“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NIV)
Most little girls dream of being a princess and living happily ever after with little stress or worry. One day, those little girls grow up and reality and fantasy collide. They will enter the workforce either in the marketplace or choose to stay home and raise children of their own. Even though she knows ‘happily ever after’ is a fairytale, somewhere that dream of being a princess and living ‘happily ever after’ lingers in the background of her mind.
Most women who are working in the marketplace struggle with balancing work and family. We may tear ourselves apart with our internal battles. A woman’s potential struggle of how to best invest time between her job in the marketplace and her job at home. The battle to be recognized as an equal player. The striving to be seen for her leadership, valued for who she is and for her contributions in the marketplace and at home. Seeking the affirmation from our culture–which does not come. But she keeps on dreaming.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function…We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Romans 12:4, 6 (NIV)
God has given each woman a unique purpose in life, along with the talents and spiritual gifts to fulfill it. Genesis 1 invites the woman to co-manage the earth and everything in it. God calls some to be in the marketplace for a season, some not at all, and a few to serve in the highest positions of leadership and influence. God created every woman special, each one different from the next.
In Judges 4:4, we meet Deborah, a wife, a woman of great influence and a mighty leader. She was a spiritual and political authority in the nation of Israel. “Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time” (NIV).
God used her courage, wisdom and leadership skills to fight out on the battlefield. She accompanied Barak into battle against Sisera, to bring victory and liberation to the people of Israel.
Phoebe, an influential woman in her community served in and was a contributing part of Paul’s ministry. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me” Romans 16:1-2 (NIV).
But perhaps the most challenging, yet influential, role a woman may have is that of mother. On mornings when we are running late, and the kids are slow in putting on their shoes, and they are in danger of missing the bus—and you the morning meeting! At those times it may be hard to see our work as a mother as service unto the Lord and our children a gift. “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 (NIV)
But Jesus cares very much about the role of the mother. Jesus knows how important the bond between mother and child is; he understands what a mother’s love and touch does to an impressionable mind and heart. In fact, Jesus’ last act of kindness before his death was to take care of his mother and make sure that she was not alone. “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother… When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” John 19:25-27 (NIV).
We are also the bride of Christ and Jesus is our husband. Married or not, we should all desire to conduct ourselves in such a way to honor Jesus because of our love for him. If we live as if Jesus were our husband, then we cannot disappoint our earthly husband.
Ladies, know that you are loved by the King and you are his princess. One day you will live happily ever after. God has specially gifted you to carry out your life’s purpose at home, in the church, in the marketplace, and in the community according to his perfect order and plans.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Women in the marketplace need each other and male mentors. Who do you work with that you can offer encouragement and support?
- What misconceptions about working women do you need to let go of?
- What is holding you back from recklessly abandoning yourself to God and knowing that you are highly esteemed by God and madly loved by Jesus?