Oh, did I type that outloud?
Growing up in our Christian community meant attending a church where each week was a fashion show of the most glorious proportion. Women were adorned in the finest of attire – some, which I knew, actually flew to places like New York and Dallas to purchase their clothing each season for the latest in fashion trends.
But as I grew older, and got to know some of these women I thought were so powerful and strong – I realized that for most, it was a façade.
Oh, they lead Bible studies, and ministries, they were active in all things that looked the church-part – but outside of the church – it was something completely different.
Their perceived power came in the fact that they were wealthy and as their wealth grew so did their power to make things happen… But the reality was they made things happen because they were lonely and desperate for love and attention.
Something money simply cannot buy.
These were women who spoke ill of their husbands, mocked others, and depended upon their husband’s theological knowledge to save their own souls.
Most of their children – my friends – suffered the consequences as well. Falling into the lusts of their hearts and their desire for that power – found in the greed that was modeled to them by the behaviors they witnessed at home.
Most walked away from the Gospel altogether, never to return. Others have learned to talk the talk – finding their perceived power to continue to sin without consequence in the praise and confirmation they received when they walked the aisle at the age of six.
But then there were those other women… The ones who were more reserved – not that they were not outspoken – they had a voice – but that voice was never in gossip about another – it was always grounded in truth. Their presence wasn’t found in the fact that their theology was spot on – it was – but what was most impressive is that they lived by the doctrines of the Gospel that they studied.
These were the women I came to admire. Some of them were even wealthy – but generosity was the spirit they held close to their heart. When they spoke, they spoke with wisdom. What they modeled outside of the home – was apparent inside their home, as reflected by the children who honored them as who they were…
– even if only in their presence.
These women were not perfect. But they were reverent. They were holy… they were different.
They respected their husbands by the command of the Spirit. They bridled their tongue when others would boast. They disciplined their children – even when their husbands were not at home – and never emasculated, embarrassed, or did anything that would cause them embarrassment, public humiliation, or shame. Some even worked outside of the home – but took jobs that did not neglect their duties to their family.
They refused to participate in unholy conversation – even what some called “women’s Bible study,” and they were never afraid to say, “no,” to anything where they could not give it their all – no matter what anyone thought.
And they were strong enough to be proud of the women of God that they were empowered to be. And most remarkable of all – they made no apologies for who they were and who they served – even when others called them weak.
True power, “empowerment” that we so boldly proclaim is found at the cross of Jesus Christ. A fact that is often missing from the empowerment movements of our fallen American world. We do not empower women by feeding them lies about sexual immorality – calling it “sexual freedom.” We don’t empower our daughters by allowing them to date at an unreasonable age, or by giving them the unsupervised authority to maintain online accounts without accountability. We don’t empower women by declaring that their value and worth – is only available outside the home. We don’t empower women by allowing them to become abusive, manipulating, mean, power-hungry, aggressive, entitled gossiping diva’s who have no respect for anyone but themselves – that, my friend is not power at all.
As a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite.
Godly power is to take a stand for all that is holy and righteous. Power is found when we shut down sexual immorality, abuse, toxic friendships and dishonorable relationships – Empowerment happens when we say, “No.”
Even when that “no” closes the door on life-long dreams. Even when that “no” causes us to be mocked, humiliated, shamed, and belittled by society.
A woman that can handle that is a powerful woman indeed.
She is powerful because she is powered by the strength of the Holy Spirit and she is empowered because she is holy – set apart for God’s glory – and she lives by it – and never apologizes for it.
We empower women by proclaiming the Gospel message given to us by God Almighty. The God of the Bible, who is not the idol we have made in this world and call the “god of love.”
No – that is not empowerment – that is slavery. Slavery to sin – empowering those who continue to keep sinning with the belief that it will be overlooked without consequence.
That is not repentance. That is taking the name of the Lord God in vain.
The God of the Bible demands that He is not just the Savior – but the Lord of our life.
