Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
Carol asked in a comment on my last post, "Do you think *all* women are created to be this way?" My answer is such an emphatic yes that I wanted to give it its own post. In his essay "How Does a Woman Become Secure?" Jim Wilson recognizes this a little more prosaically than Mr. Trollope: "A woman was made by God to be loved, protected, provided for and to be made secure." The essay goes on to describe the troubles that arise when a woman is deprived of that security -- troubles resulting both from the failures of others and from her own sinful attempts at lookin' for security in all the wrong places.
For a feminist, the wrong place may be within herself: We don't need no stinkin' men; we can be sufficient in and of ourselves.
Some women might not make such bald-faced assertions, but you can tell that feminism has influenced them. I think of the friend who, in a Bible study on Ruth, was bothered by the question, "Whose young woman is this?" Why did Ruth need to be anybody's young woman but her own? It made me laugh, because I knew that my friend's daddy had walked her down the aisle and given her hand to her handsome young husband. She was oblivious to a woman's need for the security of belonging the way a fish is oblivious to water: she'd never known the lack of it.
Other women learn that their sexuality is a powerful tool, so they sell themselves cheap to get whatever man they can, and learn the hard way that unworthy men just bring whole new levels of insecurity. Some end up abused in various ways. At the other end of the spectrum, some just hold tight to whatever power they can glean from sexuality itself, becoming manipulators or abusers themselves.
And there are probably lots of other ways in which women can stumble in this area. My own personal downfall was developing one wild crush after another, hoping that this guy or that would be my "savior" from insecurity. Thanks be to God, I've left that habit in the past (though I wish it had receded even farther in the rear-view mirror...blech).
Jim Wilson's essay directs women to find their security ultimately in the Lord, of course, but proximately in the family and the church. If the family's failures (particularly the father's) have been the cause of the insecurity, she may not find much help there unless repentance has occurred all 'round. If the church is possessed by the spirit of the age and thinks women ought to be perfectly self-sufficient, it will just end up perpetuating the problem.
But when the church gets it right, it's a glorious thing. The Lord has blessed me in the last decade or so by bringing godly men into my life who have modeled His care for me in ways that have been completely appropriate to their relationship with me. I haven't always gotten all I've hoped for -- sometimes because I hope for too much and sometimes just because they're sinners, too -- but with enough consistency that I've been able to rely on them to a reasonable extent and draw a reasonable degree of security from my relationships with them. This has worked because each of these men has not tried to be a savior, but has pointed me faithfully to the Savior. He has worked through them because they weren't trying to usurp His place.
But there's still a need. Women are designed to need a head, not be a head. In an ideal world, every girl would have a daddy to love and protect her until he walks her down the aisle and relinquishes that responsibility to her bridegroom. If her father cannot fulfill the role of provider and protector, Scripture seems to place the responsibility on her brothers (consider, for instance, Lev. 21:3 and SS. 8:8-9).
If it's not good for man to be alone, then it's ridiculous to think that it's OK for woman to be alone. In this post Nancy Wilson does a marvelous job of affirming that a woman needs a man while making it clear that only her Creator "can really fill, satisfy, complete, and meet the needs of a woman's heart."
I don't have the balance down pat yet, but I'm closer than I used to be. Personally, I think marriage would be a great context in which to continue honing my understanding! ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 2:02 PM
On January 11, 2008 4:40 PMAngiewrote... I'm not sure that if we deny that biblical womanhood looks like a creeping, needy, clingy vine that we're inevitably left with feminism and/or staunch individualism.
The Proverbs 31 woman certainly doesn't sound like the Trollope quote. "She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong." Yes, she is under the authority of her husband--but that doesn't mean her husband is the source of her strength. In fact, it almost sounds as if, in some ways, he is deriving his strength from her ("The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.")
I know we are on the same page regarding the roles of husbands and wives, and I agree with virtually every point you made in this post--I'm just not convinced that the Trollope quote is the best or even a very good way of expressing a biblical view of womanhood.
On January 11, 2008 4:50 PMValerie (Kyriosity)wrote... The Trollope quote works not necessarily as a picture of a biblical woman, but as a picture of an insecure woman, perhaps one who is not going about seeking security in the most biblical way, but one who has a legitimate need.
On January 11, 2008 9:29 PMAngiewrote... I gotcha. I thought you were saying the quote was the way it ought to be, not the way it often is. Sorry for not reading your comments more carefully!
On January 14, 2008 3:16 PMThe Danewrote... I don't know that it's such a woman thing as it is a human thing. People, whether male or female seem by their nature to demand community. To necessitate society rather than hermitage. Just saying is all.
On January 14, 2008 3:51 PMpentamomwrote... Hmmmm....I'm not so sure I'd say "all women" so much as "women by nature" or "women in general." But there are always those who don't quite fit the mold, and this may be another way in which it's true.
That's not to say that even those women for whom the Trollope quote doesn't apply wouldn't benefit from the blessing of being loved by a man, but there are probably those who just don't "need" it, or at least don't feel the need, as much.
This was a wonderful post. It is a blessing to those of us who are married, by whatever means, and those of us who are not.
I have been struggling to verbalize some of these very things, and you have done it, so well.
On January 28, 2008 12:52 PMAbrawrote... Such a great article and yes, I believe ALL women are made this way (it manifests itself in different ways from person to person) Ben has done such a great job in convincing me that, contrary to my upbringing, a) I need God B) belonging to someone is a good thing.