I’m in the midst of a little blog series about gender and why it’s important. I think if God made two very different genders to carry forth the human race, then he was really thinking intentionally and there are things about his character he wants to reveal in each unique gender. You can read Part 1 here.
Part 2 is an exhortation to women and girls of all ages to use your gift of womanhood to glorify God and love people well.
To the girls:
I’ve been reading some good old Christian romance lately. I’m speaking mainly of Grace Livingston Hill and Lori Wick. I read a copious amount of these novels as a young teenager, and while some may say I was too young for “romance,” I’m so glad my mom allowed me to read these kinds of books because it gave me such an amazing framework for what godly women and men looked like and how they should conduct romantic relationships.
In re-reading them, I’ve noticed many things I didn’t notice as a twelve and thirteen year old girl, so I’m sharing them in Part 2 of Why Gender Matters. I believe in “old fashioned womanhood” because I see the fruits of it in legacies of strong marriages and families, and I see a commitment to the word of God I just don’t see much anymore. When I have daughters, I plan to teach them about the incredible gift of being a woman, and how it was not a biological accident that they came to be this way. God created them for a purpose and a destiny, best accomplished through their femininity.
I will teach them to be humble.
Humility is equated with oppression nowadays, but the women I read about were incredibly humble and not at all oppressed. God exhorts us to be humble: Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10). Of course, humility is nor relegated to women, but we have unique opportunities to serve those around us, and I believe God is glorified as we put others before us. Serving is not a curse, it is a blessing! This is something I want us all to realize. Some will say, “Of course serving is good, but it’s only good if it’s your idea and you want to serve others sacrificially.” Well to me, that’s not really serving-that’s helping. We have a quote on our fridge that says “The true test of a servant is if I act like one when I am treated like one.” I’ll just leave that here.
As women, it’s so easy to be prideful, and this is something I struggle with so often. I want my daughters to consider others before themselves in the way they act, speak, and dress. This is not about a performance. This about the pinnacle of Christlike character. Don’t fall into the trap that says thinking about other people means you have no identity. Esther humbled herself before her husband, which was a huge act of courage! Ruth humbled herself before her mother in law, which took an immense amount of restraint. Last week, I humbled myself before my parents and followed their directive in something I really didn’t want to do. I am 23. I still need to be humble. And here you may say, “What about men?? Shouldn’t they be humble too? This isn’t a gender specific issue, Sarah…”, No, it’s not, but God made me a woman and my desire is to glorify him in every aspect of who I am, and being a woman is huge part of who I am, so naturally it’s going to come into play.
Girls, look for opportunities to be humble. Let people in front of you. Accept correction. Use discretion. Serve joyfully, especially when you are treated as such.
Lord, teach me to be humble.
1 Peter 3
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
I wil l teach my daughters to be meek.
Most of us think of a pitiful kitten when we think of meekness, a character trait often applied to women in the bible. But in my studies I’ve come to see meekness is not equivalent to being a doormat. In fact, in this article on this site, it is described as such:
The word “meek” is the Greek word praus, a word that describes the attitude of one who is friendly, warm, forbearing, patient, kind,and gentle. This would picture someone who is just the opposite of a person who is angry, temperamental, or given to outbursts of anger. Although a meek person faces opportunities to react in anger or to get upset, he or she has chosen to be controlled, forgiving, and gentle. Thus, “meek” people are individuals who have become skilled at controlling themselves and their temperament. You might say that meekness is power under control.
What does power under control look like? It looks like having deep convictions and not having to shout them in other people’s faces to feel heard. It means not allowing people to “rile you up” on Facebook. It means coming into contact with people who are very different from you and remaining kind and patient, when it would be so much easier to fly off the handle and tell them “how it is.”
I have a very strong personality and there are few things I enjoy more than a rousing theological discussion or debate. When I first started to think about meekness, I felt like a deep part of who I was would have to change because I thought meekness meant quietness.
I was wrong! Meekness means having deep, unshakeable convictions. It means being powerful and brave and strong, and controlled. The women I admire most have very strong personalities, but they don’t allow their words to slice and and wound for the sake of being heard. Yes, women should be heard and they are important, but meekness says “I know I’m important because of whose I am and I don’t need to prove it to anyone. “
Women in these books I read are incredibly meek. They are principled, articulate, and full of conviction. But they do not curse or hurl their opinions sarcastically or passive -aggressively. They are powerful, but controlled.
Lord, teach me to be meek.
Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
I will teach my daughters to be kind.
One of the best songs on the radio right now is Humble and Kind, sung by Tim McGraw. It speaks to the importance of humility and kindness and thinking of others before you think of yourself. Again, I know kindness applies to men and women, but I want girls to use every part of who they are to glorify God, and we can learn so much by being kind.
Invite the girl you’re not crazy about to lunch, compliment someone, make a local family dinner. Kindness is not complicated, but it takes effort. I want my daughters to use their feminine qualities to make others feel welcome and loved. You know the feeling when you walk into someone’s home and you feel so very welcome? I want to create that environment in the home of my heart so people feel safe and loved around me. Kindness is not the same as being nice. We all know the difference beet someone saying “It’s so good to see you!” with a plastic smile, and when someone says it and they truly mean it. Kindness requires the guidance of the holy Spirit, and it’s most important to be kind when we would really rather not be kind.
Lord, teach me to be kind.
[ Character of the New Man ] Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
Let’s pull out all the stops, girls! Let’s refuse to be ok with a culture which exonerates brash, prideful, women with no discretion. (Which I can be so easily!) Let’s look to Jesus, the ultimate example, for how we are to conduct ourselves. Let’s bring kindness, humility and meekness back in style and allow God to form us into the beautiful women he destined us to be before time began!
Let God into every part of you, including who you are as a woman or girl, and allow him to make you into a reflection of his love.