I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with the Biblical concept of womanhood. #Stereotyping has made it possible for us to think that the more public parts of the Bible define what it means to be a woman in God’s kingdom. These couple verses are the most public and misused, both inside and outside of the church.
Growing up in church, these scriptures were used to quiet, other, and take away my agency. That’s just my truth.
And I won’t lie, as someone who talks about being a “strong, independent Indian woman,” I wrestled with the interpretation of these verses. I wrestle with the interpretations that ask oppressed, marginalized groups to sit in their oppression. I wrestle with God when he allows marginalized groups to sit in their discomfort. Sometimes, I wonder if God is looking out for them, for us, for me, for those who need Him to show up in a real and freeing way.
I read these scriptures recently and was immediately annoyed at God. In fear of being struck by lightning, I started reading into the original intent of these scriptures. These scriptures were written to a church that was being persecuted for their beliefs – and Peter, the writer of this book, was speaking to these people about their response.
The truth is, when you start walking with God, you are now a walking, talking, actionable representation of Christ on earth. As a Christian, it is my responsibility to walk out my faith in real time. It doesn’t just live in my heart – it exists for people to see. It empowers me to speak up, to live with intention, and to look like Jesus. I am meant to be heaven on earth, which means that in the face of oppression, difficult circumstances, or mistreatment, it is important for me to know that 1) God is sovereign but also 2) God, ultimately, is calling me to do better – always; to do what He did, always. Oppression is inevitable because we live in a broken and sinful world. This is not news to God.
I 100% struggle with the larger Christian community and the churches we grew up in, mostly because they haven’t always gotten this right. There is grace for this because churches are made up of human beings, who even with good intentions, fail. A lot. The truth is, it is crucial in your personal walk with God to allow the Holy Spirit to inform how you live out God’s word in action. This means an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus. It means digging into God’s Word about what he says about our identity, our response, how to live, and how we treat others. It’s believing first what God says about you and letting that pour out of your heart. The church hasn’t always gotten it right. In fact, history has shown us time and time again that the Bible, taken out of context, can hurt a lot of people.
I am one of those hurt people. I was one very hurt person.
Today, I am empowered in my God-given female identity. When God made woman, He made them beautiful, strong, and with the ability to create community in a way that men just cannot. God spoke to, empowered, lead through, and honored women throughout the Bible and continues to do so in this day. He used women like Deborah to make battle decisions, Esther to save her people from massacre, Mary to carry Jesus in her womb for nine months, and he appeared first in His resurrection to Mary Magdalene. He continued to use women to build the early church, like Lydia. He uses women today, like Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine, Bobbie Houston, and countless others to lead and grow the family of God.
I believe that God has given woman access to do it all – to create community, live into her dreams, and lead others into opportunity without fear because God has made it so. I am one of these women – I am surrounded by many of these women, and I hope to encourage women for the rest of my days.
I am only empowered by who God says I am. That is my truth in my womanhood.