I started The Noble Wife about 2 or 3 years ago. I was, at that time, primarily a watercolor artist (though I dabbled in all kinds of creative mediums), and I was submitting my work to a lot of different companies, publications, and individuals. The rejections just kept pouring in. Finally, a phone conversation with one particularly unencouraging woman (yes, she really knew how to put the "brutal" in brutal honesty) was all I could take. Heartbroken, exhausted, and defeated, I swore I'd never paint again, never submit any work ever again, it was just too painful (I tear up as I write this even now, years later-the pain was that deep.) I felt that the biggest dream in my life, the thing that I wanted most, was just not meant to be. I had tried and tried, and I just seemed to keep hitting dead ends. (Now, of course, I realize that being so sensitive is part of my nature, and in fact part of what makes me an artist....but that is an entry for another day....)
So, at that point, I took to the sofa for several months, basically just feeling lost and unfocused and like the biggest loser there ever was. (Did I mention that in addition to being very sensitive, I'm also a little prone to self pity?) One day, while on my sofa, I was reading Proverbs 31. You know how you can see or hear or read something a hundred times, and then one day it's like finding it for the very first time? Well, as I read that passage, it was like I had never heard it before. A lot of people are intimidated by the woman described in that passage- she's up before dawn, cooking and cleaning; she runs a sewing business; she dabbles in real estate and farming; she is her husband's jewel; and she still has time for her charity work. Whew! some lofty goals there. I mean really, who could measure up to that?
But this time when I read it, I began to think- I can do that...
Pr 31:10 Who can find a noble wife?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Pr 31:13 She chooses wool and flax.
She loves to work with her hands. (I can do that...)
Pr 31:16 She considers a field and buys it.
She uses some of the money she earns to plant a vineyard.
Pr 31:17 She gets ready to work hard.
Her arms are strong. (I can do that, I like to work in the garden...)
Pr 31:19 With one hand she holds the wool.
With the other she spins the thread. (I can do that...well not the wool spinning part, but I can dye it and cut it out and sew it back together again)
Pr 31:20 She opens her arms to those who are poor.
She reaches out her hands to those who are needy. (I can do that...I have always wanted to help the poor, since I was a kid)
Pr 31:22 She makes her own bed coverings. (Hey, I make quilts...)
She is dressed in fine linen and purple clothes.
Pr 31:24 She makes linen clothes and sells them. (I've done lots of craft shows in my time...)
Pr 31:25 She puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes.
She can laugh at the days that are coming. (I can put my future in God's hands...)
Pr 31:26 She speaks wisely.
She teaches faithfully.
Pr 31:30 Charm is deceptive and beauty fades.
But a woman who has respect for the LORD should be praised. (I can do that....)
And so on my sofa that day, I thought about some wool pins I had made while I was just messing around in my sewing room, and this idea dropped into my head....What if I made these pins and sold them and donated the money to buy sheep for poor people.... Wool... sheep...the needy....
Truly, I can't take credit for that idea. I'm sure it came from God. And while I was busy helping someone else, it seemed to pull me out of a deep, deep depression and reignited my passion for creating.
I have sold hundreds of those pins at craft shows, quilt shows, and through word of mouth. I have donated all my labor and most of the supplies. People think I am a really nice person for doing it, but the truth is, that left to my own devices I could possibly be the most selfish person in the world (or at least in the top 10). It is only my reliance on God and Jesus Christ that helps me to be better, softer, more loving.
Now, I did not name this endeavor The Noble Wife because I think that's what I am, it is simply what I strive to be.
So I know that was long, but that is the story. (Oh, and I also added hand painted pins done in watercolors, all the profits for those go to drill water wells around the world.)