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Women Who Win

The Ideal Woman

 

Who has seen an ideal woman to describe her? May be we can rip off bits of characters from the lives of women and stitch them together to make one, clothe her with the finest scriptures, garland her with flowery thoughts and bejewel her with rosy ideas. See through a glass darkly, and there she is, your ideal woman elegantly standing on the exquisite mosaic mental frame. An ideal woman is but a bundle of blunders, fashioned by the fingers of God the Father, clothed by God the Son, and filled by God the Holy Spirit, struggling to keep her head above the waves of human bias. Take away her blunders and she is no more the charming creature of God and the pride of man but a supernatural angelic being who cannot be shouted at, stepped upon or even ruled over by man!

Her story comprises of childhood, adolescence, womanhood, wife, mother, grandmother and perhaps a widow.

Childhood

God has not forgotten to embed some childhood scenes for us to learn. The child Miriam, so sensitive to her little brother’s need, “stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.” She  is a replica of the modern child petting and pampering her doll, washing, clothing and lullabying him— a mini mother! So daring was she to ignore the worst consequences. Helping her mother to knit the ark of bulrushes, carrying to her handfuls of slime, and giving a childish arm to lift up and lay down the cradle. The remarkable faith placed no ‘good- bye kiss’ to the brother’s cheek but stood ready to endure hardness as a good soldier with the shield of faith. Feet oscillating back and forth by fear and faith. Faith won and her quick-witted suggestion won the favour of Pharoah’s daughter. The lion’s share of the credit of Moses’ life must go to this sweet darling of a girl ! She was a budding leader. Jesus’ words, “ These little ones who believe in Me,” is proof enough that children can be believers, strong in faith and burning witnesses for Christ (Mt 18:6). The “little maid” of Israel is example of what  God can do through a child’s life (2 Ki 5:2,3). God so honored her words of faith to her mistress that though, “ many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian!” (Lk 4:27).

Adolescence

Marks the change of life from childhood to womanhood. She grows wings like the butterfly with crazy colours  and longs to fly about independently. But parental care surrounds her like the Great Wall of China. Rebellion is the devil-at- large to snatch away a life in this scene. But Jephthah’s daughter is a monument of obedience to death. The only child, yet not spoiled by parental ado, speaks louder than her father’s wails, “My father, if you have given your word to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth” (Jud 11:36). Willing, voluntary, joyous submission, “in the Lord!” Standing at the threshold of life yet willing to be buried with her castles still in the air because, ‘father has said!’ Praise the Lord that in this 20th century God has left His seven thousand who would, like Rhoda, attend an all night prayer than go to a cine show or night club!

Womanhood

Is the blossom of life. She prepares herself for the life ahead and lives in a daze with unexplained smiles. Here is Rebekah, fitting for this para, the hardworking homely girl willing to draw water for 10 camels, “until they have finished drinking,” and did it! Surely her hands deserved 10 shekels of gold! May young girls be so assiduous and in Gentile atmosphere be so discerning to choose a God-fearing young man, settle themselves in the arms of God to be carried gently through life’s bitter trials, deserts and loneliness and scorching remarks and buffetings to join their lsaacs. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.” ( Heb 11:1).

The virgin Mary engaged to Joseph was highly favored and God was with her (Lk 1:28). Though from  a lowly family (1:48), she was taught in the Scriptures and submitted as God’s maidservant to be according to His Word (1:38). As Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (4:1), this virgin overshadowed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (1:35), instead of floating in the exuberance of engagement, was tossed to and fro by the blasphemous comments and secret exchange of voices and giggles behind her back. Yet she clung to God’s promise that she shall be called blessed (1:28), confessed it with her mouth (1:48), and rejoiced in God (1:47) for the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. “Blessed is she who believed: for there shall be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” (1:45). Blessed is the woman who submits to God’s Word as Mary, that she may bring forth Christ to this perishing generation. Blessed shall she be among women and all generations shall call her blessed!


Wife

Only one day to get adjusted from bride to wife! Isn’t that too little? Give her a good allowance of time and treat her with lumps of love and she is sure to be the ideal wife. Certainly the change was too drastic for orphan Esther to wear the royal crown. As a stick-to-itive, she was conservative amidst abundance in the use of cosmetics (2:15); on the throne, yet with the unchanging love for her poor guardian (2:20; 4: 4); beloved of her husband, she was instrumental to save his life (2: 22), and obedient to his commands as severe as not called to his presence for as long as a month (4:11). She was careful of her appearance for her husband (5:1) seeking to please him at all times (5:2,3). No wonder she was counted “better” than Vasthi to gain the royal estate! What a contrast between Vasthi who refused to go in when summoned and Esther who walked in for God when not summoned. God is in dire need of such daring wives!

