Be a Man

What does it mean to be a man?

How can I, as a woman, encourage my brothers in Christ toward godly masculinity?

What qualities should I look for in a future husband?

These questions roll around in my head. …Because doesn’t it feel like, in this day and age, that true manliness and chivalry are fading away before our very eyes?

be a man

I recently read a scene from a book that nearly took my breath away.

A boy, on the cusp of manhood, stepping in between a girl and the lash. He stepped behind her, shielding her with his body … and when the blows drove him to his knees, he pulled her down with him and covered her.

With tears welling up in my eyes, I thought: Now this is true manhood in all its strength and beauty.

EPHESIANS 5:25-28

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 

Does that scene remind you of something? Perhaps of Christ stepping in for you? Shielding you from wrath with His Body? Letting His blood be spilled in place of yours?

And what is true manhood but a reflection of Jesus Christ?

I don’t often feel deserving of the chivalrous acts of men, but it is a stunningly beautiful reminder to me of God’s lavish and grace-filled love for me. For I did not deserve His mercy and blessing, but He gave it anyway.

So, my friends, though it may seem elusive, chivalry is not dead. It is not outdated, old-fashioned, or unneeded. It is not a silly practice of medieval days.

1 CORINTHIANS 16:13-14

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Chivalry is more important than you know! It is desired. It is beautiful and wonderful.

Even the small acts of opening a door or offering a polite smile and nod, these are meaningful to women.

…That is to say, to women who embrace their womanhood.

Despite what the feminist culture wants to tell us, most women innately desire to be treated as feminine creatures, worthy of honor, protection, kindness, and gentleness. They want strong men. They long to see chivalrous acts from the men around them.

We are women! And healthy women naturally want to feel feminine, womanly, and beautiful. They want to be cherished, respected, and protected by good men.

EPHESIANS 5:28-29

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

In today’s world, we don’t get that very often.

There have been times that I’ve been walking through the store and had to really make an effort to move out of the path of a man barreling my way. It’s left me a little unsettled, the way he stares, like, “Move out of my way or I’m gonna run you over, woman.”

Another time, my coat tie got stuck on the rail in an elevator. Everyone emptied out quickly, and the one guy who noticed my plight laughed sheepishly and started to leave as well. The words: Can you help me? died on my lips. I managed to figure out where I was stuck and free myself. And lest you think the guy was a completely unscrupulous sort, he did hold the elevator door open when he saw that I freed myself.

But such encounters leave me feeling unprotected deep down inside. Do young men feel no natural protective instinct or honor toward women these days? Do they no longer jump into action when a woman is in need? Or nod kindly and step out of the way, like a gentleman, when they meet a lady on the path?

Even if they don’t know if a woman needs help, if it appears that she might, a simple: Hey, do you need a hand? might provide some relief.

This is not to say that I can’t step out of the way, or that I’m incapable of taking care of myself under minor distress – like I was in the elevator.

But I think it’s important for men to daily live out their masculinity in small ways in order to develop Christ-like chivalry that will flow into bigger, more dire situations.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:11

11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

1 TIMOTHY 5:1-2

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Men must have a higher view of women. Not because we are better, but because we are different.

We are not just another “guy friend”. We are unique from men, and should be treated differently. With gentleness. Tenderness. Thoughtful honor and respect.

The Word of God calls for men to give honor to the woman, for she is the weaker vessel. And no, this doesn’t mean that she is less intelligent, inferior, or of less worth.

1 PETER 3:7-9

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing,

But think about it. On average, men are bigger and stronger than women. Usually they can build muscle mass faster and bulkier than women. Over the centuries, men have been the ones willing and ready to fight for their families and country, and take the jobs of policemen, firemen, etc. Even today, there aren’t a whole lot of women who are wanting, or even think they’re physically and/or emotionally capable of going to war and such.

By divine design, men are more inclined to take the difficult and gritty roles of protecting, providing, and hard physical, or emotionally tough, work.

With more strength comes more responsibility.

1 TIMOTHY 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

I don’t see myself as any less than men, but I do see myself as made for a vastly different role than men. And honestly, I know that I’m weaker … at the very least, physically.

It’s sensible to assume that at 5’5″ … and more slender than strong … not many men would have a problem overpowering me physically. Perhaps knowing this makes me crave, even more, gentleness and honor from men – especially those in my life. It gives me a general sense of security and well-being.

