What Does it Mean to Be a Woman?
I ask myself this question often. When I am deciding what to wear, early in the morning, before I work out, before I go to work. I ask myself as I encounter people at home and at the coffee shop, as I eat and as I cook. As I care for children, as I embrace, as I depart. What does it mean to be this gloriously soft, fashioned from rib, overflowing with life and the ability to give life being? What was God thinking when He made woman?
For some time, I have been fascinated with this topic. When I was a little girl, I loved to go with my mom to church when they were having a women’s meeting. They laughed more there than they did in regular church, and they cried too. They seemed to all get each other. I decided many years ago I wanted to minister to women, because it just seemed so cozy and sweet.
Later, I learned that some people thought women could only minister to other women, and then I learned that some women did not like that at all. I heard some say women should stay in the home and be moms and wives, and then I went to women’s college, and they said all sorts of crazy things.
Throughout my life, and the countless contradicting opinions I have heard on women and their role and their place, I have developed a deep passion for discovering God’s heart for women. He did not have to create us, Adam could have survived alone. But God chose to create us. We are the icing on the cake of creation. We are the grand finale, the crescendo, the helpmeet.
Everybody loves women in the bible until someone says helpmeet.
I’m not going to delve into the grammatical definition and I am not going to retell the story from Genesis, I’ll just tell you why I think being helpful is a very big part of what it means to be a woman.
I love to be helpful. When children are little, they love to help, too. Even if they are not capable of doing the dishes properly, they want to lend their little hands to the task. They want to be part of what’s going on. Sometimes, we allow them to be part of the chore, other times, when we really need it to be done right, we do it ourselves. But as children grow, they become more and more helpful, to where you couldn’t do without their assistance.
Whether we like it or not, we cannot go through life and do everything on our own. At some point, we will need help. I need help opening bottles, you might need help carrying in the groceries or mowing the lawn or changing a diaper. Often, I have chosen to refuse help, because technically I didn’t need it. I repent for the blessing I robbed from someone else who wanted to be part of my life, even if only in a small way, in a door I didn’t need you to hold for me.
When we become focused on ourselves, we miss a great deal of joyful opportunities.
And I fear this has happened with women. In the 1970s, we became focused on ourselves. We decided we didn’t need help to be successful, nor did we need to help out around the house. We became self-sufficient, or so we thought. In the attempt gain liberty, we alienated ourselves from those who needed us most: our families.
Being a helpmeet is not about you. your existence is not about you. God created us to help, to lighten the load, to be part of something great. We can’t do it all. We need a man to procreate, a friend to laugh, a mother to lean on, a father to be embraced by. We are here on this earth to serve. Our joy filled existence is at its peak when we are thinking not of ourselves, but how we may serve another. Being the helpmeet to creation is probably the greatest gift God ever bestowed upon us. He didn’t make us ancillary, He made us necessary. What an honor to not be on the sidelines watching the action, but to actually be invited in to the story.
Secondly, I believe being a woman means being modest. Another word liable to make people cringe. Again,I’m not going to give you a list of do’s and dont’s. That’s not my place. I will, however, tell you what I think being modest means and why it’s essential to being a woman.
To be modest means to not display all your treasures for the world to see. When you have painted a great painting, you don’t flaunt it all over town talking about what a great artist you are and how everyone needs to buy your art. If you are modest, you will accept the praise your art receives, you will not deny its beauty or the skill it took to create the piece, but it is not your job to tell the world of your art’s splendor. I think it is the same way with women.
Women have beautiful bodies. We look good in clothes, we look good in swimsuits. (The two are not the same). We are curved and we smell pretty good too. But it is not our job to show the world how beautiful we are. We are to guard our beauty fiercely, we are not to caste our pearls before swine. I believe a woman is too beautiful to parade herself, because in doing so, she loses her luster, her mystery, her softness, the thing that made her beautiful to begin with. Ask yourself as you get dressed in the morning, am I guarding this precious gift of beauty I have? Am I allowing God to be the one who praises me quietly, or do I need the affirnation of the world to know I am a beautiful creation. There is power in modesty. There is selfnessness in modesty too. Remember, life is not about us.
Finally, (I have rambled on, as women are prone to do) I believe being a woman means being beautiful and making the world beautiful. Have you ever seen a woman take a few flowers and turn it into a veritable feast for the eyes? Have you seen her take a few simple ingredients and turn it into a delectable meal? Have you seen a woman prepare for an evening out, gently transitioning from the every day look to a startlingly beautiful creation?
Women are beautiful, and they have the unique power to make the world beautiful. Society has told us that women are not intrinsically feminine, that the world has told them to like pink and lace, therefore we do. But whether you like pink and lace or dirt and tractors (or both!), if you are a woman, you possess the superpower of beauty. You can turn a house into a home. you can turn pieces of clothing into an outfit. You can turn a meal into a feast. God has given you the gift of making the world more appealing, more inviting, more perfect. God made men ruddy and strong and really handsome if I do say so, but He made women beautfiful, so beautiful, they cause people to lie and steal ad cheat and kill. Beauty is a gift, but it can be twisted.
As a woman, you are here to help, to serve, to love, to be modest, to be beautiful, and to make things beautiful. Anything that any societal movement has attempted to twist into bondage, inferiority or loss is only a feeble attempt to distract women from the heavenly calling they have been given. I pray that you would find new joy and peace in who God has made you to be, and I can tell you this. It is not accident, and the person you were when you entered this world is who God intended you to be. He does not make mistakes, and if you are a woman, His desire is for you to embrace your calling as a godly woman. If you are a man and you have somehow made it to the end of this diatribe, be a man! I’m so sorry for how we have emasculated you. We need you to step up, to lead, to provide, to pursue and to cherish. Women have done a lot of damage, but you can be God’s vessel to help redeem what the enemy has stolen.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. –Proverbs 31:30-31
And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. 10 For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. – 1 Timothy 2:9
“Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!” -Coco Chanel