Suitable helpers.

February 22, 2010

Steph and bridesmaids (photo from Steph)

Jen and bridesmaids (photo by Courtney)

My dad and I were watching one of the videos in a historical mini-series today, and in between scenes, he suddenly commented, “You know, behind every great man is a great woman.”

This wasn’t the first time we had this sort of conversation, so I just nodded my head.

He continued, “Great men had the help of the women in their lives.”

And I began to think about those I considered “great” men of God.  I thought about their wives, their mothers, their sisters, and even their daughters.

I thought about these “great” women and their quiet, hidden service.  Who can say that their love, encouragement, and faithful support were inconsequential?  Who can say they wasted their lives because they humbly chose a supporting role?

And then I thought about my good friends, Jen and Steph, who were both married this past month.  They’ve committed themselves to their husbands until death do them part.  They’ve committed to submit to their husbands as to the Lord, that the word of God might not be reviled.  They’ve committed to adorn the gospel of Christ with their new roles as wives, as suitable helpers.  In doing these things, they didn’t blindly fling their lives and identities away.

Just as Christ was no less God by humbling Himself and coming in the form of a servant, so woman is no less child and heir and beloved of God by humbling herself and embracing a sometimes less-visible role.  Eve was gloriously created as Adam’s “suitable helper” before the fall.

Not all women are called to be wives and mothers.  But all women are called to be women, in accordance with God’s glorious design.  And part of being a woman involves the beauty of humble submission and loving support of the leadership of the men in her life — father, pastor, elders, and other overseers.  (Note: In cases where they call her to sin, she does not submit, but her loving support still does not cease.)

We should never, ever call such women  “weak” or “passive” or “marginalized.”  It takes incredible faith, strength, courage, and longsuffering love to embrace a role that helps and supports frail, sinful man.  It requires eyes long-trained to see the invisible and sovereign Christ who is at work in and through such men.  It takes much greater strength for a woman to commit herself to support, counsel, and encourage a sometimes-failing leader in her life than it takes to rebel and go her own way.  We ought to honor, not pity, such women.  We ought to imitate them.

“Men get all the glory then,” says one.  “These women’s lives are wasted, because they didn’t make a name for themselves,” says another.  But that’s just not true.  The God who sees is the One who rewards.  And she’s no fool who works for an eternal reward that infinitely swallows up any perceived earthly “loss.”  She is a woman of godly insight and vision who finds her purpose in the pursuit of His calling, not in her title or society’s opinion of her role.  And with that, she has the smiling pleasure of her God.

Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of the hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.  And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
(I Peter 3:3-6)

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:25-31)


5 Responses to “Suitable helpers.”

  1. amen..i loved this entry 🙂

  2. I really like this Tia 🙂

  3. tia Says:

    what are the odds that the first two comments are affirming ones from WOMEN? :]

    ❤ to you ladies.

  4. steph Says:

    ❤ i like this too

  5. jennifer lee Says:

    miss you~

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