Raising Our Girls to Be Leaders

My Dad didn't get saved until I was about 5 or so years old. If you remember your beginning walk as a Christian, you know that it takes a long time before you find that groove that you feel comfortable in. Because he was growing and learning each and everyday, I vividly remember him scratching up his Bible, and a year later, that Bible falling apart because it had been read so much. 

My Dad is a researcher...a doer...a leader. Of course, he didn't always do things the right way, and he still makes mistakes like everyone else. But as a teenager, I can remember thinking, one day I want to marry a man just as devoted to Christ as my dad.

Unfortunately, girls can be so focused on finding the perfect guy, that they forget they must be trained to be the "perfect" girl. But what does that look like? Honestly, in today's society, raising a girl scares the heck out of me for multiple reasons. And I don't even have a girl! Between men thinking they can boss women around (yes, even my generation!), to girls being all out extreme feminists....I think we need to take a step back for a second and put everything into perspective here.

Being a Christian woman has come a long way in the past few centuries. We've gone from shame and judgement, being completely covered from head to toe.....to being wild and free and gloriously unashamed of anything we do, say, or wear. But I believe there's a happy medium.

We often like to refer our girls back to the Proverbs woman, but in all honesty, I want to refer our girls back to Eve. The original woman created specifically in the image of God for Adam. Listen up, ladies, there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of your fella. But let's dive deeper.

Because Adam was alone, God saw the need to create a helper for him. A helper, not a servant. A helper, not someone to boss around. A helper, someone who could rule alongside him. In fact, the very definition of helper is an aide, supporter, and ally. God gave rule over all living things to man and made man in His image. Man, not just a man, but the entire species of man in general. This includes women.

So, here was Eve, being a helper. Not a slave....not a captive...not anything like that. But someone who was taken alongside of her husband, worked with him, helped him, and ruled over the land with him. You could say they practiced the very mutual submission that is mentioned in Ephesians. One could argue that mutual submission isn't true, because Christ Himself doesn't "submit" to the church, and therefore a husband shouldn't "submit" to his wife. But the difference that, for some reason, we need to continuously realize is that man is not God. God created men and women with a purpose, and to work alongside one another. A man is not Christ. While he is the head over his wife, for good reason, he is not her "lord". But we'll get to that in a second. 

Clearly Eve had freedom through out the garden and land, which is why she was so easily enticed by the serpent. This is one of the reasons woman are so strictly taught not to rule over men, because they were the ones deceived. Do I agree with that? Absolutely. Do I believe women can be prophets, teachers, and leaders? Absolutely. Do I think that women should be rulers over men? Never once does it say in the Bible that women should be rulers over men. But it doesn't say they can't, either. Can they lead? Absolutely. Should they lead an entire church alone? That's a completely different story. There's a big difference between leading a country and leading a church. You would think that leading a country would be more important, but that's not always the case. Through out the Bible, we see some amazing women leaders—the bulk of them being prophets. But when we ask Paul in the Bible about women leaders, he specifically says that they can be leaders, but that they should not preach in a church over men. You guys can hash that one out...I'm not touching it. Let's move on.

To be honest, I didn't learn a lot about women leaders in the Bible as a young Christian. In fact, it almost seemed taboo. You didn't talk about women leaders. You sat down, you remained quiet, and then you ate lunch after church with your friends. We talked about leaders like David, Joshua, Abraham....but what about Deborah, Esther, Miriam, and Huldah? Huldah? Who the heck is Huldah?!

You see, so often in westernized Christianity, we still have that mindset that girls just need to be a Proverbs 31 and Titus women, and that's all she needs to be. Quiet, simple, beautiful inside and out, a helper. And while those things are absolutely true, what about the girls who were born to be leaders?  The strong willed girls. The ones who God appointed to be outgoing and vivacious. The girls who are too much to handle or who are extremely independent? Put them in a box and shut it tight! They tell you. But we're missing some key players here.

Let's talk about Deborah.

After Joshua's conquest on Canaan, the Lord raised up Judges (Judges 2:16), one of whom was Deborah. Deborah was a prophet.

"Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, 
was leading Israel at that time." 
Judges 4:4


No way. No way was a woman leading an entire nation! Dear Jesus, she was sinning. Stone her! Tell her she's not worthy! Tell her she'll be deceived and rebuke that evil Jezebel!

I kid. But us westernized Christians would have flipped the heck out. Do you understand? Do you see how ridiculous this is? If not, let's continue Deborah's story.

Now a commander from neighboring Canaan had been oppressing the Israelites for quite some time. So the Lord commanded Deborah to take her army and kill Sisera, the commander. Deborah prophesied that he would be delivered unto and killed by a woman. And she was exactly right.

