So, God and I have been discussing my femininity lately~ or lack thereof.
I just don't feel dainty and pretty,I tell Him. You were created to be a woman,He tells me. To me, being a woman means a lot of things~ it means a lot of work, it means being in the submissive role, it means dresses and childbirth and child raising and most of all, being gentle. As I re-read C. Mahaney's book Feminine Appeal,I am reminded afresh of an important principal in God's kingdom, when she says the 7 feminine virtues we will consider in in this book are not an end in themselves. They point to the transforming effect of the gospel in the lives of women~ women who have turned from their sins and have been forgiven and whose hearts have been changed. Maybe that's the problem~ I have sins that I am chersishing and I am not wanting to turn from them? There are so many times when what is considered to be traditionally feminine seems to rub me the wrong way,there are also many times that meditating on Christ's utter selflessness and obedience to the point of a sinners death on a cross, and the selfless life of service He calls me to as a ransomed one,kicks up dust in the corners of my heart that I would rather keep swept under a rug somewhere...but that's not God's way,is it?
Instead,He digs up every motive and thought by the roots.When He fixes a problem, He doesn't just slap some duct tape over the broken spots, No He really fixes the problem ~ that means, it's not coming back up again!
I am looking forward to God's digging around in my heart,the tool of His word cutting through bone and marrow and bringing out what I need to see. I am also nervous,can I feminine? Feminine seems to equal powerlessness to me, a scary place for a * non-believer* and yet,I am a believer now~ it is time to trust God's word all the more, and believe it all the more.
...Can you concieve of anything that sets forth the beauty of the gospel jewel more brilliantly than the godly behavior of those who have recieved it?....
...Consider the lovliness of a woman who passionately adores her husband, who tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self-control, and kindness in her character and who gladly submits to her husbands leadership~ for all the days God grants her life... I dare say, there are few things that display the gospel jewel with greater elegance. This is true feminine appeal...
Wow, convicting words! And were I not "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" and if I didn't know that Psalm 138:8 were the true words of God: "the LORD will perfect that which concerns me", then I would be tempted to start thinking now "Yeah maybe by the time I'm 80,I'll be like that..." lol. Well,it may be by the time I'm 80~ God alone knows His timing~ but I will certainly pray for a sooner debut than that of godly femininity in my heart!
The struggles that come with being submissive to God's will are real; this is not the easy life~ this is self-denial,self-control,laying things down,being right and still having to be unheard for awhile; this is nothing compared to what Jesus went through for us!, and yet my sinful heart still complains. To my shame I flipped that last bit of admonishment from Carolyn's book inside out when I first heard it and hastily scribbled into my book the reverse of her words,so that it would apply to men,basically substituting A Man wheerver she said A Woman and read these new words with self-satisfaction: I was not the only one ceasing to be the godly pinnacle of my sex! While it may be true that a godly man would do well to exemplify her words in reverse,my motive in doing that was not muddled to God: I was taking the blame for my own sin off of myself, and desperately looking for someone else to blame... I was flogging on in my mind about a man who "gladly loves his wife sacrificially, while accepting leadership of the famiy,for all the days God grants him life..."
My husband has not arrived any more than I have and yet I concentrated on where he needed to grow instead of on where *I* needed to grow!
Reading Jeremiah 17:9, the heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately wicked I am convicted afresh that my heart is indeed decietful, and that I will not grow in holiness unless I will submit to Matthew 7:4-5,how can you say to your brother,`Let me take the speck out of your eye,'when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
It is so easy to blame our sin on other peoples sin!
I am not saying all of this to expose my husbands sin, clearly my aim is to expose my own sin,but my point is this,that since the scriptures say that not one is righteous, No not one, then that means not only will our loved ones remain with sin until they get to Heaven but so will we,and to say that God is exposing to me that my sin has no excuse that can cover it~ only the blood of Jesus can cover it.
And only the blood of Jesus washes my heart and makes me want to change,to walk in a manner that's worthy of the gospel.
As my friend Beth prayed for me the other day as I shared about this,Lord help me to, as a Christian woman~ be patient and self-controlled and kind,that when tempatations are all around me that I would fix my eyes on Jesus and run the good race, and not giving my attentions to my circumstances. That I would not grow weary in doing good. Thank You, Beth!
I also found this prayer and I liked it very much;I intend to write it next to her prayer on the post-it in my Bible: "O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst. This we ask for thy name’s sake. (Prayer of William Barclay, 20th century) I thought that this would also be a good prayer to go over with God, many times.
Please join hands with me in prayer that God will work thoroughly and faithfully to weed out whatever is unlovely in me and that He will continue to make me more gentle,more humble, a trait I am always thinking of as this elusive feminity~ but maybe it is humility that is elusive to me,not femininity. Pray that His will be revealed? Thank You,friend!