Happy International Women’s Day and a special shout out to all the wonderful women and young ladies that are reading today. I have partnered with Boohoo who kindly sent me this statement WOMAN t-shirt I am proudly wearing. It’s one simple word on a plain white tee, but it conveys a powerful message which I’ll share more of my perspective on later.
This International Women’s Day, Boohoo is supporting Wonder Foundation – a charity that strives to empower disadvantaged women, girls and communities through education. The WOMAN t-shirt and others launches today and £5 from your purchase will be donated to Wonder. Show your support for a great cause, purchase your WOMAN tees for you and a friend here!
Now onto today’s topic. As a Christian, in the past I’ve battled with myself about what it actually means to be a “godly woman”. Can we actually learn anything from biblical women and are their struggles even relevant to ours today? Contrary to popular belief that the Bible is a restrictive rulebook that oppresses women, I have since learned so much about the essence of Christian womanhood through studying particular female figures throughout the Bible. Women are strong; women are beautiful; women are intricately and intentionally designed; through women, men exist; women are just so wonderful.
We often take our ideal characteristics about what a godly woman should resemble from the well-known passage in Proverbs chapter 31, verses 10 to 31. Now don’t get me wrong, I too absolutely love this passage and I agree that there is so much wisdom to yield from it. So much so, that I would like to delve a bit deeper into breaking down those scriptures perhaps in a future blog post if that’s something you would like to learn more about? (Let me know in the comments down below).
But the Bible’s depiction of women doesn’t just start and end in Proverbs 31. There are inspirational women figures throughout the Word being courageous, fearless, wise and influential vessels of God. Hence, today I want to shed some light on two of my personal favourites:
We learn of Priscilla in Acts 18. Priscilla is influential because her marriage was a ministry that taught people about Jesus; she was a hard worker; an evangelist; a good teacher and a good student. So who is she?
The Apostle Paul left Athens and went to Corinth to continue preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. There in Corinth, Paul met Priscilla and her Jewish husband Aquila. The couple had recently left Italy because all Jews were ordered to leave Rome. Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers by trade, as was Paul, so the three stayed together and worked together for the glory of God.
Every sabbath, Paul went to the synagogues and reasoned with the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. It was apparent that Priscilla and Aquila had learned a lot from Paul’s teaching and were keen to continue to be in his presence because they followed Paul on his missionary trip to Ephesus (at which point, Paul left them to continue his travels).
In Ephesus, Priscilla welcomed her home to Apollos, a learned man who had a good understanding of the scriptures, but wasn’t on the same level of spiritual wisdom as Priscilla and her husband. Together, Priscilla and Aquila taught Apollos and explained to him the way of God more adequately. Iron sharpening iron! Through what he learned from Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos was then able to help others; he “vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.” – Acts 18:28. So Priscilla influenced Apollos, who then went on to influence many Jews, to ultimately be led to Jesus.
Priscilla embodies the meaning of teamwork in a marriage, obedience to God when He says “go!” and strengthening the body of Christ. Most of us would be upset that we have to uproot our lives and doing the work of a missionary in our new found “home” would probably be the last thing on our immediate agenda. But Priscilla rose to every challenge she and her husband faced.
Esther is influential because by faith, she found favour with King Xerxes and gained the title of Queen, despite the fact that she was an oppressed Jew and an orphan of lowly status. As Queen, Esther went on to save the Israelites from genocide at the hands of Haman. So what’s her story?
After banishing his previous wife Queen Vashti, King Xerxes chose Esther to be his new wife. Unbeknownst to the King, Esther was a Jew. Haman, one of the King’s advisers, plotted to kill all Jews and his plan was discovered by Esther’s cousin Mordecai. Mordecai urged Esther to use her position as Queen to ask the King to spare the Jews from Haman’s plot. It was not custom for Esther to just approach the King with a request without being summoned first, it was such a serious offence that she could have been put to death for going before him uninvited. So Esther told Mordecai to instruct the Jews to fast on her behalf for three days and she would go before the King uninvited.
Esther used tact and wisdom to prepare food for the King and Haman. After eating, the King invited Esther to make her request and Esther seized this opportunity to reveal Haman’s plan to kill all Jews and asked that her people be spared, hence revealing herself as a Jew too. Esther had found favour in the eyes of the King and he ordered for Haman to be killed.
How many of us would be so brave in the same position? Would we even reveal our true identity as a Jew or would we hide behind our Queen status? Esther is influential because she was bold, she was wise and she had God within her. Most importantly, her obedience saved God’s people from genocide.
Esther reminds us that God can use anyone to do anything. Esther was intentionally placed into a position of power to carry out God’s divine plan for the Jews. God always has a plan for us. All women, both the young and the elderly, are just as qualified to fulfill God’s roles if He so chooses to use us.
Who are some of your favourite female figures in the Bible and why?
Let me know in the comments down below 🙂 Don’t forget to pick up a WOMAN item from Boohoo on your way out and have a wonderful International Women’s Day.
God bless you!
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. – 1 Corinthians 11:11-12