Growing up in a pretty liberal environment, I had some thoughts on being a woman from pretty early on. Becoming a Christian in high school made me rethink some of those ideas, but perhaps pushed me to an extreme that was equally as unhealthy and unbiblical. When I think about the constant discussion that goes on about gender, and equality, and “backwards” Christian beliefs….there are some things I want my girls to know about being female. So, here goes.
God created you as a female. On purpose.
It is not an accident that you are a girl. He has designed a very specific role for you as a woman, in His kingdom work. There is no shame in that. You are valuable and worthwhile to God, and to the work He is doing around the world.
Submission to your husband is not a negative thing.
God is clear in his Word that woman are supposed to submit to their husbands. I pray that you would choose a husband who does not take advantage of this. One who values your strengths, wisdom and insight. One who listens to you, and one who considers your thoughts and feelings, as you make decisions together. Submitting to your husband does not have to be a bad thing. And, submitting to your husband does not mean that you need to be submissive to every man. Submitting to your husband is ultimately about submitting to God as He leads your husband. It isn’t weakness, it is strength and grace. It isn’t easy, but there is security and safety in this design.
Male/female roles in the church are clear, but outside of that, there is no limit to what you can do.
I believe that the Bible speaks to the roles of men as elders and leaders in the church. However, I don’t believe that those lines are drawn anywhere else. If you want to be a CEO, a rockstar surgeon or a Supreme Court Justice, then go for it! Being a woman might mean that you need to work harder to become those things, but it does not exclude you from pursuing them.
Biblical Guidelines for church leadership does not equal women on the sidelines.
While I believe that God has set up some clear guidelines for men and women in the church, I do not believe that He has placed women on the sidelines. In fact, I believe the body desperately needs women teaching, leading and working alongside men in ministry. We see examples of this all throughout scripture. Just because you are a woman, doesn’t mean you are not absolutely critical to the work God has placed you right in the middle of. And please know, you are not relegated to serving punch or doing children’s ministry. Depending on your gifts and the needs of your local church and circle of accountability, God can use you in a gazillion different ways. Seek him about how, where and when.
Modesty is about more than just covering up, it’s an attitude.
I have seen plenty of women who are completely covered up, and yet they seem to be the opposite of modest. Living in another culture has taught me just how subjective “modesty” can be when it comes to clothing. Get dressed with love and consideration for your brothers in Christ. But, do not feel the weight and responsibility to keep them sinless and pure. That is on them. Consider what you are drawing attention to when you get dressed each morning. Think through the heart issues associated with the answer to that question. Ask God to begin working on those heart issues. Modesty is NOT about what you wear, but about the heart underneath your clothing.
A gentle spirit does not mean being quiet in the kitchen.
Gentleness flows from a spirit that is grounded in Christ. A spirit that is not striving to be noticed, loved or paid attention to. Gentleness is security, compassion and the truth spoken in love. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be a talker, or an extrovert. Gentleness is a willingness to encourage, support, pray for and lift others up, through your unique personality by God’s grace. All personalities are welcome to the gentleness party.
Strength and grace are not mutually exclusive.
Living with grace does not mean weakness. In fact, some of the most grace-filled women I know are the ones who exemplify strength the most. However their strength comes from a complete reliance on God; the One who is ultimately strong. Grace is the outcome of that. Grace and strength are two sides of the same coin.
Being a wife and mother is not the be-all, end-all for womanhood.
Being a wife and mother might never happen for you. And if it doesn’t, that is okay. God will still use you, grow you and work through you. Because being a wife and/or mother, is only one piece of who you are. There is so much more to you as a person. And God is about using His people. Always. If God gives you a husband and children, then he will use you in that role. If he doesn’t, then he will use in different roles. There is no “higher calling”. All callings are God’s, all are important.
Don’t compete with other women.
Seriously. You will be tempted to do this at every turn. DON’T. Be a cheerleader for other women and their success. Being a woman comes with plenty of challenges, don’t be the girl who adds to that list of challenges. Be an advocate for other women. Don’t undermine them. Don’t judge them for parenting differently, or choosing a different lifestyle than yours. That only reveals your own insecurities and makes you look petty. Celebrate other women who are being used by God, who are working hard, and who are making an impact.
Don’t miss the point of Proverbs 31.
Proverbs 31 isn’t about being perfect. It is about a woman who fears the Lord in the healthiest of ways. It is about a woman who does not worry, because she is confident in her God. Proverbs 31 is about a woman who because she is grounded in the Lord, she is able to work inside and outside of her home, bringing honor to her family and to God, through a life lived with purpose, devoid of idleness. Don’t feel pressure when you read Proverbs 31, be inspired. Remember that you love and serve the same God found in Proverbs 31.
You don’t have to live your life driven by emotion.
We are emotional. That’s okay. Emotions aren’t bad things, but they also aren’t the best guides. Feel what comes, but don’t act on it. Bring those feelings to God, pray through them, think through them. Consult with Godly women and men in your life. Make decisions based on how God leads, despite your emotions. Don’t push your emotions away, but don’t let them run your life.
Chasing is for boys.
Don’t be that girl who professes her love to every guy she meets. If he likes you, he will tell you. If he hasn’t told you, then he isn’t ready. If he tells you he likes you, be honest, and gracious. Consider his feelings and how hard it must be to put himself out there. But, don’t pursue every guy who grabs your attention for a few minutes. If there is someone you are interested in, build a friendship. Get to know him, how he treats others, and what lies at the core of his character. Trust that if God wants this relationship to grow, He will grow it. Let the guy be the first one to step out in vulnerability, but be kind and gentle when he does.
There are lots of expectations on women today. Feminists want us to speak up and fight for our rights, ignoring the obvious differences between men and women. There are some in Christian circles who want women relegated to the home and quiet on the sidelines, which minimizes the role of women in the world. There is pressure to look a certain way everywhere you turn. Everyone has thoughts on how a woman should parent, work, and balance her many roles.
I want my girls to know that they were created beautifully, and purposefully by a God who delights in them. I want them to find confidence in that, and to walk with grace, strength and a sense of empowerment in the world. I want them to understand the goodness of God’s design in womanhood, and the joy that comes from being a helper. I want them to know the safety there is in submitting to God, and to a godly husband. I want them to dream, and work hard, and be a positive influence; in their homes, in their churches, in their communities and in the world. I want them to see womanhood as a gift, not a curse.
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