Some time ago I decided to make my family’s favorite yeast rolls “for no reason.” Because they’ve been a special occasion staple in our family for nearly 20 years, I assumed I had the recipe down. After all, I had used it many times over the years. When the work of mixing and kneading was done, I set the bowl of dough out on my patio for the first rising. Nearly 2 hours later I realized I had forgotten about it! I rushed out, expecting to find dough climbing over the sides of the bowl onto the patio table. But no. It had hardly risen at all! I didn’t have time to start all over so my no-special-occasion rolls never made it to the dinner table.
Over the past few years I have been relying on my memory about godly womanhood. After all, I have benefited from decades of teaching, and learned from dozens of speakers and authors. But we are all prone to drift. Like my daughter Janelle and her friend, we get distracted and then find ourselves in troubled waters. (If you didn’t read her story, you can find it here.)
When I started reading the DeMoss/Kassian book, True Woman 101, I wasn’t prepared for the impact it started having on my heart. The things I’ve been reading aren’t new to me. But the Spirit of God started pricking my heart with conviction that I have slowly and subtly allowed my heart to drift from keeping the truths of scripture before me on this issue. Like the dough, I’ve been relying on my memory and past study and now see I’ve been leaving some ingredients out.
Two quotes from this book have been rolling around in my head and heart: “‘True womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of His son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood” (John Piper) and, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman” (Elizabeth Elliot).
How can I display this glory and be this different kind of woman?
I think the answer for me is simple: by allowing God and His word (not myself or others) to define for me why I was created. You see, I was created primarily to know and reflect the One who gave His life for me and to share that incredible news with others. But I was also created to orient my life to the man I was chosen to help, to nurture and train our children, and to be a hard worker in our home.
Simple? Yes. I expect that most, if not all, of you who read this blog didn’t just read something profound. Smile. In fact, you live these principles out – tiring day in and day out. Whether single or married, kids or no kids, you love God’s word and the truths there and want to live according to His plan.
But are you like me and find yourself at times drifting from being a “different kind of woman?” Are you tempted to believe that good teaching naturally results in good living? Do you find yourself excusing the sometimes irresponsible draw to things outside your home with, “Oh, it’s just not that simple anymore; life has gotten busy and I don’t want anyone to tell me I have to stay home every day to clean toilets and scrub floors.”
The good news is no one should be defining for you and I what being a different kind of Christian women should look like. For some, it could mean never being married or having children (as with one of the authors of the book I’m reading); home education or public school; working only in the home or also outside the home; having one child or ten; having a schedule for keeping your own clean and tidy or playing it by ear. And certainly godly womanhood is far more than having clean toilets and floors!
There is only One who can define for you what being a “different” woman looks like in your life. And He has quite a bit to say about how we should be different than our non-believing counterparts. For years I’ve found great joy in those differences but I’m seeing how I’ve drifted into thinking I — rather than God’s word — have control over what I do with my time and energies.
So, like my near-drowned daughter, I’ve decided to start yelling for help. I don’t like everything God is saying to me 🙂 but I do love His word. I’m actually starting to get excited about how an aging Granma who has loved biblical womanhood for decades can recover from drift and what change is going to look like. By God’s grace, He has protected my affection for being a “different kind of woman”…but I know that change is never easy.
Off to get some laundry going…