You may have noticed a new category along my fancy menu bar at the top of the site – “Wednesday’s Woman.” Allow me to explain…
Sometime last week, my boss was looking for stories of women in the Bible who were industrious. We thought of a couple off the tops of our heads, but I said I’d do some research. What I found was there are a MILLION women in the Bible! None of the stories I found were ones I didn’t know, but I’d never seen them en masse, and the collection was such an encouraging reminder of how much God really loves women. While I’ve been fortunate enough never really to have experienced gender discrimination – either from family pressures, the church, or society at large – I know many women have. But, that’s so not biblical! God used women in so many different ways, giving them credit by the most incredible means possible: telling their stories in Scripture!
So, although it’s not directly related to either fashion or that single life, I wanted to study these women more, and I thought you might want to join in. So, every Wednesday, I’ll feature a different woman from the Bible and we’ll discuss her impact. But, because I don’t want to completely abandon why I started this blog in the first place – and because I think it will be fun (for me, anyway) – I’m also going to create an outfit that I think captures the essence of the woman in discussion: her character, lifestyle, etc. Basically, what she might wear, were she alive today. If you’ve ever seen the DisneyBound tumblr (if not, go check it out; it’s so fun!), it’ll be kinda like that. Only from the Bible.
I hope you’ll like this series. I’m excited about it. If you hate it, let me know, and I’ll see how I can adjust. But, if you do like it, have thoughts, comments, further insight, encouragement…whatever!, please don’t hesitate to share. Let’s all join in on the fun!
I know this post is already a little long, but I want to go ahead and start with the first Wednesday’s Woman, if that’s alright. So, refill your coffee or grab a snack, and let’s dive on in!
Hannah is very special to me, and I thought she was the perfect first Wednesday’s Woman because of how God has used her to encourage me in That Single Life, too. If you’re unfamiliar or a little rusty on the story, I’ll do a quick summary (the whole thing can be found in 1 Samuel 2).
Hannah was childless. This was a big deal. Not only because of cultural and biological pressures, but because her husband’s OTHER wife was not childless, and she mocked Hannah relentlessly. (Pause for a moment – can I just express how happy I am that I will never have to be a sister wife? I cannot even imagine.)
Anyway, while Hannah’s husband loved her deeply, despite her inability to give him children, her heart’s desire was for a child. She cried out to the Lord year after year, begging him to hear her and grant her request, eventually reaching a point of prayerful desperation where the high priest asked if she were drunk. Of course she wasn’t, but her cries did not go unnoticed, and God did hear Hannah, giving her a son, Samuel, who would eventually become one of the greatest prophets in Israel’s history, and the one to anoint both Saul and David as Israel’s first and second kings.
I love this story for many reasons. One, God cares about the desires of our hearts. I don’t say this in a name it, claim it kind of way. But He knows what’s important to us, and because we are important to Him, He cares about that. That’s precious to me.
Two, while Hannah did have to wait for God’s answer, it came. And it came in a big way! God not only answered her actual request, but He answered the one that she hadn’t asked – that her son would become a great man who would be a leader of the entire nation. When God says He will do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21), He means it.
But, the real reason I love Hannah’s story is because God reminded me of it at a desperate time in my own life. I had just stopped seeing someone who I did not love, but had nevertheless allowed to stomp on my heart. I was sad about the loss of him, but (as is often the case in my breakups), I was more upset about the loss of something. Without that guy, I was back to nothing – with no prospects in sight. Again.
As I was praying about it – and crying – something reminded me of Hannah. Other than the Holy Spirit, I have no idea what prompted me; hers is not a story I really think about often, or even knew that well. But in that moment, I eagerly flipped to 1 Samuel, and as I read, my heart was encouraged. Hannah cried out to God, and He heard her. God doesn’t mind our tears. In that moment, I felt like He was saying, “It’s OK to cry. And it’s okay to keep asking!” Hannah asked year after year for her son; God doesn’t mind us coming back to Him over and over about those things that matter to us. Actually, He encourages it! He sees the tears, hears those deep cries of our hearts, and He is there. And He will answer.
But that wasn’t the only encouraging thing. I’ve long struggled with the question of whether or not I even would get a husband. What if I were one of those people, like Paul, on whom God had chosen to bestow the “gift” of singlehood? People always told me that if that were the case, God would have given me a different desire, and I would be okay with not being married. But, what if I were just being resistant to God’s will, I thought. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop that God’s perfect plan for my life required me to be alone. And probably living in Africa somewhere.
As I read about Hannah, though, and felt the Holy Spirit encourage me to keep praying about what mattered most to me, I realized that God would not encourage me to pray about something He was going to deny me. That’s not kind, and God is kind. It may not be universally applicable, but for me, when I read Hannah’s story, I was overcome with a peaceful knowledge that God does have a good plan for me – and that plan includes a husband. Also, it’s okay to keep reminding Him of that. I don’t know when He will answer (the sooner the better…), but I know that He will.
That’s what Hannah’s story means to me: a compassionate God who hears and answers. I just love reading about her, and I hope that encourages you: whether you are single like me, childless like Hannah, or simply growing weary of asking God about that thing most dear to your heart. Don’t give up – He hears.