It's (Not That) Complicated by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
Reclaiming Beauty: A Webinar
Posted August 8, 2012
A New Look at How to Glorify God in Your Body
What is beauty?
Some say beauty fits in a size 0. Some say beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Some say beauty is only skin deep. Some say beauty is only a quality of the heart. Some say beauty is truth. Some say beauty is a lie. Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some say beauty is as beauty does. Some say Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly are beautiful. Some say everyone is beautiful. Some say beauty is divine. Some say beauty is corrupting.
From all this confusion, one idea emerges clearly: The world knows beauty matters. They talk a lot about it, write poetry and paint paintings celebrating it, and spend $160 billion dollars a year on it. But what’s equally clear is that they don’t know what it is. The question is: Do we?
Today’s young Christian women have grown up in the most image-obsessed generation in history, a generation that worships some of the most twisted ideals of beauty the world has ever seen. But whether we love them or hate them… they tend to shape our own perceptions of what beauty is. Some of us accept its ideals, and struggle to fit into its mold – others of us are repulsed by it, concluding that physical beauty itself is immodest, worldly, and unspiritual, and reject the realm of beautification completely. But when all we’ve ever seen is the counterfeit the world offers, we can sometimes forget that the world did not create beauty – God did. And though we all know the world has a lot to say about image, we sometimes don’t realize how much God does too.
It’s time to reclaim beauty. For thousands of years, believers, pagans, Gnostics, Humanists, Neo-Platonists, iconoclasts, and creators of culture have battled over this critical turf called “beauty.” Today, we have only to look at who designs the fashions, markets the beauty icons, rules the red carpet, adorns magazine covers, crowns Miss America, and designs clothes-and-makeup advertisements, to know who is currently holding the turf.
It’s time to take beauty back. When faced with an industry that runs on photoshop airbrushing, plastic surgery, starvation diets, grotesque catwalk styles, and billions of squandered dollars, our response can no longer be, “Beauty is not for us.” It’s time for our response to be, “Get your flag out of our ground.” It’s time for us to be a light in a culture that uses beauty as a weapon against God. It’s time for God’s ambassadors to make His principles – such as modesty and femininity – look as beautiful as they really are. It’s time for us to show the world: Ugliness is not beauty. Emaciation is not beauty. Androgyny is not beauty. Immodesty is not beauty. Unnatural distortion is not beauty. From Genesis to Revelation, God paints a different picture of the inner and outer beauty of a woman, and it’s time to show the world what it really looks like – one soul, one body, one face, one closet at a time.
A Webinar on Reclaiming Beauty
with Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
This fall, the authors of So Much More and It’s (Not That) Complicated and producers of “Return of the Daughters” are launching an intensely practical, image-rich, 7-week webinar on the meaning and cultivation of beauty from the inside out. Join sisters Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin as they dive into Scripture for the answers to an issue of great importance and frustration to young women: personal image.
Is it OK to look pretty? Wear makeup and jewelry? Put effort into my clothes? Take care of my body? Do I have to care about how I look? Where can I find modest, classy clothes without spending a fortune? What should my attitude be toward the latest fashions? How do I figure out what looks good on me? What is appropriate to wear when? What in the world do I do with my hair?
“Reclaiming Beauty: A New Look at How to Glorify God in Your Body” will cover topics ranging from such practical issues as skincare, fitness, posture, voice, modesty, home-made beauty products, and color analysis… to subjects as penetrating as personal identity, insecurity, comparisons, worldliness, vanity, idolatry, our attitude toward others, and the state of our hearts before the Lord.
