It's a sad portrait that I've come across time and time again. There are women that are quick to greet you, but slow to pray. They give advice, but don't open scripture. Why? Does Church membership equal wisdom? Does attendance equal holiness? Why do we as women get so caught up 'serving' that we forget to minister? Are we so preoccupied with trying to look good for God that we've forgotten to spend time at the Savior's feet?
Luke 10: 38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
This is not a call to laziness, ladies. This is a call to holiness.
There are women in my life who have struck the Mary/Martha balance of service and surrender. For them, it's not one or the other. It's not either/or. Have you ever seen such a woman? Have you ever met her? If you're not sure, let me describe her.
She radiates beauty. I'm not talking about how she achieved the perfect arch on her eyebrows, or how her foundation blends perfectly with her skin. Nuh-uh. This woman is beautiful because she spends time with the Lover of her Soul.
Mmm. Did you catch that sweet aroma as she walked into the room? The manner in which she conducts herself makes it feel like she's floating from person to person, giving each and every one the attention they deserve. If she catches your eye, she says a million different things without having to say anything. She comes to your aid even before you open your mouth, and when she sees you, she sees you. Why is that? Sweet Sister, it's because she has a direct line of communication with the Lord.
The Holy Spirit that dwells inside of her knows you inside and out.
I can count on my fingers how many women like this I've known in my lifetime. They are a blessing. Now, they're not all the same, don't get me wrong. They're not of one particular age or of one ethnic background. The Lydias, Ruths, and Mary's I've known all have different life experiences, different upbringings. They've made mistakes. And sure, they're wonderful godly women, but they're not perfect, either. Something that sets these women apart as Lilies among Thorns is that they have a genuine friendship with Almighty God.
When I was a teenager, I began taking piano lessons from such a woman. Her name was Mrs. Sharon. Now, Mrs. Sharon constantly astounded me. She had a way about her: She was direct, candid, honest... but she was also sweet as honey and soft as cotton. She chose her words carefully, and one thing that Mrs. Sharon did very well, was listening. Sure, you could say that as a piano teacher it was kind of her job to listen, but no. I mean, she listened to the Holy Spirit. Constantly.
We'd be in the middle of a piano lesson when she would look up and say, "Thank you, Lord." And it wasn't an empty expression, she said it as if He'd just whispered something in her ear.
There were other times we'd be in the middle of a lesson when she'd stop speaking altogether as I played and improvised and composed. Minutes would go by before I realized we were no longer learning theory and I would feel my face get crimson and look up reluctantly with an apology on my lips for not being a good listener, only to be met with a knowing smile and a twinkle in Mrs. Sharon's eyes. She'd whisper, "Dani, God gives you music differently than he does other people." And then she'd adjust her lesson plan to accommodate my new song.
There was another woman I knew growing up, now, she was no Bible scholar, but man did she love the Lord! She had a spotty past full of... er... experience. By her own admission, this woman was a rebellious youth, a single mother, and a pastor's daughter. She'd ran from God for years before He brought her back, but ever since then, she'd lived a life of surrender, knowing full well that Jesus was her only hope. I loved her. I still do. She was also candid, honest. She was at times boisterous and loud, but she never made me feel like I had to be anyone other than myself around her.
There have been other women, women you'll read about as I continue to blog, but the moral of the story is this:
A woman who spends time at the Savior's feet is going to start to look more like Him whether she knows it or not.
It took me a long time to learn the difference between a continuous church service attender and a Woman of God. If you're looking for that Godly woman, you won't find her in any obvious place. She's not always outspoken at Lady Auxilary meetings or taking the lead on a new project around the building. Often, the Marys in our congregation don't have very many friends because they've learned to be Set-Apart. She won't stand for the gossip or stand around for the praise. She'll work in the background, and perhaps even pray for you without your knowledge.
She'll be the one sending you that card or making that phone call when you've been out. She'll be the one that hears your prayer request about your finances and slip you a twenty, fifty, or one-hundred-dollar bill discreetly. Why? Because God told her to.
Ladies, it's time.
Time to change the narrative.
Time to change the trends.
What if women were chosen to lead, not just by their faithful attendance, but by the content of their character?
What if we confronted the evils of gossip and slander within the Church? What if we created an environment where we felt safe to share our burdens, rather than feel like our misfortune may become the next topic of interest for the rumor-mill?
No woman is perfectly holy on this side of Heaven, but through the scriptures, we learn that Women of Virtue are women that, while not sinless, are a living example of grace because they recognize the grace they themselves have been given by God.