There is a type of woman that the world around me values little.
Her work and precision and sacrifice aren’t the sort that modern American movies or commercials honor. Her compassion is quieter but more costly. Her obedience less glamorous though more beautiful. Her courage less brash, more prayerful.
Her love for others is real, fervent, and exhausting, as opposed to the sort of “love” that Tweets on social justice but can’t be bothered to spend six hours on a Saturday at a nursing home or spend $30 a month sending food and supplies to a child in Indonesia. It is the sort of love that costs her time and money and sleep and hours many others spend watching television or going to bars or playing video games.
Minutes and hours spent changing the diapers of tiny but real human beings, humans with eternal souls who are made in the image of God. Who will someday be offered peace with Him through Jesus’ Gospel. While other women doing other things will receive more praise and more Facebook likes and would be the sort more likely to have a TV show written about them, she makes oatmeal and hot dogs and gives hugs and teaches the Bible to the human lives she has been entrusted with by the Father.
And she is probably the best example in 21st century American life of the truth that it is far, far easier to talk love than to do love.
In a culture filled with people who clamor for pay raises, new cars, more square footage, or attention from their peers, she chooses to live for something eternal rather than glitzier, lesser treasures. The shape of her children’s hearts and the hope that they will someday worship the Lord become increasingly beautiful things to her, though the world may not understand that. She is perhaps thought of as cute though misguided; sweet but outdated.
The ones who don’t value such work miss the meaning of the word work (as do many men whose families go spiritually unfed, by the way). Just as they often miss the meanings of the words bravery, love, and life. They miss that the God who authored goodness from His own character and displayed it to the world in His sacrificial Son is also the God who authored motherhood, fatherhood, marriage, redemption, the human body, sunlight, and tomorrow. He is the One who not only knows what is good but designed its goodness.
And however this woman would say it or phrase it, it’s this that motivates her. She trusts the loves Her Abba Father has given her because they are His loves. They are the type, the sort, that He gives to her. And she knows this.
“Likewise, wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” 1 Peter 3:1-6
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived, and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:8-15
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.” Genesis 2:18-25
This woman, this lover and humble student of Jesus, knows her good God built her, and that He knows what is best for her. She is confident He will redeem and remake her by His Son’s blood and resurrection into an even more obedient and joyous daughter of the Most High God. Just as she hopes He will resurrect her husband to be a more obedient adopted son. And just as she hopes her children will be ushered into the only Kingdom worth being a part of. She will spend most of her energies and fight many of her battles here: Her soul, her husband’s, her children’s. Her life in service to God’s glory and their good.
She prays for her worldly friends who don’t follow Jesus. She texts and calls and has playdates with women who do. While others may post about social or governmental issues on social media, she spends late hours at night knitting hats for children in Ukraine or packing shoe boxes with Christmas gifts for Samaritan’s Purse or getting groceries for her housebound relative. She may post things online, too, but it might have to wait just a bit. Her hands just happen to be busy a lot of the time, because real love puts more sweat on your brow and wrinkles on your hands and miles on your odometer than it does data on your wireless bill.
I couldn’t care less about recreating the American 1950s. Why I admire this woman, and why I hope more women desire to be like her, is that God admires her. He tells us this is lovely to Him and it pleases Him. As it does when a husband gives of himself, dies to himself, and is jealously protective for his wife’s good. As it does when both are willing to give up everything, even earthly life and the comfort of each other’s arms, for Him and His glory.
I admire this woman because she lives in sacrifice to the King, serving Him with real obedience. I voice my admiration for her because what she do does not get praised in my culture very often. And because it glorifies the God she loves.