"But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a 
hammer and went quietly to him while he lay 
fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through 
his temple into the ground, and he died."
 Judges 4:21

Holy beets and juice, Jael. You were hard core!

Don't teach your daughters to do that. Unless they have to. But my point of Deborah is that she was a ruler and leader—not only militaristic, but religious and political as well. The people of Israel enjoyed 40 years of peace because of Deborah. I would hate for our corrupted view of women to deter a young woman to rise up and liberate an entire country.

Next comes sweet Miriam. 

While Miriam was not as hard core as Deborah, she still played a major role in leading people into God's will and freedom. In fact, Miriam sang, aloud, and danced in Exodus 15 as she lead people with Moses out of the Red Sea. But we may best remember Miriam as the sister of Moses, who watched baby Moses float into the hands of the Princess so that he would not die during Pharaoh's execution of baby boys.

Miriam was not only a poet, but a prophetess as well. But with beauty can also come rebellion and jealousy. And this may be one of the best things to remember. Miriam, like many of us, got sidetracked even though she had done so much good work for the Lord. She eventually suffered greatly because of her jealousy of her brother, Moses. And her life ended not so well because of it. Why do I mention this? Because Miriam's greatest downfall was the fact that she eventually wanted to rule rather than influence people. And that simply was not God's call upon her life.

In so many cases, some women think they are called to be rulers, but the fact is that many aren't called to rule. There's a big difference between a ruler and a leader. All women can be leaders, but chosen women become rulers. For we know that God appoints all rulers.

Queen Esther

Queen Esther. I would have loved to meet her. And while Esther's story isn't extensively long (though she has an entire book written about her), it holds meaning to a different kind of woman leader. Esther was chosen to be Queen most likely because of her beauty. But more importantly, because of her bravery and faith, she saved an entire people group (the Jewish people, her people) simply by doing what was right. You see, she didn't have to be a ruler of an entire country or some hard core warrior in order to save her people, but it helped. She simply kept her simple and quiet spirit, outwitted an evil High Official (Haman) of the King, and she simply asked her King to deliver her people from Haman's grip of pride when Mordecai would not bow down to Haman. I encourage you to read the entire story of Esther.

"...For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for 

the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s 
family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your 
royal position for such a time as this?” 
Esther 4:14

The Prophetess Huldah

Now listen. I've read the Bible, and honestly, I don't remember reading much about Huldah. I imagine my words got boggled and I simply never realized she was a ... well....a she. I didn't even know she existed until adulthood. And perhaps she is one of the most interesting of all women, because she, in fact, still influences us today. Even Westernized Christianity. Why, you ask? Because Huldah not only interpreted, but also authorized the Torah. The very core of Jewish and Christian scripture. Um, say WHAT!?

Her prophetic message and the public reading of the law brought about a revival resulting in the reforms carried out by King Josiah. There's not much about Huldah in the Bible, but the little we know about her is fascinating and extremely important. She was sought after because of her knowledge and her ability to talk to people....women and men sought after her at the city gates. I would love to be like Huldah. I'd say she's one of my favorite women in the Bible.

Along with Deborah, Miriam, Esther and Huldah, there are certainly other women that had high influence in the Bible, such as Elisabeth, Rachel, Hannah, Mary, Isaiah's Wife, Anna, Noadiah, Whether they were prophets, leaders, or just had a prophetic connection with God...they were loved and used for the good of the Lord. And most of all, they were willing to be used. Not only that, they had husbands who encouraged them to be used by the Lord, and who took heed to the things that the Lord told them. They didn't brush them off simply because they were "women". They didn't say "well I think we should ask Pastor about this since he's a man"....um...what?

So how do we raise our girls to be leaders? How do we raise our girls to be like the Proverbs 31 woman? How do we raise our girls to be gentle and quiet in spirit, but willing to be used by the Lord?

I would say it depends completely on your girl's personality, but I also believe that God speaks of all these things, because it is completely possible (and within His character) for a woman to be a leader and have a gentle spirit and be prominent in the lives of other believers. So, here's what our girls need to understand. 

It's ok to be outgoing, chatty, loud, and fun
In fact, encourage it. Be outgoing. Be fun. Be happy! My grandmother recently said something to me that encouraged me. She said "you are always so happy and joyful, you make me smile, you make my days better when I see you." And even when I am having the worst of days, I still try to be happy and joyful for those around me. But more so, I can be loud when I get going, excited, happy. And that's OK. Practice lower decibels if you can, but embrace yourself!

