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What About Single Women?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 19, 2021 2:00 am

What About Single Women?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 19, 2021 2:00 am

Abigail Dodds teaches on the beauty of God's good design regarding gender. Women, Dodds explains, are absolutely just as fearless as men, but their physical reality naturally makes them nurturers. If women are created to bear life, then what about single women? Though singles are excluded from childbearing, they aren't excluded from anything essential to God's kingdom. Hear how single women can be nurturers and life-givers in their homes and communities.

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Abigail Dodds is concerned about the message that's being communicated to women today, the message that being a woman means you're empowered, you're free to be who you want to be. Unless we make sure we're telling women, this is what Jesus means by freedom. He wants you free from your sin. He wants you free to walk with Him toward holiness.

Then it will end up becoming a little mimicky of what the world says. Real self-empowering, where we don't want to be self-empowered. We want to be empowered by the Holy Spirit of the Lord. This is Family Life Today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

I'm Bob Lapine. There is a right kind of empowerment and a wrong kind of empowerment for both men and women. We need to make sure we're focused on the right kind of empowerment. We'll talk more about that today. Stay with us. And welcome to Family Life Today.

Thanks for joining us. What did you just say? What did you just say? I just said, this is going to get some backlash. And what did you say?

I said, oh, I'm getting used to it. The person who's getting used to backlash is Abigail Dodds, who joins us again on Family Life Today. And the woman who says this is going to get some backlash, Ann Wilson, why do you think this will get backlash? Because some women are going to be really angry about this.

These episodes of saying, I totally disagree. Women are just as strong, just as fearless as men. And so, yeah, there's going to be something, some people that don't like this.

Or that don't like your book, which is called A Typical Woman Free, Whole and Called in Christ. And the thing I love is that Abigail has taken on the courageous task of saying, OK, let's look at how the Bible helps us understand that womanhood and manhood, that gender is God's good design and is to be celebrated and embraced rather than rebelled against and done away with. And that's been what we've been trying to explore, because as we've said this week, Abigail, to try to get to a cohesive definition of femininity is a daunting challenge.

There are words I've heard used. So a woman is life giving. You've heard that expression, right? And in a biological sense, women can give birth. Men can be life giving to other men, right? When we say life giving is a quality of womanhood, but men can still do it, help us understand that that distinction isn't everything. Men are courageous. Well, aren't women courageous? Women are tender. Well, shouldn't men be tender?

How do we deal with all of this stuff? Right. Well, that is what makes it all so difficult is and even just what you said, Anne, at the beginning about women feeling offended because they think they also are just as strong and fearless. And I'm thinking, well, they are just as fearless.

Yes. And yet I do think that the physical reality gives a essence or a shape to the even the spiritual reality or the nurturing reality. It's not so much that we don't have certain qualities and we do have others and men don't have certain qualities and they do have others in the spiritual realm, let's say.

But there is a matter of emphasis that happens. And as someone who hasn't often thought of myself as particularly typical, becoming a mother did show me that I was maybe a bit more typical than I had thought. So, for instance, I learned that my husband really does take a lot more risks than I do, even though, you know, going into being a parent, I thought of myself as pretty laid back, pretty open to risk. And in some ways I am more than other women. But when it comes to me next to my husband, I'm not I'm not I'm the one who's like, oh, let's slow down. Or if it comes I realize that, too, like I felt like I'm a risk taker.

I'm an adventure. I will take any risk that Dave will have. But then you put my kids with Dave. Right. And suddenly she said she said my kids, you know, my kids, too. I know how that works. Suddenly I thought I am not a risk taker with my children, with our children, because but Dave was. And so that's where I thought that, too, like, whoa.

Right. I guess I don't have quite as much. Yeah, I can see some more innate differences coming out. And it's like, oh, some of these stereotypes make a little more sense to me now. So so what's going on in our culture where nobody wants to address that?

I mean, you know, I've been preaching for twenty nine years. Ten, fifteen years ago, I could stand on stage and say men and women are different. Here's how people laugh.

They enjoyed it. Now you say that there's like, ooh, they're not different. We're really similar. Tell us what's happening. Well, when you've completely deconstructed biological sex, then saying what you just said isn't just a small thing to say. It's a gigantic leap because the general hive mind of our culture, the the general mindset is so, so far down the road from that.