She gave her husband the upper hand even in her personal wishes (5:4,8). Inspite of adverse circumstances, she was diligent underground to win souls for Jehovah among her friends, nurture them spiritually and form a prayer cell which neither ate nor drank three days, for the nation (4:16). She esteemed the counsel of spiritual leaders (4:13) and in a crisis was ready to fill up a needy gap (4:14). Who knows, if it was not her fasting and prayer that held up her husband’s eyelids from sleep and led him to the experience of, “and it was found written” (6:1, 2). How many wives today have learnt the secret of operating the husband through prayer than through tears and temper tantrums? Turn to Esther. How many wives have learnt to influence the husband for good and open his eyes of understanding through pleadings and not puffed-up words? (7:3, 4). How many would present the pressing needs, if it were hidden from him that the treasury of the household may be channelled for the Good News to travel to the nooks and corners  of the country, even to the “villages and unwalled towns”  (8:8, 9:19) that the people may have “light, and gladness, and joy, and honour” (8:16). She would fill her husband’s circle of relatives, friends and others with peace and truth (9:29,30); would never forget the goodness of the Lord but celebrate it (9:31); would always be content to stay behind the scene that it may be established as by Esther that “all the wives shall give to their husbands honor, both to great and small,” and “ that every man should bear rule in his own house” (1:20,22).

 

Mother

Motherhood is life-long duty. She is the cement of the home. Pulled between child and husband she must satisfy both. Husband commands service; baby demands story! She must run everywhere but expected to maintain poise. When everybody can afford to get upset, mother is not supposed to. She must make both ends meet yet fulfill all requirements. Consequently mother is the one who squeezes the last inch of paste with all her might, scrubs with the last blade of soap with longsuffering, shakes the powder tin with high frequency for the last dust to get out, never eats eggs unless she goes to her own mother’s home, last to go to bed and first to get up, yet the least appreciated!

Jochebed, the wife of Amram and mother of Moses, had a blessed death having seen all her three children trusting in the Lord and possibly in ministry too. How did she do that? Was she lucky? It was not luck but labour. First of all she was herself a committed Christian placing her faith in God, and setting an example for her children (Heb 11:23). By faith she faced the challenges of life! She was not the passive mother accepting situations as such, bewailing her fate, but a woman of active faith who would laugh under the devil’s nose, never ready to give up, ever ready to face life. Not afraid of the king’s commandment she would not let the river devour her God- given son (Heb 11: 23). May we learn from her the courage to withstand the powers of darkness, standing on the promises of God. By her faith a nation was delivered from bondage!

She patiently taught her children the story of creation, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and any information she had learnt of God. Never would she have imagined that what she implanted in the young brains would one day come out as a write-up by her son to be published throughout the world. When God chose to separate Moses from her for his future training as a leader she accepted it gladly and played her own part sincerely; and dedicated him to the mission. Today if she were to read in the Bible her own words, patiently spoken again and again to the young lad who would soon be snatched away from her by pagan hands, she would not feel sorry for the hours she spent with him, the tears she shed for him, nor the painful hours on knees to lay the foundation for him, her sacrifices and stakes would seem worthwhile. Mothers today who neglect their children to teach them the scriptures and spend time for them and with them will one day pay through hours of fastings and weepings and prayers.


Grandmother (and widow)

This time of life is considered to be the fruitless parasitic period to bide the call to eternity. Never so. Naomi, “took the child, and laid him in her bosom and became nurse to him” (Ruth 4:16). This  is a tremendous help especially in a modern home where the children are left to themselves when the parents go out to work. She was an Old Testament Lois to transmit her unfeigned faith to generations to come. She was the root of the roots of  Jesse (Isa 11:1; Ruth 4:17; 2 Tim 1:5). God bless grandmothers responsible for the David’s and Timothy’s in their geneology! Anna was a Spirit-filled widow of 84 years who “served God with fastings and prayers day and night.” She did not stop with that but “spoke of Him to all” (Lk 2:36-38). What woman with a husband can serve God with fastings  and prayers day and night? And that, departing not from the temple and speak of Him to ALL? The widow of Zarephath hosted a man of God (1 Ki:17). She had no one to go and beg for permission. Another chose to give to God, “all the livelihood that she had,” which thing a woman with a husband cannot easily do (Lk 21:4). May be Dorcas also was a widow who was able to comfort people in any trouble, by the comfort with which she herself was comforted of God, because those who stood there weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was “with” them, were widows (Acts 9:39). If God thought it good to resurrect a widow, surely He is in desperate need of widows to fill up the vacuum created by today’s religion which is busy with conferences and camps, sapping the strength of the younger generation!

May the story terminate here to metamorphose into actuality.


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com

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