This is a guest writer. The information presented is so needed by the body of Christ I wanted to share it with everyone. Thank you CChioma7
God is so good! Thank you God for making us male and female in your image, for giving us purpose and identity that is sure regardless of time, place, or culture because you have redeemed us, you have bought us back from the grip of Satan and death, you have brought us back to original value. Thank you for answering the cry of my heart to know who I am as a woman. Thank for teaching me more and more about it every day. Thank you for being my Friend.
When I’d hear about biblical womanhood and manhood, I’d get frustrated because people would speak with such passion and excitement about manhood, and it did sound exciting. But the discourse on womanhood was woefully less-than-inspiring because much of it was wrapped up in “it’s all about your husband/family but you’re not guaranteed a husband/family”. *sigh* I heard a talk by Dan Mohler; he’s the first speaker that spoke about womanhood in a way that registered deep in my heart. And he suggested we go back and ask God to show us who we really are. And, in my frustration with books that turn worldly desires into “godly” principles and discourses that confuse womanhood with a set of roles informed by culture baptized in Christianese, I asked You Lord who I am. Low, and behold, You answered in Your Word and through Godly wisdom! God, why did I wait so long to ask You? Thank you for continually working with me.
We can be passionate about the principles of feminine identity. For one reason, every day women are living pale, frustrated lives – lost in lies about worth and value that have eternal implications. Our culture tells us that woman’s value is in attracting a man, or usurping a man, or dominating a man, or not needing a man; gratifying ourselves with a man, or gratifying ourselves without a man. We in the Church stand and point out that their ways are wrong; but, we, having Truth, do not offer it to them because we don’t understand it ourselves. We too are living less than our privilege. We offer to trade their lies for our own. There is a better way!
We in the Church have confused “roles” with “identity” in talking about womanhood. We emphasize responsibilities and tasks –things that can look different depending on context. But, true identity is steady and sure regardless of place, time, culture, or any other context. Identity is the foundational principle, it gets to the heart of the matter. The other things that people debate about sometimes come from people majoring in the secondary things, confusing application (which is informed by context) with the principle and not extending grace towards one another in humble personal application before God.
So, let’s get to it!
First, to find out who Woman is, we go to the source, the Word of our God. In Genesis God says it’s not good for man to be alone, that He would make a “helper comparable to him” (2:18-20). The word for help used in Hebrew is ezer and it’s used 20 other times. Each reference (Strong’s Concordance #5828), refers to the help that God is, the help God provides (3 times), or looking to someone else for help when we should be looking towards the Lord (2 times). It is deliverance in the time of trouble, life-sustaining, life-preserver help against enemies. So,
1) Woman is a life-saving, life-preserving, delivering presence and aid like God is but on Adam’s level
Adam didn’t need help because he was weak. He needed help because he was strong. Together in partnership, Adam and Eve were to subdue and steward the Earth. Though the garden was perfect, there was an enemy of their souls present – Satan. Now, “…though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him- a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). God, Adam, and Eve made a very good threefold cord. But, Eve, who could have promoted Adam towards life, escorted him towards death. (Ladies, we have great power.) And Adam, who could have actively stood up for them both, passively stood by. Part of the curse that followed was that God would put “enmity between [Satan] and the woman, between [Satan’s] seed and her seed”(Gen 3:15). We only have to look at world history to notice how women are particular objects of oppression and violence and suffer greatly. (Side thought – could this be why women are known for being prayer warriors, because of prayer’s place in spiritual warfare and who we are?)
Our feminine essence and presence was distorted and thoroughly corrupted by the Fall. But God in His mercy bought it back! (Woo hoo!) Because of Christ we have redemption. And in Christ, we are life again instead of death. We can walk that way. As we receive the love God has for us we don’t have to try to be this way, we just are! As we shower in God’s love for us, life just flows from us. Just like waves ripple behind a hand that is sweeping through water, love and life ripple in our wake; it’s in our very essence!