- What it means to represent the Lord as His ambassadors to the world
- Where true beauty starts
- What the Bible says about beautification and adornment
- How we should respond to the world’s idea of beauty
- The history and philosophy behind the most popular garments
- The proper priority-level of beauty in the Christian’s life
- The biblical relationship between the physical and the spiritual
- What it means to be separate from the world
- What we can learn from the beauty industry
- What the beauty industry has gotten wrong
Get practical tips on:
- Clothing yourself better for a lot less money
- Making modesty and femininity look excellent instead of frumpy
- Making off-the-rack clothes modest
- Putting together great outfits with what you already had in your closet
- Using makeup tastefully
- Giving sloppy garments new life with minimum alterations
- Cultivating taste and style
- Getting out of a fashion rut
- Creating a minimum-time-and-effort plan for looking nice every day
A Webinar That’s Not Just Skin Deep
Webinar sessions will run every Tuesday evening, 7-8 PM Central Time, from September 25 to November 13 (excluding October 30). The seven sessions include:
#1. What God Says About Beauty and Beautification
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
#2: What Style Is Your Heart, Mind, and Soul?
Pardon Me, Ma’am, But Your True Identity is Showing
#3. Getting Your Temple in Order
The Physical Foundations of Beauty
#4. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
How to Work with the Build, Coloring, and Natural Beauty God Gave You
#5: Putting Things Together
Composition, Style, Occasion, Accessories
#6: Acquiring New Pieces (and Revitalizing Old Ones)
How to Get What You Need with Minimum Time, Money, and Fuss
#7: The Focal Point
Being a Good Steward of Your Face and Hair
The webinar registration fee is $44 per family. It is recommended for young women 12 and up, although parents are encouraged to listen with their daughters.
Click Here to Register
Starting out as aesthetic ascetics and determined frumps who were clueless about beauty and fashion, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth have had to build their understanding of beauty from the biblical foundation up (a work still in progress). They have no beauty certifications whatsoever, though they do have experience dressing for everything from speaking engagements to political events to concert harp performances to good old dirty work around the farm, and each get everything they need (clothes, shoes, hair care, accessories, cosmetics, etc.) for around $130 a year. They’re also interested in reclaiming the biblical family, film, art, music, and politics, and work with their family’s ministry, Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences.
A Princess without a Prince
Posted July 10, 2012
As we pointed out in our last post, Princess Merida is a pretty conventional tomboy. However, “Brave” does not present a conventional happily-ever-after: its Disney princess is the first ever to not get a prince. From the beginning to the end, she is all the man she needs. …Which is handy, because in her world, there aren’t any others she can turn to.
Merida may not have been a particularly brave new kind of princess, but we believe that “Brave” presented the newest and bravest fairytale world in Disney princess history. Castles and tiaras notwithstanding, this brave new world is actually a lot more like ours, for two reasons.
For one thing, this fairytale kingdom is not a medieval patriarchy: It’s a modern matriarchy. Despite whatever clichés and tropes you might have been expecting (as we were), this is not actually another story about a progressive, free-spirited heroine kicking against old fogey men’s ideas about woman’s role. It’s a story of 3rd wave feminism kicking against 2nd wave feminism: the daughter’s rebellious, no-cause-but-myself girl-power versus her mother’s more self-sacrificing, cause-driven, authoritative woman-power; a girl who would rather be a bohemian than undergo training to be an educated, powerful future ruler.
This film is about “contemporary, modern women,” said co-director Brenda Chapman, pinpointing what few critics picked up on, “a contemporary kind of family set in an old world fairy tale.” Producer Katherine Sarafian points out, “Both the female leads are headstrong women. The princess is rebellious and yearns for things to change and the Queen is a working mother, a professional running the kingdom.”
Merida is supposed to be learning how to run the kingdom, from the only person in the kingdom who can.
The second reason is the realistic outgrowth of the first. True to a real feminist society, there are no real men in this movie.
Merida’s father and the rest of the clan leaders are rowdy, buffoonish children who have to be shushed, scolded, and dragged around by the ears by the queen. The suitors are all such that Merida’s clearly better off without one. And that makes her the first Disney princess who doesn’t want a prince, and who doesn’t get one.
