Discussing the Woman: One of God’s Most Powerful and Misunderstood Creations
I often see women get stuck in a stereotype: a place that does not accentuate her skills, but rather inflicts on her a cultural or trendy norm. She is often asked to be either the breadwinner, the assistant breadwinner, or the homemaker, but are any of these roles consistent with her design? The woman is capable of doing so many things, but some of them do not allow her to truly walk in the beauty and aura of her Designer. Let’s talk about it…
I grew up with two parents that fit the traditional gender roles for the most part. My dad was the “breadwinner.” He worked full-time- sometimes in excess of 40 hours. He had a job and he was self-employed in real estate. My mom managed their assets–playing the role as landlord, office support, and sometimes even maintenance staff. She would always maintain a flexible schedule, ensuring that her primary focus was on parenting and home management. My mom was skilled at managing the responsibilities of the house and being a valuable business partner. She cooked and cleaned, did bookkeeping, set up appointments, handled legal cases, and exemplified a versatile yet organized woman. When we were old enough, she delegated tasks to us, and she always helped to keep our home running smoothly.
At 18, when my aunt’s house caught on fire, my parents took them in. Six people were added to our house! I watched the demand on my parents go up. I was reaching college-age, and I wanted a taste of independence. I also didn’t want to increase the demand on my parents even more, so I found an opportunity to support myself: I joined the Air Force.
I was a young explorer. I wanted to try. I wanted to see. Decisions were now mine, and they were approaching me at record speeds. I was 30+ hours away from family, and I had very little accountability or Bible-based advisors. I was able to “do what I wanted to do,” and I found a few experts who told me they could “show me a good time.” I got in a relationship, and explored territories with which I was completely unfamiliar.
After one year, I was pregnant. As I carried a baby in my womb at age 19, I began to see a stark contrast to what I knew of the woman’s role.
My son’s dad thought the woman was a do-it-all. I thought the woman was a helper. He had never seen the balance of man and woman. Instead, he had come from the third generation of single mothers in his family, and they all seemed to hold everything together without the aid of a man. I saw how his family was held together by single mothers. I thought it would have been better if the man and woman worked together, but he had not yet arrived at the revelation of how to implement that.
When my son needed diapers, he thought I should be able to get them myself. When my son needed clothes, he prioritized buying his own. He had no understanding of the man’s contribution to the family, and I was forced to act in overdrive. Now, he admits his error and his immaturity; however, that experience was the beginning of my struggle with the woman’s true role.
I always saw the man and woman balance one another. He brought the bread. She made it a meal. Now, I had to bring the bread and make it a meal. I was breaching my familiar view of God’s design daily because I was forced to. I learned to be somewhat self-sufficient. I learned how to provide for our needs and our wants. I learned how to buy the refrigerator and put the food in it. After I learned all these things, was there still a vacancy in the home for a man to be added? In my case, was there still a vacancy in the home, but it looked a little untraditional.
I got married in 2011. I had been pulling the weight of providing and incubating for years! It wasn’t easy for a first-time dad, first-time husband, and first-time head of the household to come in, and take on a role that I had been practicing. I was the man (to the best of my ability) and the woman (by design). My husband came and put his best foot forward, but I was a work-in-progress when it came to learning how to “stay in my lane.”
Side-note: To be honest, I am still growing that “stay-in-your-lane” muscle. When I feel bad or feel more prepared, I jump in overdrive, then I have to say to myself, “Tiffany, let your husband be a man.” Back to what I was saying…
I am more comfortable with working and parenting than home making, but I am constantly improving-sometimes simply by hiring it out. In the past, I spent 8+ hours/day in the corporate workforce; I would attempt to spend as much as I could on parenting, and managing the home was where I exercised the least muscles. I became a skilled leader, writer, communicator – but not cleaning and managing the household while being a passive wife was more difficult.
When I got married, I wanted to fill the role of a wife the way my mom exemplified. She cooked, cleaned, supported my dad’s business dreams, and raised her children with a smile. My passions, skills, and experiences were different, though, and I couldn’t achieve happiness doing that alone. My husband wanted a business, and I wanted a business too! I struggled with how I should carry out my role as a woman and a wife in his business and my own. I am still tweaking some things with this topic, so I continue to study the godly woman in order to learn to walk uprightly. I study the woman because I know women could be happier if we walked in line with our design. This post sits before you to share what I’ve learned about the woman’s design.
People are confused by the Woman!
People argue and are confused, asking questions like:
Should a woman lead?
Shouldn’t a woman just follow?
What does submission mean?
Isn’t a woman designed to serve?
Over history, women have worn titles like Inventor, Pilot, Queen, Princess, Judge, President, CEO, COO, Homemaker, Secretary, Owner, Investor, Philanthropist, Mother, Sister, Wife, Scientist, and Astronaut. She has played the gamut of roles. She has worn a variety of titles, and worn them well.
She has played a significant (even leading) role in the most depended-upon inventions, in space exploration, in raising some of the most powerful people on the planet, in leading some of the largest companies in the world, and in empowering history’s most phenomenal icons and causes. Though she has worn many androgynous titles, there have always been some who contest and say, “A woman shouldn’t be doing that,” but what does history say? Where was the line – how did societal norms of the past limit women?
Isn’t a Woman supposed To Cook and Clean?
