Biblical Womanhood

Ladies, let's read // A Virtual Book Study

Here's a little bit of honesty for you.  I spend way too much time reading about what other people are saying and doing, creating and cooking.  I spend way too little time reflecting and filling my heart and mind with who God is and what he has said and done.  Don't get me wrong.  I love crafting and home-making just as much as the next woman.  I just wonder how many of us spend too much of our time, thoughts and energy browsing Pinterest and the like, looking for another project to conquer, party to plan, or dessert to bake. I want that to change.  I want to be a woman, raise a woman, and be around other women who think deeply about the Lord.  I want to know my Bible well, and for it to be the first place I run when I need to be encouraged, convicted, and comforted.

So what if, we start a virtual book club of sorts?  One that isn't affected by geography or busy schedules.  One that explores weighty topics that contribute to a deeper understanding of who God is.  

How it will work: 

Starting March 1st, we will begin reading "Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives", by Wendy Alsup.  Each week, I'll post a few discussion type questions on a private page of my website.  You will need a password in order to access the discussion, so that we can keep our responses private within the group.  You can be as involved as you would like in the conversation, though I would encourage each participant to contribute in some way.  This is a relatively short book, 152 pages, which we'll read over 6 weeks.  The beauty of an online read-along is that you won't ever miss a discussion; it will be there for you to access any time.  Even if you don't finish the book within six weeks, the discussion will remain posted on the private page, even as we move along to other books.

Here is a little excerpt from the book. 

Don't be content with the Christian desk calendar approach to Christianity.  Don't be satisfied with a daily practical saying or some three-step process for being a good wife or a better friend.  God has both called you and equipped you to know him.  We have no excuse to remain ignorant of his character.  Seek God's face.  Understand his character.  Pursue knowledge of him, for apart from the "fear of the Lord" and "the knowledge of the Holy One" (Proverbs 9:10) we have no hope for being a wise mother, sister, wife, or friend.  {page 26}

Ready to sign up? Send me an email at hello@amandabarker.us or use the contact tab above and I'll send an email with the discussion link and password. 

"Do I look pretty, mom?"

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This morning she asked me, like she does so often now, "Do I look pretty, mom?" She was adorned with a headband borrowed from my bathroom drawer, a hair-clip she found on her bedroom floor, a pink eye patch, crooked glasses and a smudge of lip gloss.  Every time she asks, my heart breaks a little because I know that one day, someone will inflict wounds upon her with their words.  Someday, she will look into a mirror and see flaws.  She will grow up in a culture that has a standard of beauty that virtually no one can attain.  So I bent down, cupped her face in my hands, looked her in the eyes and said:

My precious baby girl, you were made in the image of God, according to His standard of beauty.

Jesus loves you.  Daddy and I love you.  We will always love you.

You are beautiful.

As I stood up, I began to think about a blog post my husband wrote a few months ago titled "My Daughter's Beauty".  {You can read it by clicking here.} In it, he gave a list of practical ways we, as her parents, will shepherd her heart.  We will tell her that the Lord created her with blonde curly hair and deep brown eyes, just the way he wanted her.  We will give her affirmation,  attention, and unconditional love, just as the Father has loved us.  We will teach her that while man looks at the outer being, God looks at the heart.  Where she hears whispers of unworthiness, we will scream the truth that she was created in the image of a God who is worthy.  We will pray that she hears the words we say and that the Lord grants her faith to believe them.

Then it occurred to me--sometimes I need to be reminded of those very same things. Maybe you do too.  So today, just for a moment, close your eyes and picture God bending down, cupping your face in His hands, looking into your eyes and saying saying to you:

My precious daughter, you were made in MY image, according to MY standard of beauty.

I sent my Son for you.  I love you.  I will always love you.

You are beautiful.

