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What a Woman – A Look at Biblical Femininity

March 23, 2011

You don’t hear a lot about femininity these days. In our modern society where feminism is touted and gender neutralism is championed, femininity has been misunderstood, misconstrued and even shunned. Because of that, it has become increasingly difficult for women to understand and appreciate their own femininity.

But Ruth leaves us a beautiful legacy of biblical femininity. She was not only bold, brave, selfless and strong, she was also submissive, steadfast, vulnerable and loyal.

Yesterday, Kathy did a wonderful job expounding on the significance of Ruth’s journey to Boaz’s feet. It wasn’t a brash attempt to take a man’s role by asking for his hand in marriage – it was a humble, very modest and feminine request for the kind of protection which is only found in the context of marriage.

Notice how the Amplified gives clarity to her request:

“And he said, Who are you? And she answered, I am Ruth your maidservant. Spread your wing [of protection] over your maidservant, for you are a next of kin.” Ruth 3:7

In submission to her mother-in-law’s instructions, Ruth placed herself at the feet of the one she knew had the power to redeem her. It was at his feet that she asked for protection. It was at his feet that she was willing to make a fool of herself and risk rejection. It was at his feet that she humbled herself in hopes that he would make her his.

Although we never have to risk rejection, it is at our Savior’s feet that we find redemption and protection. It is at His feet that we humble ourselves and He makes us His.

Perhaps it’s just misunderstood, but femininity is anything but a demonstration of weakness. Somehow masked behind a certain kind of dignity, it becomes a manifestation of strength and grace.

Look at Boaz’s response in the Amplified…

And now, my daughter, fear not. I will do for you all you require, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability). Ruth 3:11

The Bible is full of women who have given us inspiring examples of femininity to follow. Let’s look at just a few:

Sarah – a submissive yet strong woman 1 Peter 3:6

Deborah – a wise, brave and bold woman who was submissive yet strong Judges 4:14

Abigail – a wise and brave woman who sought mercy for her ungodly husband 1 Samuel 25:3

Proverbs 31 Woman – strong, wise, brave, bold, industrious, faithful, fervent and virtuous – let’s just say she had it all! Proverbs 31:10-31

Mary – a humble, submissive and courageous young lady Luke 1:38

History has also left us a legacy of beautiful femininity to follow:

Susan Wesley – strong, wise, dedicated and disciplined – mother of John and Charles Wesley

Catherine Booth – strong, wise, faithful, bold, visionary, mission-minded, benevolent – cofounder of the Salvation Army

Betty Greene – bold, brave, smart, mission-minded, industrious, giving – cofounder of Missionary Aviation Fellowship

Elizabeth Elliot – brave, bold, strong, wise, mission-minded, faithful, fervent

In a conversation Elizabeth Elliot once had with Betty Greene, Elizabeth asked Betty how she had been so successful in the man’s world of aviation. Betty replied, “I made up my mind that if I was going to make it in a man’s world, I had to be a lady.”

In our study of Ruth, we have seen a wise, strong, steadfast, loyal, brave, bold and benevolent woman who knew exactly what it meant to act like a lady. May we boldly be what we are – ladies!

I can’t help but think that if we start wearing our biblical femininity well, it will become the new black! 🙂

Do you struggle with understanding or living out biblical femininity?

RESOURCE: Elisabeth Elliot’s transcripts of The Gift of Femininity from Gateway to Joy

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2011 8:21 am

    Beautiful reminder of our true calling as women! Thank you Stephanie!

  2. stephanieshott permalink
    March 23, 2011 9:29 am

    Kathy ~ If was fun studying about biblical femininity. I’ve never been a girly girl, but I’ve always enjoyed being a girl. Knowing that you don’t have to be frilly to be feminine helps this tomboy who wears makeup out a lot! 🙂

  3. Teri Lynne Underwood permalink
    March 23, 2011 9:46 am

    Stephanie, this is beautiful! Thank you!!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 23, 2011 10:18 am

      Teri Lynne ~ I so enjoyed looking at the feminine DNA of Ruth! What a wonderful Creator to define our existence as so different than a man’s.

  4. March 23, 2011 8:57 pm

    Wonderful post and a great reminder in today’s world

  5. stephanieshott permalink
    March 23, 2011 9:37 pm

    Cassie ~ Thanks for joining the conversation about femininity! Funny who it tends to be so opposite of what the word thinks it is! I’ve never been a girly girl, but I’ve always enjoyed being a girl!

  6. March 23, 2011 11:02 pm

    Wonderful insights on femininity! I love this series on Ruth. I so love that book. It’s packed with precious spiritual richness. Thank you, Stephanie!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 24, 2011 7:37 am

      Lynn ~ Thanks for joining us in our journey through Ruth! What a treasure each nugget of truth is! It made my heart smile to see you hear, sweet friend! 🙂

  7. March 24, 2011 1:44 am

    I love the range of adjectives you show through your summaries. Bold, strong, submissive, dedicated, faithful, wise, brave – we see humble, serving, and courageous working together.

    I was just reading a bit of C.S. Lewis this morning about “feminine” and “masculine” characteristics. I hope you don’t mind if I post it here. He’s discussing marriage in particular, but it might be an interesting addition: “It is arrogance in us to call frankness, fairness, and chivalry ‘masculine’ when we see them in a woman; it is arrogance in them to describe a man’s sensitiveness or tact or tenderness as ‘feminine…’ Marriage heals this. Jointly the two become fully human. ‘In the image of God created He them.'” (That’s an excerpt from Lewis’s “A Grief Observed.”)

    What I see here in the traits you’ve listed among all these amazing women is not necessarily one side or the other, but good, godly traits. Yet we, as women, have a specific calling as God’s girls – including to join together as one with our husbands. I love how you’ve shown that in this post.

    Stephanie, I love too how you commented to others that you’ve “never been a girly girl, but you love being a girl.” I feel much the same way.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 24, 2011 7:42 am

      Caroline ~ I LOVE that excerpt from C.S. Lewis! Thank you for sharing them! And I love how you said, “We as women have a specific calling as God’s girl..” Inside the heart of this tomboy is a girl is truly loves being a girl – and I know you and I aren’t the only ones! 🙂

  8. March 24, 2011 8:12 am

    May I have the courage and the strength to place myself at the Feet of Jesus.

    Again, beautifully written and wonderfully explained.

    May I also follow in the footsteps of these women – especially the Proverbs 31 Woman (who I believe Ruth was the example of (remember Ruth would be known to Solomon’s mom).

    Stephanie, I never was a “girly-girl” but I do love being feminine. Also, love looking at ‘femininity’ from God’s point-of-view.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      March 24, 2011 9:56 am

      Lorna ~ It was such a joy to look at biblical femininity! The world sure has confused our roles but God’s Word clarifies them! So glad you dig with us in the Word!

Trackbacks

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