As for emotionally … I’d say that in most ways, I’m the stereotypical woman. I’m emotional, and very relational, and all that. And sometimes women are flattered and manipulated by unsavory men. Though, by growing in maturity and in my walk with the Lord, it becomes easier to recognize and avoid these men, I do believe that God made women to be under the covering of a man – such as her father. A man who will look out for her and hold any suitors to a high standard. For the young woman’s well-being, honor, and happiness!

Though I am weaker, if I know that a man highly esteems me and would never use his strength against me – but rather to protect and cherish me – then my weakness doesn’t matter.

Versus if a man uses his strength to harm me in some ways, then I am insecure and my weakness frightens me. I might feel the need to harden myself. I might want to prove myself to men so that they won’t take advantage of me anymore. I might despise my femininity. My nurturing, gentle spirit. My womanhood.

I feel like this is what happened with some of the women in the feminist movement. They were hurt, perhaps emotionally, by men. And now they want to protect themselves. To prove themselves. To make everything “fair” and equal and same. But in this mad rush to give evidence that they are just as good as men, they often trash their femininity and the unique qualities and roles that make them women.

PROVERBS 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

And also, with their brash, hardened, spiteful behavior, they squelch chivalry in men.

But again … chivalry and godly masculinity are for women’s good!

Not just in the big things, but in the small things. There are some things that I could manage on my own, or grit my teeth and bear. But when a man steps in and offers his help, I feel highly honored. And thankful.

When I’m walking on unsteady ground, I can probably get to my destination without too many mishaps. But if there’s a man nearby and he offers a hand to steady me, it’s an appreciated kindness.

I can put gasoline in my car in the winter and just manage to bear the cold (I hate cold, haha!), but if a guy offers to do it for me, I’ll quite gratefully accept and let him live out his masculinity – bear the cold for me!

Not only does a truly manly man reflect Christ, but men being masculine helps women live out their femininity as God designed. There is a reason that God created us as

male and female

masculine and feminine

with divine purpose

with different roles

with distinct, unique strengths …

It is to wholly reflect Him and radiantly glorify Him!

And it is for our good.

Oh, let me tell you, dear people, it is so good to be unashamedly, freely, beautifully, uniquely, femininely, divinely … a woman. Just exactly who God created me to be. How glorious. How good. How purpose-filled. How exciting. How adventurous. How delightful!

GENESIS 1:27-28

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

We cheat ourselves out of many a good thing when we stray from God’s design for womanhood and manhood. We cheapen ourselves when we push for today’s culture’s definition of feminism, liberation, and sexuality.

Only when we go back to the Bible will we find our true selves. As Christ-like women. And Christ-like men.

Femininity and chivalry are essential.

So men … pursue God. And be unashamedly men.

2 TIMOTHY 1:7

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

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Resources For Studying Biblical Womanhood & Manhood

Hello, dear readers! In light of Tuesday’s post, I wanted to share some resources for studying and learning more about Biblical womanhood (and manhood).

If you haven’t gathered from reading this blog, I love this topic. The desire to live out womanhood Biblically is something that is woven very deeply into my heart … It’s one of the reasons I started Lady Grace in the first place! I’m always eager to listen to more sermons on God’s design and Biblical gender roles. And forever looking for more solid books exploring this subject.

So without further ado, here are some sermons, Youtube videos, and books that have helped shape my view as I study God’s Word on gender, Biblical roles, and marriage.

~ Sermons ~

David Platt – Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: Part 1

David Platt – Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: Part 2

David Platt – What About Women, Paul?

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 4): Man’s Hurdles

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 5): Man’s Redemption

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 7): Woman’s Purpose

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 8): Woman’s Hurdles

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 9): Woman’s Redemption

Matt Chandler – A Beautiful Design (Part 10): Together For the Gospel

New Work Fellowship – Mutual Love & Respect: Marriage For Dummies

New Work Fellowship – Love: Marriage For Dummies

New Work Fellowship – Respect: Marriage For Dummies

***

~ Youtube Videos ~

John Piper – A Beautiful Woman is a Person, Not a Body

John Piper – When a Man Loves a Woman Well

Ask Pastor John – Confronting Emotional and Verbal Abuse in the Home

J.D. Greear – Spiritual Headship

J.D. Greear – The Problem of Divorce

J.D. Greear – Four Ways Husbands Should Lead Like Christ

Emily Wilson – Accepting Chivalry

Liz Wheeler – This is How Real Men Act

Liz Wheeler – Women are Becoming the Men They Want to Marry

Liz Wheeler – Hey Feminists, Don’t Tell Me How to Be a Woman

PursueGodVideos – What It Means to Submit to Your Husband

Girl Defined – The Number One Thing Single Girls Should Look for in a Future Husband (but rarely do)

