Friday, May 22, 2009

The Beauty of Restoration & Submission

As I was browsing through my blog roll today, I ran across a post from Mary Kassian, author of the Girls Gone Wise blog called A Parable of Restoration, and I thought that her words would add a nice touch to Mark of Beauty since I touched on Ephesians 5 earlier in the week.

Check it out for yourself at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

M.B.A. in Mrs. & Motherhood?

As I build this blog, I am fervently searching for good, solid resources to study and recommend and in doing so this morning, I came across the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney and Nancy Leigh DeMoss. In reading the preface in the 'look inside' feature on Amazon, I came across a very intriguing thought that relates to the article on women in Time that I mentioned from DeMoss' preface to Biblical Womanhood in the Home last week. Here's what it says:
Isn't it telling that our culture requires training and certification for many vocations of lesser importance [to homemaking, motherhood, 'wifehood'], but hands us marriage and motherhood without instruction? Fortunately, God hasn't left us to fend for ourselves. He has provided invaluable lessons for women in His Word.
Mahaney goes on to highlight the instruction God gives us as women in Titus 2:3-5:
3 ... Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Interestingly enough, we can earn degree after degree after degree (not that that's a bad thing ... we can certainly acquire much wisdom there), but the very knowledge that we need to be the women God desires us to be is right in scripture and within the example of the older women around us. Feminine Appeal definitely looks like a good resource to go hand in hand with the study of Titus 2 and learn more about the role of a godly woman. I'm definitely adding this one to my reading list.

Here's a good review of the book.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Critique of The Women

About a month or so ago when my husband was out of town, I decided to treat myself to a good 'ole chick flick after the youngster was in bed. I'm not really up on the latest chick flicks these days, so when I browsed through my options on Red Box, I chose The Women, which came out late 2008 and was apparently a re-make of the original from 1939 and an earlier Broadway hit. (I didn't know that at the time.) But with Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes and a brief appearance of Bett Midler, I thought it would be fairly entertaining.

While it was entertaining, my mind swarmed of all the truths that I have been learning lately about what it means to be a godly woman. (I'm sure that if I really thought about it, most films today would contradict that truth, but this one particularly bothered me.) Not necessarily because of the gossip, lying and cheating that took place (not to downplay those issues), but the real winner that hit home for me was how Meg Ryan's character (Mary Heines) viewed her marriage and how she reacted to adversity in that marriage.

In the film, she was apparently the "stable" one -- the one with the rich husband, the nice house, the daughter, the nanny and the housekeeper. And in the middle of all of that, she held a pretty high-up position in her father's fashion design company. But when she found out that her husband was cheating on her, she began to question everything that she had done for the past 15+ years of marriage. Why did she do everything for her family, instead of herself? (At the beginning of the movie, she is portrayed as a frumpy wife who gets walked all over and has no backbone.) Why did she need a man in her life to feel 'secure'? And by the end of the film, we see her transform into a "successful", independent woman, who wins her husband back. And the defining moment for her is when her husband apologizes and asks her to come back, and her response is, "If you can live with the new me and support my new life." (not exact words, but you get the point.) And when she takes him back, her friends praise her for standing her ground and becoming the independent, successful woman that she had become. In fact, part of the movie summary says that the film depicts "what it means to be a today's woman." This is what made me think about everything that I have been learning, and how our culture, in many ways, advocates the exact opposite.

There are many things I could critique about this film and how it's not biblical, but I'm not going to do that. I just want to briefly touch on how a biblical woman should live life differently than Mary Heines in this film according to a few things I've been reading lately.

Contrary to culture, a woman can have much joy from serving her family and loving and supporting her husband (we see this in Proverbs 31:28, 31), even when it's God's command for us ... it doesn't have to be a chore and it's not something that causes us to loose our identity, but rather gain a greater identity in the union of marriage as "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

However, if we're not careful, we can allow this part of our role -- serving our families and loving and supporting our husbands -- to become a chore if we do not constantly look to Jesus for his example, strength and renewal. Ephesians 4:20-24 speaks well about this:
20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. [Speaking of the hardening of hearts that the Gentiles experienced.] 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
It's interesting, when I read this recently, I realized that this is the section of scripture right before Ephesians 5 (duh) and the directives about submission. (For some reason, I never put the two chapters together.) And if we realize the truth in Ephesians 4:22-24, we will realize the new self that we are in Jesus and forgo the ways of our old self (see also Romans 6:6), including the tendencies to do what is in our best interest and what we want (the example we see in the film) ... but what God wants for us, our husbands, our marriages -- true righteousness and holiness. (This is the beautiful part ... when we live a life as our new self, the idea of submission seems much more feasible, and that's how God designed it! Hence, that's why chapter 4 comes before 5 :).