Next, Apostle Paul mentions that man “is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man” (1 Cor 11:7). What in the world does that mean? How can we be equal (“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” [Gen 1:27]) and yet woman be the glory of man? Well, God is love; God is a relational triune being – Father, Son, and Spirit. When God made Adam, it was good, and Adam was created as the first image-bearer of God. “Glory” means the honor and display of something. Love is arguably the most important aspect of God’s essence and character. Now, if God is love, then His glory is shown through love. Adam could not display that really important aspect of God’s image without an equal to direct his love towards. Yes, Adam could love God by worshipping Him as his Source and All in All. But the Godhead shares beautiful, unique intimacy within the communion of 3 distinct Persons who are equally God. God wants us to experience loving communion with people as an outpouring of our love relationship with Him. We can’t display God’s image fully without loving others fellow human beings. Therefore, God created Eve so that Adam could love her and thus the glory of God be even more displayed. So,
2) Woman was created to receive love— to be lavished upon with love, receive that love, and from that love produce life. She is a love-receiver and love-responder and a life-bearer.
If I, as a woman, am a love-responder because I’ve received God’s love, then I am someone who engages people with love regardless of how they initiate with or respond to me. That gives me guidance to how to live regardless of if I am married or single; if I am at work as an employee or supervisor; if I am wife, sister, mother, daughter, or friend. If woman is love-responder and man is love-initiator, together they reflect the image of God beautifully.
Next, Psalm 121 describes womanhood for us. Psalm 121? Yes, Psalm 121; I did not accidently mix it up with Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 is wonderful, but Psalm 121 is a dissertation on the ezer that the Lord provides; verses 1-2 are the thesis, referring to the same word for help used in Genesis 2.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
3) Woman is a keeper: she is an under-girder and a safe-keeper, a shade and a preserver. She
keeps confidence (rather than gossips). She keeps the heart and reputation of her loved ones. She speaks over people in a way that undergirds their God-given value, potential, and identity. When a woman is in her right mind (i.e. her renewed and born-again mind), as an under-girder, she sees people the way God sees them and gladly throws the weight of her life behind them. And, it simply reflects the nature of God. She could be a teacher pouring her heart into helping her students develop along the path God has for them. She could be a scientist whose passion is discovering compounds that could improve the lives of others. She could be a counselor who holds out a life-line of wisdom and encouragement to someone standing on the brink of despair. She could be a stay-at-home wife and mother who watches over her children while they sleep and encourages her husband.
As a safe-place for the hearts of others, she is trust-worthy. She does not gossip. Rather, she keeps the confidence of friends, husband, kids, and co-workers. She is not a “mean girl” who uses information as verbal capital against others. People’s hearts are safe with her. A woman who is truly accepts herself and has come into her own secure sense of identity creates a space of emotional ease and safety for those around her. She is like a comfy couch with plenty of room – because she is at ease with herself, others can be at ease with themselves around her. People can breathe at peace around her. She is comforting shade when there is sun beating down all around. She is a preserver. She can preserve life – be it as a nurse who stands in the gap in the ICU, a mom who speaks life over her kids when they’ve been bullied, a business leader who advocates for healthy team dynamics, or a wife who upholds her husband’s name. Her husband can trust her with his household and the family’s mission; she will not bring him down in dishonor (like Deliliah) but will safe-keep and promote the welfare of their family’s name and their home.
A love-receiver, a love-responder, and a life-bearer. A life-saving, life-preserving, delivering presence and aid. A keeper, an under-girder, a safe-place, a shade, and a preserver. Ladies, this is who we are. We don’t have to try to be this; we ARE this. It’s in our inherent feminine nature. Let’s take off the shackles of guilt and performance expectations of specific tasks/roles, and let’s submit to Him as He works it out in us according to His delightful ways. We each uniquely reflect feminine aspects of God. To operate against our nature, we would have to go out of our way OR be impaired by hurts, deception, or perversion of this world (which is too often the case). God is glad about our diversity, both within our gender and between the genders. So, let’s bathe everyday in the love of God for us, let Him heal the wounds. Let’s not debate secondary things. And, let’s extend grace to one another as the family of God. We will become more of who we really are, and everyone will be blessed.