This point got half-hearted “yay”s from critics trying to be consistently supportive of feminism’s a-woman-needs-a-man-like-a-fish-needs-a-bicycle ideals. “You’ll be relieved after you see her choices for prince,” wrote one reviewer. “However, I felt something was missing when she became the first independent princess……and, for the life of me, I can’t believe I feel that way.” We can. And there’s a world full of young women who are not excited to find that the feminist landscape they’ve inherited means they get to make the same choice Merida did.
The catalyst of the movie comes when Merida’s mother tells her that, for political reasons, her three horrifying suitor options are IT and she needs to choose one of them NOW. The situation explodes into a catfight that eventually ends happily, with the two feminist views reconciling, the mother happily continuing to rule the realm (essentially) alone, and the daughter happily pursuing single independence. It’s the kind of “happy” ending that a lot of women would dutifully applaud… but few truly want to live.
Unfortunately, it’s a premise a lot of girls watching feel like they themselves have to look forward to – no men leading, little fatherly guidance, no suitable suitors, and people still trying to pressure them into getting married faster.
We might all see Merida’s reactions to these crises as childish (which they were), but then we’re left with the question, “What would we do in her shoes?” One of the great things about movies is how they can give us practice analyzing scenarios we might have to deal with ourselves one day. So how should we respond if, for instance, we feel like: “I’m being pressured to marry someone I don’t like!”?
Hints from well-meaning friends, probing questions from relatives, introductions from prospective in-laws, or nudges from parents could all be scary if any of these people had the biblical prerogative to force you into marriage against your will, but guess what? They don’t.
Theologians believe Scripture sets a precedent for the daughter’s consent being necessary for marriage (Gen. 24:57,58). We also see that the very essence of a covenant is that there are two parties entering into it of their own volition, and the covenant has to be between the two parties who have to keep it (the parents, siblings, or dog of one involved party can’t enter into it for them.) Even if you were told to take your pick of three slobbering buffoons (as Merida was), you could still , on biblical grounds, choose none of them. Remember, doing the right thing is always one of your options, even if it didn’t seem to be on the ballot. (Hint: Resisting by way of a magic potion, a temper tantrum, or a plan to publicly humiliate parents and suitors alike would not count as “the right thing.”)
Next, how should a girl respond to the fear that “None of the young men my age are mature/godly/serious enough to get married!”?
“Should I a) keep sitting around waiting for my prince to come (Old Disney Princess style), or b) decide that I don’t need a man anyway (New Disney Princess style)?”
How about neither of the above?
“Brave” critics were delighted that Merida made things happen for herself instead of waiting around for her prince to show up, and we had mixed feelings about that. Sitting around waiting for our ship to come in, our prince to come, or some outside force to get our lives started for us (sometimes called “Cinderella Syndrome”) should have no place in biblical womanhood (or, we would argue, princess movies). But neither should defiant, misandristic autonomy – “Yeah! Who needs men anyway?!”
We need to use this time of life actively, not passively; to bless and serve others rather than to complain and freeload; to be loving, edifying sisters to those fellows and not cold, critical harpies. After all, your “ever after” doesn’t start after you get married – it started the day you were born. Whether it’s happy or not is up to you.
But how should we respond to the fear, “There are no real men leading in the world!”?
As mentioned, this film has several elements of grim reality to it, but one of the most profoundly truthful is this: Whenever you see crude boy-men like King Fergus and the clansmen, you’re going to see women like Queen Elinor and Princess Merida right next to them – dragging them around by the ears, doing all their talking for them, beating them at their own game, making their decisions for them, treating them like four-year-olds, and scolding them when they act like males.
“Brave” is a very accurate snapshot of the symbiotic relationship between feminists and perpetual frat-boys, and why it’s in both of their “best” (and worst) interests to keep the cycle going. For as long as the men keep playing, the women can keep running things… and as long as the women keep running things, the men can keep playing.