And it really is a deconstructing of everything. It's we're self makers. We say what we are. Full autonomy.

We get to choose how this all works. And just a little thing to throw in there, which probably would have made for another great chapter that I didn't write. But I think social media and the ability to be completely disconnected from your body at all times via the Internet. So you're with people, but your body isn't with them has done something strange to our psyche where I think Gnosticism, it's an ancient heresy. And it basically means these people thought they had special knowledge from God, special revelation and matter. That is, your physical body was an evil thing.

So that was a heresy that was refuted. And I think our phones and our current society is steeped in Gnosticism. We don't really view our material bodies as a good.

As a matter of fact, we're willing to cut them up, slice them and dice them to remake them as we wish. And it's really just what's going on in our mind that is true. Whatever we think or feel, really feel is the better word. And when you get to gender, how I feel about my gender is more true than what my body tells me about my gender. So that's kind of a Gnostic way of thinking.

It's a completely Gnostic way of thinking. And so what you say then is you're saying, well, this is true. Men and women are different. And everyone says, no, I'm exactly what I say I am. So you mentioned that when you became a mom, all of a sudden some of the innate womanness started to emerge. And so often when we talk about what it means to be a woman or what femininity is, we define it in comparison to men or in the context of marriage, how husbands and wives are different or moms and dads.

We put it in that family structure. I'm thinking, what about the single woman? How does she understand her womanness as a standalone? Certainly there are other men in her world.

And so it's not like we're absent of that. Can a woman be complete if she never marries or never has a child? Yes.

Can she be fully a woman? Absolutely. Yes. No equivocations.

Yes. In every way. Because while there is a reality that God has made the world in such a way that marriage must exist for this to all go forward, children must be had. There's such particular provision in the scripture for the single people and the intense value that they bring to the body of Christ. It's like a very distilled, dense value that they bring to us because, as Paul says, they're able to be single minded in their mission for the Lord. And the church desperately, desperately needs them.

And not just as a babysitter. We need their minds. We need, yes, we need even their physical bodies to come and labor among us. Their gifts, their spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts to be enhancing in so many ways. And so for a single woman, I think Elizabeth Elliott probably said it the very best when she said that singleness is a gift and we don't choose our gifts. She was single for so much of her life. And when you think of the disproportionate impact that she has had as a mother in the church. I mean, I just think it should give single women a vision, not that they need to go be Elizabeth Elliott, but that you can have a disproportionate impact in that role. And so in the question of embracing your womanhood, certainly you bring value and you bring gifting and you bring who you are to serve. But you're not called to be a specific help meet to a man.

You're not called to be a biological life giver and a nurturer to your child who, like a nursing mother, Paul says, we came and cared for you. So if those are off the table for you, you can understand where a single woman would go. It does feel like part of what it means to be a woman. I'm excluded from that.

How do I process that? Right. I don't know that I deny that, yes, you are excluded from something, but not from anything that is essential. And so for some women, that might not be a grief. They might be very content in their singleness.

For others, that might be a gigantic grief worth grieving over. And moving forward, recognizing that, again, those spiritual realities are still there in terms of what it means to be a woman. So, like I said, Elizabeth Elliott being a mother or just because your body can't nurture and grow life as a home doesn't mean that you can't nurture and grow life in the church and in your home or your apartment or your dorm room or wherever you are. Making a home can still be a massive priority with incredible kingdom impact in terms of hospitality and ministering to the needs of the saints and doing all the things that Paul even talks about when he's giving qualifications for widows.

You know, he talks about how they've washed the feet of the saints and they've done these things well. Well, you may not have children that you've raised, but there are great many things that you can still do in serving the Lord Christ and in sharing him with everyone you meet. So here's a question, and I'll be interested to see how you answer this. A woman who is married is to be a helpmate to her husband. Should an unmarried woman seek to be a helper to the men in her world, or is that not a requirement for her?

Is that not a part of her femininity to look around and say, well, I'm a woman. I am here to try to be a helper to the men around me. Some woman will hear me say that and go, no, I'm not here to be their helper. I'm their peer. Oh, that word, see that word, just great set.

