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 week’s 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 they’re 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…
Years ago, 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, and who if they were anything like me, anticipated by the name of the class ‘Christian Womanhood’ that we would come to understand what it truly meant to become the godly woman the Lord desires for us to be.
Most of the girls attending the class would one day go on to become pastor wives, missionaries, and christian school teachers. Women who would have the potential to impact other women, communities and the World 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 groom’s side if you want to be specific) uninterested, and unapologetic …I mean, seriously?
– The importance of making dinner for our families each night, and pointed out the convenience of using a crock pot. …Yep, it happened.
– Why we must only read the King James Version of the Bible. But I have no notes on that lesson, because unashamedly, I tuned that one out!
It was also in this class that we did an in-depth study of Proverbs 31 in the Bible. Which wasn’t bad per se, 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 to know that still to this day, I 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! And in all honesty I fought it HARD, as if to completely downplay the significance of it in the Bible.
And yet as I pored over the chapter myself, I realized something I had never seen before, something I can assure you was NEVER taught in my class all those years ago:
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 crock pots!
It got me thinking go the times I have had to be strong…
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.
…When The Lord asked me to forgive my husband, and when even more clearly, I begged God kicking and screaming to let me move on, to give me permission to break ties with the man I was petrified would hurt me once again! But how the Lord never wavered.
How I was furious and shaken, but 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!
How years later, we faced an unimaginable tragedy in our church while my husband was away at summer camp. How I wanted nothing more then for my husband to walk through the door, so I could immerse myself into the comfort of his arms, allowing myself to freely fall into a heap of tears with the one person who shared my mutual heartache. And how it never happened…
Because upon returning home, my husband made only one request: we not cry. How instead, 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. How he needed me there, and how more than anything he needed me to be STRONG!
How impossible it felt (how impossible it would’ve been apart from the Lord!) but how I sought hard to find my strength in Christ, relying on Him wholeheartedly for my comfort so that I could be strong for my husband, so that in return, he could be strong for so many others as their Pastor!
Oh, how my soul longed in those moments, for a woman to have opened up and spoken to me as a college freshman about THAT! To have a woman stand before me, vulnerable about her overwhelming fears and unworthiness, but 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 a ‘christian woman’ is not merely a sweet, modest, well-spoken, domestic goddess – but the woman whose strength and unshakeable faith lifts up all those around her despite the circumstance or ‘winter’ she has found herself in. (Prov. 31:21)
I’d tell you that no matter how beautiful of a bride you make, that one day your marriage may feel hopeless. And to remember when that day comes, it’s not a direct reflection of the INADEQUACY of you, but the potential GREATNESS of God if we allow Him to restore the broken pieces left of our hearts, and our vows.
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 won’t be a damn crock pot 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 can 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 need only to turn to Him, for He is the only one capable of giving life to our broken hearts and the strength we need to keep holding on.
And it would be as simple as that.
Class is dismissed.