What is a Godly Woman, Anyway?

For as long as I have been a Christian I have felt as though I didn’t quite belong.

Every subculture has certain archetypes that it holds on to and within my subculture I have been drawn to the Christian archetype of what it means to be a godly woman.

Meek. Lowly. Servant. Humble.

Over the years countless biblical films, sermons, & Sabbath school quarterlies have left me with this unfortunate picture of what a woman of God should be.

For whatever reason, I have long felt that in order to be what God has required I must be silent, subservient, passive. I tried to bend myself to fit into a box, and I never quite fit.  I understood that I needed to educate my children in the ways of God, care for the home & closely monitor the food that my family ate. I needed to be always patient, love to cook & clean, and volunteer for things at the church.

But when I look at the list of qualities I find that I do not fit.  I am imperfect to be sure—but I am an independent, career-minded woman that is not only passionate about my family, but also about the greater world in which I live.

I hate oppression. Not in a volunteer-at-a-soup-kitchen kind of way, but a fierce hate.  I read about others suffering and I am moved to extremes. I want to travel there, meet them, free them, help. I dream of writing their stories, exposing their pain to the world in order to evoke change.

I love politics. I believe in our American democracy and I think every citizen should be well informed and politically active.  I care—deeply.

I am passionate about my family—but I am not a stay-at-home mom. I love my work. I love creating interesting ways to present amazing information to my students. I love to read the words of the great thinkers of history. It may seem nerdy, but I love it. Most days, I enjoy with relish every moment of my graduate classes.  I am better as a mom when I am fulfilling my own dreams.

I am opinionated—and I have been blessed enough to have a husband that loves me more because of that. I challenge him; he challenges me. We are intellectual equals and it makes us more powerful together.

I have spent a great number of years feeling as though I needed to somehow weaken myself in order to fit into the mold of a godly woman.  But I now realize that I was wrong. God doesn’t ask for weakness; he asks for strength.  He asks for servants, but he calls them to lead.

I want my three girls to grow up knowing that being a strong, well spoken, intelligent, independent, motivated woman is exactly what God requires. We don’t live in the 1600’s and there is no need for them to feel they have to choose between who they are, and who God has designed them to be.

So let me, if I may, interject a few of my own adjectives for a truly godly woman.

Strong. Smart. Decisive. Loving. Loyal. Passionate. Driven.  This is the picture I will paint for my girls.

What do you think a godly woman looks like?

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Finding Perspective in a World of Pain

Maturity brings perspective.

I have the distinct memory of a shopping trip to the Red Barn Market, a grocery store in the small town of Jonesburg, Mo.  I was with my mother; we had just finished gathering the necessities & were standing in the checkout line.  I remember the sound of the beep as the cashier slid each item, one by one, across the scanner.

That’s when my dream developed—my dream of being a checkout girl.

Now, as you may have guessed, as I matured I realized that my dream was really more of a nightmare. I have no burning desire to work as a checkout girl in Jonesburg, Mo. Yes, maturity brings perspective.

As we grow and change, so do our ideas and beliefs.  It is unrealistic to think that our childhood ideas should follow us into adulthood.  But…

This is precisely the problem that so many of us struggle with in today’s world—and it costs us dearly.

As children we are taught that God cares about our each and every need.  That He has the “whole world in His hands.” We are built with a fundamental understanding of how God works and who He is.

Our world is beautiful.

It is simple.

It is kind—and from that we draw conclusions about the God that created it.  We understand that He is beautiful, simple, & kind.

But as we grow our perspective changes.  We realize that this world we once found beautiful is sick. We see tsunami’s claiming the lives of thousands, wars driven by men hungry for money, & starving children in a world overflowing with food.  At this sight our vision of God is shattered, our understanding of His character altered, our faith shaken. Perhaps you have never struggled with this, but unfortunately that would place you in the minority. I have watched as friends have struggled and faltered. Many have walked away; some remain, but simply avoid the issue because they find no answers.

So, you ask, what is my point?

My point is this: the little view that we teach our children is flawed. We have misrepresented the very character of God.  We teach that He is in control of everything; that all that happens is from His hands.

I don’t know that I agree.

We raise children that believe their God is one who controls every aspect of their life. I believe this is problematic.

Is it true? Does God control every aspect of our lives? I don’t think so. Gasp.

Human beings are incredibly powerful, so powerful, in fact, that they are the only beings on this Earth that can limit God himself. We make choices, and those choices limit the power of God.

There was an accident not too long ago in the town where I used to live.  A group of young kids were riding in a car without wearing their seatbelts.  They were hit by a drunk driver, and the results were catastrophic.

Did God cause this? Did Satan?

The driver of the other car made the choice to drink that night. He made the choice to get into his car and drive.  Those kids made the choice to drive without wearing their seat belts.

God didn’t cause that to happen for punishment.

He didn’t cause that to happen to bring anyone to Christ.

He didn’t cause it at all.  We did.

The free will of human beings can limit the power of God.

Every time Christians take some awful event and give God credit for it, they’re tarnishing the very name of God, and I believe they are costing Heaven the souls of some.

The Bible says that God brings rain on the just and the unjust, that every good and perfect gift comes from the father of love. God is love. He does not cause accidents. He doesn’t give you cancer to bring you closer to Him. He didn’t cause sin and I don’t believe that He uses sin to bring about His purpose. We live in a sinful world; let us place the blame where it belongs—on us.

Of course, this is only my perspective. How do you find perspective in a world of pain?