You're like, why do I have to help him? Because I looked that up one time because as I was looking that up in the Hebrew, I thought I need to get a better definition because I first looked it up in Webster's dictionary. And that word, it said in the dictionary, a gopher, a person that does the dirty work, someone important tells them what to do. So of course, any woman would grade it that word. However, what do you think Abigail?

Would a single woman, is that her place to help a man? I still think it is, but I want to be really careful with my qualifications because what some people might hear when I say that is that somehow there's some sort of weird husband wife thing going on where all women are submitting to all men. And I don't believe that one bit.

And I don't either and neither do you. So let's just be really clear. It is not the responsibility of women in general to submit to men in general. When the Bible talks about it, husbands and wives, yes.

Men and women, no. Right, exactly. So with that very clear, I feel very comfortable.

Thank you. I would just say, yes, I do still think there would be a disposition to help. And I don't think that's degrading. I don't even think that that means she can't be a leader in certain ways or in many ways even, but that's a God glorifying disposition. And so who wouldn't want to do that? Like I said, rightly oriented about God, understanding him as a loving father who made his creation and called it very good.

Then I think it's a good thing then to want to be that, to want to be an easier helper. We were out at dinner the other night, Mary Ann and me, and we were in one of these restaurants that has TV, flat panel TVs going on. There were sports on the TV and there were two women who were I don't know if they were cage fighting or boxing, but they were they were going at each other. And Mary Ann looked at me and she said, is that something you're interested in watching?

And I thought this is a trick question. And I understood the bigger question at play in terms of things that we think of in traditionally male categories like wrestling. We don't typically think of a four year old and a two year old daughter in the living room wrestling with each other. Right. That might happen. Somebody's going to write me and say that happens all the time with my brother.

OK, that's right. But if it had been you and a sister, would that have happened or were you doing it with your brother? Because your brother was looking for another guy to play with and you were the closest thing around. And you were happy to join in because you wanted to be one of the guys.

Yes. And my sister was very feminine. And so I would have probably like to do that with her because I would have beat her. But yeah, that's a great question. So in the in the midst of these kind of typically guys wrestle and girls do something else. Play with dolls.

Right. In those kinds of general categories, if a woman who's a young woman who's growing up goes, I want to be the kicker on the football team. I just have always wanted to play. I'm a good kicker. I should be able to go out there. And if I get tackled by the guys, I can get tackled by the guys.

Should moms and dads say if that's who you are? I mean, I've seen the commercial on TV. You've seen the commercial on TV.

Now we're talking real stuff. The girl kicks the football, the goal, the winning goal. And her dad puts his arm around her and high fives and they smile and have a moment.

And I forget what car company is advertising this for their car. But oh, let's take it to Abigail. Would you let your daughter be the kicker on a football team? If she said that's what I want to be.

She's a great soccer player. I would say aim higher, daughter. Let's get a new dream.

Really? I mean, aim higher in the sense of this too shall pass. Like this doesn't need to be your ambition.

Or identity. Right. I mean, there's nothing wrong with kicking a ball. So don't hear me say that because that's silly legalism. I'm not saying girls can't kick balls and kick them well. But to be on an all male sports team is a whole nother thing. To put yourself in a position where you could potentially be tackled by men. First of all, we're training our men then that it's OK to tackle women. That's just not OK.

If my son were on the team, I would hope he would say, I'm sorry, I'm not playing because I won't do that. And so to have a daughter who would want to put herself in that position, I would just say you were made for more, dear. And I think I would ask, tell me about that.

Tell me what you long for in that. Because there are other ways then of directing her. And she could be answering, I want to empower all women around the world. So she could answer, my vision is so big.

You know what I mean? Like I could be the first ever. I can kick a 48 yard field goal as good as the other guy and I'm better and I'm going to get it. And then I'm going to get a scholarship, which there is a girl that got a scholarship to play football. Not a kicker, defensive back. There's a commercial about her during the Super Bowl.

It's very interesting. And you're like, man, her vision's probably beyond what you would even imagine thinking I can do this. Why shouldn't I? This was me. I loved football. I wanted to be a linebacker. I thought I'm 5'1", by the way. You're a running back, honey.

You're not a linebacker. And I cried at night thinking, this is what I want to do. I would be so good at it. Again, if I went deeper into that, I wanted my dad's approval.

