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In Celebration of Womanhood

Femininity. What does it mean? If we asked a group of women that question how many of their answers would encompass the culture of our day . . . the way we dress, the way we look, our personality, career goals, or possibly our understanding of personal fulfillment. And there are those who would say, "It is an antiquated word and doesn’t apply in today’s world."

It is imperative that we have a standard-an immutable standard-if we truly want to discover the true meaning of femininity, and that standard is seen as we accept the impeccable integrity of God. The word "feminine" became a part of our vocabulary when God took a rib from Adam and around that rib built a woman, musing, "It isn’t good for this man to be alone. I’m going to fashion a creature who will complete him." And the female was designed as a "completer," but we enter that role of "completer" only when we volitionally step into the role of wife.

Bearing children is "woman’s work." Woman was created physiologically to bear children and she was carefully programmed with certain emotional and intellectual qualities that her child would desperately need. (Desperately is deliberately chosen.)

But, if completing the male and bearing and rearing were all that I was created for as a woman, then there would be millions of unfulfilled women in the world today. Does being feminine require marriage? Can I wear the label of femininity only if I have children? What a small space for the female to occupy!

God has shown us in His Word that woman can stand alone, that she is of infinite worth because of who she is-for "being."

Dorcas was a social worker. Ruth was a loving daughter-in-law. Lydia was a successful businesswoman who had a home large enough for church gatherings. Esther was very definitely in the upper social bracket and was a woman of great courage; it was her wisdom and boldness that saved the Jewish nation. Mary was a woman of deep devotion; her simple act of love for the Lord has been recorded so that we might realize how He desires our overt adoration. Deborah was a member of the military and an astute politician. Mary was the mother of Jesus and a woman of great faith. The woman of Proverbs 31 was the Martha Stewart of her day. Even Rahab, a woman of questionable reputation, is listed among the women of the Bible because she proved herself to be trustworthy and brave.

I’ve listed as many different "job descriptions" as I have women. We cannot define femininity as something that a woman does; it must be defined as character-something that a woman is- and it cannot be defined apart from the Creator. God programmed femininity into the "Rib Creature," and He is the only one who knows how to run that program successfully. Only as we allow Him to express Himself through us-by faith-do we receive the laurels of success in our femininity and rest in His words of praise.

Every little girl comes into her world programmed by God with the need to be feminine. All females are created equal as far as these innate needs are concerned; however, the people in her private world mold each little girl’s self-image as a female. Children, being self-centered, do not learn about other people in their world; they learn about themselves as people interact with them, touch them, communicate with them, and care for them. Because of this intrinsic self-centeredness, a little girl begins to learn about herself and her femininity from the first breath of earth-air she inhales.

She watches her role model carefully and asks, "Why do I feel this way, Mother? Why is my body different? Teach me how to be like you, Mother. What does being a female mean? Why am I special? How should I act? Why do I feel this way? Let me help you, Mother. Show me how to do it, please." If her mother doesn’t hear those plaintive questions or ignores her little girl, then that little girl will not learn positive things about herself; rather, she will come to doubt her femininity. This need lying deep within her will grow as she grows, but not into the facet of beauty that God intended. It was never nurtured and so it will be deformed…useless…completely out of proportion…and may eventually come to control her.

Sexually promiscuous. Frigid. Fearful. Homosexual. Woman hater. Insecure. Deprived of love. Perverted. Introverted. Extroverted. Self-hate. The list goes on describing the young woman who was never physically loved by her mother, whose mother never hugged her or kissed her or said to her, " I love you;" who never taught her feminine tasks, who never whispered feminine secrets, who never held her closely and affirmed her daughter’s femininity.

And then there’s dad. "Carry me, Daddy. Let me go with you, Daddy. Can I hold your hand? Will I find someone just like you? You make me feel so special. Thank you, Daddy, for the talk last night."

"I love you, Honey."

"Yes, I know you love me, Dad. I love you, too."

And she delights in her femininity, or if deprived of her father’s affection, she searches for "daddy’s love" all through her life with an almost insatiable craving . . . to be held . . . to be touched . . . to be cherished . . . to be feminine.

As individual women, we may seek and find what we call fulfillment in the world, but that source of fulfillment is so fragile. We age. We lose our ability to meet the competition. We retire. We are left alone through death, divorce, or choice, and suddenly, our life of fulfillment is over. Our fulfillment in life must depend on only one thing, our personal relationship with Jesus, and this is a "forever thing." We take it to the nursing home with us.

For those of you who have been wounded in your world, let me ask you a question: would you like to be someone different, someone who doesn’t have to be controlled by what she has experienced in years past? That hope, dear one, has come true. There is nothing that is impossible for God, nothing so ugly that He will turn His eyes away, so mutilated that it is beyond His ability to heal. He will take what the world has soiled and trodden under foot and He will make it new. He will take the wounds so cruelly inflicted and He will cleanse them with compassionate care. The Bible says that if any woman is in Christ Jesus, she is a beautiful new creature. All of the old things that she learned about herself that were so destructive and hurtful have passed away. Look closely . . . you are new, you are loved, you are lovely (Paraphrase, II Corinthians 5:17).

Jesus whispers words of love and encouragement to you and He will never release His firm grip on your hand. But you must ask Him to do these things. He does not force His will upon you and insist that you love Him. He patiently waits for you to accept all that He has done for you so that you can be all that He created you to be-a cherished, lovely woman.

Femininity: A beautiful, God-instilled part of every female. You are something very special, Woman, and as you allow Christ to live through you and accept His love for you, you will revel in your gender.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.