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.