Purpose-filled Women

Women, Stop Acting Like Men

So I was listening to a message by Lisa Bevere and she made this statement, “Being a confident woman is not acting like a man.” I almost fell over, because that is the truth that so many ladies fail to understand. Furthermore, it picks at the implication of many feminists. Tony Evans put it like this, as far as value is concerned, men and women are equal, but their function is different.

God knew what He was doing when He created man and woman, if they were to be the same, He would have given them the same function, or created two men first or two women. Especially in the Epistles written by Paul, he lays out the function of each. I was actually at the nail salon and they had “The View” on and I was watching it (not a fan) and they brought up a quote from Kirsten Dunst (I believe) about how women need to be more feminine and take more of the female role and how it was a lost art, in a nutshell. So of course they talked about it, but really none of them agreed, and said that there should only be a difference in the bed room, and that a man and woman share responsibilities, and one of them is a lesbian so her view point is already tainted. Pause. I would have to agree with Kirsten Dunst, because feminism is a lost art and being a confident women has become all about being independent, stubborn, self-ambitious, with an “I don’t need a man” mindset. First off, Paul explicitly says that men and women are interdependent on each another, and as my Uncle Jeff put it, you have never heard any man of any sort say, “I don’t need a woman,” but far too often you hear a woman say “I don’t need a man.”

It actually makes me think of the Taraji P. Henson’s character in “Think Like a Man,” when it was hard for her to have a healthy lasting relationship, because she was always acting like the man. Women are called to be women, act like ladies and not be afraid to be feminine, and if you read the last article you will see some qualities that make up a confident woman. But you may be asking, “So what is acting like a man?” From my understanding, it is a matter of seeking to be domineering, too strong-willed, and forcing their independent life on others, while your home life is suffering. We should not be always battling men to try and prove our worth, that disproves our confidence in who we are; being a confident woman is being confident in who it is that God created you to be, a woman, a lady. Now is this to say we are not individuals of different personalities and livelihoods? No, we are each unique with our styles, our own strengths and weaknesses, and we definitely can be independent and be passionate and strong leaders in our communities, and in many cases women and men can share the responsibilities. However, there are certain things that distinguish us from men and praise God for that! The way the culture and mass media sets it up, it’s hard to draw those lines just considering homosexuality that forces women to be men, or the reality shows that my last article discussed. So as you seek to be a confident woman or you seek to find a confident woman, desire to be or find a woman that understands who she is as a woman and finds her identity in Christ, it really is a beautiful thing. It’s okay to be strong but you have to be willing to be soft, it’s okay to be independent but you have to be willing to submit (it’s not a scary word). Men are more confident, able, and happy to be men most when their women are acting like women, not men, that’s when problems begin.

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Vashti

Empowerment comes with the idea of being confident in who you are no matter how much a person or a circumstance could persuade you to compromise you dignity, respect, or worth. The story of Esther in the Bible is all about women empowerment and rising above to change a generation, but for the sake of this article, there is one character I want to draw attention to: Vashti.
If you are at all familiar with the Biblical story of Esther, Vashti is the queen in the beginning of the story that lost her crown, because she refused to come down to the king’s banquet. Now it is unclear exactly her reasoning for defying the king’s command, but many believe she didn’t want to be paraded around in front of a whole room full of drunk men. There are so many things that can be called into questioning as far as how it all happened, but still considering, I would have to say that Vashti was a women of confidence, self-respect, and dignity. Even with the pressure of disobeying the king and fear of losing her crown, her position as queen, she was not going to sell out.

Just thinking about that aspect of the story, more of us women need to be like that. Too often we sell out and devalue ourselves for money, possessions, attention, love, sex, work, or a variety of other things. I just want to encourage you to stand your ground, your worth is so much more than superficial or counterfeit love, so much more than new shoes or you bills paid, so much more than a job in this not so good economy. God has created you to be treasured and treated like a queen, not misused, taken advantage of, or abused; so any person that treats you or makes you feel otherwise, no matter who they are to you, it’s time to get out of that situation.

Like Vashti, yeah, standing up for what you will and will not accept, for your worth, or your respect, it may cost you a job, a boyfriend, a relationship, or even money, but God will never leave you hanging and will set you up in His time and in His way, if you let Him, to be the greatest you that you can be, surrounded by people that value and appreciate you.

