Where the women are strong...

Lake Wobegone: Where the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.


Dear Kara,

You asked me the other day why a guy would ever want to marry a strong woman when he could choose instead a sweet and naturally submissive woman. I gave you a few answers, but since I have been thinking about this more, I wanted to write more in depth.

When I asked your dad this question, he just snorted with laughter. To him it seems so obvious. “Well, he says, I guess it depends what that man wants to do. It might be compared to the difference between a race horse with some spirit and a tame pasture pony. If a man is going to do hard things, he will probably want a wife who will be a bit spirited, but have real backbone.” (Or he said something to that effect.)

It’s no secret that one of the things that most characterizes our church is that it is filled with strong men. The elders, pastors, and deacons give it strong leadership, and you see the young men growing rapidly in strength. Perhaps a better kept secret though, is that CGS is populated with all kinds of strong women. Just look at the wives of the pastors and other elders. To a one, they are women of courage, conviction, and perseverance, women who are a real strength to their husbands and to the body.

What is a strong woman anyway? Is it antithetical to being a biblical woman? In my mind, a strong woman is a woman who is courageous (which means doing what is right even, and especially, when it is hard), a woman of conviction, and a woman of perseverance. It is not uncommon that very bright women (like you, dear) are strong. There are so many women that I think of. Mrs. Cuffey comes immediately to mind. Imagine the strength she had to continue believing and praying all those decades, waiting for Dr. Cuffey to come to the Lord, and then the joy she had when it come to pass in their last years on earth. I also think of your Aunt Terri. When she endured the armed robbery in Ndola while Uncle David was out of town she did not shrink up and ask to immediately return home. Instead her faith and her commitment to being where God had called her husband (and therefore herself and the children) was only strengthened. This is true strength.

The women of the Bible are not wimpy ladies either. You have Sarah who submitted to her rather imperfect husband (making herself beautiful by her submission! – I Peter 3:5,6), even when it meant she was put in a precarious position in Egypt. Ruth chose to follow her mother-in-law and the one true God rather than stay in her own country and worship their gods. The Proverbs 31 lady is no candy either. And then you have Mary, the mother of Jesus, who as a young girl willingly accepted the very strange and awkward news that she would become the mother of the Messiah, and then she is one of those few (mostly women) who are at the foot of the cross as Jesus dies. These are just some of the very strong women in the Bible.

The common ground for the godly women of the Bible is that they were submitted to the Lord. And those who were married were submitted to their husbands. This is key. A strong woman who is not submitted to the Lord and to her husband will be a huge pain to everyone. But one who gives herself first to the Lord and then to her husband will bring great joy. She can be a bulwark of support for her husband, especially in those difficult times of life.

OK, there are a few caveats for strong women. Really you have heard all of these from us before! First, strong women need strong men. Second, strong women need to work extra hard at learning submission. Third, strong women who hold strong convictions need to work on learning when to speak and when to hold their tongues. (Prov. 11:22)

I’m so glad that you are learning and really desire to be submissive, now to your dad, and eventually to the man God brings as your husband. One of the sweetest things I have heard is your Lafayette pastor’s wife’s comment on how she found you to be so obedient (for such an independent person) or something like that.

I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine, a very strong woman, and one of the brightest women I know. Formerly she was a feminist, but the Lord has remade her heart and she now relishes in all ways her femininty. Because she has such a fertile mind, she is always coming up with new ideas. Desiring to submit to her husband, she runs her ideas past him, and he usually tells her, “No.” So she was taken aback a few months ago when she shared with him her latest idea for a writing project which would involve a great deal of sacrifice. Her husband heard her out, and this time, instead of saying no he said, “Yes, I think you should do it.” So faithfully every day since January 1 my friend wakes up very early to spend time studying and writing a beautiful devotional guide on the names of Christ. Since I am on the email list to receive these each day, I know that she does not miss a day, and they are often sent before 5 AM. She told me how knowing that her husband wants her doing this project gives her motivation to get up on days when she might want to slack off. Submission, for this strong woman, has brought freedom, freedom from taking on too much, and freedom to pursue those things the Lord calls her to. (If you would like to receive these daily devotionals, please read the comment below which gives my friend's email address.)