Girl Defined – 3 Ways Christian Girls Can Promote Godly Manhood

Ultimate Marriage – The Biblical Roles of a Husband and Wife

Ultimate Marriage – The Basics of Biblical Marriage

***

~ Books ~

Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity by Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird

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Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships by Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird

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Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson

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The Mark of a Man: Following Christ’s Example of Masculinity by Elisabeth Elliot

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Woman by Divine Design by Dr. Jeffrey L. Seif

woman by divine design

Submissive Women?

submissive women

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘submit’?

In the 21st century, are headship and submission antiquated ideas? Is there no longer a need for gender roles? Has our progressiveness led as to a place where manhood and womanhood are merging, and living out old-fashioned masculinity and femininity is unneeded?

Some would answer with an emphatic “yes”.

And not just those in the culture, but this is trending in the general church as well.

Wives don’t need to submit. We’re not living in medieval times.

Husband and wife lead together.

Holding the door open for women is outdated chivalry. Girls need to be taught that everyone holds open doors for everyone. We must not treat women any differently than men.

Pastors needn’t preach on verses concerning submission and headship, because those subjects are irrelevant in our day.

Whichever way you lean, I want to pose a question that I believe is crucial:

At what point does God’s Word become irrelevant?

Seriously. We must ponder this, and what we believe to be true about the Bible if we are to have any type of foundation.

As Christians, we believe that the entire Bible is God’s Truth. And if you don’t believe this, I would ask yourself if you sincerely are a Christ-follower. (Read my post: His Word is Truth.)

Now, as we read the Bible, we have to be careful not to cherry-pick verses. And we have to take into account God’s unchangeable character, plus the history, culture, and social situations of the time these books were written. The Word of God must be intently studied … and tough sections read in the right context.

I want to present to you the idea that the Bible supports headship and submission throughout its entirety.

Women submitting was not just something God allowed because of mankind’s hardened hearts (such as was the case with polygamy and divorce.)

Matthew 19:8-9

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

Rather, it was His perfect design from the beginning. And thus, it is by no means outdated or irrelevant, and we are living outside of God’s will when we treat ‘submission’ and ‘headship’ as bad words.

Now, before you click out of this post, let’s go back to our God’s character.

Does God support demeaning or oppressing women? Does God view women as less valuable than men? Did God create women to be not as intelligent and not worth as much as men?

I am reading through the entire Bible for the second time, and I can wholeheartedly say that when studying God’s Word, I have found nothing that gives me the idea that God wants to demean, oppress, or hurt women.

Rather, the opposite.

God cherishes His daughters, and highly values womanhood.

Therefore, we must conclude that submission is not bad or oppressive because God ordained it and God is for women.

It is a good, beautiful, freeing, complementary, perfect design.

Proverbs 31:25-29

25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”

Satan, of course, wants to steal our abundant life and our freedom. He works viciously through the culture, which has completely distorted submission, marriage, and gender roles. Manhood and womanhood.

You can see everywhere the disaster, chaos, and destruction that moving out of God’s perfect design has caused.

  • Passive Men.
  • Oppression & Objectification of Women.
  • Bitter Women.
  • Scorn of Men.
  • The Demeaning of Motherhood.
  • The Disappearing of Fatherhood.
  • Divorce.
  • Fornication.
  • Adultery.
  • Pornography Addiction.
  • The Crumbling of the Family.
  • Mass Murder of Babies.
  • Gender Confusion.
  • Homosexuality.
  • Abuse.

Fear, confusion, division, hurt, bitterness, cruelty, impurity, and brokenness. And every form of sexual depravity and distortion.

I believe that throwing aside God’s design for manhood and womanhood is one of the worst things we could have done as the Church.

