The church needs more strong-willed women than ever before.
Our culture has a lot to say about strong women. Yet there is a difference between a truly strong woman and a woman who fronts strength as a means to an end. Today’s emphasis on independence, self-sufficiency, and personal success is a form of strength, but it’s not the kind that lasts.
When I look at Proverbs 31, I see the ultimate “strong woman”. She was literally “made her arms strong” (Prov. 31:17). She worked late, gave to charity, and was not afraid of the future. She was not only fashionable – she was “clothed in strength and dignity” (v. 25). Many women around her had done excellently, but she surpassed them all (v. 29).
How could she be so successful in an age with no women’s rights whatsoever?
How could she accomplish so much as a simple wife and mother?
How could she be praised in the gates – the place of authority and power – by none other than her husband and the men who knew him?
She accomplished all these things because of a secret strength within her. That same strength is within every Christian woman today. Christian women are empowered women, and allow me explain why.
We Are Confident
As noted in my previous posts on modesty (5 Myths of Modesty and Motive to Modesty), covering ourselves up is not so much about how many inches lies between our collar bone and our cleavage. Modesty is humility; the willingness to make sacrifices in order to prove to the world that she worships God.
Here’s the truth: it would be really easy for us to show off what we have. It would please our self-image and stroke our ego.
But we are confident enough to cover up. (Here’s why)
If you’re a Christian woman, you have that confidence as well. Choosing modesty takes strength. (See the video)
We Are Secure
Insecurity attacks us every day through our looks, work, future, and even our friends. It alters how we can view the world and twists how we treat others. Indulging our insecurities can destroy us as women of confidence and kindness.
But because of who we are as Christian women, we are secure:
We are loved (1 Jn. 3:3)
We are accepted (Eph. 1:6)
We are joint heirs with Jesus (Rom. 8:17)
We are saints (Eph. 1:1)
We are redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14)
Because we are inheritors of such grace, we are secure in ourselves and around others.God has given us identity, we don’t need to demean the people around us to feel good about ourselves.
We Are Respectful
It is from this security in Christ that I can respect someone who disrespects me. When I do not retaliate in anger, I’m not giving up my ‘rights’; I am extremely conscious of the offenses of others. But I’m handing them over to my God, who is my defense (Psalm 59).
Since God is also my justice, I know that any retribution due to a person will be given to them in time (Romans 12:19). With God as my defense and justice, I can show respect to those who don’t deserve it – even men – knowing that God will protect and uphold me.
This is why I will respect my husband: Because it pleases God, it promotes a peaceful marriage, and because God Himself is my defense.
Strong women are secure enough to respect people around them, including men. Choosing respect takes strength.
We Are Real
I used to look down on emotional women. My mother was very ‘together’ emotionally and I strove to be the same. To cry was weakness, and I didn’t want anyone to see me weak.
But a truly strong woman doesn’t take pride in aloofness. Her strength motivates a humility and transparency to which other women can relate. The same strength that gives her self-control gives her an authenticity. Her family knows she is not only their rock, but a woman. She has a heart. We cannot share our hearts without exposing them to threat of pain; that is the risk we take. But it was also a risk our God took.
Strong women are genuine with their emotions, but emotion is not our master.
We Are Ambitious
I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my short lifetime. I was taught to work hard not so I could free myself from perceived societal shackles but because God put me in this world for a purpose, and my work is a part of that. All I do is supposed to be done to please the One who made me. So I work.
I also work to advance my own career. I work to help provide money for myself and make an honest living. I don’t ask others to provide for me, but I will humbly accept my husband’s provision now that I’m home with my daughter – though I continue to bring in an income from home.
I am motivated to succeed in my work because not only is it personally satisfying, but because it pleases God. In fact, I am more motivated to work because I don’t just answer to myself.
Our work is the eternal kind. What we do has lasting impact, whether in our homes or in the office. And to the moms in the midst of dry cheerios and sippy cups, soccer practice and home school curriculum – you are training leaders. You are leading souls to Christ. You are the mentor, the pastor, the nurse, the comfort, the hope of your children. Don’t let anyone demean your job.
Strong women are motivated to success because God has set them up for it – whatever their present calling.
We Are Empowered
The pioneers of the feminist movement facilitated change based on the value of a woman to society. Today, our culture is more concerned with the value of a woman to herself.
Today’s feminist worldview is self-protective. It trusts in and depends on no one but self. This worldview creates a league of women who cannot support one another, much less unite under a common cause.
These, our world declares – these are empowered women.
But having power means nothing when that power is spent on the furtherance of me. The spirit of power within a Christian woman mobilizes her into service of people. For God so loved them – so does she.
Many of secular feminists serve their communities and have their causes, even good ones. But a Christian woman has an eternal cause. Her work will last beyond her death and into eternity. Her God set the example of service when he washed the dirty feet of his followers, healed the lame and leprous, and cradled little children in his arms.
Strong women are empowered not for self, but for others.
My friend, God qualifies you because He is your strength. There is no stronger woman in the world than you, right now, with the power of God within your very being.
You, Christian woman, are called to the impossible.
Only the strongest of women, with an even stronger God, can live a life like that.