We empower women by revealing the truth of who God is – by revealing His true character – that He is a God of wrath and justice – and He offers up grace and mercy to those with a contrite, broken heart (Is. 66:1-2)– “a godly sorrow (grief) that produces repentance” (2 Cor. 7:10).
“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Is. 66:2b).
We give power to women when we reveal God’s character – because to know who God is – is to know who we are called to be.
We are to be a people who worship and praise God for who He is – not who we determine Him to be.
We are to be a people who fear the Lord God because He is holy and calls us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).
To bestow upon Him all that He is worthy of – even if that costs us our lifestyle, friends, family, and job.
That takes a woman of massive strength. And that strength is found only at the cross.
God has given His women power to shut down the evils of things like harassment, abuse, abortion, single-motherhood – by giving His women a voice and that voice says no. That voice says, “you won’t do it to me and you won’t do it to my daughters,” and even: “No More! And I will ensure that you never do it again.”
But we have denied our power – We have replaced our power by giving away our power to those society says are “powerful.”
But they are nothing but evil. “Worthless pursuits” (Pr. 12:11).
Women of God have been given the power to choose the people in their lives, where or if they choose to work – who they will work for, and He has done this by stating that if we choose Him – if we put our trust in Him – He will never leave us or forsake us – even when we are denied a job – because we refuse to compromise.
But instead, we have chosen a false doctrine. A belief that we must conform to the non-Christian worldview of carving out our “own” path. That we can only depend on ourselves. That we are “number one.”
And that is a lie.
We chose our friends. We chose who we date. We chose where will hold a job outside of the home. We chose where we live. And we chose who we will live with.
We also fall prey into choosing to believe that we do not have a choice.
To be a truly powerful woman of God– is to say, “I surrender to Christ. I believe what He says to be truth. I chose His way, every day.” And “I will not settle for anything less than what He has ordained in His word.”
She says, “I will have godly friends or no friends.”
She says, “I will work for Christ, or I will not work.”
She says, “I will date godly men who are worthy of my holy-hand in marriage, or I will not date.”
She says, “I will worship the Lord in Holy attire (Ps. 96:9), not in the attire of the world says I have the ‘right’ to wear.”
She says, “No,” to evil because she is the daughter of the King and He will not have any fellowship with evil.
There is tremendous strength in saying no. A woman who is strong may stand alone in this world – but she will freely stand!
A woman who is strong enough to deny her passions – in order to stand up for righteousness – will most likely standalone – but she will find strength in that she is a rebel with a cause – and that cause is to bring honor and glory to Her Lord, who promises to return the glory.
A strong woman will say no to a job, a relationship, or a lifestyle where she is required to put aside her convictions of righteousness.
A strong woman will say no to a man who does not walk the walk. Even if that means she goes without a man.
A strong woman will say no to children that are disrespectful and is strong enough to instill discipline in a world without discipline. She will be strong enough to be their mother and not their “friend,” even when they say they hate her and are hard to love, she will stand as a strong force of self-control and patience – because God is her strong tower.
A strong woman will stand in her dignity as the world mocks her integrity.
A strong woman will manage her home well, when the world tells her she is less of a woman for doing so.
A strong woman will love her husband and hold her tongue – in and out of the home – even when the world says she doesn’t have to.
A strong woman does not shrink back, she is not a victim – she is a warrior who believes that she is more than just a conqueror – that she is beloved by her God and He is the only approval she needs.
A strong woman walks with strength and dignity – with full confidence. She does not swerve to the right or to the left – even when the forces of the past immerge to remind her of where she once was.
A strong woman takes every thought captive and fights against the temptations of conformity.
“To her, who was not beloved, I will call her beloved,” says the Lord. “A woman who fears the Lord will be praised.”
A strong woman knows the truth of Scripture and stands with shoulders back and head held high, with the full confidence of God’s truth – even if she walks alone.
A strong woman has raised the banner of the Lord over her anointed head and has raised the bar of standards, values, and morals to align with those of God.
She is rare – but she is there – we must show her who she is – because her worth (to our society) is far above rubies.
#RaiseTheBar #CrossStrengthMinistries #R3DV #EndDomesticViolence #StrengthandDignity