I have to admit, I am not a woman.

I find women to be wonderfully complex.  In the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray pictures the minds of men to be like waffles and the minds of women to be like spaghetti noodles.  In the waffle-like mind of men, everything has its place, things are easily compartmentalized, and we can have relationships based on one single commonality and happily ignore all of the dissonance and difference between us and others.  Ladies, however, see the interconnectedness of every aspect of life.  Single commonalities don’t work for relationships, because everything affects everything else.  This is oversimplification, but I find it to be generally true.  Neither are bad, both are necessary for different aspects of life, but sometimes it’s hard for one to understand the other.

In so many ways, I am unqualified to come up with a definition of womanhood.

The thing is, I have two daughters and a wife.  As a student pastor, I shepherd more young ladies than young men.  And I do so in a world that wants to devour them, so I can’t sit this one out.  I feel compelled to help offer my girls a compelling vision of womanhood, because if we don’t do it as parents, some wolf will.

And so, unqualified as I may be, I offer this simple definition of womanhood:

You’re a woman.  That means God made you graceful to heal others.

I choose “graceful” instead of “beautiful”, not because I don’t want my daughters to know that they are beautiful.   They are, and I tell them all the time.  But at the core, there’s something about grace that changes the world, and I see it reflected in the best women I know.

What is grace?  A ballerina is graceful.  A football player can be graceful.  This kind of grace is describing a simple elegance, a refinement in movement or skill.  I see this in the best women.  But more than that, it’s the Biblical definition of grace that I’m getting at.  Grace is the undeserved favor of God.  It’s the fierce boldness to love those who are unlovable, to get at their heart and soul through kindness and favor when force would just repel them.  You see it in 1 Samuel 25 when David is persueded to put away his sword by the graceful words of Abigail.  You see it when the All Powerful King and Creator of the World is born in a manger and dies on a cross.  We are saved by grace.

As we tease out what a REAL woman looks like, we say a REAL Woman

  • Rejects Worldly Identity
  • Expects God’s Greater Reward
  • Acts with Strength and Wisdom
  • Loves Others Boldly

This isn’t weak-willed living.  This is the hardest job humans will be called to.  To love the unlovable, to push through fear and short term gain to see God’s long term redemption, this is the stuff of warriors and heroes.  This is what I want in my daughters.

So it’s not as simple as defining manhood.  But that’s probably for the best, because women aren’t simple.  They are amazingly, wonderfully complex.  And they are central to God’s Kingdom coming to every broken corner of this earth.

Share this with your girls.  Take it, improve it, practice it.  Let’s have ladies that heal the world!