Why Strong Arms Aren’t Just for Those Athletic Types

I always shied away from manual labor, declaring that I was a book nerd and would leave that physical work to others. But this year has changed me completely, and I think I like it.

In January, we decided to rent out our house and move in with my mother-in-law and her sister, to help out around the place. Inwardly, I determined to do all of the moving and work on the house that I possibly could, to spare my husband the stress of that. Every day I made a list of things to do.

The Purge

We decided to get rid of most of our worldly possessions since we wouldn’t need them at my mother-in-law’s house. For a few months, every day I either took boxes to the car and then tucked them into my mother-in-law’s crawlspace, or I loaded up a trunk full of things we could bear to part with and took them to the thrift store.

It was hard work, and I hated it. Then I endured it. Then maybe, just maybe I actually liked it.

Me, the book nerd –sweating and lifting with my knees.

At the same time, I started scrubbing cupboards, painting walls, moving furniture, and making minor repairs that I could figure out. (Note: You do not squeeze a tube of caulking with your hands like toothpaste. You put it into a special gun that does the work for you.)

Then we got over here to my mother-in-law’s house, and there was a mountain of work to do here. We had to somehow squeeze our shed and garage into her shed and garage, which meant a lot of sorting and moving and lifting and hanging of things. Phew.

Never have I worked as hard physically as I have this year. But I came across this verse, and it has been my go-to cheer to myself. It’s from Proverbs, where we read a description of the poster-wife:

She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong.
(Proverbs 31:17 HCSB)

Strong Arms

My mother-in-law has beautiful trees in her backyard, but they were encircled with some landscaping bricks that were in ill repair. I said, “Hey, how about I pull these out, level the ground, put them back, and then fill the space with dirt and plant some flowers?”

Great idea, except it was backbreaking work. Wow.

But these arms, you guys. I mean, they still don’t look like much, but I have developed some muscle over the last several months. Moving bricks? Ain’t no thang. Somewhere along the line, I figured out that if the noble wife has strong arms, she must have done some serious manual labor to get them that way. (I doubt in Bible times the ladies had gym memberships.)

The people in my life have been worried about me doing heavy work, but I just flex my biceps and say, “The noble wife? Her arms are strong!”

This isn’t ever really a Bible truth you hear in a sermon, ya know? So I guess I’m preachin’ it to us today, ladies. We should be lifting and sweating and putting in hard work. This is noble. It doesn’t smell so good at the end of the day, but it is noble. Our guys should be able to say, “Oh yeah, my wife is a beast.”

Of course, I’ve also been watching American Ninja Warrior. Would you believe that this little book nerd has been thinking, “Hmm. I wonder if I could do that?” Go figure.

Strong arms, girls. Strong arms.

Much love to you from Montana,

Christy Fitzwater

A 52-Week Devotional for the Deeper, Richer Marriage You Desire

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