Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Club Thursday- The Confident Woman Chapter Eight

"You husbands, likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." 1 Peter 3:7
This verse and a clearer understanding of it were basically what this chapter was about. At first, when I read the chapter, I wasn't quite sure how to take it, but as I prayed and thought about it throughout the week, the clearer it became.

Let us be clear. God is not calling women weak. He is telling husbands that they need to live with their wives in an understanding way and to grant her honor. When He says that husbands need to live with us as with a weaker vessel, He is not saying that women are weak. "Weaker" is a word of comparison. The "-er" suffix means that two things are being compared. Therefore, He is comparing us to men in this verse. Of the two, we are the weaker vessel. Not weak, just the weaker of the two. (Please excuse the English grammar lesson...I guess the teacher in me came out)

Now let us look in our kitchen. We have many different kinds of "vessels". In fact, our placement of these vessels shows their strength. Those of us who have children know that we keep our dishes and other fine items up on higher shelves and our pots and pans are kept lower. If little hands get a hold of the pots and pans, it is no big deal.. They were built to withstand high heat and heavier loads. However, if little hands managed to grab our dishes, our dishes could be broken and our children hurt. Yet, even though one vessel would be considered weaker because it could easily broken and the other the stronger vessel, we would not serve our guests using our pots and pans. We would serve them using our dishes. The strength or weakness of the vessel does not determine its usefulness and function. As with women and men. Although we are the weaker vessel, that term does not mean that we are weak.

Throughout the chapter, Joyce continually said that women are not weak. I think she was trying to emphasize that although we are referred to as the weaker vessel, we are not weak as people. God has given women a certain type of strength. The example she gave and the one that first came to mind for me was child bearing. Although my labor was not nearly as bad as I expected it be (five days before I went into labor, an elderly woman from our church told me about her 36 hour excruciatingly painful labor...definitely not edifying!), it was uncomfortable to say the least. In fact, I would tell any first time mother to ignore the horror stories, if you are in the position to control your pain (I did not have any kind of pain medicine until I was forced to stay in bed- 12 hours into my labor. As long as I was up, walking and moving around, I was fine.), it is not that bad. However, I honestly do not know if Brian could handle labor. Just the look on his face during my labor told me that.

God made men and women completely different and with good reason. He gave each of us strengths and weaknesses in order to show us our need for each other. A recent example of the differences between us happened last week. Brian came home from work and I had to tell him the blow by blow of a purchase I had made (no big deal- it was Purex laundry detergent!). I started out by explaining the coupon I had found in the paper (buy one get one free), how I had matched it to store sales (Publix- $4.99 each), how the store offered an additional $1 off coupon for the product, how a woman ahead of me on line in another store had been asked if she had any coupons for her purchases, how she had rolled her eyes and said "No" like it was beneath her to carry a coupon on her person, and how I was thinking the entire time, "Lady, I just bought twice the product you did at a different store for half the price. This store isn't even having a sale on that detergent. You're paying full price for one bottle while I payed less than half for two bottles. Don't look down at coupons!" When I got to the end, Brian just wanted to know how much I had paid ($2 a bottle, my dear)! The rest was excess to him. When I told Faye and my cousin Belinda the story, they were so into the details and even threw in a comment here and there.

Now, think. If we did not have each other, we women would be telling our stories blow by blow and have no time for anything else, and men would only give the facts (boring!). God gave us such different ways of communicating because each is needed in different situations. I'll admit, sometimes I use way too many words to say one simple thing, so God gave me Brian, who gets right to the point. However, when our children are older and want to look back to see a history of our family, if Brian wrote it, it would probably be written out as Born-, Died-, went here, did this, and that is it. The "story way" that I use would fill in the emotions, feelings, and atmosphere missing from a purely factual retelling.

I am so thankful that we serve a God who loves His creation so much. He does not show preferential treatment to one gender or the other. He purposely gave each gender strengths and weaknesses in order for them to need each other. Don't forget to check out Kristi's blog to see her thoughts on this chapter.


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