Figure out what you want for your life, and what God wants for your life, before trying to figure out a relationship with a man. 
Everything is so fast paced in today's society. We want to graduate high school, get married, have babies, the end. But I can tell you right now, that's only the beginning. I've been married for over a decade, and I'm not even 30 years old yet. It's hard. You have to pour a lot of time and energy into the first few years of your marriage. And some people don't even get to the point of "relaxing" in marriage. If you're busy putting time and energy into that, and God isn't a priority, then it's not going to work. Believe it or not, sister, waiting until you're in your late 20s to get married isn't necessarily a bad thing. But ultimately, wait until you've experienced life and the goodness that God has in store for your life. And make sure you find a fella that wants to enjoy the journey with you. Which brings me to my next point. 

Find a man who wants to walk alongside of you—not on top of you, or behind you. 
Find a man who will take charge when he needs to, who will lead you fiercely, and love you just as fiercely. Not a man who cowers behind you or walks on top of you, telling you what you can and can't do...where you can and can't go. I'm not saying that perfect man is going to happen right away. Sometimes, that perfect man comes along 10 years after you've married him. But ultimately understand your worth without belittling him or cowering behind him.

Know your worth and who you belong to. 
You are the daughter of the King of Kings. No, that's not just some cliche statement. You literally are the daughter of a King. Be strong. Be courageous. Be witty. People will talk about you. Society will tell you that you aren't pretty or that you're useless. But understand that those are lies, and that you have worth. And when you realize you have worth, you will never ever allow anyone to tell you otherwise. But more so, you will also understand that other people have worth, and you'll never want to walk all over them, either.

Don't be mean or manly. 
While we were created to be leaders, women were also created a little differently than men. We were actually created to be more gentle and passionate than men, it says so throughout the New Testament. And for good reason. Children need the best of both worlds—a strong, independent leader, and a soft, comforting mama. But there are other people who need the softness of a woman's quiet spirit as well. Including our husbands. I fully believe there is a time to be outgoing, but also a time to be quiet...simple...peaceful. It's not always "lead lead lead" or "fight fight fight". Sometimes, you have to be still so that God can speak in a whisper to your heart. And most of all, don't try to dominate your husband whenever you find him. Allow him to grow in the fullness of Christ as well!

It's ok not to do what everyone else is doing. 
Just because your friends are doing this or that, doesn't mean you have to. School friends disappear. Your real life doesn't even remotely begin until you are out in the real world. So why compromise yourself now while you're in school? You'll regret it, I promise you will. Be who you are. Be who you want to be. Be who God made you to be. Follow His ways and His commandments, and be an influence now. Don't wait until you're an adult. The proper friends...the girls waiting for a leader...they will follow you. And those are the friends that will last a lifetime.

Don't be afraid to share knowledge
If you know something, share it. If someone is teaching something that's wrong, correct them in love (to a degree, respect your elders, but let your knowledge known). If a friend is curious, pour into them the love and knowledge of Christ. As an adult, you'll be labeled as a know it all. Don't let it bother you. As long as you are doing all things in love, screw the rest of them. (yes, I just said screw)

Don't forget to pray
Some of my roughest times as a teen and young adult where gotten through with prayer. Lean on Christ. Lean on the Holy Spirit. Allow yourself to be used by Him and spoken to through Him. It's not weird. It's not abnormal. He wants a relationship with you. And honestly, looking back, I'm so happy I had a relationship with Him. Because I'm not sure how some teenage girls get through life without Him. 

Don't be afraid of the path God has for you. 
We all have different paths. You might be a Deborah, or you might be an Esther. Don't be a Miriam who gets jealous of what others have from God. Because we clearly see that it only leads to death and bitterness. God has set you apart from others. Each and every girl has a different calling. Maybe you'll be a leader of a nation, or maybe you'll be a leader in the home—a mom, a homeschool mom, a housewife. You might get a business degree and influence hundreds. Or you might be a missionary influencing a few villagers. Not a single one of these jobs is more important than the other. Because all of it is for the glory of our God. All of it is set forth by Him. All of it is to bring more souls into the Kingdom of Christ. Embrace it, whatever it is, wherever it is. And don't rush it, because all things happen in His timing, not ours. 

There are so many other things I could share with you. But more so than anything else, let's raise our girls to know who they are in Christ. There is nothing more important. Let's not raise them to believe that they don't have a say so. Let's not raise them to believe that women leaders never existed. Let's not raise them to believe that men are superior—it creates a generation of girls who believe they should do anything a man tells them to do, and there are some horrible men who will most certainly take advantage of it. And most of all, let's not raise our girls in homes that teach them they are worthless....ignorant....ugly. A woman's spirit is so easily broken into pieces. Raise your girls to be strong and independent, but loving and gentle. Raise your girls to love Jesus, and they'll love the rest of the world.

No comments