I have noticed lately, (in my own self and others), a common trend. A strong woman is seen as someone who will not endure trampling: physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. A strong woman is one who defines herself. A strong woman is one who does not fit the "mold" of what is considered feminine.
I have not taken the time, nor do I think it necessary, to research quotes. We all know this thinking is true. Even for us Christian women, this thinking is predominant. It has been this way since Adam and Eve. It is more dominant these days because we are in the last days.
However, though we are in the last days does not mean we have to succumb to the wicked ways of these times. The whole chapter of 1 Thessalonians 5 was written exclusively in exhorting the brethren to stand fast in the faith during the temptations and trials of these end times.
1But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
12And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
17Pray without ceasing.
18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19Quench not the Spirit.
20Despise not prophesyings.
21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
25Brethren, pray for us.
26Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
27I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Over and over again God equips the believer with the necessary grace to endure faithfully until the end. He also knows that we will struggle and fail, I John 1:8-10, but that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins when we confess them to Him and forsake them. Sin is no light matter; it is for my sins, and yours, that Christ died: Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:28.
So, as a woman, I am sinning against my Creator, my God, my Saviour, when I disobey His godly fashion of femininity. When I consciously decide to rebuff the order of the home, rebel against the "constraints" of true womanhood--I am saying a very ugly "NO!" to the one who formed and fashioned me, died for me, and grants me grace day by day.
Unfortunately, all too often I rebel against Him. Sure, the outside may be looking better, but the inside still has a lot of work. Modesty is not just an outward appearance. Modesty should start in the heart, and does most times. It did with me. However, I fall prey to Satan's advances, too, and because of it I allow my thinking and heart to be formed against God.
What is a girl to do, then? Well, confess, repent, and forsake. Then get up and get going in the right path! God has not laid out His plan of godly femininity to suppress us, but free us! He has not designed the order of the home to squash us, but embolden us to be beautiful daughters of the King!
I used to think I would be so bored staying at home. I used to think that no man would ever tell me what to do; "He may be the head of the home, but I'm the neck that turns that head." I used to think that I would dress how I please, go where I please, say what I please, and so forth. I also thought that I had that "liberty" in Christ. I WAS WAY OFF!
My liberty in Christ gives me freedom to OBEY Christ! I was sinning greatly against my Lord by misleading myself. Even when I thought I wasn't sinning, deep down in my heart I knew different. My flesh just likes rebellion too much, and I was not repenting.
God chastened me. It took a while, and some hard chastening, but finally I submitted. I DO NOT REGRET SUBMITTING TO GOD. I REGRET REBELLING AGAINST HIM. Every second in rebellion is one for which my heart is sad. I do not beat myself up anymore about it, but when those reminders come of those days, there are no warm fuzzy feelings.
I now know that godly strength for a lady in Christ is truly beautiful. She does not have to be what the world expects her to be: that of them. She does not have to show masculinity to be strong. Many men admire a woman who is strong in her God-given, feminine strength. Sadly, most women, like myself, are disillusioned with that notion because of lies that come straight from the pit of Hell.
What is godly, feminine strength? Here are a few:
- Submission to Christ
- Subjection to Christ
- Submission to husband (or father if still in his care)
- Subjection to husband (or father if still in his care)
- Words seasoned with grace
- Lips full with the law of kindness
- Doing your husband good all his days
- Not lazy, but industrious
- Keeping at home
- Love your husband
- Love your children
- LOVE YOUR GOD
- BORN AGAIN
- Led by the Spirit
- Full of the Spirit's fruit
- Modestly, beautifully attired--not like a harlot
The list can continue. These are just a few strengths a woman can have, if submitted first to Christ. Where did I find all these things? In God's Holy Word: Ephesians 5, 6; Galatians 5; Titus 2; I Timothy 3; Proverbs 31; I Corinthians 13; I Peter 3...And the whole Bible is full of examples and more commands from the Lord.
Uh-oh, I said the word "command." I used to cringe when hearing that terminology. Coming from a not-so-good background, one can understand why. Yet, that doesn't give me license to disobey God. It only gives me an opportunity to seek His grace, and empathy for others with similar backgrounds.
A command from God is not wicked. When God said for husbands to love their wives, He wasn't speaking just to that culture, and for that time. Then why do we women cringe, when in the very same chapter, we are told to submit to our husbands? Can we divide the chapter up as we see fit? Can we not compare Scripture with Scripture and see that all throughout the Bible, from beginning to end, that submitting to our husbands is exactly God's perfect design?
God's commands to all are not coming from an inhumane lord, but the God over all! He gave those commands for our protection. I mean, think about it. If you or I didn't listen to God's command to abstain from all appearance of evil, and we indulged in appearing evil, would it be of no surprise when people thought us evil instead of God's children? Yet, if we obeyed that command, then we should be a bit taken aback if one thought us evil instead of God's child.
There is proof. When I am dressed like God's daughter, I am viewed as one of His daughters. I have gone into grocery stores, and because I'm dressed in a modest...dress...I am approached as a Christian. "What church do you attend?" is often the question. "Do you dress this way all the time?" is another. "Does your church make you?" is a rarer one, and I get to reply that I dress this way because God tells me to. :)
Folks now know that by the grace of God I avoid certain places, like a bar, because I'm His child. When I was rebelling against my Father, I would go to those places. God always chastised me for it, though, because I am His child and I was disobeying Him. Needless to say, I'm not going there anymore, by His grace!
Being a godly woman, truly feminine, is not a weakness. I don't know about you, but it takes all the strength I can muster at times to submit to a sinful man; a.k.a. Dear. It is not easy to be meek, to be of a quiet spirit, to be disciplined in areas where I am given to be slothful, to be industrious all the time, to be modest when the world says it's beautiful to show the body to them, to let my hair be long in glory rather than chopped off in the latest fashion, to stay at home when the world tells you that you are withering away to a non-existence for listening to "God" and your husband, to keep my mouth the way God wants rather than being a gossip like the rest of the world (or have it full of filth, backbiting, etc.)...The list continues.
I CAN be strong in Christ, though! All the godliness God wants coming from me is found in Christ, who dwells within me! If I submit to Him, that is strength, but not my own...but His. That is beautiful. That is godly.
God made me a woman, and I am glad for it! Excelling in femininity, with the personality God gave me, and all the things about me that God has used to make Renee--Renee--is a golden opportunity! For all my sisters in Christ, it is a golden opportunity for you, too! Let's be different than the world! Be in the world, but not of it! Let's glorify our Maker!
10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
PROVERBS 31 WOMAN
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.