A Woman who is Fulfilled

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A woman who is fulfilled is a woman who has submitted her life to God’s plan for her. She doesn’t need to look for fulfillment in an expensive education or in a career. She doesn’t need to look for fulfillment in having a great body or in sporting the latest style. Rather, her heart is at peace because she knows she is doing what she was always made to do, what she was designed to do from the moment she was conceived in her mother’s womb–no, even before that in the thoughts of Almighty Creator God!

When I was little, I always knew that God had made me female for a special reason. At nine years old (when puberty started to change my body) it was so obvious to me. I knew that my life’s purpose would center around marrying a special man, growing children in my womb, giving birth to them, and nurturing them. I haven’t lost sight of that purpose years later, even though I’ve had many upheavals that have threatened to derail God’s plans for me. But God’s purpose will not fail!

It is sad to see many women who do not know their purpose, or who are reluctant to accept it. I think they are often unwilling to submit themselves to the obvious design God has for them (being a wife and a mother, or being a single woman who serves the Lord full-time) because they don’t see any recognition in it, any appreciation for their talents and abilities. They feel that if they were to stay home cleaning and cooking for their family, and having many babies until menopause they would not be living up to their potential. However, this lie does not originate with God! The One Who planned for a woman to be as a fruitful vine in the very center of her home (Psalm 128) did so with her best interests in mind!

The home is where a woman can be protected from the harsh demands that would be expected of her if she were in the work force, which could weaken her as she grows babies in her womb. She needs lots of rest and care. Neither is she to be flaunted in front of society’s thankless scrutiny, but to be treasured by her family in the security and warmth of their loving home, a home that she has been instrumental in forming!

Now, not all women of marriageable age are married yet, and some may never be (either by choice or by chance); and not all women who are married have children yet, and some may “never” have them (hopefully not by choice, since the Bible never condones birth control, but this sometimes happens by chance or by a husband’s choice, in which case one must persevere in prayer and in the hope that God will change things–never say “never,” right?). But, ALL women can live within God’s design for them at wherever they find themselves at this point in their life. Single women, married but childless women, and married women with children can all find personal fulfillment when they align themselves with the biblical ideals of submission to authority, quietness, gentleness, humbleness, servanthood, purity, discretion, and being home-centered (whether at their own home, or by helping out in their parent’s home, or with ministry involved with children and families). There is nothing demeaning in that; the woman’s role is that of quiet dignity and strength, hidden to the eyes of those who do not have eyes to see its value, but obvious to those whose eyes have been opened to appreciate the importance of her foundational role without which the whole structure of society would come crumbling down (and already is).

There is a connection here with the Christian head covering. When a woman puts on a scarf or hat in obedience to 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, she covers something that she considers to be her strong point: her beautiful hair. She covers her hair in order to cover her glory, which in turn helps draw attention to Christ’s glory while she is praying or prophesying. Since she is also the man’s glory, she covers her head in order to not exalt man while doing what should point others to Christ and not to ourselves (again, praying and prophesying). The act of covering her head also shows that she is not the head (authority), but that her husband is (and she recognizes male leadership in general). However, the man does not cover his head since the head (authority) directly over him is Christ! By not wearing a hat while praying or prophesying, he points to Christ; he reveals the unseen, spiritual authority of Christ directly over him by not covering in the visual realm. When a woman and a man stand next to each other while praying during a church gathering, for example, the strong graphic image we are presented with is that of a man who is leader and a woman who is not. But Christ is invisible. The man without a covering shows the direct link between God’s authority in heaven represented by the man on earth, since we are told that man is the glory of God.

This is similar to the coverings God designed for the tabernacle. Not too long ago, I wrote about the symbolism of the tabernacle curtains in my post, “Discovering the Symbolism of the Tabernacle Coverings.” To help you understand what I am about to write, it would be  good idea to read that article first, and then come back to finish this post when you’re done.

