I realize that this post may offend certain people; good people, people who I’d probably really get along with otherwise….
But for the record, I am not sorry.
Last weeks post, Worthy of Rubies was me, buttoned up in my ‘sunday’s best’, and smiling pretty. But over the last couple of days, a fire has come over me and I can’t keep silent.
You see, I hate when women stand before other women and use their platform to hide behind facades of ideal marriages, perfect specimens of children, and strong opinions on the likes of breastfeeding, vaccines, and church politics.
I cringe when the Kim Kardashian’s of the world pose half naked in an attempt to prove that their still sexy, when any ‘real mom’ feels like anything but! When friends on Facebook post statuses like “ Made 6 loaves of banana bread, ran 12.8 miles, fed the homeless, and saved a cat, and was still able to get home in time to make homemade apricot pork loin and apple crisp for dinner tonight” – while the rest of us are left wondering how we even made it out of our pajamas today.
I don’t know when being sexy and domestically superior made us more of a woman, but let me challenge you with what I believe is the #1 misconception of a godly woman…
I took a class in bible college that still to this day gets my blood boiling, it was a class called ‘Christian Womanhood’.
Three times a week, hundreds of college freshman ladies piled into the auditorium, who (if they were anything like me) had anticipated that, by the name of the class, ‘Christian Womanhood’, that we would come to understand what it truly meant to become a godly woman.
Most of the girls attending the class, would one day be future pastor wives, missionaries, and christian school teachers- woman who would have the potential to impact other woman and families in powerful ways!
And yet, THIS. is what we learned…
– How to execute a wedding, complete with rehearsing a mock wedding in which each of my peers played a ‘part’ – I however, sat in the audience (on the grooms side if you want to be specific) uninterested, and unapologetic. I mean, seriously?
– We had a guest speaker who spoke on the importance of making dinner for our families each night, and pointed out the convenience of using a crockpot. Yep, it happened.
– I also vaguely remember a lesson on why we must only read the King James Version of the bible… but I can’t give you any notes on that, because I completely tuned that one out.
– We also did an in depth study of Proverbs 31 in the bible. Which wasn’t bad per say, but due to all of the above (and the fact that I actually paid for this nonsense of a class!) I don’t think it would surprise anyone that I still to this day, have a physical aversion to any of the topics covered in that class, including the beloved Proverbs 31 woman!
Interestingly enough though, my husband came to me last week, and asked me to write a devotion for our church -on you guessed it, Proverbs 31! (Last weeks post!) And in all honestly, I fought it, as if to completely downplay the significance of it in the bible.
And yet, as I read it through the entire chapter myself, I realized a trend that I had never seen before. A trend that I can assure you I was NEVER taught in my class…
Who can find a capable wife?… She is energetic and STRONG… She has NO FEAR of winter… She is clothed with STRENGTH…
Proverbs 31:10, 17, 21, 25
The Proverbs 31 woman is a lot of things; domestic and lovely, successful, and well respected. But most repeated, she is STRONG! Not anything like the passive and weak woman we are so often encouraged to be. She has no fear of winter – the difficult times to come – and is most definitely not limited to planning weddings and using crockpots!
Like when 2 years into my marriage, when we should have been comparing paint swatches for the living room, and eating breakfast in bed (or whatever it is that newlyweds do!) but instead, we were battling it out in screaming matches, and trying to decided what we would do with the house in the event of a divorce.
I remember the Lord asking me to forgive my husband… and even more clearly, me kicking and screaming, begging God to let me move on; to give me permission to break ties with the man I was petrified would hurt me once again! But the Lord never wavered. I was furious, and shaken, but I was STRONG enough to choose to please the Lord above all else, and embark on a journey to learn to love my husband again. And for the record, I am so incredibly glad I did!
I can remember being strong when years later, we faced an unimaginable tragedy in our church while my husband was away at summer camp. I can remember wanting nothing more than the exact moment my husband would walk through the door, immersing me into the comfort of his arms, and allowing me to freely fall into a heap of tears with the one person who shared my mutual heartache. And yet, it never happened…
Because upon returning home, my husband made only one request: that we not cry. He wanted to watch the news footage covering the accident over and over, and lay on floor and listen to worship music until late into the night. He needed me there, but more than anything he needed me to be STRONG! It felt impossible – and it was, apart from the Lord! – but I sought hard to find my strength in Christ and relied on Him wholeheartedly for my comfort. In the end, because I was strong for my husband, as a pastor, he was able to be strong for so many others!
Oh, how my soul longed to have sat in a class as a college freshman and heard a woman open up about THAT! To have a woman stand before me, vulnerable about her overwhelming fears and unworthiness, but speak of God’s immeasurable strength available to us in spite of it!
And so, if I could teach a class on christian womanhood – and if all of you reading were my exceptionally lovely students! – I would tell you that the most breathtaking picture of ‘christian womanhood’ is not merely sweet, modest, well-spoken, domestic goddesses, but the woman who’s strength and unshakeable faith, lifts up all those around her, despite the circumstance or ‘winter’ she has found herself in. (Prov. 31:21)
That no matter how beautiful of a bride you make, that your marriage may still feel hopeless at times. And to remember that when that day comes, that it’s not a direct reflection of the INADEQUACY of you, but the potential GREATNESS that God can be if we allow Him!
That one day, the strong men we marry, may need OUR strength to literally and physically pick them up off the floor… And that it’s not a damn crockpot that will save the day, but the fire deep within us to FIGHT for our marriages and for our husbands to be the godly men that the Lord desires them to be!
Because the truth is, everyone will at times let us down. But by choosing to find our strength in Christ, there is NOTHING God can’t grant us, and NOTHING He can not restore! We only need to turn to Him; for He is the only one capable of giving life to our broken hearts, and give us the strength we need to keep holding on.
And it would be as simple as that.
Class is dismissed.
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