This might sound hopeless, but should actually give us hope – and the answer to the problem of “no” real men leading in the world. When there aren’t many real men in the world, that means that there aren’t many real women in the world either. It means that most of us have been, in small ways or large, part of the problem. And it means we can now be part of the solution. We can become the women that the men around us need us to be – not the men we wish they were.
And then maybe we can help forge a happier ever after for everyone.
Can We Have a Braver Princess, Please?
Posted July 2, 2012
Twenty years ago, our mother walked down the Walmart Pink Aisle, past all the Disney-heroine Barbies, Disney-movie-inspired vanity playsets, sequined polyester fish-tail skirts with seashells, and itchy yellow off-shoulder Belle dresses, and decided, “Not for my daughters.”
We were 4 and 6, and like most little girls, were each on our quest for the holy grail of femininity, the all-inspiring vision of who to be when we grew up. Like many mothers, Mom realized that the entire panoply of Disney “woman” options, from Snow White to Ariel and Belle, were not it. Unlike many mothers, she ditched the entire franchise, tossed Barbie, and made us beautiful cloth dolls based on our intrepid Swedish-immigrant great-grandmothers, and taught us how to make clothes for them ourselves.
Seven years ago, Disney-Pixar also saw a problem with their insipid line of princesses. “I love fairy tales, but I am tired of the message of waiting around for your prince to show up and you’ll live happily ever after,” said Brenda Chapman, writer and co-director of Disney-Pixar’s newest movie. “[M]y goal was to offer up a different kind of princess — a stronger princess that both mothers and daughters could relate to, so mothers wouldn’t be pulling their hair out when their little girls were trying to dress or act like this princess. Instead they’d be like, ‘Yeah, you go girl!’”
So last week they unveiled…
…Princess Merida of “Brave,” a fiery-haired, fiery-tempered, arrow-shooting, teenaged tomboy, who doesn’t want to get married, doesn’t want to mind her manners, and hates being a princess. She takes after her boorish warrior father instead of her polished power-woman mother, who tries in vain to shape her into a responsible and proper future queen. Merida’s head-butting with her mother turns into all-out war when she’s faced with an forced marriage to her choice of three slobbering buffoons in order to keep the kingdom’s peace.
To make a long and rather weak story short (you can read our brother Isaac’s analysis of it here and here), Merida strikes a spiteful and reckless bargain with a witch to fix her mother-problems, which endangers her mother’s life and causes a national crisis. She then has to fix her mistake, which involves reconciling with her mother, and the two then overrule the kingdom’s tradition together in perfect, heartwarming mother-daughter harmony.
This spunky new princess is supposedly breaking all kinds of stereotypes, and presenting a brave new kind of role model for America’s daughters. But is she really?
Let’s first ask why this even matters, as some might complain, “Merida is just pretend,” “’Brave’ is just a movie,” or “It’s just entertainment.” Disney knows better. Interviews with any of the writers, directors, or producer make it clear that their goal was not to entertain girls. They wanted to inspire them. Nor did they ever mean for “Brave” to be just a movie. “Brave” is an advertisement. It’s trying to sell something, and we’re not just talking about billions of dollars’ worth of Merida merchandise. What it’s offering is a new product in Disney’s catalog of personalities, attitudes, and identities. If you didn’t want to be the singing scullerymaid, the vapid plot-vehicle, the defiant teenaged mermaid, or the daydreaming bookworm — now you can be the Amazonian spitfire!
Analyzing Merida matters because she was designed specifically to be a model for others to follow, by people who know girls will. So what did they put into the package, and how brave is it really? Let’s examine Merida’s example.
• Whining for time off from responsibility, rules, expectations, and having to be a role model: not all that brave.
• Resisting self-discipline, education, and training for the future in favor of outdoorsy hobbies: not all that brave.
• Defying parents (while freeloading off of them): not all that brave.
• Refusing to follow basic rules of manners: not all that brave.
• “Making things happen” in your life (instead of sitting around) by causing mayhem in others’: not all that brave.
