The Beauty of Womanhood
Article by Abigail Dodds
“Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?”
Who indeed? A woman, of course.
Where but in the Scriptures could we find a vision of womanhood as glorious as this? Who but our God could design something with such blinding beauty alongside robust strength? The Psalms and Proverbs fill out this vision of a woman that shows us fortitude clothed in splendor — a woman who presides over her domain with strong arms and resourcefulness (Proverbs 31); daughters that are corner pillars, whose strong support could only be matched by their exquisiteness (Psalm 144:12).
Yet, the vision our culture offers is a sad consolation that exchanges the glory of feminine strength for a treadmill race to nowhere. It squanders the kind of influence that is found primarily in the soil of the home. The home — that center of all learning, the heart of nation-building, the dispenser of love and stability, the venue for gospel hospitality for single and married alike, in short, the footings of humanity. This home-based influence — because of Christ — can last for a thousand generations, yet our culture urges us to cast it aside for the pursuit of rewards a little less off in the distance and certainly ones that don’t require diapering.
And what does it offer in return? Women who strive against themselves, at war with the seeming redundancy of two X chromosomes, in a competition we were never made for and, in our hearts, don’t really want to win. For when a woman sets herself up alongside a man — as made for the same things and without distinction — the result is not uniformity, but rather, a reverse order. Indeed, in order for her to become like a man, he becomes less and less like one. And that’s something that most women, even the most ardent feminists, recoil at in their heart. Not because femininity is detestable, but because on a man, it is grotesque.
Feminine glory is suited only for a woman, not because men and women have nothing in common — we have everything in common as bone of the same bone, flesh of the same flesh — but because our sameness only makes sense in light of the Triune God, who is distinct in three persons. When we forsake our feminine glory in pursuit of the uniqueness that belongs to men, we abandon our God-given glory; we become usurpers, persistently insisting that our uterus and biology are equal to nothing, irrelevant. Women believe the lie that in order to be relevant in a man’s world, you become like a man, when the opposite is true. Do you want to be relevant? Then shock the world and be what you were made to be: a fearless, unflappable, God-fearing woman. Do not abandon the very differences that make you essential.
Real Women Mimic Jesus
The unique influence of a godly woman is in transforming things. A woman is to be compared to a crown on the head of her husband (Proverbs 12:4). This is not because she’s merely decorative, but because she is the thing that makes her good man great. She transforms a promising bachelor into a purposeful, respected husband. He gives his seed and by some miracle and mystery, God has designed her body to nurture and grow a new person, as Nancy Wilson outlines in her address “Dangerous Women”.
In this transformative role, whether single or married, a woman mimics her Savior. Like him, she submits to another’s will and, also like him, God uses her to take what was useless on its own and shape it into glory. Dirty things clean; chaos turned to order; an empty kitchen overflowing with life and food; children in want of knowledge and truth and a mother eager to teach; a man in need of help and counsel and a woman fit to give it; friends and neighbors with a thirst for the truth and a woman opening her home and heart to share it with them.
Womanhood Is a Prism
A woman is a prism that takes in light and turns it into an array of greater, fuller glory, so that those around her now see the rainbow that was contained in the beam. She constantly radiates reminders of God’s faithfulness. She reads the black and white pages of the word of God and takes on the task of living them out in vibrant hues for her children, her neighbors, and the world to see. When the Bible commands feeding, nourishing, training, and love, a godly woman sets to the task, enhancing and beautifying everything around her.
God’s design outlined in the Scriptures is a vision for womanhood that is not just right and to be obeyed, it is experientially better than all the world has to offer. And it doesn’t just apply to those who are married or mothers. Single women of any age are meant for full godly womanhood. To be a mother in the deepest sense — that is, spiritually — nurturing and growing all God’s given her.
God has made us for glory, women. Not glory that terminates on us, but glory that spends itself glorifying everything given to us and points in all things to Christ, who is the radiance of the glory of God, the Savior and ultimate transforming one. And as we behold him — his perfection, his saving work, his glorious face — we are changed from one degree of glory to another.