I’m certain that I’m not alone in my desire to be a woman serving God well. Like many it is my desire to be the woman, wife, and mother that God created me to be. It is a daily struggle wrapped in joy and often dipped in pain and defeat.
All too often I find my head spinning and my heart aching with every sin and failure starring back at me when I see my reflection. I know who I want to be and no matter how hard I work I seem to constantly stumble and fall. I see so many seemingly well-equipped women standing before me; both in scripture and in my everyday.
I, like many others, look to scripture for guidance and example of who it is that I am to be. Women in scripture that are examples of Christlikeness are laid before me on the pages of my bible. I read and study these women. I see their great love, devotion and faith in God. I find myself wanting to be like them but I’m continually met with defeat.
As women we are confronted daily with who the secular and Christian worlds tell us we need to be to mirror the women set before us, Christian or not. This can be a fierce battle inside each of us. We need to stop looking around for other examples and seek our first example, Jesus. While scripture offers us some Christlike female examples like Ruth and Esther, Abigail and Phoebe, we need to be careful not to put them in a position they were not created to be in.
Wendy Alsup eloquently says, “Remember also that we were not created to be like Ruth. We were created in the image of God and are being conformed back to the example of Christ. Ruth is not the ideal for women, Jesus is.”
Homemaking and homeschooling are two areas I find that I compare myself the most with other women. When I don’t accomplish the same tasks, such as a continually tidy home and well-behaved children, I find myself feeling discouraged and not qualified enough for the path laid before me. With homeschooling I panic when people ask my children questions. What if they don’t answer correctly? It will surely be a reflection of my ability to teach and my own intelligence. Those are a few of the thoughts that momentarily run through my mind when you ask my child a question about school.
I know there are better homeschooling mamas and I know their kids excel in academics. In moments like these I remind myself that I am not to look to the outside world for approval but I am to seek the path that God has me on and do it to the best of my ability regardless of whether or not it meets a superficial criteria. My goal should not be to mirror women others deemed qualified or good enough. My goal is to mirror Christ.
When we are faced with the inadequacies of ourselves it is Jesus who is carrying us. Not the earthly example we fixed our desires on. We also need to give credit to Jesus in those times we feel triumph and victory for our success is not ours, it belongs to Jesus.
I am the vine; you who are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
In closing I’m brought to a paragraph from Wendy Alsup’s book, The Gospel-Centered Woman. “The Gospels are an especially deep well from which to drink for inspiration and example as a wife, mom, sister, daughter, or friend. May we always as sisters in Christ encourage each other to look to Jesus as our first example. From that foundation, we can thank God for Ruth and the Proverbs 31 wife for how each points us to God and encourages us to be like Him.”
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16