In my younger years I bought into all of it so quickly I am embarrassed. Not even thinking to check it against what God has to say. I was a smart woman; I thought I knew what it meant to be strong.
I really had no clue.
When a woman was cheated on by her husband I would side with the throng shouting, “Leave that unfaithful jerk! You don’t deserve that. Move on and make him sorry. The children will get over it, they are better off without him.”
That is how I felt until meeting a woman who became like a mentor to me about 12 years ago. I admired her so much; she sang the praises of Jesus Christ and of her husband too. I longed to be that in love with my husband. After knowing her for about a year, she told me their story. A story of shocking infidelity and even more shocking reconciliation. A story of staying and not leaving, a story of a couple renewed and redeemed by the power of Christ alone. A victory story ordained by God.
Since that time I have walked with others who have gone through that same type of pain and have chosen to stay. I watched as God turned their anger into a passion to not allow Satan the win; watched their drive to serve God over serving their flesh and their desire to just run. I saw peace restored, husbands repenting, marriages now not just restored but soaring all for the glory of God.
Now I know I have witnessed the true strength of a woman.
Not so many years ago, my mental picture of a strong woman was one with ambition, who had a successful career and took care of her family. Someone who had it all together and worked hard to accomplish her dreams.
Now having walked with women who struggle with anxiety, wrestle with depression, and deal with chronic pain, I see real strength. These same women call on God for help, trusting in him to carry them on. They pick themselves up and walk out their doors to face a harsh world that they don’t seem to fit into. Despite the Enemy’s attacks, they keep getting back up and loving on others. They worship with passion and praise with joy. Doing battle bravely with the sword of God’s Word.
I used to think being a submissive wife was a joke. Offensive oppression and disturbing old church ways. Until I read how the Savior was crushed and hung on wood because he was submitting to his Father’s will…in order to save me…un-submissive and selfish me. Until I saw submission modeled out for me in relationships with such beauty that I can no longer argue against its purpose, command or its effectiveness. I now see how brilliantly marriages dance and thrive when strong women allow their partner to lead. She is his equal yet has different steps to tread with a beauty all her own. A beauty modeled after Christ and the Holy Spirit. Glorious and strong submission.
The career woman can be a strong woman in Christ, but she is also the woman who gives up her worldly status to stay home and raise her children. She is the one who stands up and says “No!” to the teaching of the world when everyone else is saying, “Okay, I guess, whatever.” She is the one who picks up her Bible to read instead of the latest trend novel. She is the one loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable. She cherishes her God-given gender and the beauty of its purpose. She is the one who chooses life instead of convenient murder. She is the one who works hard at pleasing her Lord even if that displeases the world around her.
The strong woman trusts in her God who tells her, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.
Ladies, don’t eat up the lies the world is trying to push down your throat. You know deep in your heart that God’s way always has been and always will be the best way. His opinion is the only one that matters. Show true strength in this world; admire true strength in this world.
Be determined to walk that narrow path of truth while others carouse down easy street. If you have been living with a misunderstanding of strength, time to take a stand and get it right. Hear God’s word today and let this be your prayer right now:
“For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” Psalm 86:10-12.