So, how do we get back to a Biblical understanding of submission? Of God’s unique design for gender?

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Titus 2:1-5

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their childrento be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Women, press into Jesus Christ, the Lover of your soul!

Why would you believe something the world offers is better than what your Creator ordained from the beginning? The One who formed you in your mother’s womb. The One who created your complex brain, your feminine body, and fashioned passions, desires, gifts, and purpose within you?

The design of headship and submission is not to oppress you.

Men were not created to be harsh dictators, but servant leaders under God. Biblical headship involves incredible responsibility and sacrifice, not selfishness and bullying. For a husband to love as Christ loves the Church is to love sacrificially – to give of himself daily, to give up his desires to serve you, to lead with boldness and courage for God’s glory and your good.

1 Peter 3:7

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wifeas to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

Colossians 3:18-21

18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

The fact is, the role of husband is not one a man should go into with arrogant boasting, but with a humble heart, seriousness, wise counsel, and prayer. This is not where he becomes boss, but rather where he becomes answerable to God for how he lives out headship – because the husband is the head whether he wants to be or not.

Ephesians 5:23

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

1 Corinthians 11:3

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Dear wives, God set up headship and submission in the beginning when He created man first, gave him authority and a task, and then created woman to be his helper.

And, from what I understand from various different pastors, the same word used for ‘helper’ there is also used to describe the Holy Spirit being our helper in other verses.

Is that demeaning to the Holy Spirit? By no means! The Holy Spirit is God! Yet He is our helper.

Being a helper does not make you a doormat or a nameless servant (though all of us, both men and women, are called to serve). Rather, it is a noble and esteemed calling. To support your husband in the kingdom work that God has given him. He needs you. You are to function as a team – him leading and you supporting.

This does not make one gender better than the other, though their roles are quite different.

Genesis 2:7 & 15-25

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

This is not about competition. God did not create man and woman to compete with each other, but to complement each other … to create a beautiful picture.

This picture unfolds as the husband takes his place as the leader, fearlessly leading his wife forth into their work in God’s kingdom. He cherishes his wife, and loves her. He is tender with her; gentle and kind. He honors her. And takes responsibility for his family and what direction they’re going in.

And the wife willingly submits to his leadership and supports him as the head of the household. She encourages him, respects him, honors him, and esteems his leadership. She ministers alongside him, humbly following under his headship.

Now, I know some of you are cringing right now. Follow? Humble? Why can’t we just be equal??

You are equal. Equal in value and worth. Equal in dignity. Equal in Christ.

Galatians 3:26-28

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

But there must be a leader and head, and God calls men to that weighty task.

Author, pastor, and speaker, David Platt, delved into this subject with such grace, gentleness, and authority in one of his sermon series. (David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – Part 1 & Part 2. Highly recommend!!). God is head of Christ, does that make God better than Christ? Christ less worthy than God? No! Jesus Christ was equally God, yet He submitted! Obeyed. Humbled Himself. Served.

Jesus submitted to God.

Will you, women, balk in what your Savior Himself walked out?

Jesus Christ was obedient. God is the head of Him, as husband is the head of wife. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

That we would refuse to do what our Lord did … calling it too demeaning and humble … that’s pretty arrogant of us.

There is nothing demeaning, demanding, oppressive, or ugly about Biblical submission. It is beautiful, and when we are tempted to think otherwise, we must immediately look to our Lord Himself and follow His example.

Philippians 2:5-8

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of menAnd being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

John 6:38

38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

1 Corinthians 15:28

28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

Submission and headship were God’s design from the beginning. They are every bit as relevant today as they were in Genesis. And Christ Himself led the way in submission.

Women, I know, I know, that a lot of men do not make being a wife easy. And this hurts me so much. Whether they are passive, domineering, harsh, or all three, it is hard. And my heart bleeds for you.

But, I promise you, ditching God’s design is not going to make it better.

Women trying to rule over men. Scoffing at feminine inclinations and roles. Trampling men and God-given masculinity. Forsaking motherhood. Flaunting themselves in a twisted appeal for validation … This all hurts my heart as well.

Even if your husband (or father … whoever is head of your house) is not living out headship Biblically, you can find powerful purpose in living out your womanhood and femininity according to God’s design.

