Do Strong Women Have to Roar?

I am woman. Hear me roar.

I'm not sure when I first heard those words or when their meaning first registered with me. I've never actually listened to the song, "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy. In fact, I had to look up its origin. Those words are just a part of my culture, like McDonalds, Walmart, and Santa Claus.

But the other day, I heard myself repeating this phrase jokingly to my father, and I thought, I should really figure out where that comes from. Here are some of the other lyrics:

Oh yes, I am wise, but it's wisdom born of pain. Yes, I've paid the price, but look how much I gained.

If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.

The song goes on to talk about this woman's determination to achieve her goals, make her "brothers" understand, and overall, stand "toe to toe" with men. She's heralded as a woman's woman.

The Heart of the Song

While the idea that women are strong can be true, the heart of this song goes back to something much deeper than a woman who is strong and invincible; it stems from the root of feminism—the idea that ANYTHING that asks a woman to submit to a man is oppressive.

In a world that heralds the strong, invincible woman as the example of true womanhood, our role and God's calling can become quite muddled and confused.

The Word teaches that God made women to fulfill equally valuable but different roles than men (Gen. 2:18, 1 Cor. 11:7). But in a world that heralds the strong, invincible woman as the example of true womanhood, our role and God's calling can become quite muddled and confused.

One Woman's Work

That's why I'm grateful for women like Leslie Bennett. Leslie, a Revive Our Hearts regional ambassador and the former Director of Women's Ministries at Northeast Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, attended her first True Women event in 2008. After experiencing her own personal revival in July, True Woman '08 could not have come at a better time for Leslie.

"I came to know the Lord as an adult in my thirties having no idea what Scripture said on biblical womanhood. When the subject was taught, I always received it as a legalistic 'hand slap.' I felt condemned for utilizing my spiritual gift of leadership. Womanhood was reduced to a rigid list of do's and don'ts. How liberating it is to know the error of that thinking!" said Leslie.

As she experienced the freedom that comes with understanding biblical womanhood, Leslie shared it with the woman of her church until God allowed her to host her first True Woman event in 2009.

"True Women Columbia was the culmination of all I [had] been sharing with our women since attending True Woman '08 in Chicago. In seven years of ministry, it ranks as one of our top spiritual and equipping events. Women's hearts were primed for this counter-cultural message. Lively discussions and honest conversations ensued! Women were encouraged, convicted, and filled with hope!" said Leslie.

Lives Touched

As a result of this event, Leslie was able to touch and encourage the lives of many women. One desperate woman who had her utilities turned off at home and was in need of financial aid attended the event. Her response: "God put me in the dark so I could see!"

In despair over a difficult marriage to an American soldier returned from Iraq, one woman attended the event alone. Her husband had become an abusive and alcoholic man, but she received encouragement, prayer support, and planned to enroll in an upcoming Bible study.

One woman, who would typically spend her time "partying," attended on the invitation of her friend. Divorced and unemployed, she was in desperate need of spiritual encouragement. After her first session, she remained for the rest and has experienced a spiritual awakening.

These are just a few of the testimonies that Leslie gave me, but I am sure that with over 200 women in attendance there are numerous testimonies that have remained untold.

In a culture that preaches, "Be a woman and roar," I am grateful for women like Leslie who work to bring freedom and joy to the hearts of women. Her work isn't about empowering women to stand "toe to toe" with their "brothers." As she says, her work is such that "with linked arms, we [can] move forward to continue growing and discovering the full beauty and majesty of God's unique design for us."

What about you? Do you find biblical womanhood confusing? Or do you get it? And if you do, are you sharing your knowledge about God and His plan for womanhood with others?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Sharon Parks

Sharon Parks

Sharon is a senior writing major at Pensacola Christian College. Blessed to be a part of a large family, she enjoys family time, long runs, good poetry, and traveling.

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