Proverbs 31: 10, Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Proverbs 14: 1, Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
What we’ve long been told about womanhood is an unmitigated lie. Because many women have believed it, their lives are filled with emptiness, a barrenness that speaks of losing their place, of misunderstanding their calling.
The Gospel is not a cultural thing, bending to society’s rules and blending in. It is the truth that sets people free. It is the truth that sets women free. There is a God-given distinctiveness to manhood and womanhood and, properly understood, it is a beautiful thing. That there is a distinctiveness, and that it is good, holy, and purposeful, is a truth that has been misrepresented, misinterpreted, misapplied for so very long.
Much more in is black or white than we have been told, indeed, than we want to believe. The truth of our identity as women, as well as the truth of all that is godly, has been twisted beyond recognition and then painted over and sold on the open market to the highest bidder.
Long ago women stepped on board the “American Success ride” and lost ourselves. Amid the clamor, the sights and sounds, we lost our understanding of truth, of reality, of womanhood, and of God. We invited our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, and our friends to come join us. Spinning round and round on the dizzying ride, as kaleidoscope colors flash in our brains, our uneasy minds are, for a time, put to rest by the sheer beauty, the excitement, the fulfillment, the fun, of it all.
“It is so beautiful, so fulfilling, it must be right.” Adam and Eve thought so, too.
Seduced by the idea that God (and our churches, husbands, and society) have withheld what is good from us, American women have plunged headlong into a boiling cauldron of excess: having more, we must have more yet. More opportunity, more success, more money, more beauty, more things, more excitement, more fulfillment, more, more, more….
As the character Sabrina in the movie of the same name said, “More isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s just more.”
But having more doesn’t fulfill us so we strive on, content in our discontent. Something is missing but we don’t know what. If we can only do more, be more, then, one day we’ll find the elusive ‘it” that will, at last, bring our lives fulfillment. For now, our lives are exhausting, our hearts are aching, our spirits empty, and our prayers barren. Taking everything and focusing it on us only leads to emptiness. We’ve been lied to. Refusing truth, we’ve believed the lie.
Still all the me-ism goes on: “What do I want? need? deserve? What is good for me?” No talk of obedience to God or duty to parents, husband, children, or the church. All that matters is me.
What happens when, in pursuit of me and what I want, I throw away everything that could have brought me true joy?
What happens when the maddening music stops and the roller-coaster ride of our lives comes to a screeching halt? When we look around us and realize that what had appeared so bright and shiny from our brief stop at the ascent now appears as it truly is: dull, tired, in need of new paint in order to continually keep up the façade?
What happens when the façade fades? When we look around us and all are strangers? When our husbands and children are walking away from us, indifferent to our pleas to come back and be with us for one more ride? A ride, we promise, that will somehow end differently…this time.
What happens when the lights go up and the show of our lives is over and we have nothing of true value to offer to God–what then?
We’ve lived the lie long enough. We’ve listened to the world even as we were drowning in nothingness.
There is Truth and most of us have missed it. The terrible price is the destruction of our lives, our families, our souls, our churches. Husbands dishonored and disrespected. Children not had or tossed aside. Our own femininity dried up like a rose in the desert. And us women: once secure in our spiritual and cultural identities, now with nothing, no one, alone at last, reaping bountifully what we’ve sown so very, very well.
What now? What can we do when we’ve done all that we’ve been told to do and the result is nothing but carnage?
For so long we’ve interpreted our lives, our womanhood, by culture rather than by God’s Word. We must repent of lies told and believed. We must rise up, one woman at a time, and reclaim our calling, our womanly heritage, as women of the Word.
It isn’t easy. Most of what is right is not easy. But right is right even if everyone believes it is wrong. Just because our mothers believed a lie doesn’t make it true. Just because our pastors teach it, our denomination supports it, our culture demands it, doesn’t mean we have to blindly accept it. We must read God’s Word in order to find truth–about our womanhood or anything else. What we want, if it differs from what God commands, doesn’t matter. What our church, our pastor, our denomination “allows” or teaches about our place as women, if it isn’t centered in God’s Holy Word, doesn’t matter. What our culture has to say about womanhood certainly doesn’t matter. The Bible isn’t subject to our culture or to our whims. Only what God says matters.
Proverbs 14: 12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
We can search out Truth.
Men are called by God to be men and to fill the role that God Himself has laid out for them. Women, likewise, are called by Him to be women and to fill the role that God Himself has laid out for women. A woman’s place is a high and glorious calling but, after decades of being lied to, we’ve forgotten that. We’ve bought the lies, swallowed the poison, and forgotten that our place is a truly beautiful one–not inferior at all, but special, glorious, and perfect. Our place was once cherished but we’ve despised it. Like Esau of old, we women have sold our birthright but, unlike him, if we repent, we can get it back again.
There is joy in true womanhood. Women have been honored by God Almighty in so many, many ways. We demean ourselves and dishonor our God when we ignore our calling to fulfill that of a man. True biblical womanhood is beautiful. It is a privilege given to us by God Himself. It is a high and holy calling.