1 Peter 3:1-6

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of GodFor in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

Your design as a woman reflects the Almighty God’s character! Don’t toss aside this precious purpose for the lies the world is feeding you.

Being a helper. Submitting. Nurturing. Supporting. Encouraging. Esteeming. Living compassionately. Complementing. Giving life. This will reflect your Lord, and glorify and please Him. Let Him gently smile upon you and powerfully protect you, even if the men in your life are oppressive. They will answer to God, as will you. So you just need to live out your womanhood according to God’s design and leave the rest up to God.

Imagine if we could bring passionately Biblical manhood, womanhood, and marriage back into the church? The examples that I have seen of radically living out God’s design are RADIANT.

Don’t be deceived. These agendas of feminism, toxic masculinity, “equality”, and no more submission and gender roles are bringing us nowhere but down. Further into destruction.

Proverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

I am vastly encouraged when I hear pastors and brothers preach to us on submission and headship. They are radical about God’s Truth, not male domination. These are the kind of men I rally behind – and am strengthened in my faith by. Bold, strong, masculine, compassionate, protective, gentle, truth-seeking, passionate men of God.

Let’s start looking to the wisest of all. And He, our good and perfect Father, calls men and women to embrace their distinct roles with purpose and joy, in submission to God, for the glory of God.

Things I Appreciate About Singleness + Thoughts on the Desire of My Heart

Hello! I’m back with another post at last. Friends, it’s hard to keep up a blog schedule without having my own laptop, but I’ll attempt to do better! …Because I have so many things on my heart and thoughts running through my head that I just want to share with you all! *hugs*

So let’s talk a little bit about singleness … and marriage(!) … today.

wild-flowers-571940_1920

BENEFITS OF SINGLENESS:

  • Time to Grow Closer to God

Not that I’m planning to not put my relationship with the Lord first when I’m married, have children, etc., but I think singleness provides me with extra time to pursue wisdom and intimacy in my walk with Jesus Christ. For example, when all my friends are hanging out with their boyfriends/husbands on a Friday night, when they’re busy with their little babies, when I feel alone in a crowd because everyone else has their special someone … I can start a quiet conversation with God right then and there and talk about how I’m feeling. Or anything. It’s a beautiful thing to have someone who belongs to you and you to them in this life, but when you’re in a season of singleness and often find yourself alone it’s the perfect chance to realize God’s constant, powerful, tender Presence. And are not quality time and conversation how you grow closer to someone? He’s always there for me. I really think singleness has helped me become more acutely aware of that. I find myself talking to the Lord all throughout the day. I can always go to the Lover of my Soul – my Father in heaven. And that is a rich truth that perhaps many people never realize because they never allow themselves to be lonely on this earth.

  • Opportunity to Develop Close Friendships with Other Women

I have loved seeing how, as I surrender this single season to God, He brings lovely women into my life, and reminds me what a blessing the opportunity to get to know them while I’m still single is! I am a very relational person, and it has occurred to me that my loneliness probably won’t go away once I get married. No, I’m still going to need other people in my life – particularly close female friends who I can trust. If I never make an effort to develop friendships with other women while I’m single, I may find myself lonely for an even longer time in marriage. I imagine as a newlywed you’re busy learning how to be a wife and wanting to spend every spare moment with your husband … and maybe it’s even harder to make the effort to find friends. Even when you really need them! So I think these friendships I’m growing in now as I’m single will be invaluable to me someday when I’m married, learning to be a wife, and realizing for real that my husband can’t be my everything and fulfill every relational and emotional need. And, I mean, he’ll probably have to be gone several hours a day, working. *laughs* 😉 Anyway, yes. I meet other women – making new friends and reconnecting with old ones – and I can’t help but wonder if I would have made an effort to get to know these beautiful individuals better if I was dating right now. Maybe I’d be too busy hanging out with him, getting to know him, talking on the phone with him, thinking about him, etc., etc. Those are all good things in God’s good timing. *winks* But right now God has put dear women in my life that hopefully I can pour into and grow close to.