This is very contrary to what was depicted in the film and the film is a fantastic example of what happens when we allow our "... old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, ..." to manifest and be our way of life. And I find that when this is true of me, I need to proclaim the truth of 2 Corinthians 10:5b and "... take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

Second, if we look at Proverbs 31, we see very tangible examples of life contrary to The Women - a life that gives us an opportunity to bear much fruit and glorify God:
  1. Her husband has full confidence in her (vs. 11)
  2. She does her husband good not harm (vs. 12)
  3. She is a good steward of the money her husband gives her and increases its gain
  4. She labors over her household to make it a "nice" home (vs. 17, 27)
  5. She speaks the promises of God to her husband and uplifts him (vs. 26)
  6. She is not idle and labors over her marriage (vs. 26, 27)
There is obviously a lot more to unpack from Proverbs 31, but I think this is what is most pertinent to this critique.

Finally, my intent is not to bash this movie or convince you not to see ... it's simply just to communicate my frustrations with the examples of womanhood that our culture gives us and to combat those examples with biblical truth -- the truth that I'm gradually learning and that I yearn with all my being to make a reality in my life, even though I fail miserable day after day after day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

did the feminist movement even work in the first place?

Here is an interesting article from the new blog, Double X, about the result of the feminist movement (from "culture's" perspective). Here's the bit at the end that grabbed me:

"Now that they have educations, jobs, husbands, and children, they are finding that doing all of these things well isn’t so simple. They don’t suffer from a problem that has no name so much as they nurture resentments with no obvious cause."

My question would be- does the resentment really come from having too many choices/too many roles to fulfill or from unknowingly not becoming the woman they were created to be? It's encouraging to hear that even women who don't know God DO know that fulfilling culture's expectation for their lives is unsatisfying. Maybe that is motivation for them to look for something bigger than themselves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mark of Beauty, Huh?

Here are my thoughts on Mark of Beauty:

1) 'Mark of Beauty' if rearranged would say beauty mark and emphasizes outward appearance. Since the intent of this blog is to examine the God-ordained responsibilities women have and how we're suppose to do them to glorify God, I thought that if I rearranged the words of this phrase -- take the focus off the beauty and replace it with 'mark,' God's mark -- the rearranging of this phrase would be sort of ironic (that might just be my cheesy humor though).

2) Since our culture typically looks at beauty strictly from a person's, or for our case, a woman's outward appearance ... well, unless you count the new reality show True Beauty as evidence against my argument :) ... and since I want to explore godly womanhood, I want to look past the outer beauty and see what characteristics define or 'mark' a woman as godly. When a woman is able to achieve a life defined by those characteristics, by the power of the Holy Spirit of course, and who she is in Jesus Christ, I believe that's when we'll see true beauty, hence 'Mark of Beauty,' and allow God's 'unveiled glory' to shine through our brokenness (2 Cor. 3:18).

Here's some good commentary on beauty.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why This Blog?

As I have been exploring biblical womanhood over the past 7 months, I recently came across a book by the name of "Biblical Womanhood in the Home" and after reading the preface, I was inspired to begin this blog. The point that intrigued me so much was how Nancy Leigh DeMoss suggests that the pursuit of biblical womanhood is a counterrevolution to feminism. She explains this as she comments on a 1990 issue of Time magazine that was entirely devoted to the subject of women, which lauded them chiefly for their success in their chosen vocations. Not that a vocation is a bad thing, but DeMoss mentions that the issue failed to highlight the "achievements" of women in the home and how that "role" didn't seem to be one that our culture glorifies due to the "superior challenge" of breaking the glass ceiling. You'll need to read the preface that I linked above to truly understand her point, but despite the freedoms that we have as women in the United States today due to the feminist movement, I believe it causes us to overlook the God-ordained roles and responsibilities the Lord has created us for. They may not be glamorous, glitzy or the same as those that the men in our lives have (God created us to carry out different roles), but if we pursue the work God has set out for us, He will be glorified and He says in Proverbs 31:28,29b that "Her children [will] arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her ..." and "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." (I hope to touch on our different roles throughout this blog.)

Here's what DeMoss has to say,

"As I pondered these things, I began to wonder what might happen in our day if even a small number of devoted, intentional women would begin to pray and believe God for a revolution of a different kind—a counterrevolution—within the evangelical world. What would happen if a “remnant” of women were willing to repent, to return to the authority of God’s Word, to embrace God’s priorities and purpose for their lives and homes, and to live out the beauty and the wonder of womanhood as God created it to be?"

I haven't read anything but the preface yet, so I can't recommend the book by any means (My husband just bought me the book for Mother's Day, so I'm sure that as I work through it, I will share my thoughts along the way), but I was intrigued by this idea, and as I begin this blog, I would love to explore DeMoss' idea of a counterrevolution, generate conversation about biblical womanhood and proclaim the truths about it in scripture.

Plus, as I've begun to explore what it means to be a godly woman, I feel like I have to dig through so many online resources to find examples of biblical womanhood lived out as scriptures says ... examples that are applicable to my life and not the Puritan woman ... and so it is my hope that through this blog, I will be able to share many of the resources I find and share the knowledge that I gain through my lifelong pursuit of becoming a godly woman.