“In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” 1 Timothy 3:11
I can not count the number of times I have looked at a woman and think
“Wow! She is such a strong woman!”
Isn’t it true that we sometimes think that way when a woman exhibits a strong personality? Or when she comes across as having a tough, no-nonsense attitude or is overly confident in her independence?
Wanting to be a strong woman
I’ve referred to myself as a strong woman in the past, probably for those very reasons I just mentioned. Due to the circumstances of my life, I grew up believing that I didn’t need anyone. The ones I needed only ended up hurting me or left me feeling abandoned. Unfortunately, this was one of the messages I displayed and conveyed to many, including my husband, during the early years of our marriage. I opened my own doors, carried my own grocery bags and single-handedly fought my own battles. I was too strong to need any help. However, this behaviour was the source of quite a few conflicts in our home.
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1
Through much prayer and patience, this bad attitude and behaviour has changed tremendously. Over time, I came to realize that the old view I had of myself as a strong woman stemmed from an area of fear. I was afraid of being too vulnerable and so I built a wall around my heart. That ‘strong woman’ attitude was just my way of protecting myself from future hurts and disappointments. I made the mistake of identifying vulnerability as weakness.
In moments of self-reflection, I have given a lot of thought to this phrase ‘strong woman’. Even more so, after several people paid me this ‘compliment’. I wondered what they were seeing in me to crown me with this title. I wondered if they were seeing the new me or a shadow of the old.
So I ask, “What makes a strong woman?”
To answer this question, I had to be real and honest about a few things. Things I saw and didn’t see in myself as well as the other women I knew, who also made the proud declaration of being a strong woman. And, I needed to compare it all with the word of God.
I will first make note that a strong woman is not mean, unkind or uncaring. She is not malicious and gossip is not a tool of destruction in her hand. She is not self-serving and she does not need to manipulate or sabotage to get her own way.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
However, this woman desires to put God first in everything she does, seeking to honor him in her words, her attitude and her behaviours. She trust God to be her source of peace, hope and joy. In Christ she finds her strength to face life and be the person she was created and called to be. She discovers she is not alone as he keeps his promise to sustain and protect her.
This woman is not set in her ways with a blatant determination not to change for the better. She is not perfect. Yes, she makes mistakes but she willingly learns from them. She has flaws and has experienced failures, yet she does not allow those failures to determine her true worth and value.
A strong woman serves and protects
A strong woman serves to build and lift others up, seeking to be a positive influence in the lives around her. She has faith and no matter what she faces, she stays true to who she is. She fights for what she believes in.A strong woman serves to build and lift others up, seeking to be a positive influence in the lives around her. She has faith and no matter what she faces, she stays true to who she is. She fights for what she believes in.Click To Tweet
This woman, if she is married, does not publicly uncover her husband to family or friends when he offends or hurt her. She resist the urge to bad mouth him and choose instead, to share only with that one who she can trust to care for her needs and pray her through.
She has vision but not just for herself. Her desires are for the good of her husband and her children, cherishing her role as a wife and mother. She loves passionately and sacrificially.
“Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.” Proverbs 31:11,15,17
A strong woman is beautiful
According to worldly standards, this woman may or may not have natural beauty, but it really doesn’t matter. Her inner beauty and godly characteristics radiates outward, making her wonderfully attractive. Her inner beauty is who she is.
She can be silly and funny. Yet, she is smart and ambitious. Her words are wise and truthful. She is not a push over and still, she is soft and feminine and she conducts herself with grace.
The strong woman I want to be
“Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.” Martin Luther King Jr.
I know the strong woman I was before and that makes me quite determined not to be her again. I don’t just want to be a strong woman. I want to be a woman of God. So I’m hoping when people compliment me as a strong woman, it’s not because they see the old me. That woman was rather distasteful and unattractive. I hope they see someone who is strong but not so strong she destroys rather than build.
I hope they see the person who has discovered that vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength. That strength is not about being fearless but is about moving forward in spite of fear, trusting God until she can trust others.
A unique opportunity
As a woman of God, I have an amazing and unique opportunity to make a difference in his kingdom. I want to use this opportunity to first impact my home and then my community for the better. All the while, reflecting the love of Christ as I live my life according to his word.As a woman of God, I have an amazing and unique opportunity to make a difference in the kingdom of God. I want to use this opportunity to first impact my home and then my community for the better. Click To Tweet
It is for those reasons, I totally dislike the saying “happy wife, happy life.” Why? Because it comes from a selfish heart. It means that my husband does not deserve to be happy too or that his happiness is dependant on me being happy first. It means, as a wife, I value my personal happiness and comfort above the well-being of my marriage.
No, a woman of God desires and aims to have a healthy marriage. One based on mutual respect. And, one in which she choose to love, cherish and honor and extend forgiveness and grace. I want to be that kind of strong woman. By God’s grace, I’m choosing to work at being her every day, believing that the rewards will be great.
So, come on dear friends, it is not an easy journey, but one in which we can journey together by faith today! God bless you!