The Proverbs 31 Woman Cultivates Life with a Heart of Hope

I love how Proverbs 31:16 reveals a woman with a heart set on hope.

“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard.”

We’re not told if the Proverbs 31 woman knew in advance how much the fields would yield, how long it would take to see a harvest—or if she would witness the harvest at all.

We’re instead told that she makes an investment, and tends to the investment faithfully.

The Proverbs 31 woman looks at unformed land and sees a fruitful future. She has taught me much about the beauty and power of cultivating, digging into the soil of our souls, tending to the days we’ve been given, being faithful, and holding on to hope.

The Proverbs 31 woman sees it all as fruitful.

lady-proverbs 31 woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman Cultivates Life

I am still learning to savor the good slow work of cultivation.

The word itself, cultivate, is a reminder of its purpose. Our English word culture comes from the same Latin farming term – cultivare.

While not a gardener, I still love every lesson taught in farmer’s almanacs of seedtime and harvest.

Onions aren’t ready to be pulled from the ground as long as their necks are stiff.

Ackee, a West African fruit found on breakfast tables in Jamaica, is poisonous until it is fully ripened. The only way to know if ackee is ready to be enjoyed is to allow it to open independently.

The poison is the fruit’s defense against being forced open and eaten before its time.

So often I looked only at the harvest of my days as proof of my soul’s health. I have a feeling you have felt pressed to do the same.

We make our checklists and fill our calendars to overflow with projects, people, and plans as we push our lives to the limit. We measure our worth by the amount of fruit we produce.

Certainly, harvest time is a lovely thing.

As Ecclesiastes 3:2 teaches us, there is a time to plant, a time to collect the harvest.” The Voice

But the harvest is a moment in season upon season of glorious moments as the fruit bears its divine purpose.

The harvest begins when we consider the field where we stand, and let our feet sink deep into its soil.

Consider means to contemplate, to think carefully about, to regard, bear in mind, and make allowance for.

A gardener considers the field, the soil—what might be.

The Proverbs 31 woman considers the field and invests. She tends to that field so that she may then dig her hands into the soil of a bigger dream—a vineyard.

Perhaps she sees gatherings at the table with friends, resplendent celebrations, or a home offering sojourners rest and respite.

She looks at the field and sees a future of communion. She looks at the soil and sees life.

Characteristics of the Proverbs 31 Woman

Like the Proverbs 31 woman, gardeners, and farmers know bounty will come in its time when it is beneficial for use.

Like the Proverbs 31 woman, both the gardener and the farmer know the true reward is the life-giving story that would not exist without cultivating, abiding, and tending.

Again, I am still learning the slow, miraculous power of cultivating. I quickly judge a landscape barren if it isn’t exploding with life.

But neither the gardener nor the farmer looks at the soil under their feet and declares it worthless because it isn’t filled with blooms. No, instead, they nurture that soil so that it may be life-giving.

Farmers know that the soil is alive, filled with nourishment for future fruit— and they labor in partnership with it. Then they step away from the labor and give that soil time to do its good work. They know the harvest can’t be forced.

Between the tilling, the planting, the tending, and the harvest, the good soil knows the gift of waiting—the tension between the now and the not-yet.

I’ve never met a gardener who doesn’t have grit under her nails, who doesn’t let her knees press into the dirt, who doesn’t watch the skies peek under leaves and lean in to listen to the quiet voices of color, texture, flavor, and fragrance.

I’ve never met a farmer who doesn’t know the condition of every field she is tending.

Farmers see their worth and value not in the size of the harvest, but in shepherding the fields as they till, plant, tend, and prune; protect, water, wait, and rest.

flowers-proverbs 31 woman

The Proverbs 31 woman who considers a field is much like that farmer.

In Proverbs 31:18, it says, “She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.” The Message

She knows that, in this in-between space the Lord’s creativity thrives.

His grace shines; His love is revealed. It is the space in which God dwells.

Like the soil, the cultivation of our heart and soul is found in the seasons of the in-between. It is in the unseen, uncelebrated work that the harvest is given its life.

The woman considering a field likely considered how it would be nourished. The garden soil and our soul are also alike in what is needed to sustain us.

Soil needs air to breathe, and it is in the quiet work of cultivating that it is given that breath so that it may give life.

It is a beautiful picture—life being passed like a gift, on and on as a legacy.

We may survive days without food or water, but we can only live a few minutes without oxygen.

The word respiration means more than to breathe—it means the actual creation of life.

Soil needs water to help it make nutrients available and accessible to the plants growing within it; those plants, in turn, feed the soil with those same nutrients for future harvests.

