When I first saw the book A Year of Biblical Womanhood I immediately thought, oh good, another one telling me how insufficient I am Biblically! For years I have scoured texts and books looking for the glimmer of hope that some part of me as a woman is getting the Biblical living down. With great reluctance I downloaded the eBook version and set out to see what Rachel Held Evans‘ year of womanhood would reveal for me.
Within a week the book had been devoured. I would quickly get through chapters, jotting down notes and revelations at break neck speed. This was a book, for me, that I could not put down. Rachel’s (I am referring to her by her first name because I think we bonded, more later…) approach is very intriguing as she mixes stories of women from the Bible, with her monthly “to-do” list she did, as well as journal entries from her husband and experiential trips. For me, again, this was the most comprehensive look at things in the Bible that for so very long I have taken as literal interpretation into my own life.
As a single woman, her words on the calling of women to motherhood was a breath of fresh air. Growing up evangelical as well it was very much the norm to hear how I am to be a wife and mother. So what happens at 32 when I don’t fit what that denomination’s standard is for women? Many times I am seen as an outcast, odd, or even damaged. Something must be wrong with me if I have reached this age without living into my duty as a Christian woman to be a wife. Yeah, there’s some work there in the church that needs to be done on that stigma. Reason why? My highest calling, and yours as a believer, is to follow Christ. Rachel goes on to share this:
And following Christ is something a woman can do whether she is married or single, rich or poor, sick or healthy, childless or Michelle Duggar.
She provides great insight and basis for what Proverbs 31 actually interprets to, as so often she’s our norm for living as biblical women. It is something that truly opened my eyes, and has me firmly grasping the 25th verse of that last chapter, where it states:
She is clothed with strength and dignity, she laughs at the days to come.
It’s a powerful reminder to wrap yourself in strength daily as a woman, to put on dignity as if it were clothing for you. We laugh at the days to come, not because of our circumstance, but knowing Who we trust ourselves to in those circumstances.
I would encourage you if you have not read this, to pick it up. It will challenge your thoughts and beliefs on what Biblical womanhood actually is and how you are living it within your life currently. I also had the pleasure, in the midst of reading her book, to hear Rachel speak and meet her afterwards. She talked extensively about her book, and some of the high and low points of it. Something she reiterated and it has carried into my thoughts even this week is that “It is not about what you do but how you do it.“
I don’t know about you all, but that’s something I often need reminding, especially as a woman. I try to do it all, and I mean all…and fail miserably because of the perspective in how I approach it all. So instead I have decided to make a concerted effort to look at how I am doing it and not at the what I am doing. I hope that maybe today you will too. But pick up her book, and go see her speak if she’s in your area anytime soon, because she truly is a woman of valor in tackling such a topic like Biblical womanhood, especially in the Bible belt. Eschet chayil!