Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Strong Femininity

I am always so awed when I have spent time with women who are very feminine and very strong. I was thinking that thought this morning after having an impassioned conversation with Jodi Ware about our favorite author, Elisabeth Elliot. That conversation, and those musings whet my appetite to enjoy all things girly, as I did this evening with the Pendergraph Women's Ministry. They had a spring fashion show, and I was asked to be in it. Here is a picture of me with Jaime Zetterberg (formerly Zaijcek), a girlfriend from high school who was also in the fashion show. I had looked forward to this evening because I like clothes, and I enjoy girly things like this, but I was widely impacted by the focus of the event -- inner beauty, and an outward appearance that glorifies God. Katherine Magnuson spoke about inner beauty and her friend Kenna who is going through her 4th fight against cancer. She shared how Kenna is so beautiful in her disease as she exults in her infirmity and chooses gladness in Christ. Women like that are incredible to me, and make me so proud of my gender. I know, however, that the root of strength I admire in someone like Kenna, or even someone like Debbie Kaufman -- who tonight so gleefully and glibly told me that she doesn't care what her husband decides to do after he graduates, she just wants him to be happy and fulfilled in what the Lord has for him -- is the hope they have in our Almighty, Sovereign God.

Here's a quote from an article by John Piper ("The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission"):

"The deepest root of Christian womanhood mentioned in this text is hope in God. “Holy women who hoped in God.” A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or in getting a husband. She does not put her hope in her looks. She puts her hope in the promises of God. She is described in Proverbs 31:25: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” She laughs at everything the future will bring and might bring, because she hopes in God.

She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever he pleases. She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows his promise that he will be with her and help her strengthen her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakable root of Christian womanhood. And Peter makes it explicit in verse 5. He is not talking about just any women. He is talking about women with unshakable biblical roots in the sovereign goodness of God—holy women who hope in God."

Being able to "laugh at time to come" (like Debbie), or gladly wage war with cancer (like Kenna), or just not take my appearance so seriously because strength and dignity are my clothing, is possible because I delight in the mercy of knowing Christ, and long to know Him more deeply -- whatever He may bring.

8 comments:

Moggy said...

I just happened across your blog, it's very inspiring.

megan said...

great picture of the 2 of you. i didn't realize jamie lived down in louisville. jamie looks so much like her sisters. it sounds like you had an inspiring girls night. i always enjoy reading what you written. ever thought of putting it into a book....?

sara said...

I know the topic is inner beauty, and I appreciate what you have written, really I do....but I have to say- you guys look so cute- love the outfits!!!!

Anonymous said...

Very cute outfits...I actually love Jamie's and I could totally see myself wearing that one!

You know...when we look at ourselves through God's eyes (which is really more of a rare glimpse) all of those divisions between women (what is modest and what's not...is it ok to wear lipstick, jewelry, etc.) melt away and we realize that God looks at our hearts and what they look like.

That's comforting to me, being faced often with disputes about this type of thing.

-emma

PS--Speaking of modeling, I get to model this weekend for Susan Biggs!

Donette said...

"Strength and dignity are my clothing . . ."
I love that line. Especially since I am not the size I once was (multiple pregnancies and all) and I tend to get discouraged about how I would like to look and how I actually do look. But I am reminded that my identity in Christ has nothing to do with a number on a scale or on the tag in the back of my pants. What an encouragement!

GloryandGrace said...

Hey! Go over to: www.gloriousgrace.wordpress.com and tell me what you think so far. I haven't OFFICIALLY decided to switch, but I think I like how it looks...

Gretchen said...

Meg -- wow, that is REALLY nice to say. I can't imagine ever writing anything enough to be a book! I do like reading books, though! Jaime's husband is a student at the seminary here. He is graduating in May, but he's looking to apply for the ThM, which is the degree you get to go on and work on your doctorate.

Sar -- thanks! I bought my belt, yellow shirt and khakis (just because I have to wear khakis to work).

Emma -- It was really fun. We could totally pick what we wanted, and the place we shopped at has the NICEST 2nd hand stuff I've ever seen! I think I was too used to used clothing stores in D-ville. This was amazing. My shirt was J Crew and my pants were Banana Republic. We'll have to go there next time you visit. If you pay in cash, you save 10%!

Nett -- right you are! I love that verse too. Strength and dignity are such great things to have as clothing.

Grace -- I did check it out, and I like it muy mucho. Couldn't figure out how to comment you, though!

Rachel Amunrud said...

Gretchen,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for that encouragement. Just what I needed at this exact moment. More later. See you tomorrow.

Rachel A.