• Fighting for your own way over anything else: not all that brave.
• Confessing and actually repenting for her catastrophic mistake at the end: very brave.
• Realizing that her mother was a person too, who could be terribly hurt by her daughter’s selfishness: extremely brave, for a kids’ movie about parent-child conflict.
• Refusing to marry any of her suitors: Sorry, we’re saving our thoughts on this one for the next post.
Yes, there were some points to her example that we were happy to see, but honestly, doing no more than owning up to and fixing the mistakes she herself made hardly makes her a hero. We’ve seen little toasters braver than this.
Nor does her example rise above stereotypes of femininity – it just creates one new one (which isn’t even that new). Not only is Merida not as brave as a toaster; she can’t even make toast. That is to say, she’s yet another heroine with excellent motor skills in the woods but who’s totally incompetent indoors. She can sit the trot, but not sit up straight in her chair at royal functions (nor walk without lumbering, eat without gobbling, and so forth.) How are all these socially and domestically challenged heroines who swing swords but fumble with teapots broadening society’s expectations for what a girl can do? How is this a more empowering womanhood?
Full-orbed biblical womanhood should involve more than pouring tea or singing with forest creatures, of course – but should also involve more than spending all day shooting arrows into nothing (which is maybe why our mother used to buy us tea sets and bows and arrows.) The helpless someday-my-prince-will-come vision and the autonomous barbaric tomboy vision are both narrow, unhealthy, and most of all, unbiblical. In other words, “Brave” can just join the roundup of usual suspects for creating unhealthy stereotypes for girls, along with Queen Victoria, Aristotle, June Cleaver, Rousseau, Rosie the Riveter, and Barbie. And like our mother, we can just say “no” to all of them, because they’re all inventions of man and they’re all wrong.
There is a vision out there that is bigger, better, and braver, and it is because it’s God’s.
It requires a lot more than being the kind of “heroine” that “girls [can] look at and not feel inadequate” (the goal of Merida’s creator Brenda Chapman), because it was designed by a God Who wants us to become more than we are. We all start out immature, foolish, weak, clumsy, and yes, inadequate, but He calls us as women to move on and develop courage, compassion, wisdom, knowledge, strength, dignity, discretion, diligence, gentleness, resourcefulness, entrepreneurship, generosity, submission to authority, and sacrifice for others.
The Bible tells tales of women who were intelligent, brave, beautiful, and who acted like women instead of little barbarians. Of women who didn’t fit inside personality-type clichés like “the lovable klutz,” “the beautiful bimbo,” “the steely battle-ax,” “the mealy-mouthed Mary Sue,” “the defiant teen,” “the snarky geek,” or “the tomboyish wildcat.” The godly deeds of these heroines never included teen rebellion, ruling over men, or “following their hearts,” though they did include a lot of things that would have shocked Queen Victoria.
Of course, our culture will keep trying to give us new “role models” to expand our catalog of options, but the spread is still too small, and always will be until the Bible becomes the basis for a new vision of femininity.
Now, as soon as Disney gives us a princess who can put tent pegs through enemy generals’ heads, hurl millstones at invading armies, defy pharaohs, shelter spies, rebuild walls, work in the fields, water camels, and risk her life for her people, as well as sew and cook and raise a family — then we’ll call that a brave princess.
1 (Respectively, Jdg. 4:24, Jdg. 9:53, Ex. 1:15-21, Josh. 2, Neh. 3:12, Ruth 2, Gen. 24:19,20, Esth. 4,5, Proverbs 31, Acts 9:39, Gen. 18:6, Tit. 2:4, 1 Tim. 5:9,10, and Prov. 31:27.)
LAF Is Back!
Posted April 9, 2010
We are excited to announce the relaunch of one of our favorite websites, Ladies Against Feminism. This goldmine of articles, news and testimonies about everything related to the war between feminism and femininity, is now back and better than ever.
