There is a Biblical Twitter Lady with whom I share faith in Jesus but little else. She has quite the following. Some are following in earnest because they believe she is imparting Biblical wisdom and exhortation and the rest of her followers seem to hang around to push back against her often inflammatory tweets...there’s always a storm in the comments anywhere she goes. She’s getting something out of that, but I digress.
Today I saw something she shared encouraging parents to raise their daughters to consider being a wife and a mother the highest and best calling, followed by a warning that culture will tell them otherwise.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul instructs unmarried women to remain single. Jesus himself honors Mary, who chooses to sit and learn from him rather than busy herself with culturally expected homemaking tasks. What was the use of that information gathering if Mary weren’t meant to put it to use somehow? Marg Mowzcko has written all we need to read on the subject here https://margmowczko.com/new-testament-working-women/, but allow me to shift your gaze to a few Biblical, New Testament women who had Biblical callings that were high and good (perhaps best?) and didn’t necessarily require a husband or children.
Priscilla was herself a tentmaker; she worked alongside Aquila. Lydia was a merchant and a wealthy, successful one at that. Pheobe was an authoritative early church leader and her benevolence was highly influential in the growth of the early church. These are women who made it into the canon of Scripture against all patriarchal odds, and their callings were wide and deep and nuanced.
Their callings are not at all unlike the callings our daughters will answer.
So instead of teaching them that the best and highest calling they can aspire to is to be some man’s wife and a mother, why don’t we focus on teaching them to be open to whatever wild and beautiful plan God may have up the ol’ sleeve? Maybe my daughter will get married at 23 and raise 8 kids and won’t that just be beautiful? Or maybe she will be single well into her thirties or *gasp* forties and she will invest her life into pushing back the darkness in this world in ways I can’t fathom yet. Maybe she will never marry at all, maybe she will never raise children, for one reason or another. I will teach her to listen for the voice of God in her heart and I will teach her to dream big and prepare well. I want her to take gap years and live in dorms and sleep in tents and hostels and live slow and long and full. I want her to do all the things she wants to do because I trust the God who made her will order her steps and hold her fast and that there is no limit to the good things that God may have planned for her. It isn’t safe to crack open your heart to big possibilities but safety is boring, anyway.
Rachel Held Evans wrote A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Covering Her Head, Sitting on her Roof, and Calling her Husband Master, and can I just say 10/10, highly recommend. Rachel taught me that the word Biblical is often misapplied as an adjective and I’ve since realized that the word Biblical is often used to draw rude lines in the sand. Either you’re Biblical, i.e., you agree with my take on Scripture, or you are not Biblical and you are just OUT of the club. Altogether unhelpful, I’d say. So when people pontificate on what is or is not Biblical Manhood or Biblical Womanhood, I’m tempted to just ease out and go the other way...who wants to argue with someone using authoritative terms like Biblical? I truly don’t.
But this week, when Biblical Lady of Twitter popped up I felt this nudge to engage what she was saying rather than ignore.
Because she hit a feminist nerve, ok fine. She did.
But I think I also wanted to write a response to her because I thought of all the women I know who aren’t married and don’t have children. Some of them would love that life and would be much better suited for it than say, me. I think of all the women I know who would love to be mothers who aren’t and won’t be. I think of the women I know who know motherhood isn’t their path for reasons I don’t need to understand to honor and respect. I think of my sisters who aren’t straight. What does a tweet like that say to them?
Here’s what I have to say to all the beloved of God who find their way to this wordy page.
You, daughter of the Most High, are precious in the Kingdom of God. Your calling to love God and your neighbors is the highest calling there is. I hope that you will be able to tune out all the voices that clamor for your attention, voices that whisper that Jesus hasn’t made you whole in Him, not until you are chosen by a man, not until you have reproduced 2.5 times. Contrary to what Biblical Twitter Lady says, I think you get the message from culture every day that you aren’t complete until a man comes to complete you, and I want to tell you once and for all - It is not so and it has never been. Your calling is high and good and I trust you when you tell me what it is. If you want to be married, I want that for you, too. If you want children, I hope you have them. But don’t you ever, not for one second, let someone tell you that your Kingdom work is less than God’s highest and best, no matter how sure of their Biblical message they seem to be. You have been set free, free indeed and don’t you ever let anyone put those broken chains back on you.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make dinner for my family and mop the kitchen floor because those things are my high calling for the evening and I’m going to be very feminist while I go about them, too. Because in Christ, I am free. In Christ, I am whole. In Christ there is no male, no female, and that old dividing wall of hostility is lying in a dusty heap. And in reality, I like cooking and having a clean house and showing hospitality and caring for children...and writing and teaching and speaking and ministering and making disciples and fighting for justice with all the tools I can find. The things that make me come alive are useful in the Kingdom of God. That’s true for you, too.
I don’t have to choose. Neither do you. You are whole, you are free. Now, let’s all take a deep breath and pray that God blesses and keeps and shines His face on Biblical Twitter Lady and her followers because that’s just part of the deal, forever and ever, amen.