No one likes the idea of being weak. What comes to mind when you think of pop culture’s idea of strength in women? I have a 15 year old daughter so I think of Taylor Swift who says, ” The players gonna play play play play play. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate. Heart breakers gonna break break break break break. Just shake it off, shake it off.”
Katy Perry says you are a firework. “You just gotta ignite your light and let it shine. Own the night like the 4th of July. Cause baby you’re a firework cmon show’em what you’re worth make em go ah, ah, ah as you shoot across the sky-y-y.” Katy we are not even really sure what you mean by “make em go ah, ah, ah”?
Or we could be like Beyonce who is not afraid to tell you like it is. “To the left, to the left. Everything you own in a box to the left. Yes, In the closet that’s my stuff yes if I bought it please don’t touch…You must not know bout me, you must not know bout me..”
- Does strength mean independence? Not needing anyone? Not caring what people say or think? The one who shakes off the hurt and pain. Is this the strong woman?
- Or is it the woman who seems to have it all together? You are pretty sure Proverbs 31 is a biographical sketch of her life and her household is pinterest.com. Her ceiling fans are dusted, her paleo dinner is in the oven, and her kids never disobey. Is this what strength looks like?
- Or is it the woman who is experiencing hurt that would suffocate anyone else, but she sucks it up and puts on smiles and determination. Is this strong? Is it strong to hide and stuff your pain?
- Or is it the tough girl who doesn’t take anything from anyone and will tell you exactly how she sees it. You better not cross her or you’ll be sorry? And life’s too short to sugar coat and to pretend, so you better develop a tougher skin.
Proverbs 31:17 & 25 says that strength is a godly woman’s clothing, that she actually dresses herself with strength. Are we to dress our self with independence, the pursuit of perfection, the skills of how to hide and stuff our pain, and toughness? Is this strength?
Let me bring to your mind the story of a very strong girl.
An angel appeared to Mary and told her that though she was a virgin she would conceive a child, and he would be the Messiah, the Most High God. Mary believed whole-heartedly when the angel said, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
In Mary’s culture adultery was punishable by public stoning, yet in the midst of possible death and certain public ridicule she trusts God. She boldly declares before angels and God,“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38). After this angelic visit, it says that Mary leaves in a hurry to visit her cousin Elizabeth
When Mary arrives at her cousins she does not collapse into Elizabeth’s arms to cry in fear and despair. No, she sings praise to God, because she trusts in him. “Oh how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” Luke 1:46-47
Mary believed and trusted in the midst of the trials. It was this trust that was her strength. This is the strength that enabled her to praise God instead of fall to pieces. She believed God would come through for her. She hoped in God’s promises and his faithfulness instead of focusing on the unknown.
Mary is what a woman clothed in strength looks like. What unknowns are you facing right now? What hurts? What trials? What ridicule? Will you trust God and speak his praises, clothing yourself in strength?
May it be said of us as it was said of Abraham, “Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” Rom 4:20-21