I've been reading, praying, and studying about being a woman because I want to know what God meant for me when He made me one. I want to know how that affects my life, my marriage, my work. I want to know what to teach my boys about manhood and what to look for in a wife one day. If we ever have daughters I want to possess something Biblical to teach them.
Obviously I don't have all the answers. But as I search with an open heart and mind for what God says He is answering. And it looks a little different than what I expected. For now I want to focus on one verse that is driving my whole experience on the subject.
Ps. 118:14 "The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation."
All parts of being a woman are wrapped up in our relationship with God. He made us women and He has a specific plan for womanhood. Only in the Bible can we find the real answers. There are three characteristics that I want to focus on from that verse.
1. Strength. I am not talking about physical strength with this although I do believe it is prudent to take care of our physical strength. (Pro. 31:17) I'm talking about that inner strength- emotional and spiritual strength. Often strength is described as a more masculine character but it's a feminine quality too. Proverbs 31:25 says, "Strength and honor are her clothing;" Our world needs strong women who are depending on Jesus instead of falling apart at every little situation. This is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 138:3 states, "In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul." That's where I need strength- in my soul.
Colossians 1:11: "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness." There is such a strength (because God's power is mighty and glorious) that can let us be patient and longsuffering with a joyful heart. A joyful heart in teaching toddlers and preschoolers all day long even!
Ephesians 3:16, "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." Our inner man (or woman) can be strengthened by His Spirit and according to His riches. Think on that promise for a while.
Yes, God wants His women to be strong. Never brash and hateful and bossy, but strong emotionally, depending on God. We are called to be stable and even in the ups and downs of our days.
2. Joy. Not ditzy, super-caffeinated idiots who don't have a serious thought about anything, but joyful women. I'm talking about real joy in Jesus. Why? Because He is our song; it takes joy to have a song in the midst of life. Joy is found in the presence of Jesus. Psalm 16:11, "...in thy presence is fulness of joy..." Joy doesn't mean not facing reality. It means that in everything I see Jesus. Joy is once again only found by the Spirit. Galatians 5:22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy.." We can't manufacture joy up by ourselves but as we yield to the Spirit we can see it growing. Joy is thanking God when you'd rather complain. Joy is looking through the current mess to eternity. Joy is remembering that God has a purpose and is at work in your life.
God even designs specifically for mothers to be joyful. Psalm 113:9, "...and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord." Also note the verse in the "strength" section from Colossians, "unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness." Joy should be the state of our hearts even in difficult situations. Even the Bible was written so that our "joy may be full." (1 John 1:4).
Joy is found in our relationship with Christ. (As was strength. See a pattern here?) Isaiah 61:10 says, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God;"
Can we learn to be joyful women? Cheerful ladies instead of critical, complaining ladies? I would much rather bring a smile to people's faces than have them run from my negative attitude!
3. Confidence. God is become my salvation. What else do I need to be confident? I certainly can't be confident in my appearance- it can and does change. I can't be confident in my abilities, talents, money, relationships; these are all unstable. I can be confident in God. Read through Isaiah 43 paying special attention to verses one and seven. God redeemed me; He knows my name; I belong to Him. I am known by His name; I am created for God's glory; God made me specifically the way I am. Confidence, ladies, is when we embrace that and let it sink into our souls. Our confidence also (like our strength and our joy) comes from our relationship with God.
Proverbs 3:16 states, "For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken." In fear and uncertainty, God is my confidence. When I feel no one wants me I remember that God knows my name.
Webster defined "confidence" as 1. A trusting, or reliance; an assurance of mind or firm belief in the integrity, stability or veracity of another, or in the truth and reality of a fact.
It is not a confidence in ourselves, but in God. To have the ultimate confidence as a woman, as a believer, we must walk in obedience. Often confidence is lacking because we don't know what we are doing or what's coming next, but walking in obedience removes those doubts. Proverbs 14:26 says, "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge." A good definition of "the fear of the Lord" is obedience. If you fear the Lord, you will obey Him. In obedience is confidence.
Being a confident woman doesn't mean you are a snob. It doesn't mean that you walk all over people or drown the world in your opinions. It means that you can know God's path for your life and walk in certainty fulfilling those purposes regardless of what anyone else is doing. Confidence is obeying God and not caring what anybody else thinks.
Women are not known for having these characteristics. And when these characteristics are represented they are warped in meaning. The world definitely has a different idea of a strong, confident woman than what the Bible describes. Watch the media stereotypes of women (or even the church ones). Women are hyperemotional, unstable, miserable, complaining, and insecure. Or the stereotypes swing toward the opposite with bold, overbearing, and harsh. You do not have to settle for that. God has called you to something much greater (and harder) than that.
Being a woman means holding a position of influence that comes with a great deal of responsibility. And God has given us everything we need to grow into His kind of woman.