In celebration of Nancy's Voices of the True Woman Movement book release, we asked a few staff members and friends of the ministry to share their reflections on different chapters of the book. This is part 5 of a nine-part series. Enjoy!
I distinctly remember listening to Janet Parshall speak at the first True Woman Conference. My firstborn, Eli, was barely eight months old and I left him home with his daddy for the very first time in order to attend. Maybe that’s why Janet’s message, rooted in the story of Hannah hit me so hard.
I recently revisited Janet’s message in chapter 5 of the book, “Voices of the True Woman Movement: A Call to the Counter-Revolution.” Two years and another baby later, her words still challenge me to be a momma who lives like a woman after God’s own heart.
If you’re not familiar with Hannah’s story, here are the CliffsNotes. Hannah desperately wanted a son but the Bible tells us that God had closed her womb (1 Samuel 1:5). She went to the temple and prayed a passionate prayer to the Lord and vowed that if He gave her this long-hoped-for son, she would give him back to the Lord’s service.
Janet used Hannah’s story to teach an important lesson we must learn if we want to live like True Women. Put simply, that lesson is that God is in control, and we are called to surrender.
Hannah’s story teaches us what it means to be a true woman of God. She let go of her own plans. She knew that God was in charge, not her. She believed Him enough to say yes even when desperation had caused her to go out of her comfort zone and ask for the unthinkable.
Motherhood gives us feelings of fuzzy blankets and baby rattles and toys to line the crib. But motherhood is actually one of God’s refining fires. The reality of motherhood is that it’s a place to learn surrender, letting go, trusting, and believing that God is God (pp. 104-105).
Before the True Woman ’08 Conference, I had never heard motherhood referred to as a refining fire. Since then, God has used His Word and my experiences in the trenches of motherhood to teach me what Janet meant. The reality is that Hannah is not the only momma whose children taught her how to trust God. In fact, parents surrendering their children to God is a theme throughout the Bible. Abraham trusted God so thoroughly, he was willing to sacrifice his long-hoped for son, Isaac. Mary had to watch her son die on the cross while she clung to the hope of His promise to return. God modeled this principle for us by giving up His one and only Son to live and die among us. Trusting Jesus with our children isn’t easy. But it is as necessary as trusting Him with every other corner of our lives.
Living like a True Woman isn’t for wimps. It isn’t easy to live out God’s blueprint for our lives. It isn’t easy to let go of what we want for ourselves or our families. It’s really tough to lay those people and things we most love on the anvil of God to allow Him to mold and shape us. But as Hannah’s story illustrates, even when the sacrifice seems unbearable, we can trust God to work things out for our good and His glory.
That’s why I want to be a Hannah. I want to surrender my children, my husband, my career, my relationships, my dreams, my fears, and my hopes at God’s alter and ask Him to use them all for his service. Will you?