  • Opportunity to Encourage Other People in a Season of Singleness

Tying right into the last point, I was struck by how particularly wonderful it is to be friends with other single women. I love my married girlfriends and girlfriends who are in relationships dearly, but being friends with other singles gives us a chance to connect with and encourage each other in a unique way. I remember meeting with a new friend the beginning of this year and just feeling a thankfulness that I wasn’t dating right then! She was struggling and I was struggling and we had the chance to speak right to each other’s hearts … to share deeply and know that the other understood. Now, married girls can understand as well! After all, they were single once, too. But it’s different to be experiencing a season together with a sister in Christ. Maybe God still has me in this season of singleness because He wants me to be there for some of His other single daughters. Yes, Lord! Use me to touch Your precious daughters’ lives. And I know I am so blessed in the process as they touch mine.

  • More Quality Time with Siblings and Parents

If I had gotten married even a couple of years ago, I would not be near as close to my siblings as I am now. Is it hard, sometimes, as a twenty-one-year-old woman to live with my parents and six younger siblings still? Yes. I won’t lie. But at the same time, I cherish their close presence in my life and the unwavering, loyal relationships we have forged – especially in recent years. We may have a hard time understanding each other at times, but I truly count them as friends and they are some of my biggest supporters. They have my back, and I have theirs. I’m sure I can’t describe how deep my love is for each of them, and I wouldn’t wish away the time I’ve had with them. My older brother moved away a couple years ago and there is an empty place in the household. I miss him and him being here at home! Yes, life moves on and people start lives of their own, but it reminds you to cherish the time you do have living together!

  • Choice to Live Where I Want

You know, if I get married, it’s possible that my husband will move me away from my family at some point. It would be okay, though hard; but right now I’m happy that I have the choice to settle near the people who I’ve been with my entire life.

  • Freedom to Do What I Want with My Extra Time

I can devote all my free time to writing, reading, blogging, and pursuing other passions, ideas, and hobbies. I can decide to go on vacation here or there to visit friends without worrying about my husband’s input. I can spend however much money I feel is appropriate on books … hehe. 😉 *laughs* I live with my parents and siblings, but for the most part I can do what I want with my free time without having to get someone’s opinion or confer with someone else’s schedule. I can go shopping. Randomly go relax and write at a coffee shop for a few hours. Go to Chick-fil-A and book shopping. Watch a girly movie. Really anything I feel like on a week night or weekend without worrying about my husband or small children. If I had a husband I might rather do something with him. Or he might want to have a quiet evening with me after a long day at work, and I would want to give that to him. Or he might feel we should visit someone or do this or that … None bad things! But I have to remind myself to be thankful for the opportunities more unique to this season! 🙂

***

As important as it is to pursue gratitude in the season you’re in, there’s also nothing wrong with desiring and hoping for marriage, I believe! And being excited! So … here’s my second list. Just for fun. 😉

THINGS I’M EXCITED ABOUT IN MARRIAGE:

  • Having a Best Friend

Someone to do life with. To share all the moments – good and bad – with. To laugh with.  Having someone who loves me despite my imperfection. Someone who understands me heart and soul …

  • Someone to Pursue God with

Having a true best friend means, in my case, having a forever partner in this life who I can serve and glorify our King with! I can’t wait to seek the Lord together with my husband. To do ministry together. To love people together. To answer God’s callings as a team. To combine passions and dreams and encourage each other to live life for His honor. I’m so excited. My deepest desire is for Jesus, and to share that desire with the man I’m supposed to be one with sounds powerful.

  • Reading the Bible Together!

Studying God’s Word. Discussing Scripture. I can’t wait to talk for hours and hours about our awesome God with my husband. Have someone to go to with my questions. I know he won’t always have answers, but just having someone you know you can be so vulnerable with … Going to church with my man! Committing to and connecting with a church and having that community of brothers and sisters in Christ with my own little family.

  • Praying Together

I’m a little self-conscious about praying aloud, but I believe in the power and beauty of prayer and can’t wait to pursue a deep prayer life with my husband. Baring our hearts and souls before God as one.

  • Belonging to Someone

Having someone who I belong exclusively to sounds lovely. Just being able to walk into a room, go straight to his side and feel safe and at home. *beams*

  • Leadership

Having a leader. Being his helpmeet. Being his missus. I think God’s design for marriage is so BEAUTIFUL and POWERFUL and I’m excited about the chance to grow into a godly wife and be a support and joy to one of God’s sons. Having the purpose of that!