Our souls need water and the breath of life, too. In Genesis, God breathed His very breath into the lungs of fearfully and wonderfully made humanity, giving us life. Like the soil, as we do the quiet work of cultivation, the Holy Spirit continues to breathe that life into our lives.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit—the life-giving character of God—is what is planted deeply within the soil of our souls.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all fresh breaths in the lungs of a world in need of a harvest of grace and mercy.

Study the creation story, and you’ll see God wisely focusing on air and water first as He designs a destination that will sustain life.

The Holy Spirit is there at the beginning, moving and shaping that life. And Scripture after Scripture reflects the sustaining care of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Romans 5:5 says the Holy Spirit flows like water through our very hearts, revealing God’s impeccable love for us, offering a hope that never disappoints.

Receptive soil reaches to receive the nutrients that can only be offered as the plant grows within it. It receives fresh life in the in-between.

Hope is given clear sight. And gardeners and farmers know receptive soil also delights in seasons of rest and replenishment.

I will be honest—the thought of stepping away, of allowing the soil of my soul to rest and replenish, is difficult to embrace.

Living in a culture that lauds productivity, it’s easy to imagine good work diminished, destroyed, or forgotten entirely.

The good soil will become fallow ground, and that’s most certainly a bad thing.

Or is it?

flowers-proverbs 31 woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman Has a Heart of Hope

Between the fruit of the field and the vision of the vineyard, I have a feeling that the Proverbs 31 woman allowed the soil to fallow, to rest and replenish.

Gardeners and farmers do the same.

In Hosea 3:12, we learn that fallow ground isn’t unproductive at all it is ready for a future harvest of love and righteousness.

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD until he comes and showers his righteousness on you” NIV

Rest for soil is an opportunity for it to be replenished, re-nourished, and restrengthened. Rest for our souls is the same.

It is a gift, an offering from Jesus to us as we cultivate a life-giving life.

In Matthew 11:29, He invites Himself into the gardening rows with us, says He will shoulder the weight of the days, and then promises“…when you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest.”

The Proverbs 31:16 woman is teaching me, “She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard.”

She considers, invests, gets the soil under her nails, and tends to the land by tilling planting, and nurturing.

She gives space for the harvest and space for rest, space for air, space for water, space for waiting, and space for hope.

Like the gardener and farmer, the Proverbs 31 woman invites you and I to cultivate well the life we have been given– to cultivate the soil of our souls.

Like the gardener and the farmer, she reminds us that the Lord is tending to us as we tend to our days.

God looks at our soil and sees life.

The Eternal One will never leave you;
He will lead you in the way that you should go.
When you feel dried up and worthless,
God will nourish you and give you strength.
And you will grow like a garden lovingly tended;
you will be like a spring whose water never runs out.

Isaiah 58:11, VOICE



Ronne Rock

Learn more about Ronne by visiting her website, or connect with her on Instagram or Facebook. Purchase a personalized copy of One Woman Can Change the World here! Ronne’s words are also featured in Life Changing Stories.

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Ronne Rock

Call her your spiritual aunty—the one who offers true and trustworthy encouragement to help you hold onto hope. Ronne Rock weaves that hope into everything she shares on page, stage, and at the table over a cup of something lovely. She travels globally to cultivate life-changing with Orphan Outreach. Ronne is a storyteller and speaker—offering road-tested wisdom about grace-filled leadership and discovering your God-crafted design and purpose. And as a teacher and mentor, Ronne offers writers and other creatives insight on how to safeguard your soul in a world that delights in demanding it from you. Her poignant stories are included in a number of anthologies, and she is the author of four books, including One Woman Can Change the World: Reclaiming Your God-Designed Influence and Impact Right Where You Are. An Oklahoma gal by birth, Ronne now lives in the Texas Hill Country with her family. Learn more about Ronne by visiting her website, or connect with her on Instagram or Facebook. Purchase a personalized copy of One Woman Can Change the World here!


  1. Dawn Ward on April 9, 2024 at 10:02 am

    This is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing how the Lord is faithfully tending to the garden of our souls as we trust Him in our lives and callings.

    • Mary Rooney Armand on April 9, 2024 at 3:54 pm

      Dawn, it is a beautifully written article!

    • Ronne on April 10, 2024 at 8:48 am

      Dawn, I’m thankful the words resonated with you! Your encouragement is like sunshine for this soul of mine!

    • Noelle on April 11, 2024 at 9:12 am

      how can I share this on fb it’s really good

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