To the women who have bought into the label, “the weaker sex,” I write to differ and to give you a perspective from the heart of your Creator. From beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation, it would appear that God has a perspective on women that should set the standard for all of us.
In the beginning He called you “a helper suitable to the needs of the man.” In the end, the Book of Revelation describes how the dragon wars against the woman. While the language is clearly symbolic, it is still worth noting that the powers of darkness fear the woman.
We have been too quick and far too willing to buy into the image of women as weak, because we, like many we read about in the Bible, define strength in a particular way. We define strength by outward appearances. If we could all think differently about what it truly means to be strong, I believe we would forever see women in a different light.
First of all, ladies, we must look at where you came from. While we might all think about the rib of Adam, I think we must first recognize that the woman came first from the mind and nature of God Himself. You were not an afterthought. You have always carried your part of the Divine Nature.
When Adam first breathed the Breath of Life, contained within his soul was all that would one day be the woman. This means that when woman was first pulled from the rib of the man, it was man who was now incomplete, not the woman. He lost something that had been with him from his creation. She was always completely herself.
Accurate or not, I have long pictured the activity of God in reaching into Adam’s soul to extract the woman. In my mind, I see Him rummaging through the soul of the man, separating out what today we call “male” and “female” characteristics.
This activity left the man in a state that was less than the one he began with. Now, rather than being complete unto himself, his companion was now outside his soul. What had once been within him was now simply near. This creature, this woman, was a helper suitable to the needs of a man. All that God removed to make the woman was still available to him, but only through his willingness to partner with this new creature.
She–you–carries a supply of some things that the men of our race do not normally have. In many cases, men operate without these strengths and never even know that they are missing them. What we as males have often learned to do when we feel inadequate or insecure is to cover our weaknesses and call that “strength.” We can either learn to partner with women, or else call them “the weaker sex.”
Let me tell you the strength that you, as a woman, bring to the human race, and why we as males must learn that you are helpers suitable to the condition in which we find ourselves.
At the top of the list, the primary strength that women bring into the world is nurture. Those who define masculinity and femininity tell us that the defining characteristic of the true feminine is receptivity. The ability to receive may not seem like an amazing super power at first glance. For this reason, we should do more than glance. We must understand and embrace the overwhelming might of nurture.
Soil can survive without a seed, but a seed without soil will never reach its created design. Soil is the perfect picture of nurture and receptivity. Soil provides a place for the seed to belong. In the moisture of the soil, the walls of the seed are softened to allow the life that is inside the hard shell to break forth. The moisture and nutrients of the soil then provide all the necessary fuel for the seed to actually become what it was created to become.
The heart of a woman is the soil in which a life is received, nurtured and brought to its full development. This is seen clearly in the actual process of carrying a baby to term and delivering an infant into the world. The process is no less life-giving when the child, now on the outside, has a place to belong and is surrounded by the soft, receptive heart of a mother. The nurture of a mother can soften the hard shell of a human soul and allow the life inside a child to break through.
It is precisely the softness required to nurture a life that makes many mistake this characteristic for weakness. It is also this capacity to bring life fully into fruition that makes the kingdom of darkness fear the woman. Satan is not deluded into believing in the weakness of the true feminine.
Not only is the strength of nurture in a woman’s heart the soil for a developing fetus and a growing child. The nurture of a woman can strengthen a grown man. Conversely, the rejection (the opposite of nurture) of a woman can bring a man to his knees. Ask Sampson. Why do we have female cheerleaders at male sporting events? Somehow we know that men are strengthened by the heart of a woman who receives him as conquering hero.
We men, without any training, learn to see ourselves in the mirror of a woman’s opinion. If we are accepted (received), our sense of self is strengthened. If we are rejected (not received), we develop all kinds of fears and insecurities. The war against women is also a war against a context that allows men to develop a strong sense of self. At every step of the way, a woman’s ability and willingness to receive and provide a place of belonging and nurture is the birthplace and incubator of the strength of the race. Now who is strong?
Behind all of the devil’s schemes and perversions of sex, intimacy and male-female relatedness, is this: He knows the power of being a helper suitable to our needs. He recognizes that any way he can take away the healthy nurture of a woman, whether in a man’s eyes or in a woman’s experience, he can erode a culture and deplete the flow of the life of God in the human race.
