As a woman you possess an inner strength like no other, and as a Christian you are able to do all things through Christ. However, as a single woman you may not always feel those truths are exhibited in your life. I have learned incredible lessons from some amazing women of strength and I’d like to share some encouragement from a few of my favorite biblical female role models.
Of all the women listed in the Bible, most people would probably not select the three that I mention below as role models. Much like me, they are behind the scenes type of women. They are not the center of attention or the namesake of a book, but their lives exhibit great faith lessons that I try to apply to my life daily. I don’t need the limelight, I just need to know that I’m living a life that pleases Christ and that’s what the strengths as well as the weaknesses of these women help me to do.
As much as I learn what to do from them, I have also learned valuable lessons in what not to do. Using the Women of the Bible One-Year Devotional Study by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda, I invite you journey with me into the lives of three women who I admire and I pray that you find joy and lifelong lessons from their stories as well.
First on my list is Naomi. Her story is found in the book of Ruth and although Ruth’s story includes great biblical significance to the story of Christ, it is Naomi who mentored Ruth and offers great insights often overlooked in this story. Most people like to make the correlation to single women finding their Boaz like Ruth but it was Naomi who taught Ruth everything she knew.
Much like many single women today, Naomi suffered great losses and she refused to hide her bitterness. Her constant focus on her circumstances led her to live a life of hopelessness. But she did not stay that way. We all have bad days, but we must learn that there is a purpose in pain and we can’t stay that way because God is faithful to restore. Naomi believed in God and attributed her suffering to His will and inspired great loyalty in her daughter-in-law.
Naomi teaches us to form deep and lasting relationships. Despite her own circumstances and suffering, Naomi was there for Ruth. She not only encouraged and guided her, but she shared her life with her. Naomi teaches me how to be a better friend and mentor, despite my circumstances and what I’m going through I can use my experience to bless others and point them to Christ.
Next is Hannah, another one of my favorites in scripture. I love the story of Hannah so much, not because she eventually got what she wanted but because of how she responded to criticism, how she responded to God when her prayers went unanswered and most of all how she honored God when He answered her prayer.
Hannah’s story, found in I Samuel chapter one, definitely teaches us how to trust God wholeheartedly and to live faithfully. Again, like many Christian single women, Hannah desperately prayed for something she wanted and was taunted by others by the lack of that thing in her life. But unlike many of us, Hannah didn’t lash out at others, she didn’t invite her friends over for a pity party, nor did she slip into a mild state of depression; she took her heartfelt concerns to God.
Even though Hannah enjoyed many blessings, she came to a point where she released her selfishness and made a vow to God to give the very thing she wanted with all her heart, back to Him. Hannah teaches me to check my motives, why do I want what I want? Is it for my own selfish pleasures or for God’s glory?
Hannah prayed and left the results to God. She was comforted by her time spent with God, not because she got what she wanted, but before He ever answered her prayer (1 Samuel 1:18). Hannah teaches us to have confidence in God and the authors suggest a great way to do that is by remembering what He’s already done. I can have confidence in God’s ability to answer my prayers and I trust that His decision to do so or not is always in my best interest.
Last, but certainly not least, is Mary of Bethany. Much of her story is found in the 11th and 12th chapters of John. Like us, she was a single woman and lived a life fully devoted to Jesus. Just like us she succumb to doubt and weakness as a result of her circumstances. Upon seeing Jesus, through her tears she said “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32). However, after witnessing the miracle of Jesus raising her brother Lazarus from the dead, she responded with worship. “Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair...” (John 12:3).
Mary teaches us that even though we may have moments of doubt, we cannot stay there. Once we recognize the greatness and the miracle working power of God, our hearts are naturally drawn to worship. Mary learned the importance of seeking the Lord’s presence.
“…Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”- Luke 10:39-42
Although criticized by her loved one, she took time to bask in Jesus’ presence rather than squander the moments with meaningless feats. And we too should not be so busy working for Him that we miss Him. Jesus’ response confirms that He is pleased when we put Him first. Yes, Mary teaches us how to worship the Father and how to prioritize and put first things first. Thank you Mary for helping me to understand the importance of seeking His presence rather than His presents.
A role model is someone who serves as an example and whose behavior is emulated by others. These ladies certainly exhibit behaviors that I want to emulate. Their lessons help to strengthen my Christian walk and for that I will forever be eternally grateful. Who are your biblical role models and what have they taught you?
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