Do you know who King Lemuel is? If not, you are not alone. We don’t know much about him, but what we do know is printed for us in Proverbs 31. You are probably thinking that’s the chapter about an amazing woman, and you would be right; but it is also about another woman…
The “Other Woman”
Proverbs 31:2 says,
“O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.”
Proverbs 31 starts with the sayings of a mother, King Lemuel’s mother (v. 1). This king’s name means “dedicated to God” or “belonging to God.” Even in his name we see that his mother was wise. I have read Proverbs 31 many times and somehow missed it was from a mother that this description of a wife of noble character was given. This mother seems like she has quite high standards for her son and for her future daughter-in-law.
She reminds me of a dear friend. This friend shared with me how she prayed for her children’s future spouses from the day they were born. I was amazed that she was concerned about her son’s future wife even as she burped him. From his first breath, she wanted a Proverbs 31 wife for her son.
She shared with me that she prayed his future wife would love the Lord with all her heart and that God would be preparing her to be her daughter-in-law. She prayed that God would protect her and bring her to her son. I was challenged by her to start praying this prayer for my children, too.
My friend was diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age; it stayed in remission for 5 years and then returned. Right before it returned, her son met a precious girl — he was falling in love. I will never forget her telling me all about her. She was thrilled. It appeared she was the answer to my dear friend’s prayers.
But then, tragedy struck — the cancer came back. Her heart was broken because she didn’t want to leave her children, her husband, and her future daughter-in-law. My friend was so excited to be a mother to her son’s future wife. You see, her son’s fiancée had lost her mother to cancer when she was just a little girl. My friend didn’t want her to experience the loss of a mother again. Her heart broke at the thought of it. But as time went by, she could see that this precious girl would know the pain her son would soon experience and would be able to love him through the loss of his mother. She was exactly what he needed.
One of the last times my friend sat in my chair to get her hair cut she said to me, “Do you remember how I told you I had been praying for my son’s wife since the day he was born?”
I said, “Yes, I remember.”
She said, “Felecia, she was born nine months after he was born. I asked God that day for a wife for my son, and He created her.”
Even today as I think back on that conversation, it strengthens my faith.
My sweet friend was able to attend her son’s wedding before she went home to be with our Heavenly Father. She was able to see her son take the hand of his new bride. The bride she had prayed for. Unbeknownst to my friend, she had been praying for a little girl all those years who had lost her own mother. It was a beautiful wedding, a prayer answered for a Proverbs 31 wife for her son.
I have taken the advice of my friend, and I pray this for my son. I know my son is not a king, but I want to raise him to know the King of Kings and experience the joy of having a wife he can trust with his heart.
Proverbs 12:4 says, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a harlot for a daughter-in-law.
Being the “Other Woman”
What must we as moms do?
First, I think we take the advice of my friend and pray for our children’s spouses from the time they are born.
Secondly, I think we need to follow King Lemuel’s mother’s example.
She herself is a wise woman and sees danger in too many women and too much wine for her son. She does not just express to her son what brings kings to ruin; she paints a beautiful picture of what a wife of noble character looks like and the benefits she will bring
(Proverbs 31:23). My friend also painted that picture by being an example of a Proverbs 31 woman herself.
Are you painting a picture for your son? Does he know what to look for in a future bride? Equally, are we teaching and praying for our daughters to desire to be this type of woman? We never know — they may very well be the answer to another mother’s prayer!
“In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my request before You and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3).
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14).