Secondly—and a strong second at that—women bring a way of seeing that is crucial to the healthy thought process and functioning of the human race. “Women’s intuition” is not a myth. It is a way of seeing. Women synthesize multiple channels of information and experience into a singular sense of “knowing.” Women see through the concrete realities of facts-only thinking and into the implications and relational meaning of a given interaction.
Any given exchange of communication is viewed through multiple lenses, including the lens of relational impact. Words, posture, tone of voice, facial expressions, context all come together in the mind of a woman to create a single message.
Again, this ability to synthesize and evaluate relational impact can have the appearance of being soft or weak. Considering another’s feelings or any present relational issues can appear to make one hesitate to act, or fearful of acting, in ways that may violate relationship. But look again; is this weakness or strength?
Many a significant exchange, whether communication or a business deal, has disintegrated because the relationship couldn’t sustain the issues involved. Confrontation requires trust to truly bring about change. Negotiation requires an accurate assessment of relatedness or personalities to bring about desired outcomes.
A failure to accurately read and sensitively respond to relational issues can bring any exchange to a grinding halt. Brute force or persuasiveness cannot be effective beyond the boundaries of the relationship. If you cannot read a relationship, you begin with a deficit. If you underestimate relational equity, you start from a place of weakness.
The ability to negotiate relational issues effectively can be compared to the ability to read a map effectively when you are in unknown territory. You can be lost and not even know it.
There is great strength in knowing how to avoid relational weakness. Women, regarding the value of your relational intelligence, never underestimate yourself and never allow anyone to convince you otherwise.
A third area of strength is also an area that many would perceive as weakness. Isn’t it biblical that the human perception of weakness is often the birthplace of God’s perfect strength?
This third area deals with women’s familiarity with their emotional makeup. Women, more commonly than men, are familiar with their full range of emotions. And by familiar, I do not simply mean that they are intellectually aware. Woman, much more than men, are able to identify and experience a broader range of emotions in day-to-day life.
Perhaps this is the area which has most earned women (wrongly) the nickname “the weaker sex.” Tears, laughter, grieving and other overt expressions are often seen as a visible sign of weakness. I suggest we look again, and learn to think differently.
At some point, untended emotions can reach critical mass and begin to have a physical effect on the body. At some point, unexpressed emotions can begin to erode the protective mechanisms of the soul and begin to affect thinking and behavior. This is at least partially what the Bible means when it tells us that “from the heart … flow the issues of life.”
An untended and unexpressed heart can one day implode and express itself through all manner of self-destructive tendencies. Tears unexpressed become the seed of depression. Anger, unchecked by honesty and forgiveness can actually rot the bones. Grief restrained can paralyze a man or woman, leaving them frozen at a given time in life.
Our emotions are a God-given source of feedback in our souls. When we hold them back or misuse them, we set up confusion, deception or eventual breakdown in our future. Which is weaker? The one who processes emotions as they go, or the one who restrains them for a few decades and ultimately crumbles under the weight of an untended heart?
Architects have discovered that if you build a building with a certain amount of “give” or built-in weakness, it can withstand the instability of the earth on which it is built. An earthquake-proof building is one that is designed to flex more. The building that is so strong that it has no flexibility becomes the weakest, most vulnerable structure if the earth moves at all.
For too many centuries, our definitions of strength and weakness have allowed us to categorize women as “weak.” It is a consistent framework in the Bible that human concepts of weakness tend to house God’s concepts of ultimate strength.
Jesus’ most consistent followers were the unnamed women who constantly provided for Him and His disciples. It was a woman who stayed by the cross and watched Him die while the others could not stomach the sight. And it was women who first discovered the reality of the resurrected Christ. It would seem that Jesus Himself saw the strength of the true feminine. Perhaps we should look again.
Women, perhaps you should look again through a fresh set of eyes. Thank you that you have consistently brought to the earth a set of traits and qualities that we males often don’t know we are missing. Thank you for being helpers suitable to our condition.
*The Stronger Sex originally appeared in Destiny in Bloom. Used with permission.