Aletheia, part three

(…continued from Aletheia, part two…)

We have thus far considered truths in Scripture about our identity as Christians, and now we will ponder the reality of living as physical representations of God’s image.

So what does it mean to be a woman, a female?
Where do we find the truth about this in Scripture?
And how are we called to shine the light of Jesus in our womanhood, our femaleness?

In answer, I have three succinct categories. We are to be unabashedly female, undeniably feminine, and unequivocally fervent.
Female, feminine, and fervent.

The fact that I am a woman does not mean that I need to be a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does mean that I need to be a different kind of woman. A woman who is actually rather countercultural in our day. A woman who recognizes that God made me specifically who I am, right down to how He coded every miniscule detail of my DNA—the red hair, the blue eyes, the XX pattern on every single cell in my body.

Nancy Wilson writes, “Christian women, of all women on earth, ought to think and dress and act in a manner that is completely contrary to the world.” This is currently a hot-button topic in our culture, yet in reality it is biblically very straightlaced and plain.

In our so-called politically correct society, it is essential that we think biblically, speak the truth in love, and honestly laugh out loud at the modern absurdities regarding gender roles and the fluidity of sexual identity.

I find it incredibly ironic that gender reveal parties seem to be all the rage, in this era when our Mister Potato Heads are being stripped of their titles, and in a web search I could find as many as 22 genders listed. Yet the most basic gender science of all is on wild display every time a baby is born—the baby is either a boy or a girl. I have to laugh at National Geographic type discoveries of ancient remains where they isolate DNA, declaring the body male or female; or a recent Nova article where cremated remains were deemed identifiable as female. The inconsistency of progressive modernists is absurd.

I remember a tiny niece of mine watching me change my baby boy’s diaper, and she marveled at his physical difference from her. She looked up at me in awe: she both saw (pointing from my baby to herself) and spoke the difference: “boy, girl.” As Psalm 8 says, “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, You have established strength because of Your foes.”

From the very moment of conception, we are created and then subsequently born either male or female. Now, I am a doctor’s daughter and I have had enough exposure to pregnancy and infancy complications that I do know there are genetic mutations and complications which are not simply XX or XY. But I don’t think we need to go into those rarities for this conversation—God’s typical way of creating healthy image-bearers for Himself is by creating them male or female. Beyond the scientific, genetic, built-into-our-very-DNA and observable with our own eyeballs… Scripture (which inerrancy and efficacy we established earlier) tells us that this is so. In Genesis 1:27 we read “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” And then after He gives them work to do and purposes to fulfill, we read in verse 31, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”

God certainly was pleased with Himself over what He made, for it was only after He created the first humans in His image that He proclaimed His creation very good. Nancy Wilson says we ought to be “delighting in the way God has made us male and female and not blurring the distinctions.” God wants us to be unabashedly female.

We ought to revel in a humble awe over the divine creation of sex and gender. We are not just to acknowledge or accept our gender, and we are not to somehow seek to overcome our sexuality. We ought to go so far as to affirm it and rejoice in it. Elisabeth Elliot says, “We seek to be faithful to it as we seek to use it as a gift of God. Unfaithfulness to one’s sex is unfaithfulness to everybody… The husband who is not faithful to his masculinity defrauds his wife, and the reverse is equally true.” Elliot also says, “If you can understand your womanhood, you will know fullness of life. Hear the call of God to be a woman. Obey that call. Turn your energies to service. Whether your service is to a husband and through him and the family and home God gives you to serve the world, or whether you should remain, in the providence of God, single in order to serve the world without the solace of husband, home, and family, you will know the fullness of life, fullness of liberty, and fullness of joy.”

You are female. Rejoice in that. Unabashedly.

(…continued in Aletheia, part four…)

A Series is on the way

Back in January, I received a message from someone who knew me through my conference work at Paideia Northwest, asking if I would speak at a weekend retreat in March. I remember actually busting up into giggles: no, really – I did that! When my husband, who was sipping coffee nearby, asked what was so funny, I said, “I think somebody must have me confused with someone else. Because I just got a message asking if I would speak at an upcoming retreat.” My husband didn’t see the level of humor I did, and admitted, “I think you would do a great job at that. What makes you think it wasn’t intended for you?”

I am pretty sure I gave him a blank stare. Giggles stifled, I sent a quick response basically just clarifying who I am, and checking to see if the request was actually for me. I admitted that it has been almost ten years since I have spoken officially at anything… you know, outside of being the emcee of a medium-sized conference every November in recent years. I figured the sender would appreciate being given an “out” once they realized their mistake in reaching out to me.

I was surprised to shortly receive a response which clarified that they knew exactly who I was, and I was exactly the person they wanted speaking at their upcoming event. And she knew that I was not a seasoned speaker… and apparently that didn’t matter to her, and wasn’t necessarily what she was looking for.

She told me the topic and theme for the retreat weekend, and I began to pray and read some books and decided to step across the threshold of the door God was opening.

Tomorrow evening, I will be giving my first of two sessions. I will give the second one on Saturday morning. I don’t have stagefright about being in front of people: honestly, I think that whole idea of being an emcee in front of three hundred people every November has sucked those nerves right outta me. But I have a deep desire to simply be a conduit of God’s grace to this group of women… and I am confident that while I have nothing to offer, the Lord can use me. Even me. Even my words.

So I am praying for the women that will be sitting near, maybe even note-taking, while I deliver a little treatise on a large topic.

I ended up having so much to say about the subject that I wrote it all down, and decided to share all of it in a blog series here. I will use some of the things for my talks, of course, but with only a total of ninety minutes of presenting, I won’t be able to cover as much ground there as I can in a blog series. There are no time limits when it comes to blogging!

This is the pile of books that I started with, and I will share links to each one. They are not all created equal, and just because I revisited them or even quote from them doesn’t mean that I would encourage you to go out and buy them or gift them or apply them unapologetically. Sometimes mediocre books have wonderful things to chew on, but there are also things to be spit out. Have wisdom. And I would love to engage further about these books or the series that will begin to go live tomorrow… so if anybody wants to discuss these things, just contact me and I will get back to you: I won’t even laugh out loud, thinking you contacted me by mistake.

To whet your appetite, here is what’s coming:

The Truth of Who We Are

  • as Christians
  • as women
  • as wives
  • as mothers

and how the light of the Gospel shines here