Honestly, even typing that topic makes me a little antsy and triggers some unpleasant thoughts. If you ever grew up in church or around church peoples, there’s a whole lot of talk of what a Biblical woman should look or act like. I wish I could say they all line up the same way, but there’s a lot of confusing and frustrating talk about it. You hear words like submissive, quiet, meek, silent, modest, homemaker, helpmeet, helper, side-kick, Proverbs 31 woman, and wife.
I love the book A Year of Biblical Womanhood written by Rachel Held Evans* that shatters most of these phrases that have been used in an abusive of ways for hundreds of years!
I wrote a paper in college on Women’s roles in church, and I remember feeling somewhat shameful and embarrassed for actually writing that paper, but I also knew I had to do it. Part of it was the little rebel in me fighting against the way I was raised and those stereotypes that I didn’t fit into as a woman, and part of me KNEW that all those interpretations of biblical womanhood and Christian femininity were wrong. I felt that push, the encouragement, the “gusto” of the holy spirit to write it at whatever cost (my grade and reputation). I wrote it. I got a bad grade. I was angry. I even talked to my professor about it. He didn’t agree with my theology and didn’t feel I had enough evidence to back up my paper spiritually. I stomped away even more frustrated.
Thank God that not all my professors were this closed minded! I had one professor whom I ended up being mentored by him and his wife. They broke down what it really meant to be a woman and to function in the body of Christ within their marriage and ministry. All those mishandled scriptures around roles and labels were made beautiful, as I watched and learned from this couple and everything they did and did not do. I never had encountered people like them before.
His wife was a woman who feared the Lord. She laughed at things to come. She worked hard day to day, but she didn’t waste her time on things that didn’t matter. She was humble and kind. Gentle words came from her mouth, but they were direct and full of truth. She studied God’s Word daily, prayed, cried, praised, and shouted His glory. She wore strength and dignity. She commanded respect when she walked in a room. I have never seen men healthily esteem a woman more, not because she was an overpowering personality, but because she was fiercely impressionable by her obedience to God, and submission to her husband. Yes, I said it, but her husband equally submitted himself to her! Honestly, their relationship was an inspiring dance. The way he praised her would make any woman blush! He often talked how her gift of preaching was better than his. 🙂
I believe we as woman are called just as equally as any man. We are just as powerful, just as impactful, and together we bring such a maternal and thoughtful part to the body of Christ. I don’t know who you are, if you have ever considered your gifts, your calling, your role in the family of God, but I am moved to tell you that you are important. You are a piece of the puzzle that has been missing. We need you! Women need you, men need you, and children need you. Whether you’re a young girl figuring out your journey, or you’ve grown into your humanity and are still searching for your deeper purpose. God has chosen you, and you don’t have to remain silent and watch men get in on all the action! I wish I could write upon all the females in the Bible who were nothing like these malformed descriptions of biblical womanhood.
Women like (read and be inspired):
Hannah, 1 Samuel 1-2
The midwives, Exodus 1:8-22
Jochebed and Miriam, (Moses’ mom and sister) Exodus 2:1-10
Abagail, 1 Samuel 25
Esther, Esther 1-10
Ruth, Ruth 1-4
Rahab, Joshua 2
Deborah, Judges 4-5
Mary, Jesus’ mother, Luke 1:26-56
Phoebe, deaconess Romans 16:1-2
Prisca, fellow worker with Paul Romans 16:3
Junia, a fellow prisoner of Paul 16:7
Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s grandma and mother, known for their faith 2 Timothy 1:5
This list, not exhaustive, and like many other women mentioned in the Bible, we are called to do the hard things too, and by the power of Holy spirit, we will be used for His glory.
Have you ever felt suppressed because of your gender?
Have you ever rejected church or religion because of the injustice among gender equality?
Have you ever seen a healthy example of mutual submission?
*The book I referenced above: