This is the 8th installment of this year’s focus on Biblical womanhood. This month’s and last month’s posts look at how women are created by God to be soft.
If you aren’t a self-avowed shell collector before going to the ocean, you will quickly become one once arriving on its sandy beaches. When I was in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I discovered some intact clam shells. I had seen half shells previously, but this was new to me. Obviously I had to pry open the shell in order to see what was inside. But, before I got to the inside, I noticed a few things about the outside shell. It was hard and crusty, covered in barnacles. This was quite unlike the smooth and shiny shells that the local gift shops were selling. Another thing I noticed was this object had a mind of its own. Each time I would try to open the shell, it would fight back. For this Northerner, this was a real lesson in collecting shells. They weren’t just like the rocks I collected in the northern lakes; these collection pieces were alive. After some work, we finally opened the clam shell and found a surprise: goo! Actually, it looked like something that accompanies a bad head cold, but I’ll spare you those specifics. The point of this story is that this crusty closed-off shell was full of soft gooey stuff on the inside…and, also…I never ate fried clams again. Yuck!
As women in everyday life, I believe we can be crusty or gooey. Maybe I should re-word that to say that we can be hard or soft. That sounds a little less graphic, yes? What do I mean by this description, though? I’ll share some examples with you:
As a wife: Waking up to a busy schedule of caring for our homes, and possibly outside work if that applies, how do we respond to our husbands as he walks through the door after work?
- Hard, crusty choice→ “Let me tell you how bad the kids were today. Do you know how hard I worked all day too? Why didn’t you….Why did you…”
- Soft choice→ Give that man a kiss.
As an employee: Whether it be our integrity, work ethic, how we respond to office gossip, there are countless ways we can be hardened or soft women.
- Hard choices→ Defending ourselves. Insecurity. Demanding our own ways and pushing through our own agendas.
- Soft choices→ Not participating in office gossip or belittling colleagues for our own gain. Highlighting others’ work, being a team player and cheerleader. Honesty.
As a mom: Maybe you have little ones running around the house or perhaps you’re in an empty-nest season? Regardless, we are still parents that need to consider our responses.
- Hard→ Disciplining out of frustration or our own sin. Ignoring our children’s needs to focus on our own. Making parenting about ourselves. Taking their sin personally. Controlling the kids and our circumstances. Fearfulness. Dividing with our husbands and siding with the kids.
- Soft→ Trusting God with the children He has gifted us. Faithfully living out our faith in front of them. Not holding grudges against our kids. Trusting God will replenish us when we are weak. Thanking God for His guidance and provision. Helping and serving others.
As a daughter of the King: This description applies to all women who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior! So, how do we respond to our Heavenly Father?
- Hard→ Twisting God’s word to give us what we want. Being angry at God when circumstances don’t go the way we would have done things. Pushing ahead and not waiting on the Lord. Persisting in bitterness, hurt, or countless other sins. Hurting others to get them back.
- Soft→ Believing God at His word. Thanking God in trials and being content in His plans. Praying a lot to live by the Spirit instead of by the flesh. Remembering that God defends us.
I’m not certain if you’ve thought about living as a hard or as a soft woman before, but hopefully these Feminology blog posts and podcasts have ignited a spark in you. There are times I can respond in a hard manner and it takes time for me to become soft and repent. This is a work of the Holy Spirit in me–and in you–so I pray that we would be more and more soft to Him, hearing Him convict us and remind us of truth, then following Him to righteousness. In doing this, we will find God softening our hard crusty edges and prying open our closed-off hearts.
That makes me think about that crusty, barnacle-covered clam shell again. Someone had to put in a lot of work to clean and shine those old hard shells before selling them in the local gift shops. Next time you are prone to a hardened response, stop. Ask God to do a work in you, softening you. As we live as soft women, we will bring God great glory as He does this beautiful work in us.