So, why would a man choose to marry a strong woman? Maybe because he wants a woman who will not give up easily when life is hard. Maybe because he wants a woman who will stand firm when opposition and trials come. Maybe because he wants a woman who will use her strength and ideas not to go her own way, but to work as his helpmate. Remember Pastor Bayly’s charge back in October to young men to find a wife who will be a challenge. A strong man is not threatened by a strong woman, but rejoices instead in the woman that the Lord has given him.


Well, I was supposed to be cranking out another review instead of writing this, so I need to close.

Love,
Mom

P.S. Don’t you think that part about the men being good looking and all the children above average is also true at CGS?
12 Responses
  1. Anne Says:

    Before posting, I asked my friend, Barbara, for permission to tell her story. This is what she wrote:

    ++++++++++++
    Please, yes, do post it! What a beautiful way you have written about
    my testimony. It IS freedom to submit to our Lord Jesus Christ and to
    submit to the husband God has blessed us with. I wish every woman
    could experience just one day of the peace that such relinquishment to
    love gives. Then we'd see how many prickly feminists there would be!

    ++++++++++

    If you want to receive Barbara's wonderful daily devotionals on the names of Christ, send her an email at: lehr@indiana.edu


  2. Kara Says:

    While I think it's fairly obvious that all the CGS men are good-looking, I was thinking about my Sunday School kids and I'd really only say that about half of them are above average ;)


  3. Hind's Feet Says:

    Hey now, as the mom of one of those SS kids...

    HA HA HA HA

    She is above average on the:
    How fast can I get mom to move if I do "this?" angle.

    on the,
    How many ways can I find to touch mom without actually simply holding her hand, thereby driving her to run and hide (occasionaly)?

    or the,
    How cute can I be before mom decides she DOES need to discipline me? (she hasn't escaped the discipline yet)

    or the,
    How much can I make my mother love me and thank God for me daily, despite, or even because of, what I can AND what I can't do...

    And, after all, what is average so as to determine who is above and below?

    (and of course, you know I am joking with you Kara!)

    Now for the serious portion, your mom has spoken well. We talked of this in our American Lit class today. And, truth be told, I am not sure how we arrived there from "Emperor Jones" or even how we might have ended up there during poetry time... Oh yes, I do remember now. But, in the end, my boys I teach agreed, the beauty of strength of character and love of God was what they found most beautiful about women.

    Thanks Anne for a lovely post!
    Blessings, Kim


  4. Kara Says:

    Actually (shh, don't spread this around, I don't want people to start applying the process of elmination) Shoshi was definitely in my top half of kids.


  5. Anne Says:

    Awwww, Kara, you know you love all those kids so much that you keep asking to teach them again each summer!


  6. Kara Says:

    I do. They're all great kids, and it's been cool to see them all grow up so much in the last few years.


  7. Thank you, Anne, for sharing these thoughts. I read your article linked from LAF. I was encouraged as a young woman in a similar situation as Kara.
    To God be all glory,
    Lisa of Longbourn


  8. Scootergal Says:

    I am a strong woman and I married a strong man. He is so strong that he did not need to marry someone who would be obedient to him.

    And guess what, I'm not a huge pain.

    When will you woman get it? An egalitarian marriage is close to perfection. That is what God wants.

    Try it. You'll like it. I promise.


  9. Anonymous Says:

    Scootergal said:
    "When will you woman get it? An egalitarian marriage is close to perfection. That is what God wants."

    Could you please show me (Biblically) where God says that he DOESN'T want a wife to be obedient? How do you know that God wants us to have egalitarian marriages?

    Thanks.

    Meredith in Aus


  10. Anonymous Says:

    On behalf of the other single men at CGS, thank you for that most educational post. It will provide suitable study material for months to come. Thank you also for the example you and the other God-fearing/-loving women at CGS set for the younger ladies.

    =Random CGS Guy=


  11. Thank you for this post. It was awesome and so very true! I am a very strong woman married to a man who works crazy hours half the week. His job thankfully has him only working a few days a week, but on those days everything must be handled by me alone...and he is thankful that he can trust me to take care of what needs doing without difficulty...sometimes I look at women around me who are not of the strong personality that I have ~smile~ and I think....they are lucky to have the guy they have as they couldn't walk in my shoes...but then again, I'd probably stumble and fall walking in theirs!

    Kara, it's so important to pray hard for God's complete leading and direction in this second most important decision in our life--who you are going to marry! (the first most important is the decision to trust Christ as Savior). God has someone for everyone and has "wired" us the way we are for a reason.


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