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 1 of a nine-part series. Enjoy!
I clearly remember a conversation I had a few years back with a girl who strongly desired marriage. I also remember being astonished at the reasons some were giving her for why she wasn’t married yet–like not being able to cook very well. Thinking back on this discussion, I now realize that the single driven goal of marriage in a girls’ life can be a bit misguided.
Marriage is undoubtedly a gift from the Lord for the ultimate purpose of displaying the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And a great gift it is, indeed. Like most girls I know, I spent a lot of time in high school and the years after planning out my wedding and presumed family–daydreaming about that day that “Mr. Wonderful” would walk into my life and sweep me off my feet. I’m still single, though, so what does that mean for the life of womanhood I had envisioned? This is the exact issue that many single women in the church face, and is the topic of Dr. John Piper’s timely chapter “The Ultimate Meaning of True Womanhood” in the book Voices of the True Woman Movement.
“True womanhood” Piper writes “is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of His Son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood. It's a distinctive calling.” Did you catch that? Ladies, this is significant. God has chosen you to be a woman in order to fulfill His ultimate purpose for the glory of Christ. Womanhood is about more than just singleness and marriage. It is about Christ.
So, what does all this practically mean? As I read Piper’s chapter, a few personal challenges come to mind:
• God’s purpose for my life goes beyond my own happiness. In God’s grace and mercy, He does grant abundant life (John 10:10). However, His ultimate intention for me is not that my personal hopes and wishes be fulfilled or that all my dreams come true. My life is about His glory, and He knows whether or not that will be best displayed through my singleness or marriage.
• I am not to waste my singleness with daydreams and regrets. Piper notes that “if a single woman turns without bitterness and regret from the absence of her own family and gives herself to creating God's family in the church, she will find a flowering for her womanhood in ways never dreamed of, and Christ will be uniquely honored.” In reading this, I am challenged not to despair over things in my life that have not yet been realized. Rather, I am called to seek out areas where I am more freed to serve because of this season of singleness.
• I am to embrace the calling to make much of Christ in every season of life I am given. I am no less of a woman in my singleness, and when I embrace God’s purpose in my singleness rather than resenting it, I am able to display trust in a sovereign God to the world around me. This type of trust will reveal much about God’s character to the world around me: “Therefore, a single woman who lives with that final day in view, and finds Christ to be her all in all here, says something very powerfully and very clearly about her Savior.”
Ladies, whether or not we can cook is not the issue, because God is not waiting on us to get our domestic acts together before He allows us to marry. Be encouraged that He purposes all things, including your singleness or marriage. Embrace what He has given, walk in obedience, and display the glory of God’s design for womanhood to the world around you. For this, as Piper reminds us, is God’s ultimate meaning for true womanhood.