By Jean Jones

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"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet for him." Genesis 2:18

"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:21-24.

Woman was made from man, but made by God.

"And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living." Genesis 3:20

We know nothing of Eve's physical appearance, but she must have been supremely lovely, for she was created by the same God whose hand made the wonders of nature so beautiful. She was created pure and innocent, the basis of true charm and loveliness.

Think how wonderful it would have been if this state of purity and perfection had remained so.

How long Adam and Eve lived in their paradise of joy and bliss we do not know, but from Genesis 3 we learn how Satan enticed woman Eve to sin and thus fall from the lofty position God had placed her in.

From that time forward woman has had to work hard to be that noble and worthy person God intended her to be and to have the joy and happiness which was intended.

Henry Drummond has said "No one can get joy by merely asking for it. It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and like all fruits, must be grown." In other words joy and happiness must be earned.

The most basic area in a woman's life where she must succeed if she is to be happy is to fulfill the role God gave her as a helper suitable to man, as an understanding wife, devoted mother and homemaker.

Proverbs 31 gives us a description of the wise or worthy woman and how she obtained that designation. Proverbs 31:11-12, "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

The wise woman recognizes that her first responsibility is to her husband and to their home. A husband who is truly blessed can always trust in his wife, whether it is the budgeting and handling of his money; the certainty of her honesty or the assurance that she is always sexually pure and would never engage in any sexual relations with anyone other than her husband.

All the virtues that are so important to maintain the trust and confidence of her husband are carefully cultivated.

Proverbs 31:13-15 'She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens."

The happy, worthy woman is not lazy. She does not linger in the bed until 9:00 o'clock in the morning. She is up before the sun so she can enjoy the beauty of God's daily wake up call---the beginning of each new day. She sees that her family is fed well - not a poptart or doughnut--before they too get started early in the day. Then she assigns each servant her task for the day. She is organized and prepared to use God's gift of time wisely, knowing that when this day is over it can never be recalled.

Additionally, this woman wants the best for her family. She doesn’t settle for just any old thing for her household but diligently seeks for better food and clothing than the local stores can give her. She wants, and through her efforts, secures imported fabrics and foods to teach her family an appreciation for honest labor, in order to enjoy the blessings God has put on His beautiful earth for our use if we will but seek them.

Proverbs 31:16-19 "She considereth a field, and buyeth it. with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good. her candle goeth not out by night She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff ."

Did you know that working with your hands and mind, creating things of beauty and worth, builds inner happiness? Do not think that you lack this power within you. Boris Bali, Dean of Fine Arts, Temple University has said, "I am convinced that every human being possesses a creative urge to make beautiful things, and that this urge can be brought out and put to work with proper encouragement, and suppression of it results in maladjustment."

A routine therapy used in mental hospitals has been to give patients things to do "with their hands".

When I think of the great joy and satisfaction we humans feel at our efforts, I wonder how God must have felt when he created the heavens and the earth, and viewing the workmanship of His own hands He said, "It is good".

By utilizing our time and energy we too can be involved in activities outside the home also without taking away from our husband and home. Proverbs 31:20 so indicates "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." Dr. Norman Vincent Peale has said, "The way to be happy is to be involved in something worthwhile". Benevolent service outside her home can greatly enrich a woman's life. Our first responsibility is to our family, but every woman has a certain obligation to give beyond her own sphere, for the betterment of society. The woman who limits her devotion to her own small family unit only will narrow her life and thus limit her happiness. We must have a sense of social responsibility. When we share the burdens of society and help make the world a better place, we gain a compensating inner happiness.

Proverbs 31:21-27 tells us the wise woman has a proper respect for herself. This self-dignity is not something we can superficially achieve by deciding we are going to respect ourselves. It arises from a genuine feeling of self-worth based upon a worthy character and worthy life. Proverbs 31:21-27, "She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet She maketh herself coverings of tapestry, her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it, and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness."

The worthy woman is careful about her personal appearance and emotional well being as well as for her husband and all her household. The woman who neglects her figure, her hair, her clothes or make-up will naturally be put to a disadvantage with her associates. She wants all in her household to feel good about themselves and each other. When they are out together she wants her husband to feel proud that she is his wife. She wants her beauty to transcend beyond physical beauty, however, because she knows: "charm is deceitful and beauty (only) is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised." Prov. 31:30. She seeks for knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge unlocks the door to happiness, and wisdom is a very important tool for attaining it. Knowledge comes first, and then the application of that knowledge is wisdom. The attainment of wisdom is one of our most priceless possessions. This thought is born out in the Holy Scriptures, Proverbs 3:11-18 "My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD, neither be weary of his affection: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her. and happy is every one that retaineth her."

Wisdom we can obtain because God has said so. James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."

If knowledge and wisdom can bring happiness, then lack of them can bring unhappiness. The old saying "what you don't know won’t hurt you" is very false. Just the contrary is true. It is just what you don’t know that will hurt you. What you don't know has power over you; knowing brings it under your control. When you gain wisdom, you will find peace and happiness. Righteous living and the development of a noble character brings its reward.

Proverbs 31:28-31 "Her children arise up, and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates."

This honest, unselfish, kind, responsible being having high moral standards is woman created in God's image.