Being a Woman of God
I grew up an Evangelical. So, I grew up learning to be a "Woman of God". What does that even mean? It means learning to be a "Proverbs 31 Woman" or a "Titus 2 Woman". Both of these scriptures purport to tell women how to behave. Of course, there don't appear to be corresponding passages for men. Hmmmm.
As Evangelicalism became more conservative in my college, med school, and residency days, they started espousing ideas like all women needing to be stay-at-home moms and homeschooling for religious reasons. And they found Bible verses (not always in context) to back them up.
Well. What was I to do? I was in the middle of becoming a family physician. And, somehow, God had failed to mention to me that He wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom. In fact, all signs pretty clearly pointed me toward medicine. And, soon after I started my residency, I got pregnant. Clearly, someone had their signals crossed. It wasn't God. I was pretty sure it wasn't me. But, just to be sure, I checked.
I have read the Gospels numerous times. Nowhere does Jesus give any broad commands for how women are supposed to behave or how men are supposed to behave (except maybe the section on divorce in Matthew 19). The Sermon on the Mount was given to everyone. The parables were told to everyone.
Sure, some people commented that Jesus had only men as his disciples, although women did follow him as well and financially support his ministry. This is a descriptive statement, though, and not prescriptive. Jesus was following the norms of 1st century Palestine. In fact, Jesus' interaction with women was far more positive and egalitarian than that of most men.
Paul's letter were also written to the churches of various cities, and not just to the men. Occasionally, he would have specific commands to the men or the women of that city, but that was to that group in that place and time. Again, they were not commands for all people in all time (for example, 1 Timothy 2).
I looked at Proverbs 31 again. This chapter is not a prescription for how to be a perfect wife. This is a proverb to a young man about the virtues of a good wife. She doesn't embody these all at once. No, it's not a guide on how to live in the 21st centure.
What does Jesus say? Matthew 22:37-39 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” And he didn't say it to just men or just women. It's to everyone.
Figuring this out makes life a lot easier. I don't need to sort out how to be a "Woman of God". I need to walk with Jesus. What God has for me to do is different than anyone else, not so much because I'm a woman, but because I'm me.
Yes, I'm a woman and because of that, I gave birth to and breastfed two amazing children. A man could not have done that. But, I also was a family physician for ten years. There were eleven other family physicians in that practice, nine of them men, but none of them were me.
God has made each of us unique. Does He want you to be a stay at home parent, a working parent, retired, homeschooling, driving a truck, starting a business, or any of a million other things? I don't know. I do know that God wants all of us to love Him and love others. And that's quite enough to be getting along with.