Qualities All Strong Women Possess
By Colleen Decker
Hardly an anomaly
The latest wave of the Feminist Movement has been going strong for nearly a decade. Women today appear convinced they are stronger than ever before. They have been liberated and empowered.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? But there is something I can’t reconcile in my mind: Haven’t we always been strong? Or at least able to be strong?
We all know the story of Esther. A captivatingly beautiful woman finds herself in a position of privilege, married to the king, and then risks it all - her marriage, her crown, and even her very life - to save her people. Here’s something you may not know: Esther was a teenager when she married King Xerxes and likely 20 at most when Haman was put to death. Can you imagine your 20-year-old self having the courage to do something so brave? It’s no wonder Esther finds herself named among the strong women of the Bible.
Or is it?
Though her remarkable courage is to be greatly admired, Esther is hardly an anomaly. The fact is strong women can be found throughout history in every generation. And not just in history books and Scripture. Take a look around you. They’re everywhere. And though some may believe the Feminist Movement enabled them to become the incredible women they are today, it simply isn’t so. In many ways I think feminism has actually set us back, convinced us that we do not need anyone else in life, and stopped us from being able to focus on the things in life that are really important, the things that actually give us our strength. If women who lived before liberation - like Deborah, Ruth, and Hannah - can be counted among some of the strongest women of all time, it can’t be a movement that gives us strength.
So what is it? Let’s look at just a few qualities that all strong women possess.
They know who they are.
True strength comes from knowing who we are (and whose we are!). It comes
from understanding what we believe and why we believe it, from realizing our opinion is as valid as any and need not conform to the opinions of others. It’s hard to stand up for something we don’t believe. It’s difficult to express opinions when we are not certain of their validity. But, when we understand that God made us in His image and gave us a voice, that we were not made to follow the crowd or blend in but were made to stand out and to stand up, that we have a responsibility to defend good and abhor evil, it is easy to do what we know we must do, regardless of the consequence. Deborah was able to proclaim God’s word, lead men into a victorious battle, and exercise judgement with compassion because she knew who she was and what she believed. There was no doubt in her mind. She understood there was only One whose opinion of her mattered. She didn’t feel inferior to the men (or women) around her because she was made by the very same God who made them. I’m certain she didn’t spend time comparing herself to those around her or trying to keep up appearances. Instead, she was confident and assertive, assured by her faith in a God who would go before her, walk beside her, and
never forsake her.
They are willing to go through tough times.
Of course nobody wants to go through tough times, but strong women don’t run from them either. We have realized we don’t necessarily need to seek out difficult times, but we do need to learn to withstand them and, as Paul said, to be content the whole while. How do we prepare ourselves for trials? Well, first off, we need courage. Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the
assessment that something else is more important than fear.” It’s natural to be apprehensive about going through difficult seasons in life, but oftentimes it is these seasons that have the most profound impact on our lives. Couple that with the fact there is One who has equipped us for battle and fights alongside us, and courage comes naturally. We can then willingly endure these times knowing that
we will come out of them stronger, better equipped to handle life, and even blessed.
Ruth understood this. She was willing to forsake all she knew to follow her mother-in-law, a widow who had lost both of her sons. Ruth knew she was giving up any chance she had of having a normal life. So did Naomi, which is why she tried to stop her. Both knew how difficult a road lie ahead. Nevertheless, Ruth courageously decided to place someone else’s needs above her own. After enduring much hardship, she was rewarded - with a husband, yes - but also with enormous inner strength that could not have been obtained without that hardship.
They are not afraid to admit their deficiencies and seek help.
One of my main issues with the Feminist Movement comes from this thought. Feminism has this overarching theme of women not needing men. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong, independent woman. I have my own thoughts, feelings, and interests. Could I get along without my husband? If I had to, I suppose I could. Women do that every day. But would I choose that? Certainly not!
I will let you in on a little secret, ladies: Men need to be needed. It’s as important for women to depend on their husbands as it is for men to be dependable. Women who rely on their husbands are not weak. If anything, they are wise. Can I open that stubborn jar of pickles? Maybe. I may need a towel or some
other tools to assist me, and it’s likely going to take me some time, but I can get it open most times with a struggle. My husband can do it right away, though. So can my son. Their hands are bigger. Their grip is tighter. And you should see their eyes light up when I ask for help. They enjoy coming to my rescue. Why
would I struggle to possibly do something they can do in a split second and rob him of an opportunity to save the day?
A strong woman understands there are certain things she may need help with, but that doesn’t make her doubt herself. She knows her strengths and her weaknesses better than anyone else. But she also knows someone who is more than capable to do exceedingly abundantly more than she could ever hope or
imagine, if only she asks. An often-misquoted “Bible phrase” says, “God never gives us more than we are able to handle.” It’s simply not true, and you won’t find it anywhere in the Bible. In
fact, God often gives us more than we can handle. He never gives us more than He can handle, though!
Hannah understood this principle. She had come to the end of her rope. She had tried all that was in her power to become pregnant to no avail. So she just gave up, right? Not at all! Hannah knew that her hope was in God, who can do all things. She cried out to Him so intensely she was thought to be drunk. She didn’t care who might see her or what they would think. She had no remaining strength to continue and, in her weakness, she was made strong. It seems counterintuitive, I know, but how encouraging is that principle for those of us with countless deficiencies?
We all have the ability to become strong women, but that didn’t come from a
Movement. It came from a God who made us and loves us. Feminism set us
back, but God has been propelling women forward since the beginning of time.