|Zachery David Photography|
When your birthday rolls around every year and I ponder the focus of my post for you, I notice that the opening line in my head is always the same, “Oh, Ruby!” But after I recover from the initial exasperation I feel, I’m eventually able to collect some thoughts. Your dad and I laughed together about my inclination and I wondered to him if that’s one reason God commands parents not to exasperate their children…because children so take the wind out of their parents’ sails, it makes sense our temptation would be to respond in kind. And boy do we need supernatural help not to! Whew. Christian parenting is all of grace!
So, Ruby Jean, now that your Mama has caught her breath, I do have a few things to say to you on this milestone birthday.
I guess this post could be a sequel to your birthday post from a year ago. More kicking over icons and helping you derive your identity from Scripture. That’s the way you roll. Breaking molds and taking numbers.
As we observed a sporting event not too long ago, I heard a Christian say something to the effect, “It’s okay if girls aren’t aggressive in sports because according to the Bible women aren’t supposed to be aggressive.” That statement rubbed me the wrong way when I heard it and as I’ve thought more about it I realize how strongly I disagree. Don’t get me wrong. It’s one thing if our kids, boys or girls, don’t excel in athletics because they just aren’t into getting elbowed or kicked or hit with the ball or don’t have the ability or coordination to be competitive. But the statement went beyond that.
Yes, I’ve read the verses commending a gentle and quiet spirit in women, but gentleness doesn’t mean weakness and quietness doesn’t mean passivity. I would argue that it in fact takes assertiveness, and even aggression, to conquer those rebel powers that would incline a woman to respond otherwise. And, as I mentioned last year, that’s the problem I have with some teaching I’ve heard targeting Christian women. It holds up a personality quality as the goal not a divine work of the Spirit. That kind of teaching goes beyond Scripture and turns into a form of oppressing women instead of freeing them to depend on their standing before God in Christ as the basis for their ability to bear fruit in keeping with His Spirit – like the fruit of gentleness. Which, by the way, is a fruit men should be bearing too.
So, Baby Girl, get this straight. Jesus doesn’t want to give you a different personality. He wants to give you a new heart. His Spirit will soften you and change you in marvelously unexpected ways. But, He’s made you aggressive, and although it’s exhausting now, I don’t want you to lose your fight because you think that’s what Christian women do at a certain point in their sanctification process. Make no mistake, God wants Christian women to be aggressive. These are just a few ways it shows.
1) Christian women kill sin.
You can’t miss the overwhelming number of commands in Scripture given to the entire body of Christ, men and women alike, telling us to conquer and fight. We are in a war and need to have what John Piper calls a “wartime mentality.”
“Until you believe that life is war – that the stakes are your soul – you will probably just play at Christianity with no bloodearnestness and no vigilance and no passion and no wartime mindset…There is a mean, violent streak in the true Christian life! But violence against whom, or what? Not other people. It’s a violence against all the impulses in us that would be violent to other people. It’s a violence against all the impulses in our own selves that would make peace with our own sin and settle in with a peacetime mentality. It’s a violence against all lust in ourselves, and enslaving desires…Christianity is not a settle-in-and-live-at-peace-with-this-world-the-way-it-is kind of religion. If by the Spirit you kill the deeds of your own body, you will live. Christianity is war. On our own sinful impulses.” (How to Kill Sin, Part 2)
Use your aggression, Tough Girl, to make war in the right ways and against the right things!
2) Christian women boldly give the gospel.
“Missionary life is simply a chance to die.” Amy Carmichael, Missionary to India
As your mom, I had mixed emtions seeing the intensity with which you watched the Frontline Missions DVD during our Community Group meeting in December. It was hard to watch because the radical call of taking the gospel to the nations is portrayed accurately. But you gazed at that TV with barely a blink. I knew the risk of it all was appealing to you and even though you may have a lump in your throat from fear, you were drawn to the possibility of putting it all on the line for the greatest cause.
That’s pretty typcial. You seem to leave your hard-core game on the floor in your short sports career and in life in general. You scored a couple goals this past soccer season although you were quite a bit smaller and younger than most of your opponets. But what made us most proud was one of your conversations off the field with your new friend and teammate. You asked him if he knew Jesus. Your dad and I smiled at the irony of your unregenerate evangelistic zeal, but also noticed what this reveals about your boldness. You don’t shy away from confrontation. We love that fire and pray God will make you a righteous woman who’s as bold as a lion for Him!
We only half-jokingly say about you, “This girl’s going to do something big. It’s just a matter of whether it will be good or bad, at this point.” But then we comfort ourselves with the reality that we have great hope in God concerning you and entrust your little flash of blond hair and blue eyes and muscle bound legs to the One who’s stronger still. You’re always safe with Him. And that’s why, although still with a fearful lump in this Mama’s throat, we eagerly anticipate the day you too will embrace your chance to die for His glory to be revealed to the nations.
3) Christian women exercise dominion.
God wants Christian women to play their position aggressively. As you grow up in Post-Christian America, it’s going to get blurrier and blurrier exactly what that looks like even in the so-called church. So be tethered to the ultimate Authority on ths subject. Don’t let culture set your plays.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:26-28)
Mark Chanski writes in his book Womanly Dominion:
“[A] woman is to dominate aggressively her environment, rather than allow her environment to dominate her. She needs to work and play with a win it instead of with a surrender it mindset. She must rule and subdue rather than letting herself be ruled and subdued. God has commissioned her to assert herself aggressively as a master over the teeming spheres of her life. God has not assigned her to sit on her porch swing with a pink parasol daydreaming what she might do “if only” the obstacles weren’t so complicated. No! She’s to get out there and do it with all her might!”
Imitate God by ruling and dominating. Play His position for you by helping make this earth His footstool.
So, you’re 5-years-old now, Ruby Jean! You have another year to keep running fast and fighting aggressively. And maybe this is the year the One who broke the mold when He made you, will take hold of you and give you something that’s really worth running toward and fighting for!