"A Challenge to Women" | A Call for Biblical Womanhood

While preparing to teach a lesson at a women's Bible study group I came across an article written by John Piper in 1995, an exerpt from a little book titled "What's the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible".  The article contained a list of "challenges"; practical ways in which biblical manhood and womanhood might be displayed.  It is a compelling list and one that came to me with impeccable timing, speaking directly to some of my current wrestles, fears and prayers.  I share it with you today in hopes that it may stir your heart as well.
The book is available as a free download on the Desiring God website.  The book contains a similar list addressed to men, but here is the version for women.  
  1. That all of your life—in whatever calling—be devoted to the glory of God.
  2. That the promises of Christ be trusted so fully that peace and joy and strength fill your soul to overflowing.
  3. That this fullness of God overflow in daily acts of love so that people might see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.
  4. That you be women of the Book, who love and study and obey the Bible in every area of its teaching. That meditation on Biblical truth be the source of hope and faith. And that you continue to grow in understanding through all the chapters of your life, never thinking that study and growth are only for others.
  5. That you be women of prayer, so that the Word of God would open to you; and the power of faith and holiness would descend upon you; and your spiritual influence would increase at home and at church and in the world.
  6. That you be women who have a deep grasp of the sovereign grace of God undergirding all these spiritual processes, that you be deep thinkers about the doctrines of grace, and even deeper lovers and believers of these things.
  7. That you be totally committed to ministry, whatever your specific role, that you not fritter your time away on soaps or ladies magazines or aimless hobbies, any more than men should fritter theirs away on excessive sports or aimless diddling in the garage. That you redeem the time for Christ and his Kingdom.
  8. That, if you are single, you exploit your singleness to the full in devotion to Christ and not be paralyzed by the desire to be married.
  9. That, if you are married, you creatively and intelligently and sincerely support the leadership of your husband as deeply as obedience to Christ will allow; that you encourage him in his God-appointed role as head; that you influence him spiritually primarily through your fearless tranquility and holiness and prayer.
  10. That, if you have children, you accept responsibility with your husband (or alone if necessary) to raise up children who hope in the triumph of God, sharing with him the teaching and discipline of the children, and giving to the children that special nurturing touch and care that you are uniquely fitted to give.
  11. That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world. That you not only pose the question: Career vs. full time mom? But that you ask as seriously: Full time career vs. freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom— to be in the employ of someone telling you what to do to make his business prosper, or to be God's free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God's business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or yuppie lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the family and advance the cause of Christ.
  12. That you step back and (with your husband, if you are married) plan the various forms of your life's ministry in chapters. Chapters are divided by various things—age, strength, singleness, marriage, employment choices, children at home, children in college, grandchildren, retirement, etc. No chapter has all the joys. Finite life is a series of tradeoffs. Finding God's will, and living for the glory of Christ to the full in every chapter is what makes it a success, not whether it reads like somebody else's chapter or whether it has in it what chapter five will have.
  13. That you develop a wartime mentality and lifestyle; that you never forget that life is short, that billions of people hang in the balance of heaven and hell every day, that the love of money is spiritual suicide, that the goals of upward mobility (nicer clothes, cars, houses, vacations, food, hobbies) are a poor and dangerous substitute for the goals of living for Christ with all your might, and maximizing your joy in ministry to people's needs.
  14. That in all your relationships with men you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in applying the Biblical vision of manhood and womanhood; that you develop a style and demeanor that does justice to the unique role God has given to man to feel responsible for gracious leadership in relation to women—a leadership which involves elements of protection and care and initiative. That you think creatively and with cultural sensitivity (just as he must do) in shaping the style and setting the tone of your interaction with men.
  15. That you see Biblical guidelines for what is appropriate and inappropriate for men and women in relation to each other not as arbitrary constraints on freedom but as wise and gracious prescriptions for how to discover the true freedom of God's ideal of complementarity. That you not measure your potential by the few roles withheld but by the countless roles offered. That you turn off the TV and Radio and think about...

The awesome significance of motherhood

Complementing a man's life as his wife

Ministries to the handicapped

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Missions:

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Support ministries:

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