Head over and take a look, and while there, check out an article we wrote in honor of their relaunch:
The Truth About Women That Feminists Don’t Want You to Know
The recent naming of Nancy Pelosi as the “most powerful woman in American history” has sparked national discussion on both the history of women in America and the nature of woman’s power. As Speaker of the House, Mrs. Pelosi holds the highest civic position any American woman has held to date, and her hand in putting through the recent Health Care Bill will have huge historic implications. Though we don’t see it as a great advance for women to finally be oppressed by one of our own, this is undeniably a kind of power.
But behind this recent tribute to Mrs. Pelosi is this presupposition: “Women find their power in holding the positions of men – the traditional women’s role has no power. The power traditional women exercised in the past doesn’t count.”
Americans are ready to believe this because they long ago adopted a feminist view of history. (Go here to read the whole thing.)
Chastity and Androgyny
Posted October 31, 2006
In our recent studies of history, we found two interesting quotes, from two different sources, written in two different centuries. Both timeless.
“Chastity is so essential and natural to your sex, that every declination from it is a proportionable receding from womanhood. An immodest woman is a kind of monster, distorted from its proper form.”
A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice to a Young Lady
“Chastitie is a vertue much commended in a souldier, when uncleannesse doth defile body and soule, and make a man stinke in the nostrils of God and man, and laieth him open to the malice and sword of his enemy, for commonly it makes a man effeminate, cowardly, lasie and full of diseases, and surely such who have unlawful women still trudging about with them, or in whom custome hath taken away the sence of offending in that kind, commonly come to dishounorable ends.”
Instructions of the Marshall for the better enabling of a privat soldier to the executing of his duty in this present Glorie — June 22, 1611
[Emphases my own]
In other words, we would draw from these two quotes that lack of chastity in a woman makes her less a woman, and lack of chastity in a man makes him less a man — that chastity is an integral part of womanliness in a woman, and of manliness in a man. This concept is interesting food for thought, especially when we consider that inchastity and androgyny are generally seen together throughout history, and very clearly in our own generation.
Posted October 27, 2006
A lack of burning enthusiasm in the hearts of young women for their role is a sad thing. The number of women who are turning their hearts to their fathers, families and homes is exciting. And yet many of these girls lack zeal as they do their duty. Some are apologetic and timid about dressing femininely and modestly, because “public opinion is so strong.” Some look on sadly and a bit martyrishly as their friends go off to “do exciting things,” while they themselves remain with their families. Some feel they are missing out on excitement because they have chosen God’s design for womanhood over the glitzy allure of feminism or the crushing tyranny of social expectations.
Genevieve Smith, our beloved buddy and a role model in Godly gusto, has discovered in her journey from feminism to femininity that zeal is vital.
By Genevieve Smith
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines zeal primarily in Biblical terms: “denoting ardent feeling (taking the form of love, wrath, ‘jealousy’ or righteous indignation).” It also defines it as “Ardour in the pursuit of an end or in favour of a person or cause; active enthusiasm.”
Have you seen a zealous person before? Someone who emanated zeal? Wasn’t it electrifying? Didn’t you just want to follow along behind? Didn’t you just hope that some of their enthusiasm would rub off onto you? Didn’t you want to be around them? Didn’t you want to be just like them?
And yet have you witnessed misdirected zeal? The type of zeal that takes a person and others down the wrong track? Which makes mountains out of molehills? Which detracts from life’s goal and purpose? This sort of zeal is pointless and dangerous.
Zeal/enthusiasm/ardour are all very attractive to us when we observe them in others. If we are zealous or enthusiastic, we soon learn that we can use our passions to influence others mightily. Our influence could be in something small, such as a decision over whether to drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi, or it could be in something bigger, such as a decision to purchase a Holden or a Ford. And it could even be over the direction of a person’s life, ambitions, and purpose.
As Christians, our purpose in life is to apply our zeal towards bringing glory to God and (this is pretty exciting to me) enjoying Him forever! We are to be actively enthusiastic in the pursuit of obeying God in order to bring Him glory. Wow!