From an outsider’s perspective, the tabernacle wasn’t grand and awe-inspiring; it was plain and practical. But from the inside, it was a different story: boards gleaming with overlaid gold, richly embroidered linens, sweet-smelling incense! Not everybody got to see how beautiful it was from within, and the Holy of Holies was only visited once a year!

As women, we may sometimes feel that our lives are boring and lacking in potential if we aren’t out there rushing around an office, or even serving in church ministry accomplishing “great” things for the Lord. But I believe the tabernacle curtains teach us to see things from a different level of understanding. What seems bland and inconsequential on the surface can be sacred and essential when viewed from within! Our feminine role is so special that our homely activities are not easily understood except by those who have access to the interior of our domains. To all the world it looks as if we are just sweeping cookie crumbs and wiping baby bottoms; but to those who have discernment, it is clear that we are doing so much more! We are nurturing little hearts and sharpening growing minds! We may not be the leaders in our churches, but we are certainly privileged to be the molders of the next generation of leaders!

Duty demands of us a degree of fortitude and resilience which perhaps surpasses that of the woman who climbs the career ladder; for she may never have to change 20 diapers, cook three full meals, school five children, and break up several fights in one day…and be called upon to repeat the same the next day, and the next. Though our days are full of “mediocre” repetition, creativity blossoms forth unexpectedly: to uplift a downcast and discouraged child, to disperse gathering clouds of discontentment, to transform monotony into sunshine and warmth and smiles. We do not envy our husbands as they hurry off to work, for we recognize the value of our own precious calling. This is what the head-covering does for us: it recalls to our minds the potential, the power, and the beauty in that which is hidden from the world, yet shimmers from the inside, from the place where God dwells.

Similar to how the tabernacle’s beauty was not immediately visible to outsiders, and as a result it’s worth may have been underestimated, there will be those who attempt to diminish the worth of what a homemaker does based on outer appearances alone; but it is what is beneath the covering, what takes place in the hidden place of our hearts and homes, that gives structure to our society as we support our husbands and train our children. Wearing a scarf does not signify that we cheapen ourselves or that we hold ourselves of little value, but that we hold our purpose so dearly we do not deign to reveal our glory rashly: we recognize the fear and honor that is due the Lord of the universe, and we approach His presence (praying) and His work (prophesying) with a holy fervor that absolutely will not diminish the Lord’s glory in order to emphasize our own. Instead, we find pleasure in drawing attention to Him first, before we draw attention to ourselves, since it is from Him, ultimately, that we will receive our reward.

 

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15 thoughts on “A Woman who is Fulfilled

  1. Dear Jessica,

    Oh, what a profound article you wrote! The remarks regarding the tabernacle curtain was especially impressive to me, for I’d never thought it in this way. It was indeed an eye-opening!

    <What seems bland and inconsequential on the surface can be sacred and essential when viewed from within! Our feminine role is so special that our homely activities are not easily understood except by those who have access to the interior of our domains.

    There is something mystical beauty in our feminine role, isn't it? Thank you so much for this wonderful post, Jessica!

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    • Thank you, Kinuko!
      Though they are only speculations, I do believe that the points I made regarding the connection between the tabernacle curtains and headcovering are reasonable. We know for certain that God sees what is done in secret, and rewards our unknown deeds. We also know for certain how much He values the role of women in the home. He makes statements in His word such as “if any one of you wants to be great he must be the servant of all.” Isn’t that what a woman often is? A loving servant to her very own family? By God’s rule then, she is one of the greatest of all!
      Yes, you are right: there is something mystical and beautiful in our feminine role, and we should not let the world and its ways steal it from us!
      Jessica