In the same breath, when you see all these reality television shows (i.e. Bad Girls Club, Real Housewives of…, Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, etc), TV dramas (I Am Mary Jane; Scandal), and a lot of these videos spiraling across the web (i.e. Sharkesha, World Star Hip Hop), an empowered woman is so far from what they promote. Furthermore, these videos constantly show women fighting and battling one another and just being obscene and anything but lady like. We have dishonored our name and womanhood by this disunity that has corrupted our culture. It’s time to break away and break free from that curse of bad chick, loud, rude, fake everything, angry, needy, side chic stigma that we are up against and is shown so often. We have to show that we are better than that. We can work together; we are intelligent; we are strong; we are forgivers; we can let it go; we can smile; we can pray; we can make a difference; we do have something to offer this world; we are gifted and unique; we are confident in who we are even without the make-up, weaves, nails, heels, and hand bags; we truly live as if we fear the God we say we believe in; we know how to hold our tongue; we can be leaders; we can have a solid family; we are not afraid to go against the mold; we are awkward at times; we are individuals; you can show us off to your mother; we have morals and standards; we can be submissive; we are self-controlled; we can keep our legs closed; we can keep our hands to ourselves; we can work together; we can be positive; we can be happy and celebrate one another; we are world changers; we are powerful; we are resilient; we have dreams, visions, and ideas; we are fearless; we are teachable; we can make sound and wise decisions; we can be an example; we can be empowered women. We can. We are.

To Be a Woman

Being a woman, there is nothing like it. For so many reasons I can say that I am so happy that God created and chose that I be a female, although I can’t lie, because there are times I wonder what my life would be like if I was a man. Nonetheless, as a woman, we have so much at our feet. Just on a superficial level, I am proud to be a woman because of all the option in make-up, hair, accessories, clothes, shoes; men don’t have those option to choose flats or heels, short or long dress, studs or chandelier earrings, or a bronzy or colorful eyeshadow look.

As a woman, we are what the man is not, soft, delicate, feminine, tolerant, the voice of reason, nurturing. We were made differently, we think differently, we give and receive love differently, we feel differently, and we operate just in a whole other dimension than men. Now is that to say that sometimes things don’t overlap, of course not, because we are each unique, various personalities, cultures, education levels, desires, interests, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and talents.

In today’s society, women are often times scene as sexual beings with little intelligence or intellect, but I beg to differ. Yes, we are sexual creatures, and done in God’s design, we are to use our sexuality to bring pleasure to our husbands. However, God gave us a mind, reason and emotion to make up for what a man can’t produce. In ministry alone, it is said that a 75% of ministries that fail, fail because a man didn’t listen or take the advice of his lady. James Brown wrote the lyrics “it’s a man’s world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl,” and I’m sure you heard the statement, “behind every good man is a great woman.” You see, we are women, we hold so much power that many of us fail to realize. The insight we have to offer, the wisdom, the finesse, the awe factor, the extra something, the “it” factor, that’s who we are. God created us to keep this world going. What we are given we turn it into something great, whether taking a sperm and making a baby, a house and turning it into a home, or a smile and create a love that won’t falter.

In the same breath, we are the backbone. We are the neck, which means we have the ability to turn the head any way we want, with discretion of course. I just love being a woman. God has a special place in His heart for women, just look through the Song of Solomon. God has a special purpose for his princesses, his daughters and he wants them to stand up and rise up for what He wants to accomplish that requires a woman’s touch. Have you noticed that even in prayer, yes it’s great to heat men pray, but it’s like the heavens open when women cry out to God in only the way only they can.

As a woman, there are perks that I love, like having doors opened, having meals paid for, being pampered because that is a lady. If nothing else, if God allows, we have the opportunity to give birth, that in and of itself is a miracle.

I just want to encourage women to be proud and confident in your womanhood. There is enough bad press going around, it is time for women to be bold and release the power locked inside and break free from the chains and bondage so many of us are trapped in, which was not God’s intention. God created you for such a time as this, recognize your place and acknowledge your womanly role and function at home, in work, in ministry. It’s all worth it. You are worth it. You are the gem of man, and to let any man or any other person or thought to creep and tell you otherwise is destroying what God purposed and undermining what He feels for you and what he has called you to be.

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, & Mary – Imperfect on Purpose

When you look back in Biblical times, it was a very patriarchal society. Women had very few rights and or privileges; they were seen and not heard. Even still, being Christmas, looking at the life of Christ, he gave purpose and value to women – woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, and so many others. Nonetheless, one of the things I found most interesting and intriguing is found in the very genealogy of Jesus.

Looking through Scripture, in nearly all of the genealogies listed in both the old and new testament, there are rarely women listed. It’s mostly “the son of…” However, in the very lineage of Christ given in the first chapter of Matthew, there are five women listed…Yes. Five. What’s even crazier is that these women, or families they represent, are everything but perfect. They got some serious issues.

First on the list is Tamar (Matt 1:3), found in Genesis 38. The story of Tamar is a story of tamarincest. Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah – Jesus was to come from the tribe of Judah. To sum it up, Judah had three sons and before it was over, none of them produced any offspring for the tribe to continue. Thus, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and slept with Judah and got pregnant, inadvertently preserving the line of Judah.