  • Someone I can Hug whenever I want 😀

I’ve talked with several different ladies about how women often crave affection from the men in their life. When a trusted man gives a big bear hug, there’s something about that that makes us feel so secure and protected and cherished. It’s a special thing. But at the same time there are certain boundaries and barriers and brokenness in certain situations … so I look forward to having my own guy who I can get hugs from a lot. 🙂

  • Taking Care of My own Household

Cleaning and organizing how I want. Cooking for my husband. Hosting. Being a stay-at-home-Mommy. #enoughsaid

  • Having Someone Who will Listen to My Endless Chatter

Okay, maybe he won’t love listening to me talk for hours – but let me dream while I’m still single. *laughs* But truly, I look forward to having my own someone who I can talk to each day.

  • My Wedding Day

I am really looking forward to my wedding day, I must admit. 😉 Sharing a very wonderful life event with my dearest family and friends … celebrating together the joining of my life to some special man that God chose for me. Ah. I love family and laughter and fellowship … and weddings are such joyful, intimate affairs. I’m excited for that if it be in my future. 🙂

***

I’m coming to a place of accepting the season I’m in and desiring God’s will and to glorify Him above all else.

But I will admit that my heart aches oh so much as I write this. It’s not exactly a bad ache. It just tells me how very much I desire this.

I think that desire maybe reflects something bigger. Like a deeper hidden desire in my soul that longs for God and to be home with Him.

In the end, I was created for Jesus.

So my desire for marriage teaches me something. If I let it, it leads me to quiet reflection about the ultimate Lover of my soul. Everything points to Him.

If I get married someday, I hope earnestly that my marriage points to Him. ❤ This is something that I pray for.

Right now, I let myself ache if I need to and know that the Lord holds my heart.

I also know that if He has marriage in store for me, He knows the man I will one day marry! With a desire for marriage, I choose to bring my future husband before God in my prayers in faith that He knows my heart and will continue leading me.

So, future husband, I’m praying for you!

***

A little note of encouragement for the guys out there:

Your role as men, leaders, pursuers is incredibly powerful and important. You don’t know how much we appreciate it when you live out God’s design for your masculinity, your strength, etc. I don’t know that we, as women, have the words to describe how we feel when you purposefully pursue a woman, gently woo her, and tenderly cherish her heart. We see a glimpse of Jesus Christ when you are willing to go to all lengths to win her heart – to prove to her she’s loved by you. When you call her beautiful when she feels anything but.

Men, your role is amazingly special. And we deeply treasure what you do. It’s invaluable. Your masculinity. Your strength. Your leadership. Your protection. Don’t let the world tell you otherwise – it almost takes my breath away to see a man acting like a man and a woman acting like a woman, as God designed, displaying a beautiful relationship that reflects a beautiful Storyteller’s love for His creation.

I am not worthy of a good man’s love, but if a man stepped up and loved me and cared for me despite my faults, I know it would remind me of my Savior who gave it all for me and for you.

So, men, we appreciate you. We are grateful for the responsibility you take on as the head of a household. We appreciate the role that God created you for. We feel deeply honored if you choose to pursue in a godly way (even if a relationship doesn’t work out or even come to fruition in the end). The world tries to mess up gender roles and call masculinity toxic and distort God’s amazing design for men and women to be different, but WE WANT YOU TO BE MANLY MEN. When men act masculine, we feel feminine. And that’s just lovely. 🙂

***

Anyway, before I ramble on forever, I’ll end this post. Please comment below and let me know your thoughts!

SINGLES, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT THIS SEASON?

MARRIED FOLK, WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING MARRIED?

I am a Woman

I am a woman(picture found on pixabay.com)

I am a woman

Created in the image of God

as it says in Genesis 1:27 … 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Formed to be a helpmeet

as it says in Genesis 2:18 … 18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

“But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

I am a woman

Made to nurture

to support

to help

to bring life.

Prepared to do good works

as it says in Ephesians 2:10 … 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

I am a woman

purposefully formed in my mother’s womb by God Himself

as it says in Psalm 139 … 13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.”

When God created men and women, He called them good

as it says in Genesis 1:31 … 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

Even though both man and woman gave into sin and evil clouded goodness

I am a woman

and I know that my design is good. God designed woman in the beginning, when perfection reigned. And He designed me as a woman now. Even though I cannot hope for perfection on this earth, I can champion behind God’s good design.

