Photo by Anna Friendt Artwork & Illustration
Her worth and value are far beyond pearls. The “Eishet Chayil” or “Woman of Valor" as spoken of in Proverbs 31:10-31 is compared to a pearl because in Hebrew, the word for “inside” (penima) is similar to the word for “pearl” (penina).
A pearl can only be formed inside an oyster, and all oysters are found in water. Natural pearls form when an irritant works its way inside the oyster. As a defense mechanism, a fluid coats the irritant, and layer upon layer of this coating is deposited, until a shinning, beautiful pearl is formed. Irritants are often annoying and most times, painful. But, they can also be catalysts for great transformation.
Similarly, the eishet chayil (the woman of valor) faces changes and transitions, peaks and valleys, truths and lies from a culture that tries to tell her where her value can be found. And yet, through the challenges, she learns to balance commitments and responsibilities, at home, in the community and the workplace. She rises above the toxic culture, in honor, love and humility and finds her worth as she looks to one source of truth. Through all the irritants, and challenges, the eishet chayil manages to develop her relationship with God, for she knows it is He who sustains her throughout the ebbs and flows. Through layer upon layer of strength, courage, persistence, wisdom and valor, she transforms herself into a pearl.
And she is radiant, a royal daughter of the living God who is wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove, humble, yet strong, courageous and yet reserved in modesty, morality and meekness.
And perhaps as a young girl, growing into a woman, trained up in the way she should go by parents who've turned their own hearts to the One good Father, she really does develop into this Eishet Chayil.