As Christians in this day and age, but especially as Christian women, it can be extremely difficult to hold fast to God’s word when we have the whole world telling us that our God is sexist and that he places men above us. This could not be farther from the truth. When the first woman appeared in the Bible, Eve in Genesis chapter two, verse 22, she was purposefully and masterfully created from just Adam’s rib bone. She would be different in every way from Adam, but God’s love would still be with her.

Eve was only the beginning of God’s story. In His word, we see many strong women who held fast to God’s principles, accepted their roles in God’s story, and trusted his plan with their whole hearts. Each of these women held their own in the way that they stood up for their faith. They each recognized that trust in the Lord is the ultimate way to empowerment. They also knew what God’s design for women was meant to show, and they played that role in their everyday lives. Though being a Christ following woman can be difficult, we, as women, can look up to the wonderful example the women set before us in the Bible.

Ruth

Ruth’s story began as one of sadness in the Old Testament book named after her. In the time of Judges, the society was described as a time of “moral poverty and spiritual decline,” according to The Jesus Bible. Ruth was living with her mother-in-law, Naomi, after her husband died. Naomi just lost her husband as well. She asked Ruth to leave her behind in the country of Moab. Naomi was broken and sad from the death of her husband and son. Ruth, however, loved Naomi and would not leave her behind. They returned to Judah together. Ruth did not know exactly where they would go in Judah, but she knew that God had a plan and she trusted in it. Ruth went with Naomi to her husband’s relative named Boaz. Boaz owned land where Ruth could work to provide for Naomi and herself. Soon, Boaz fell in love with Ruth. Because Ruth had been faithful to him, God allowed her to marry Boaz. God provided them with a son soon after. God did not forget about Naomi, and He provided for her as well. Naomi stayed to help care for the new baby who they named Obed. Because of Ruth’s patience and endurance even in troubling and uncertain times, God restored her life. Ruth’s story is empowering, because it shows women to have strength in trying situations.

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Esther

Esther came from the Jewish tribe of Benjamin. Her story can be described as coming out of rags into riches. Not much is known of Esther before her life as King Xerxes of Persia’s wife, just that she had been orphaned as a child and lived with Mordecai who raised her as his own. Esther was Jewish, and her faith in God and love for her people could not be concealed. After a decree was put forth that made it legal to kill Jews in Persia, which put Mordecai, Esther, and the rest of the Jewish population in danger, Esther realized that she must expose her identity as a Jew to Xerxes. In her own words, she says in Esther chapter 4 at the end of verse 16, “And if I perish, I perish.” Esther’s courage in making this choice is inspiring to all women. Even in her position as queen, where she was given every amenity imaginable at the time, she was willing to jeopardize it all if it meant saving her people and pleasing her God. Her bravery led the Jews of Persia to freedom from these laws.

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ

Mary of Nazareth, a young girl espoused to Joseph, was given the great privilege to be  the mother of the Lord, Jesus Christ. She was visited by the angel Gabriel. He told her she would give birth to the Messiah. Mary, being very young, was likely filled with uncertainty in the moment that she’d been told about her destiny. But Mary knew that her God was faithful and that He would always be with her. Mary’s pregnancy would be scrutinized, but she still had her faith. In her obedience and trust, she did everything the Holy Spirit called of her. Mary and Joseph obeyed every command to flee in the early life of Jesus Christ when they had to. They believed wholeheartedly in what God called for Jesus’ life to be. Mary showed bravery as she carried the Messiah, and throughout his life, she trusted God in protecting her son. She knew what his calling was and what it entailed of Him. Mary’s courage and trust in God’s will extended even when her son was killed on a cross as she watched. It extended when He rose again three days later. Mary’s life was not only one of courage, but one of selflessness. As Jesus entered a very public life, Mary faded into the background. Mary’s life is an example to all to trust in God’s plans for your life, because it could lead you to being an important part in God’s story.

Mary and Martha

The story of Mary and Martha is a short one, but its message is plain to see. In Luke chapter 10, Jesus and his disciples were in the town of Bethany. Martha opened her home to the men in Bethany. Mary, Martha’s sister, joined the disciples in listening to what the Lord had been doing both in Bethany and around Israel. While Martha spent much of her time preparing her house for the men, Mary spent her time sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his words. To Martha’s dismay, Mary didn’t help her in preparing the house for the men to stay. Martha, feeling abandoned, demanded that the Lord tell her sister to help. The Lord’s response was one that Martha did not expect to hear. In verse 41, the Lord advises Martha not to focus on the things that she was worried about, because they were taking her awareness away from Jesus. The Lord told Martha to learn like her sister was learning: at the feet of Jesus, not worried about the trivial, but leaning in to his every word. As women, we sometimes focus too much of our energy on how others perceive us. We try so hard for the smallest of gratification when we could just as easily read what God’s word says about us: that we are designed in his image and as women of faith, we are lovely and righteous.

Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist

Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist and wife of Zechariah. She is also Mary’s cousin. Both Elizabeth and Mary are described as “blameless and righteous.” Elizabeth is said to have been older than the normal child-bearing age, but also believed that she would bear a child in the Lord’s perfect timing. She faithfully waited on what the Lord promised and had a son. We see in Luke chapter one that Mary and Elizabeth were pregnant at the same time. When Mary merely entered the same room as Elizabeth, John lept in the womb. Elizabeth became filled with the Holy Spirit. She knew right away that Mary would give birth to the Messiah, because of John’s leap. When it came time for her to give birth, she delivered a healthy baby boy. Elizabeth recognized the mercy that she had been given by God in bearing a child. She was filled with joy by the compassion she was gifted by God. Elizabeth’s story is the perfect example of waiting on God’s promises and trusting his vision. She, like Mary, raised a critical part in God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

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Ellie H
CONTRIBUTOR