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Redefining Biblical Womanhood: Series Introduction

biblical womanhood series

Recently, I was in a dark place. I was feeling more trapped every day by the person I wanted to be and the box I was pushed into because of my XX chromosome pairing.

I was washing dishes one day, staring blankly at the tiles in front of me, while my mind raced through the contradictions of my female identity.

The world saw potential in me, while the church placed limitations on me.

At the same time, the world disapproved of my religious perspective, while the church championed me forward.

When the anxiety and inner turmoil began to bubble up turned into regular crying fits and difficulty breathing, I knew I needed to reach out for help.

I shot off an email to a mentor and Christian woman I respect greatly, and it went something like this:

It seems like the year of overseas preparation we had really focused on our personalities and their strengths and weaknesses. I felt fairly self-actualized walking into so many of our training sessions, but now I feel like I am just lost in a sea of lies about who I am and how God made me.

I continue to compare myself to others, wishing I could be quieter or wiser. And I am having a really hard time loving who I am in my loud, opinionated body.

I carry much guilt for wanting to work, for enjoying taking on projects, and for wanting to dialogue with the world about so many topics. Many days I think I should just want to stay home with my daughter and make homemade cookies or something. But this is not where I thrive.

I think all these feelings have somehow gotten mixed up with my theology, and I am not even sure God is pleased with who I am. That if I speak {especially when it’s bold} that I am out of line. And I feel so trapped by this feeling, because so many days there is this fire in my bones that is being quenched by my own fear of not being ‘wise’ like those good ‘churchy’ women.

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There it is. That’s what you need to know. In my darkest place as a woman to date, these were the burdens of my heart.

Thankfully, my mentor lady responded quickly to my outpouring of inner pain, and breathed some life into me.

She sent me straight to Scripture, and recommended what turned into a three-week study of women in the Bible.

Sarah. Ruth. Deborah. Abigail. Bathsheba. Mary. Phoebe. Priscilla. Lydia. Jael. Miriam.

Her list was more exhaustive, but the time I spent reading about these ladies again was formative for me. As were these words by my mentor:

Don’t let the ‘evangelical’ view of women get in the way of God’s view of women.

I soaked her words up like a sponge. And I set out to reexamine what God wanted to teach me about my identity and my role in the family unit, in the church, and in the world.

On the Myers-Briggs Personality Matrix, I am an ENTJ. This puts me in the rarest personality type among women. You can all breathe easy that there’s less than 1% of us firecrackers out there. {You can check your personality type out here.}

I realize that my competitive, driven, administrative personality gives me a unique perspective when it comes to defining the rules of Biblical womanhood. So I need to say this:

There’s no part of me that wishes to buck submission, and I have a high value for my heart being shepherded by the men in my life.

There’s no part of me that desires to lead a church. Goodness knows that every 28 days the whole place would blow up and burn to the ground.

But there is a huge part of me that wants to better understand God’s heart for women in modern times.

I have a pretty strong conviction that as a church, we need to take a second look at the roles God envisioned for women when He made us in His image.

I have a sense we all have fallen prey to the nasty effects of comparison, misunderstanding, and disappointment.

As Christian women, we have desired to be acknowledged, to be empowered, and to be involved in the ministry of the church.

We have been hungry for richer time in the Word. We have longed for clarity about our giftedness. We have wanted a real place at the table.

Above all, we have ached for our identity to be wrapped up in Christnot our babies’ spit up or our singleness or our husbands’ ministries.

That’s why I’m starting this series, which will eventually lead to a small group curriculum with videos, discovery Bible studies, and resource materials.

I’m on a journey to appreciate my gifts and my value as a woman, while still recognizing my place as a humble servant at the foot of the cross.

Anne Marie Miller once said, I believe in a sovereign God. He has made me woman and He has called me. The two can’t contradict.

I’m not a feminist. I’m not a footstool.

I’m a woman who wants to understand her place in the Kingdom, and I want God to be the one Who defines it.

If you are a woman and you have questioned your role in your family, your church, or the world at large, I hope you’ll join me in this conversation. Comment below or contact me directly—I want and need to hear your heart on this matter.

Will you join me? Will you share with me here? I have a vision of an entire community of women coming together to richly study the Word as we allow it to transform our identity in Christ.

Married and Single. Divorced and Widowed. Mothers and Childless.
Old and Young. Introverts and Extroverts. Corporate workers and SAHMs.

We are all women. Bible-loving, Spirit-seeking, Faith-dependent women.

Let’s not let the evangelical view of us get in the way of God’s view of us.

Comments

comments

Becca KelloSeptember 14, 2014 - 7:01 am

I too have been there; I’ve struggled with the fact that I am more than a hollow shell of “womanhood”. What troubles me though, is how you can honestly engage with your God-given identity and still put boundaries around who he can make you be; is this truly possible, or will we just be rewriting the Evangelical Womanhood with more firecrackerness?

We will disagree, because I am a feminist, and I am a woman who is being called to serve in leadership of a church and I’m not worried about it going up into flames just because of how God designed my body. So, I’m not looking for an argument, but genuinely would like to engage with you about this, because I am proud of this push for a better version of what it means, but I am troubled that the way you go about it will only lead to more women starring blankly at their kitchen wall feeling trapped.

lmpinkston@gmail.comSeptember 14, 2014 - 11:18 am

Hi Becca – thanks for sharing your heart. I have no intentions of putting boundaries on who God has made me (or anybody else) to be. I think that’s why we turn back to scripture always–and not just the verses about women specifically. We have to believe that the whole Bible was written for us, too, and that we are held to the same standards of obedience and action as men. This will be the topic of next week’s discussion.

I’m sure there are lots of definitions of feminists out there, so I won’t chase any rabbit trails with titles. But I also won’t discourage you from serving in a leadership role in the church. Check out this post – I really like how she puts it. http://www.annemariemiller.com/2014/06/11/dont-feel-disadvantaged-woman-ministry/

The last thing I would ever want to do would be to stick women back in their kitchens staring blankly at the walls. I’m not sure you really caught my heart in this post. I hope you’re finding clarity in your own journey of identity in Christ, and discovering that tricky balance of liberty and servanthood. It’s a hard line to walk.

April VanceSeptember 15, 2014 - 9:11 am

I am in sweet Lauren! You are such an inspiration to a wide array of ladies, more than you realize! Just you sharing your heart & soul with us ladies here is an inspiration!!! Most of us would love to be able to speak/write as eloquently as you! Keep doing what you are doing and God will continue to use you to lift up other God-fearing women to become GREAT assets in His Kingdom!

RebeccaSeptember 15, 2014 - 10:50 am

Thank you for your heart! I’m looking forward to this study and the discussions to follow!

[…] This post is part of a series titled Redefining Biblical Womanhood. Read the heart behind this series here. […]

DeenaSeptember 20, 2014 - 9:17 pm

You remind me of a younger me. A woman with a voice! God made us this way for a purpose. Blessings on your journey!