True womanhood (and everything else that's true) must begin and end with Christ.
For far too long, I made true womanhood about you and me, and not about the One who created all things for His glory and good purposes.
Growing up, all I knew was feminism, the accusations against the degrading roles assigned to women, and the idea that a career should be my highest aspiration. I could often be heard chanting the mantra, "Mark my words! I will be independent before I'm dependent."
Once God arrested my heart for His kingdom, I started to learn about true womanhood. Yet, it became more about what I should have and should not have been doing as a woman than it was about reflecting God's heart. I started wearing more skirts and applying my makeup with care. I was meticulous in assuring I was dressed modestly and refused to do anything to turn a man’s head. True womanhood had become a checklist for me to complete—a list of do's and don'ts.
A couple of years ago, I sat in my small group listening to the stories of women sharing about their struggles with marriage and motherhood, and I thought to myself:
- She just needs to submit to her husband.
- She just needs to stay home and quit making her job her priority.
- She just needs to take control of her family’s health.
- She just needs to quit whining.
I was arrogant and foolish, and thought I had all the answers. To me, it wasn’t that difficult of a decision. In essence, the meaning of true womanhood eluded me.
Then, soon after our son was born, my marriage started to fall apart. My husband and I couldn’t be in one another's presence without breaking out in angry, bullet-spitting combat. At our small group, our leader asked, “Who here has unresolved conflict?”
The room was silent and my husband and I weren’t even facing each other when one of us piped up with the simple but revealing word, “Us.” That was a turning point in our marriage, in our lives, and in my understanding of true womanhood. What proceeded to happen over the next couple of hours was exactly what had gone on in my heart when other women shared their struggles with me.
The women began to rally around the Word of God, explaining to me what I was supposed to do—respect my husband, submit, and just trust God. But it’s never that simple because it’s not about what we do, but about what we represent. It’s not merely about proper submission or worthy speech. It’s about so much more!
True womanhood is not wrapped in a sparkly white box tied up in the red, satin ribbon of our good behavior or correct conduct. True womanhood is a reflection of the very heart of God; the very character that we can rely on day-in and day-out. True womanhood is about drawing people to Christ.
When the tables turned, I began to see the deception in my heart, the mold that didn’t exist, and the self-righteousness of my soul. It wounded, and it was then I knew I had wounded many others in return because I was deceived into thinking true womanhood was all about me and not all about God. And for that, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry for all the times I went straight to the symptoms of the circumstances, the fix, and the actions needed without first looking at the main thing—the whole reason we as women struggle with true womanhood.
I’m sorry I didn’t point women to Christ—the One who has the power to change the hardened heart, comfort the burdened soul, and revive the weary mind.
I’m sorry I made true womanhood about you and me, and not about Him.
This post was written by Leigh Ann Dutton.