God, the giver of all good gifts, gave to women quite a lovely package:
a feminine nature.
Now, as with most gifts, it can be used for good or for evil. Mankind has the power of free will and therefore can choose to stake his tent facing either Sodom or Zion. We see examples in Scripture of the wicked, wayward woman wandering about in search of her prey to appease her pleasures. We also see examples of the godly and gracious woman steadfastly building her home upon that firm foundation of Jesus Christ using her works as an expression of her faith.
Man’s natural instinct is to protect and defend a woman just as a woman’s natural instinct is to tenderly and selflessly care for those around her. What has happened to dull these instincts? Romans 1:18-32 is a commentary on today’s society. The dulling of the natural instincts is part of this descent from a God-honoring society to that of a God-hating society.
What was that first step to ruin by mankind? Verse 21 tells us, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” In that first step away from God and the God-honoring life was that ugly, deceptive quality of ingratitude. That doesn’t seem like such a big deal to most people, but to God it is indeed a very big deal. It seems to me the beginning of things is very important. The stakes which position and secure our tents may seem small but they are vital to the security and stability of our entire life structure.
The Beginning of a Distinctly Feminine Life
A daughter is presented to her parents hard-wired with God-given femininity. As parents we are to assist this dear creature in taking up her tent stakes and staking her tent in the direction of God. A quote I gleaned years ago from an old book stated, “Everything depends upon habits framed in youth.” As parents, my husband and I knew that we must take up our hammers and help our child to frame excellent habits on which the rest of their life will be built.
Stake 1: Fear the Lord.
In the Romans 1 passage the first offense toward God is not that the people didn’t know Him but that they glorified Him not as God. The First Commandment is to love the LORD God supremely, placing nothing and no one before Him. We glorify God with our words and our actions. Shakespeare said, “They do not love that do not show their love.” Our Christian religion must have arms and legs and heart. It is not something Christians are, but rather the way Christians live.
We show our fear of Him in reverence, adoration and sacrifice. Place God first. We tell Him why we love Him and with each remembrance and utterance bend lower before Him. The sacrifice of God is a broken and contrite heart. (Psalm 34:18, 51:17, Isaiah 57:15) We teach this to our children by our actions. As my husband says, “Talk is cheap. Let me see some action behind those words.” Christianity is not something to talk about and a list of things to memorize, it is a collection of directives designed to transform thinking and change ways. We are the lips, hands and feet of God in this life; the body of Christ.
Stake 2: Gratitude
It is unseemly for a dependent creature to be an unthankful creature. “Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
Ingratitude causes a warped view of life. We begin to think we can manage without help and this darkens our heart. Out of a darkened heart flow all manner of wickedness. What a picture! The opposite of this is a heart full of light and life because the flame of thankfulness burns brightly within, fanned by praise to God in all circumstances.
A child who does not freely say thank you is a child to be pitied indeed, for their parents are creating a severe handicap for them. Ingratitude shapes a character more quickly than even a lack of discipline.
Gratitude and humility walk hand in hand. How can one fall at the foot of the cross for salvation without donning the cloak of humility and grasping with eternal gratefulness to the One who has given His life in the place of their own?
Stake 3: Honor the Gift of Femininity with her Entire Being
The Bible says, “A gracious woman retaineth honor.” (Proverbs 11:16a) The word gracious is magnificently descriptive of the purely feminine character. It means the opposite of cruel; courteous, compassionate and merciful. This sounds a lot like the character qualities of our God, does it not? Courtesy means courtly or elegant politeness; an expression of respect. Compassionate means to be sympathetic, disposed to pity, tender and responsive. Merciful means forbearance from inflicting harm; a willingness to spare or to help. It is no wonder honor is found where these qualities are exemplified.
Teach our daughters to use this wonderful gift to be a great asset wherever God would place her. Married, single, employed; no matter her title she is a woman! And, oh, what a beautiful force a woman can be! One who keeps the home, who births new life and who tenderly associates with others; gathering respect and admiration from others all the while pointing to the Source of her strength and to the Lover of her soul.
Stake 4: Serving with a Sweet Spirit
I recently asked my husband what quality he thinks is most important for a woman to possess? His answer: selflessness. To be selfless is to “have little or no concern for oneself; to be unselfish.” To be busy about the work of serving with a sweet spirit is the fourth stake to drive into the solid ground. To work willingly with our hands is vital for our development and for the blessing of others. I will quote from a lovely old book, Parlor and Kitchen, “That is just the way God has fixed this great world. It is full of servants of His. He has given each one his or her own place, and his or her own work to do. Some of us are governors, some pastors, some laborers, some parents, some children, some employers, and some servants.”
God has placed all of us in a particular station or position in this life. We need to know what that station is and what is expected of us and we are to teach our daughters to do likewise. They are to do whatever they do heartily, as if they were doing it for the Lord himself. In addition, we must teach them to perform their duties in the fear of the Lord, not as men pleasers, but as one who knows she is answering to God Himself for the quality of her work and her attitude of heart.
As seasons of life change, Elizabeth happily remains desperately dependent upon her God. Two of her four children have now branched off to begin their own families. She is a homeschooling veteran and a faithful wife of almost 30 years.