The Things God Does For Women

Wednesday, July 28, 2021  ::   Be the first to leave a comment!

A new episode of a podcast I'm listening to came out this week. When I saw the title, my heart sank, my fists clenched, and my thoughts went immediately to the Second Mile women I love and lead. Every woman should hear me say, "Don't let podcasts, news, and stories like this define you." Throughout history, in many situations, in and out of the church, women have been misunderstood, oppressed, and abused. It's gut-wrenching to say the least. Truly infuriating. The title of the new episode is The Things We Do To Women from the podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.* 

As soon as I read the title my mind immediately went into overdrive of all I've learned about women in Scripture over the past three years. The Bible is FULL of fierce women, but somehow in some spaces of American church culture, what the Bible says about women has been reduced to women shouldn't speak, wives should submit, and women should have no authority. It is true that we must study and wrestle with these difficult passages, but we must do so in light of the many, many other passages people ignorantly or willfully don't bring into conversations about women in the Church.  (Yes, I know. Chad and I have been studying this for a long time and you are ready for us to share what we've learned. We (mostly me because Chad just started school again) are working on writing a position research paper. Pray for me. It's difficult and I don't know what I'm doing.)

To counter "The Things We Do To Women" and to bolster what I know to be true about the God I serve, I made a short, non-exhaustive list of "The Things God Does For Women." Do not neglect or forget that he crafted women and loves women. May these stories from Scripture make you clap your hands, shout for joy, and remind you to stand firm in your faith because the days are evil.

1. Women can lead and conquer. Judges 4-5 

Deborah, an Old Testament prophet, rebuked Barak, the military commander, for not overcoming their enemies. He told Deborah he would only go to battle if she went, too. She replied, "I'll gladly go, but the victory will be mine, not yours." Long story short, they went and they won! Jael is another woman in the story who actually defeated the commander of the enemy's army. In a shrewd and courageous turn of events, she killed him. In the cinematic depiction of my mind's eye, her heart raced and hands trembled as she did the deed. Deborah strategically led the way; Jael conquered the enemy. May we be bold women who strategize, lead well, and face difficulties with courage. 

2. Women can negotiate with leaders and speak up for our friends and family. 1 Samuel 25 

Abigail was married to a "worthless fool." King David asked him for help and he refused. Knowing this meant trouble for her family and estate, she humbly met King David with supplies for him and his men. She could have been immediately killed by the king, but she skillfully negotiated with the most well-known leader of the area and saved her family. May we be brave women who engage all forms of leadership and speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.

3. Women can have careers and fund important ministries. Luke 8:1-3

Mary, Joanna, Susanna, and many others financially supported the ministry of Jesus Christ himself. How did they support him if they didn't have some sort of income? Do not let the words of Proverbs 31:10-31 be reduced to a nice little cross-stitched pillow that you lean on for Christian comfort. This woman worked tirelessly in the marketplace. She had influence and used her resources well. May we be women who work hard and give generously. 

4. Women can learn theology. Luke 8:34-32 

A different Mary sat at Jesus's feet to learn from him. If theology is the study of God, who better to teach it than God Incarnate? Her sister, Martha, scurried around cooking and hosting. Jesus told Martha that Mary made the better choice which is difficult for many of us to hear. What about when there's work to be done, meals to be cooked, projects to be completed, kids to be cared for? Mary set aside her chores and was discipled by Christ. May we be theologically astute women who make time to learn and grow in our faith and love for Jesus.

5. Women can share and teach theology. Romans 16:1-3

Phoebe was a benefactor to the Apostle Paul and to many others. Paul called her "diakonos" which can be translated to servant, deacon, or minister. Many scholars believe that she actually delivered the letter Paul wrote to the church in Rome.(1) This means she personally delivered and possibly read one of the most theologically rich books in our sacred Bible with the new church in Rome. Had she discussed the content of the letter with her good friend, Paul? Did the Roman church ask her for clarity? Did she know the answers? Paul considered her a servant, a deacon, a minister. May we be women who are bold enough to share the deep truths of Scripture as we grow in knowledge and understanding of who God is. 

6. Women can be the first to lead the way in proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. Matthew 28:1-8

Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" had watched Jesus's brutal crucifixion, and after Sabbath went to view his tomb. They did not know they were looking for the living among the dead. And, when Jesus revealed himself, they took hold of his feet and worshipped him. At that point he didn't say, "Be quiet and wait here. I'm going to find more culturally appropriate and reliable witnesses to tell people I'm back." Instead, the living, resurrected Christ bestowed on these women the job to GO and TELL. What other authority is needed to be given than God's? They did not need permission from the disciples because they were considered to be among the disciples. Let that sink in. God used these two women to start the global and historical movement of telling others about Jesus's resurrection. This still happens today! Many church planting movements around the world are still started and led by women! The church in Iran is growing rapidly because women are sharing Jesus and women are responding. Women have played a prominent and key role in the underground house church movement in China. Women are essential to fulfilling Jesus's commissioning statement: Go and make disciples. May we be women who remember Jesus gave us the authority to open our mouths and speak the truth to those around us. 

This list is short. I believe I could write more and more about being women who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live our lives to the glory of God above all else. The world around us wants us to go home, sit down, and shut up. But Christ lifts our heads and tells us to Go and Speak. May it be so. 

(If you are reading this on your phone you can't see the video I embedded within the post. So if you would like to listen to a beautiful song called A Woman by Ellie Holcomb and Amy Grant, click here.) 

I listened to the Rise and Fall podcast episode after I wrote this post. My heart aches and my soul cries out. As many of you know, I'm a protector and I would encourage every one of my sisters not to listen to this episode. I'm grieved over the way evangelicalism in our country has treated women for so long. I'm grieved at the unwise and undiscerning ways I perpetuated these problems in my ignorance. As you patiently (or impatiently) wait to hear the depth and breadth of what I've learned in my deep dive of women in the church, know this: I'm asking God to use the rest of my days to point to him with all that I have which includes all that I am as a woman. It would be easier for me to stick to the status quo, keep my head down, and just keep ministering to people as I have for years. But when I lift my head I can't help but see the women around me—who trust me, look to me, and want to run to Jesus like me—so I will speak out. I will apologize for wrong things I've taught. I will work to show the God-focused way of unity among men and women. May God help me be a woman who rests in him, works hard to serve him, and carries my brothers and sisters to freedom in Christ like we've never known. 

For Maddie, who mimicked every move I made when I spoke to my church this spring. Maddie, may you grow to be a mighty woman of God who leads the way in proclaiming Jesus.   

If you believe this post will encourage a woman you know, please share. Tag someone, write an email, send a text. Let the women in your life know you see, value, and pray for them. Lift up the women in your life today. Don't wait. 

*If you're listening, kudos to you. If you aren't, double kudos to you. Our obsession with Christian celebrities, Christian controversy, and Christian downfall (all said with air quotes, of course) is dangerous and unwise. True, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy are the guide posts for what we put in our hearts and minds. When I read or hear a story concerning one of these topics, I try to be aware of my motives: Will I pray about this situation? Will this benefit my ministry? Am I getting sucked into the drama or seeking to learn? Just food for thought. 


1 Payne, P., 2015. Man and Woman, One in Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 60-63.