Over the summer, the six of us, plus one more who couldn't join us this week, have studied Carolyn Custis James' book Lost Women of the Bible, a topic of previous posts here. Studying it together has been refreshing, rereading the material, working through the more difficult aspects (the night we discussed Tamar was priceless!), and contemplating the bigger issues her book raises. I purposefully asked women with different stories to be apart of this--single, married, moms, working women, married early, married later. That helped us get out of ourselves, seeing God's picture of womanhood in more varied aspects--the home, the workplace, and the church.
I can't possibly begin to summarize all we talked about but a few things have stuck in my mind. One of the most prevalent is the concept of sacrifice. Over and over again the women we studied sacrificed themselves for the kingdom--Hannah her child, Mary her reputation, Esther her safety, Tamar her credibility, Hagar her pride, Mrs. Noah her way of life, Lydia her resources. They willing gave because our God is about healing the hurt, restoring the broken, and establishing the kingdom. I find that God will require sacrifice to serve him in wherever he has placed us.
I also love how throughout the covenant story could not have been accomplished or recorded without women, these ten women in particular. So many of their stories were about the "normal" or expected being turned upside down. The slave-girl Hagar giving God his first personal title--El Roi. Or Mary Magdalene traveling with Jesus, calling him Rabboni because he was her teacher.
And lastly, I was reminded of the importance of learning truth, telling truth to ourselves daily, and being truthful with each other. The world has twisted God's view of femininity and womanhood and there's just enough that it gets right that we--and our children!--can get easily sucked in. And we lose perspective so easily as well, forgetting what God has really said. And we're not honest enough with each other to get us past the surface struggles and into the meat of what we're actually dealing with.
I love the women of this group and hope that our time together was edifying and beneficial. They were definitely a blessing to me, all summer long.