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So Much More

      I’d been wanting it. Desperate for it. To touch Jesus, to feel Him, know Him. If only to brush the edge of His garment with the tip of my fingers. I haven’t found it anywhere. I tried, boy did I try. Craning my neck, reaching, stretching, looking for the moment I make contact with the Holy of Holies. I got close at times. At the Jordan, in Magdala, He was there just a step beyond my reach. I’d take the step and He’d have vanished. So what was I to do. I tucked my longing into my back pocket and decided to take in the “wow” of the moment.. I was in Israel, staying in the old walled city of Jerusalem. How cool was that?
      He, however, had something else in mind. He came to me, in late afternoon, in a little shop at the corner of a square. Instead of me stretching through a crowd barely brushing the hem of this garment He walked up to me, cupped my face in His hands, lifted my eyes to His and said, “Eshet Chayil.”
      She became my nemesis15 years ago, this perfect woman, Eshet Chayil. Before then Proverbs 31 was my ideal. I wanted to be worth more than rubies, desperately wanted it.  So I strived and tried, and failed every time. My worth, nothing more than gravel on the side of the road. So I finally gave it up, gave her up.  . . .   This woman of valour, this perfect woman became my enemy.
     And then in this little shop, as the shadows descended and the breeze turned cold, I met a Jewish man, a teacher. He told me I got it all wrong. (I don’t like to be wrong) My western mind, the way I think, distorted my understanding. It distorted the story. It started with the translators. Because it’s not about rubies, it’s about pearls. A noble woman, a woman of valour, Eshet Chayil– her worth, her value is far above pearls. And that makes all the difference.
     The value of a Pearl is much less about the finished product and all about the process of becoming one. A Pearl starts as a small piece of gravel and through the process of irritation slowly, oh so slowly, is transformed into a pearl. This tiny speck of dust metamorphs into a most precious gem. Beautiful, irredecent, white, pure. NOTHING becomes SOMETHING. ASHES become BEAUTY. GRAVEL becomes PEARL.
    And as if that wasn’t enough. This Jewish man, this teacher told me that Ruth, my precious Ruth, whom I’ve loved since I can remember, she is the only woman is scripture who is called Eshet Chayil. This Moabitess, the product of deception, manipulation, and incest, is a woman of valour, This NOTHING, this SHAME, living in the midst of irritation became a SOMETHING, her shame removed she becomes the mother of a king. A PEARL.
     So my nemesis, my enemy, has come full circle. No longer the “perfect” woman, this woman of valour is a woman who is becoming. A woman transforming, being made complete. . . whole.
Gravel, a Pearl, a Daughter of the King.
     I looked for Him. Searched for Him. He was nowhere. He came to me. Touched me. My face in His hands, my eyes looking in His. He spoke my name, “Eshet Chayil”.

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