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November 23, 2016
Proverbs 11:16 kjv
"A gracious women retains honor,
and strong men retain riches."
These words seem to have faded in our culture. As women we seem to be confused. Some of us are attempting to be what a man was created to be. I wonder if that’s because we don’t realize how much our womanly qualities are actually needed? We think words like “gracious” and “nurturing” infer weakness and/or are sexist so we run far away from them. We run so far away from them that we end up looking more like men. God has designed us women with so much strength but we, along with society, constantly discredit what a women is. We think biblical characteristics are of the past and now we’re a “new” kind of women. But is this “new” and “improved” woman really better?
Let’s start by dissecting this scripture verse a bit.
1. courteous, kind, and pleasant.
The definition is simple enough right? Some synonyms are kind, polite, courteous, and civil. I can already see some eyes rolling or minds starting to get worked up. Those can be fighting words! ha-ha! But in all seriousness I myself can say that I’ve been offended by those words. I was taught to be a strong and independent woman. Don’t tell me to be civil and courteous. My mind starts playing scenes from a 1950’s movie where the wife is doing everything for everyone while looking so put together. She never speaks out of turn and always does what she’s told. I wanted everything opposite of that. I almost loathed becoming that woman. I looked at her and felt sorry for her.
Perhaps we have seen our own mothers or grandmothers play that role. We watched them for years and thought “I will never be like that”. So we decided to make things different. Trust me, I believe a lot of good has come out of women empowerment and I am truly grateful for that. But at the same time I feel we wanted to be so very far away from that “traditional” woman that many of us have lost what and who a woman was created to be. The antonym of gracious is: cold, hateful, disagreeable, mean etc. So the word of God says “A gracious women retains honor…” So if we aren’t being gracious, polite, kind etc. then we are in turn cold, hateful, and disagreeable. In this world we tend to fight like men so as to be treated fairly but in doing so we begin to lose who we are. I know and understand that women are still not treated fairly all over the world. I hate that women have to be B****** (sorry but being honest) if they want to get ahead. We have to be “cut-throat” not only with men but with other women! I’ve been that woman. There were times I felt I needed to be rude and harsh to get my point across. Did it work? Sadly, yes! But I was stripped of my graciousness.
We can always go back to scripture and see why this is a burden on us as women. Look at Genesis 3:16 where God was cursing man and woman for disobeying Him in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:16 nlt says,
“Then he said to the woman, "I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you."
This is our curse as women. We live in a fallen world and things are not and will not be perfect. Take your case up with Eve and with God one day but this is our curse. This is why we deal with feeling weaker and not equal to men. First, he (man) will rule over us and it also says we will desire to control him. WOW! How true this all is right!? We want control, we want to be equal and we will fight to get it no matter what we have to do. But we are still called to be gracious despite this curse.
But oh I have seen women rise above and still succeed all while being gracious and all God has made her to be. It is possible. With hard work, prayer, and an amazing circle of other women to push and correct each other, we can do it. We can be all that God created us to be. We have a strength in us that no man could ever have! We have the power in us to be strong and love with no bounds.
Graciousness earns honor and most
importantly keeps honor.
In conclusion, it’s pretty funny actually, I must admit that I have become what I looked at with disdain. I am a stay at home mom and wife and you know what? I love every part of it! Funny how I tried so hard to not be “that” woman I saw as weak and less than. I am not weak. I am not less than. I choose and am blessed to stay at home with my children and take care of our home. I want to. I know now I am not weak for wanting and doing this and you are not weak for wanting what you want. Let’s be gracious wherever we step foot and wherever our paths take us.
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