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I am a woman

I am not sinless or pure

But I am an image-bearer of the immortal King of Kings

As is every human being, and does that not call for us to respect each other as we struggle to find our way back to the One we were created in the image of?

We could not find our way on our own – the Heavenly Father pursues us

as it says in Romans 5:8 … But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

and in 1 John 4:19 …19 We love Him because He first loved us.”

I am a woman

forgiven and made clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

And as I look out into the world, filled with people who do not know God, yet were created in His image, I want them to know of the Love that brought me back to my Creator.

If we, as Christ-following women and men, do not treat each other with love and respect and dignity, how will the lost know we serve a loving Creator?

As it says in John 13:35 … 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” “

I am a woman

Not more important than men. No.

But not “less” than men.

We are all the same – all equal – in Christ

as it says in Galatians 3:28 … 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

But I am specifically a woman

Not more or less than men

but beautifully different

Given a different role and purpose for a reason

to complement each other,

not be in competition.

Sometimes to come together in marriage

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And with our unique identities combined

create the perfect “home” for children

to raise them in the knowledge and love of the Lord.

To reflect the nature of the Most High God in the way He created us as male and female

To radiantly glorify Him with our different but equally important and honorable roles.

I am a woman

And as such, I believe in

Femininity

Beautiful and loving and God-honoring marriages

Radiant Motherhood

Supporting and respecting men (in particular, one’s husband)

Keeping a joyful home

In short, I believe in my right to be a real woman! A woman as God created … feminine, gentle, strong, nurturing, supporting, companionable, life-giving …

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I believe there is much beauty and fulfillment and honor in standing by your man, making a home, and raising children for the Lord.

Proverbs 31:25-27 25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,”

casal-1818171_1920(found on pixabay.com)

I am a woman

I have not given up on men. I believe they can and will and do step up to their godly calling. I still believe in:

Chivalry

Masculinity

Leaders

Protectors

Providers

Gentlemen

I am not less than men. But I am a woman, designed by God to be treated with care by men.

As it says in 1 Peter 3:7 … Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life,”

If I am the weaker vessel, I believe God decreed that I should be treated (especially by men) with:

Gentleness

Kindness

Understanding

Honor

Respect

I am a woman

And yes, I truly am honored and enjoy (and even crave this) when men, in sincerity of heart:

open doors for me

offer a hand to steady me

protectively guide me through a crowd

value my thoughts and opinions

offer to help with something I may be having a hard time managing on my own

offer to walk me home, a coat, hat, etc. when I’m cold, a presence if I’m uncomfortable or being harassed

strive to guard my heart and my purity

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In short, I (and many other women) truly appreciate when men are gentlemanly, appropriately protective, looking out for us, kind, gentle, leaders, honorable, respectful, etc.

We appreciate and champion real men who are

masculine, protective, and courageous leaders

but also humble, gentle, selfless, and tender providers.

I am a woman

And I believe that if God wills for me to get married, I should wait for a godly man to pursue me.

Pursue me:

cautiously

intentionally

wisely

respectfully

patiently

honorably

chivalrously

gently

kindly

selflessly

Because if I, by God’s command, am to submit to, respect, and support my husband, and he is to be head over me (responsible for me) and love me as Christ loves the Church …

I should wait for a man of God

and he should prove to me he knows and is prepared to be a husband as God designed.

And I believe romantic relationships should play out in an honorable way – the man leading, but both individuals treating each other with respect and wisely, with the knowledge that they might not belong to each other in the end.

Proverbs 18:22 22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.”

1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”

Colossians 3:19 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”

Ephesians 5:22-33 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. “

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Song of Solomon 5:16 This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem!”

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I am woman …

striving to be a woman of God. Obey the Word. Live out God’s good design.

Proverbs 11:19 16 A gracious woman retains honor,”

Titus 2:3-5 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,”

1 Peter 3:4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

Proverbs 19:14 14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 31:10-12 10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:30-31 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.”

I am a woman

And I want to be unashamedly a woman.

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Living out my femininity in a Biblical way. And thus encouraging men to live out their masculinity as God designed and blessed.

God had a good plan in forming both male and female, and giving us different roles. As children of God we should be seeking Him, searching for wisdom, gaining understanding about His design for womanhood, manhood, singleness, marriage, family, life … and passionately living it out.

Lady Grace ❤