Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Biblical Womanhood series. Be sure to check out the rest of the series here.
Never has a blank page tormented me as much as this one. Biblical womanhood? This is hard. It’s difficult to think of something that is more “touchy” for women than a discussion of what femininity from the Bible means.
The only place to start for me is in Genesis and the garden. When God made Eve, He began human relationships for the first time. Before her, Adam was alone. God made him aware of his “aloneness” by having him notice all of the other pairs of animals go by as he named them. In a garden full of goodness and completeness, one thing was not good: “it was not good for man to be alone.” (Gen 2:18) Eve, before the fall, was the answer. She brought with her the first heart-connection between humans. Her name means “life”, and she was designed in a special way to bring forth life and nurture it with her very body. I believe that God designed our hearts to match our role of completer, life-bringer. We have an aptitude to bring life, color, and connection into our relationships with our families and the people around us. Doesn’t that describe us? Isn’t that what we are about on our best days?
If Spiderman has taught us anything, though, it’s that with great power comes great responsibility. We all know what happened in the garden, and how Eve was first to take the forbidden fruit. The fall that brought sin into the world touches us all. The very blessing of our femininity that was designed to bring life, can now bring death and suffering into relationships. Have you read Proverbs? There are warnings in that book of womanhood gone awry. Most warnings against sin and foolishness are universal, but there are a few that are uniquely for women, and we should perk up and pay attention. Some of the words that are repeated over and over again are quarrelsome and nagging.
When we bring a quarrelsome and nagging tone into our relationships, we bring suffering where we should be bringing life. The visual depiction of this in Proverbs is so sad that it is almost funny:
“A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” (12:4)
“a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.” (19:13)
“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” (21:9)
“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” (21:19)
“A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm;” (27:15)
The very blessing of our femininity that was designed to bring life, can now bring death and suffering into relationships.
So here it is. We can
bring life, blessing, and relationship to those in our lives, or we can torment them. Sin always has a gravitational pull toward self. MY rights. MY way. MY argument. MY feelings.
Lest you think the writer of Proverbs likes to pick on women, you need to read it all the way through. The climax of the book, the crowning moment, is the description of the home that is overwhelmingly blessed by a wise, God-fearing woman. The “wisdom book” ends with an ode to a woman that made all the difference in the lives of the people she touched. She brought life! Read Proverbs 31 today, and read it often. It makes me excited to be a follower of Christ in a way that is uniquely female. What a humbling honor and privilege to be called a woman.
It makes me excited to be a follower of Christ in a way that is uniquely female. What a humbling honor and privilege to be called a woman.
Whether or not you are a wife or mother, you are a daughter of Eve and can be a woman of blessing. You have an influence and an ability to set the tone toward connection and life, or self, quarreling and strife.
Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
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Image Credit: Susan Sermoneta, Creative Commons