If we could be zealous about obeying God, what would that mean? It’d mean we’d enjoy obeying God. We’d like it. We’d love it. We’d want to do it always. We’d be visionary about it. It would give us purpose. We’d never want to stop obeying Him! We would be enthusiastic it about it. We’d want to tell everyone else around us, “Hey, y’all, this is the way to go!” We would be like bright lights burning on a hill. Our zeal would attract others.
Of course, our responsibility as Christians is to ensure that our zeal is not misapplied and that we are actually being obedient to God in our enthusiasm.
Whether we are being obedient should be easy for us to determine. Rather than relying on extra revelation from God to help us figure out what God wants us to do, we should be guided by His Word as revealed in Scripture.
This is where our subject of zeal becomes real exciting for us girls (guys too, but I’m writing for us girls)! God tells us what He wants us to do (how we can be obedient) in Scripture. He tells us for what reason(s) He has created us. He tells us what our purpose is. He tells us what we need to learn and know. He tells us what our duties are. He has been, in fact, perfectly merciful and kind to us girls in spelling out in Scripture exactly what He wants us to do, for we can be hopelessly befuddled at times.
Mind you, it is not surprising that we would be hopelessly befuddled at times, or that we would misdirect our zeal more often than not, since it is the stated ambition of our enemy, the devil, to turn us girls from God and cause us to disobey His commandments.
And to what is it that God wants us to direct our zeal, as women?
“And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” ~ Genesis 2:18
God wants us to be zealous about helping our future husbands (and in the absence of husbands, our fathers).
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” ~ Genesis 1:26-28
Here God elaborates on how we are to help our husbands. He wants us to be enthusiastic about having children. He wants us to love and to be jealous of the children that He gives to us. And He wants us to have an ardent enthusiasm for working alongside our husbands in raising our children and in assisting them as they seek to fulfil the mandate to take dominion.
“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God.” ~ Deuteronomy 22:5
God wants us to be zealous about being women, about being feminine. He wants us to embrace the role He has for us as women and glory in it!
“The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” ~ Titus 2:3-5
This could be the passage that makes me the most enthusiastic about where God wants us to direct our zeal! He wants us to love our husbands. If it does not excite you that the Lord wants us to love our husbands, I don’t know what will! The Lord wants us to have zeal in loving our children! Wow. He wants us to be zealous in being discreet! He wants us to have zeal for chastity! He wants us to be zealous for our purity. He wants us to be zealous in being homemakers! He wants us to have zeal for cooking and cleaning and keeping house! He wants us to have zeal in being good and in obeying our husbands!
This passage is not just for the married women. Unmarried women can be zealous in learning how to love husbands and children. Unmarried women can have great zeal in learning to be discreet and chaste and pure and good. In fact, there is nothing quite like an unmarried girl pursuing and learning these things to give hope back to a community and to warm the hearts of older folks. And God has given unmarried women fathers so that they can learn to love and be obedient to their future husbands by learning to love and be obedient to their fathers. And He has given them siblings so that they can learn to love their future children by learning to love their siblings.
In the face of how the devil has convinced our culture to believe things contrary to each of these passages, can we be zealous for the things of God? Can we do this girls? Can we bring glory to God by obeying Him in the things He wants us to be obedient in? Can we be feminine with glorious zeal? Can we learn how to be chaste and how to pursue purity with zealous abandon?
Of all the things in life we could have zeal for-–money, friendships, makeup, jewelery, cars, music, clothing, entertainment, books, politics or whatever-–I pray that we can all develop a zeal for obeying God in the things, in the role, and through the duties He has for us.
May He give us all such a zeal!
Genevieve Smith is the eldest daughter of Craig and Barbara Smith. Her Dad is the National Director of the Home Education Foundation in New Zealand. She enjoys assisting him in his ministry as well as working with her Mum in their home and playing with her younger siblings.