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  2. Dear Jessica, I have a couple comments on this, but I will start with an experience that just recently happened with my 4th son. He is just in his 2nd week of his freshman year at a secular college, not Christian by any stretch, but close to home so he can commute. His one history professor is very liberal and really doesn’t apologize for it. His prof mades this comment about women in the olden days. They were just baby factories who provided troops for the wars. This totally got my dander up! I was ready to go there and give this guy a piece of my mind! When my hubby finally settled me down, and I had a chance to think about it, I was filled with a sense of sadness that this kind of nonsense/brain washing was being taught to the 1000’s of young people right at the beginning of their college years. This is why our testimonies as women who follow after the truth of Scripture is so very important to our children. Our homes must be the safe place for them. It’s our God given calling to provide them with sound biblical teaching, as Lois and Eunice did for Timothy. Even if we don’t have husbands or children, standing firm in our faith, following after biblical principles (headcovering), and following after the examples of godly women in the Bible (no matter how archaic the world views them) is so critical.
    Thankyou for your encouragement to so many in this area, Jessica. I’m so glad to have found my online headcovering sisters! Much love, Ruthie

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    • Wow, Ruthie! I would be offended, too! So women who stay at home are nothing more than baby factories? You know what? It is so sad that even Christians think that way too, sometimes. For example, in the movie Christy, which takes place in the late 1800s/early 1900s, this eager young schoolteacher to mountain folks says, “I want my life to count for something more than just having babies…” How many Christian women have been sucked into that lie? How many say, “I want my life to count for something more than just being a baby factory?” So sad–but what are we doing to counteract that? I too, am also grateful for my online headcovering sisters, and for all those who take a stand for what’s right by going against our depraved culture!
      Thank you!
      Jessica

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    • The terrible thing is that so many women who believe the lie that their fertility is a curse rather than a God given blessing end up requiring fertility treatments when the leave it too late to have children.

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  3. What a wonderful and beautiful article ! I agree with everything you say.

    I agree completely about the symbolism of covering and about our wonderful and special place in Our Lord’s design.

    I firmly believe that God made us as women in two perfect forms, for the overwhelming majority in sequence. That of purity and chastity (which for some who choose a religious vocation is Gods will) – followed by that of Godly wife and for most motherhood.

    To follow a path which denies or corrupts either, is to sin and go profoundly against God’s design.

    Women who fornicate, women who follow a career over and above that of motherhood or who practice birth control not only sin but are also ultimately unfulfilled and unhappy.

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  4. I do wish all Christian sects would speak out much more firmly on the issue of birth control because I think this sin above all others ‘sexualises” women and leads to this un Godly feminist mentality.

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    • I know! Women want to be valued for who they are, but feminism, which is supposed to liberate women to be all they can be, has actually led to women being more taken advantage of and objectified. Men are allowed to be more irresponsible with women then ever before, since they have found a way to use women for their bodies without having to support the children that would normally result.

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    • Yes. Even Christian men treat their wives in much the same manner as one would a prostitute: “I want your body for my own pleasure, but a baby better not happen!” But love embraces all that God made the woman’s body for, and all that He made marriage for. Love honors (and glories in!) the awesome physical and spiritual union of the two individuals through the conception of a baby–the couple’s “one flesh”!

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  5. Reading this article,I was impressed by your courage.Because in Japan,articles about home-centered mind written by christian ladies are so hard to find,and anyone who try to talk about this are supporsed to be criticized,even some male pastors point out that home making and home-centered mind are so important for christian women.

    Super radical feminism/liberalism is not so common in Japan,but bit by bit criticism to housewives/stay at home moms are spreading here.

    We Japanese do not hope to have many children for years by many reasons.Now many young people even do not hope to marry in the future,I hear. I think in the future,we will see the result of our nation’s selection.

    But there still many Japanese christian working wives are seeking home centered mind and try to teach their kids about God and faith,even they have to work outside for livelihood,have not so much time.
    Recently one of my church member who is a full-time worker gave birth to her 4th kid.(Having 4 kids is so rare in Japan.)

    I hope to pray for christian mothers who brings up kids.
    Thank you for sharing!

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    • You’re welcome, Sanae!
      I always love to read your comments about Japanese life; it helps me understand more about how Christians live in another part of the world, and how God’s word is making an impact on their lives, even though it is counter-cultural for them at times. And for those times when Christians seem to blend in with the culture instead of standing out as light: it’s the same battle for all of us, no matter where we live!
      Thanks for sharing!
      Jessica

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