In prayer, in worship, in the church setting, and every other faith situation in between, there’s a lot of “He” going on…but what about she?
Men play dominant roles in Christianity. Traditionally, the man is the minister, the leader, and the stability behind families and communities. Women of God seem to take the backseat to it all, simply rearing children, raising families, and serving men.
As a strong, independent woman of God herself, let me tell you, women are SO MUCH MORE than that! We are still making progress toward true equality with men, but that doesn’t mean a woman of God is any less than a man. Regardless of sex or gender, we are all equally loved in His eyes.
Many might cite the beginnings of sin falling upon a woman’s shoulders as Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit. Not to mention the ancient patriarchal society where women seemed to be traded around like baseball cards, men seeing women as “less than” and rarely mentioning their significance beyond if they were virgins or not.
First off, we have to realize the context of the Bible. Back when the original tribes of Israel were in wishy-washy relationship with God, women had their specified roles that centered on family. Never would they be taken seriously or be allowed to choose their own husbands, become community leaders, or earn any recognition for being progressive and innovative.
Times have changed from then, and thank goodness for that. From what we know about the authors of the Bible, they were likely all men, so even if women did try to break from their traditional molds, who knows if we’d ever hear about it.
Now we recognize and empower one another. How we define equality and view one another as diverse individuals has taken on new meaning. I believe this is exactly how God is intending us to evolve and reaffirm what true love and respect for one another looks like. Man himself could not live alone, so God created the woman to equally stand behind man. We can do anything a man can, and we’ve reached a point in history where that truth is setting women free from limiting herself and her potential.
Women of God examples.
Even though I mentioned that the Bible is pretty outdated in terms of its societal roles, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t include some amazing examples of strong women acting for God’s Word.
Hannah was barren, a disgrace in biblical times where again, having children was a woman’s main goal. She begged the Lord for a child. In return, she promised to dedicate this young man to God’s service. She prayed to God so intently, her lips moved silently with the words she spoke to God in her heart. Her son was born and she followed through on her promise. Her son grew up to be Samuel—one of the most influential and godly men in the Bible.
Ruth was immensely compassionate and loyal. After her husband and two sons died, she bravely decided to join her mother-in-law Naomi on a journey to a land she had never been to before. Ruth 1:16 says, in context of Ruth speaking to Naomi, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” These two women, both widows, were strong and independent in taking care of themselves and working when they’d otherwise be reliant upon their husbands. This hard work went recognized by Boaz, whom Ruth eventually marries.
In the story of Esther, King Artaxerxes chooses Esther to be his new queen, but he doesn’t know she is Jewish. Her uncle Mordecai refused to bow down to the king’s new adviser Haman, who got so angry that he wanted Mordecai and all of the Jewish people killed. Queen Esther knew she could stop the massacre by telling the king she was a Jew – and after inviting the king and Haman to two dinner parties, she finally worked up the courage to tell him. Haman was killed, the Jews were saved, and Esther became a hero to her people. By bravely voicing her views despite the potential repercussions, Esther didn’t let her role as a woman stop her.
What does a woman of God look like?
Before anything else, a woman of God is like any other child of God accepting Jesus Christ as her savior. She accepts the Holy Spirit working through her, and she practices her faith through prayer, Scripture, and worship. In these ways, expectations to love another, show compassion, and help those in need should be viewed no differently among genders.
Proverbs 31 is most popular in depicting what God desires in a woman following His Word. These qualities are ones of noble character, to work hard, open her arms to the poor and needy, and embody strength even in times of chaos and struggle. Verses 25 and 26 say, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”
Our beauty and charm as women do not define us. Our beauty comes from living through Christ. As 1 Peter 3 says, a woman of God’s beauty is of her “inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” That doesn’t mean you cannot be bold or loud, and you should stand up for what you believe in, especially if it’s motivated by Him. We should be free to make our own decisions and live our best lives according to what God has planned for us.
Simply put, being a woman of God is empowering because He empowers us. We are strong through Him. We deserve equal rights and respect because we are all His children. We can serve in roles of leadership within society and the church because He calls us to be bold and utilize the gifts He has given us. We are so much more than our bodies and beauty because they are fleeting, and He has granted us minds and spirits that stand the test of time.
Being a strong Christian woman isn’t a contradiction: it’s a right and blessing we have. We recognize the biblical roots where we come from, but we should continue moving forward. We should demand for respect. The kingdom of God is a place for all. Women of God have important opinions and abilities. The Holy Spirit working through us should only further encourage our progress. Without she, where would we be?
What qualities do you see in a woman of God?
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie