. You write beautifully and have a way of putting things just so, of helping to apply things directly to our lives. I look forward to exploring your blog more…

  24. Elaine,

    Your post, P31 Woman, is so very humbling.

    If I may, I’d like to borrow your prayer. If only to express with the same meekness as the P31 Woman but still strong in the Lord. Lord, I claim Your word today. I pray that I can strive to be like the P31 Woman with the same qualities that Elaine posted. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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