Saturday, January 19, 2013

My So-called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife, by Sara Horn

So, I realized only when I was 87% finished with My So-Called Life as Proverbs 31 Wife that it's the first 'wife' book I've read since I became a wife two months ago. That's just a tidbit, it doesn't reflect in any way on what I thought of the book. (But I have a few titles in the wife-book category that I hope will soon follow it - whether I post on them or not!) 

I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. The biggest turn-off for me was the author's writing style. Each chapter reads much more like a blog post than a book. Once I was able to get past it, and understood more about the author's background, the purpose of the book and its very real impact on the author's life came through clearly. She writes, "I’ve written other books. But this book was the first one that changed me, from the inside out, as I was writing it. It’s still changing me." (From the author's Proverbs31 blog

Sara Horn is the president of Wives of Faith, a ministry she started for military wives (her husband being in the Navy) and is also an author and speaker on the subjects of faith, marriage and military life. In the beginning of her book, she hears a sermon in church one day on what a Christian wife should be, out of that well-known passage Proverbs 31:10-28. At first she is very put off by the long list of this priceless woman's accomplishments, but as she reads and rereads the passage again later, she begins to wonder if it isn't so impossible to try and follow that role model, and if she couldn't be working at it a little harder. So, her year long experiment is sparked. For the next 12 months, Sara takes those eleven verses to heart and makes following their example her highest goal. 

There's a lot in her way. Her husband is in the Navy reserves with occasional work at a local radio station, and Sara has a few free-lance writing opportunities, but during her year-long experiment they face very slim times financially. During the year, her husband has a couple of brief deployments, and she works hard at being a mother to their third-grade son and a supportive wife while her husband is away. Later in the year, she ends up taking a full-time job in a different state, which not only forces them to uproot, but throws quite a wrench in her efforts to be who she refers to as Martha31 - the woman who seemingly can do everything, all with a cheerful smile. Throughout it all, Sara questions what the modern version of this woman looks like, how she would deal with being able to land a full-time job outside the home while her husband struggles to find work, how much she delegates, and more.
It was the honesty of Sara's writing that captured me. Not only are all the emotions there, but also all the insecurity and second guessing, all the frustration and discouragement felt when it seemed like yet again she was being thwarted in her good intentions. She doesn't meet it all with perfectly demure grace, but she does have the courage and humility to learn from all the bumps and trials that her family faces. While struggling with her passionate desire to minister to women and make a difference for good in their lives, she always puts her family first and does for them what must be done. 

I wouldn't say Sara and I are at all alike - quite the contrary. She expresses early on in the book how even when she and her husband were married while still in college, she never had a strong desire to be a homemaker, while I on the other hand have wanted nothing else. She puts her family first, but she also feels pulled to work and minister outside the home, wheras I am happiest on days I don't even have to go out grocery shopping. But we do have a few things in common - the knowledge that we are redeemed by God's grace, that we have been given families to love and serve, and that serving God and putting our families before ourselves and all else is the greatest ministry we can follow. 

Incidentally, Horn is at work on another book due out this August, which I will be looking forward to reading - if I remember it seven months from now.


  1. Nice. So, would you recommend it for other wives...or perhaps future wives? I never thought I'd actually be interested in relationship books. :-P

  2. Mmm, I wouldn't say 'Here! This is a fantastic book on marriage!' but I wouldn't non-recommend it. That is, I enjoyed it, but for a good look at the Proverbs 31 woman A Woman's Wisdom definitely has more in it. I did like the modern-day applicability and 'realness' of this one though. So...I guess? :P