Second on the list is Rahab (Matt 1:5) , found in Joshua 2. This is a story of a prostitute, not even a Jew, who protected the spies of Israel as they were preparing to demolish her city, Jericho. As a result of her sacrifice, she and her family were protected. rahabThird on the list is Ruth (Matt 1:5) who happens to have a whole book in the Bible dedicated to her, Ruth. Ruth is the story of family and companionship and selflessness. Ruth as well, was not a Jew. She was from Moab, a pagan society. Moabites were some ruthwicked polytheistic people, the total opposite of the Jewish culture. Nonetheless, Ruth set on a journey as a widow, alongside her mother-in-law, Naomi, a Jew, to go back to the land of her people, the Israelites. Long story short, with the guidance of her Naomi, she found herself a husband, the kinsman redeemer, and found a spot in the lineage of Christ.

Fourth on the list is Bathsheba (Matt1:6), found in 2 Samuel 11. Although she is presented as “Uriah’s wife,” her story is far from unknown. Her story is one of betrayal, adultery, sorrow and bathsheba1murder. While married she committed adultery with the very King David and got pregnant. As a result, David had her husband killed, and like clock work God took the life of their son.

Last on the list is Mary, the very mother of Jesus – a young girl minding her business, when an angel of the Lord came and interrupted her life, so much in so she was pregnant before she got married. Back then, that was a social no no.mary-and-gabriel

The point in sharing these stories is one, to see the significance and value of a woman. On the other side, I want to give a brief insight in to how messed up Jesus’ family was. Still, God chose the least of these, to bring forth His precious son. So when people think Jesus came from a generations of water walkers, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I love Jesus so much more because of this. He had issues in his family just like everyone else; it identified him, but it didn’t define him. Although Jesus came from all of a dysfunctional family, he didn’t let that take his focus off of his mission here on earth. He was born to die. So let that be an encouragement to you as it is to me, that whatever background or family we come from, it may identify who we are, but it doesn’t have to define who we are. We can rise above and become all that God would want us to be.

As we celebrate this season, remember Christ. He was real, so real he chose imperfect people, on purpose, to bring His only begotten into the world. God can choose and use anyone he wants. He chose me; He chose you. He can take all your mess and create a miracle that will change history, as he did in the lives of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.

Jewel of the Garden: Woman

The more I hear and think about the story of creation and consider all the characters and flowergemthe events that took place, the more I am fascinated by the creation of women. I’d like to think of us, women, as the Jewels of the Garden. Unfortunately, in today’s world it’s hard to feel that beauty and value, when it is often times measured by the superficial. However, God knew what He was doing when He created woman. He had a special purpose for woman that makes her so unique, which is why as women, we have to find our identity in Christ alone, so that our greater purpose can be fulfilled. He already has proven his love, in that he loved us enough to die for us, therefore, we should love him enough to live for him. Nonetheless, the whole story of the creation of woman shows what David meant in Psalm 139, and how we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

To start off, I read a book by a great author named Donald Miller. In this book he laid out the events that took place before God brought Eve to Adam. First, He created the world, then He created man. However, the point he made was that right after God created him, He put him to work. He told Adam that he was to work it and watch over Eden, and on top of that to name all the animals…ALL of them (Genesis 2:15-19). Can you imagine how long that would have taken. Think about all the animals, in the land, water, and sky. More so, all of them had mates…except Adam. The interesting thing is that even before God told him to name the animals, He promised Adam that He’d give him a suitor, because it wasn’t good to be alone. I don’t think Adam quite understood the significance of what the Lord had promised, until he began to see the mates of each creature and how they complemented each other. Thus, seeing pair after pair, and watching their interactions, he was probably more excited to receive his. It had to be a very long process. Think about it, naming everything, then after a while you have to make sure you don’t use the same name, and then having to classify the types of creatures.

gems5So, when Adam was finally finished working, God put him to sleep. It was then that He took from Adam’s side, his rid, not the ground, and formed Eve. I heard my dad preach one time, that in pulling out from Adam, to created Eve, He took all that was feminine out of man and produced woman. This explains why there is such the connection between male and female; the very make up of a woman He took out of man. As a result, how do you think Adam felt when He first saw and met Eve? I would think excited, in awe, but most of all appreciative. I think he recognized the undeniable value and irreplaceable blessing of the gift God had given him, and the uncompromising purpose he saw within her. So if Adam felt this way about Eve and appreciated her ever so much, why would a woman settle for a man that treats and feels about her any differently? God’s purpose was never that a woman be abused, taken for granted, mistreated, and or neglected by any man. You are the precious jewel of the garden, God knew it and Adam knew it. David O. McKay said it best:

“Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.”

God already called you beautiful (Song of Songs 4:7) and truly takes delight and sings about you (Zephaniah 3:17). You are like a jewel in His crown. Do you know your worth?