Is the woman best at cooking and cleaning? Proverbs 31 is a biblical standard for women. Man….was that woman powerful! Let’s make notes about her:
- She is more precious than jewels and worth far more than rubies or pearls (the most valuable rewards) – Prov 31:10
- She works excitedly – Prov 31:10
- She comforts, encourages, and does her husband good (helping him gain) – Prov 31:12
- She abounds with treasure – Prov 31:14
- She brings her household the best food (even when from afar) – Prov 31:14
- She rises early – Prov 31:15
- She knows when to outsource – Prov 31:15
- She manages servants and assigns tasks – Prov 31:15
- She is an investor and business woman – Prov 31:16
- She is intellectually, physically, and spiritually fit – Prov 31:17
- She is profitable (economically and spiritually) – Prov 31: 18
- She is creative: taking concepts and making products – Prov 31:19
- She helps those in need – Prov 31:20
- She is prepared for various seasons – Prov 31:21
- She dresses elegantly and with high quality (not making mention of price–high or low–quality is quality) – Prov 31:22
- She is dignified and strong – Prov 31:25
- She is not weathered by change or the future – Prov 31:25
- She speaks wisely and provides instruction – Prov 31:26
- She observes that things run smoothly in her house – Prov 31:27
- She is not idle or lazy – Prov 31:27
- She is praised by her husband and children – Prov 31:28
Did it make mention of cooking and cleaning? No. Did it make mention that the household responsibilities are hers? No. She may be good at handling the responsibilities of the house. She may be good at cooking and cleaning. She may not be good at cooking and cleaning. Chores do not make or break her value.
She is good at delegating. She does not sit back and watch chaos and dysfunction build in her house. She participates in maintaining the order of her house. She knows when to outsource. Her family praised her for the skills she possessed, and her participation in the order.
Her husband may be good at cooking and cleaning. Her husband may not be good at cooking and cleaning. Man (the species) does not satisfy God by works only. Man satisfies Him with a contrite and yielded heart. Humankind fulfills their destinies by submitting to God’s purpose for them individually, which can disseminate chores in a gamut of ways. A woman is not a woman because of chores. A man is not a man because of chores. A woman is a woman because she incubates destiny!
Can a Woman Be President?
In the Bible, women were judges, queens, and leaders of many other sorts. The Bible made no mention of God having issue with women like the Queen of Sheba or Deborah using their management and leadership skills. They led countries in war, they negotiated for peace, they led men, and they were successful in many of their ventures, and the Bible makes no mention of an issue with them carrying out the position they were skilled to do.
Spiritually, there is no difference between male and female, which is why Jesus responded strongly to the haughty men of his day. In the Torah, it says that when a man dies and leaves a widow, the next sibling in line should be the covering (husband) of the widow. The Sadducees tested Jesus by asking, “Well, if seven siblings all marry one widow, and die, then who will marry her in the resurrection?” (paraphrased from Matthew 12:18-27) Do you remember what Jesus said?
Jesus said to them, “Is this not why you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures [that teach the resurrection] nor the power of God [who is able to raise the dead]? For when they rise from the dead, they do not marry nor are they given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (Mark 12:24-25)
Gender is a physical thing. Gender distinguishes roles on Earth. Gender is not a spiritual thing. Man and woman are equal. Man and woman can each be talented or skilled in a variety of ways. Man and woman play a different role in how they administer destiny. He provides the materials and she incubates them. Titles, position, or office play no part in the administration of the biblical role.
To answer the question, “Can a woman be president, queen, or in governmental authority?” the Bible demonstrates the answer: yes. The Bible goes further to demonstrate that she would be the optimal choice when she has a superior skill level than the male. Women like Deborah are the perfect example of that. The men of her day submitted to Deborah because she had the skills to judge, lead, and manage them successfully through the issues of their time.
Women can be authoritative, militant, and stern, or graceful and passive; each has its place. She can be dependent or depended upon. She can use a soft or strong tone to effectively fulfill her role (as long as she still walks in dignity and virtue). If the woman is inferior in skills (as is my opinion on the 2016 election with Hillary Clinton), then the male (who may not be much more skilled) still should lead. Experience and skills are different, but let’s leave that discussion for another day.
The Original Woman
In his book The Purpose and Power of Woman, Dr. Myles Munroe said one of the woman’s roles was/is “to incubate.” She has always been an incubator of man (the species). She was a “wombed-man.” There was no difference in equality between man and woman. He was the source of her. She was taken from his rib. He was not able to draw out all that God created him to be without a helpmate. She was created to be the incubator of his legacy, his visions, his dreams, and humankind. Man (as a species) was created in the likeness of God. Man (the gender) was created with material inside: seed, vision, work, and purpose. He had no way of drawing out what was inside of him without his helper, so God designed woman. Woman is a powerful creation!
Let me put it this way for you (women) readers:
You steward spirits created in the likeness of God. You have the power to incubate humankind, dreams, visions, and legacies. Man has the material, but he needs you to incubate them. You can do this as the leader or the follower, but you incubate what you have been given.
So my answers to the questions I hear commonly asked (and I detailed above):
Public: Should a woman lead?
Me: When she is superior in skill
Public: Shouldn’t a woman just follow?
Me: Not when she is superior in skill in leadership
Public: What does submission mean?
Me: Intentional wielding of power to allow success in the overall mission. You can submit as the leader or the follower. A team submits to one another for the success in the overall game. The coach submits to the players. The King submits to his court. Submission is a requirement for success in an overall mission. Everyone cannot be in charge in every area, or the mission will crash.
Public: Isn’t a woman designed to serve?
Me: Everyone is
God designed the woman to be a POWERFUL creature. She can do many things, which is why it can be difficult for her to “stay in her lane.” She is the incubator of destiny. Let’s talk about her counterpart next, shall we?
- Assess your skills
- Assess areas where your skills are in combat with your gender norms
- Pray that God would make a way for you to flourish in your skills and be released of the bondage of “cultural or trendy” gender roles
- Walk through the open doors