I wanted my brother's approval. And I would also think, what would I do for the locker room? The great part of sports is community.

Team. And so to have that with girls, like that's this great relationship building time. Our son in the eighth grade was a wrestler and he wrestled a girl. It was the most awkward thing. Do you remember this, Dave?

Oh, yeah. And I just read this year, a high school senior state championship wrestler had to wrestle a girl in the semifinals and he refused. He wouldn't do it.

Well, yes, CJ came up to us. He gave up a state title and said, I will not do this. And he said, I don't know what to do.

Like, should I have been taught to protect? And so should I wrestle her and beat her? And it's weird. We're in these positions. Yeah.

There are parts of her anatomy I should not be having my hands on. Right? Exactly. And so that is a part of the bigger picture, the nobler picture. And when you mix it into sports, and I think part of this is the idolatry of sports in our culture, where we put sports in a place where we've said, this is this is glory and this is worth. And so who doesn't want the glory and the worth?

Well, we've we put our glory and worth in the wrong stuff because we've said these are real heroes rather than saying, you know what heroes really are? Yeah, right. Exactly. And so even even if it were all same sex sports and you had a child wanting to really do something great.

Yes. Try hard. Be excellent to the glory of God.

Absolutely do your best. But you would have to be rooting out the self glory issues there anyway. And so for a young or a daughter to want to do something like that on a male sports team, there would be so many different facets of that that would have to be taken apart and talked through and reoriented, in my opinion. Abigail, in the last part of your book, you talk about being fearless and free women in Christ.

When I hear that, I think I think every woman longs for that. She wants to be fearless, but she also wants to be free. And what I've encountered over the years is women are not free. I think they're shackled by shame.

They're shackled by comparison. There's a part of us that as women, we it's hard for us to celebrate each other because of our own insecurities. What does it mean as we finish up to be free? I think you said it exactly right. And that's also what I've seen is a huge amount of insecurity in women. And so where all that comes from, of course, there are external forces that can play into that. But primarily, I think we need to say insecurity comes from not trusting in Christ, who is our security. And so the more we can get our footing in him, the more we can identify fully and wholly in Christ. The more secure we'll be, the more free we'll definitely be and the more freedom will be conceived of appropriately. So sometimes you use a word like free and people think, oh, well, free, that just means I get to do whatever I want. But that is not the definition of freedom in the scripture. When Christ sets us free, it's so that we can be unshackled from the chains of sin and death. It is not freedom to be autonomous and go on sinning.

And so defining it appropriately is so essential right now in our culture because we've completely misconstrued the idea of freedom. And so unless we make sure we're telling women this is what Jesus means by freedom. He wants you free from your sin. He wants you free to walk with him toward holiness.

Then it will end up becoming a little mimicky of what the world says. Real self-empowering where we don't want to be self-empowered. We want to be empowered by the Holy Spirit of the Lord.

I love what you wrote. It was back in the chapter about single women. It was Jesus doesn't complete the incomplete. You know, like Jesus will be the one to complete you. You say he utterly overcomes and swallows us up in himself. We are made new and whole in Christ, not merely completed by him.

It's really beautiful, beautiful truth of the redemption of Christ. And I'm thinking about Galatians 5, 1 as you're talking where Paul says for freedom Christ has set us free. And then you go free from what?

Well, he answers it. Don't go back to the yoke of slavery to sin. That's the slavery. And then later on in verse 13, he says you were called to freedom, brothers, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. That verse in the midst of the free grace culture that I see sometimes in the church where people say, well, you know, there's grace. I'm free in Christ. But it's not freedom to indulge the flesh.

It's freedom to love and serve your brothers and to be free from the yoke of slavery and from the bond of the flesh that kept you in that. I just want to ask you as we as we kind of draw this to a close. If you were pointing your daughters, young women to verses in the Bible to say, this is going to help you understand what it means that God made you a woman. Do you take them to Proverbs 31? I wouldn't start there. Yes, absolutely.

I would. Where I would start and where I started with this book was simultaneously two passages. Colossians 1, 15 to 20, and then Genesis 1, 1 and 2. Colossians 1, 15 to 20 is a hymn that Paul wrote about the supremacy of Christ. And what it tells us is that not just is Christ our Savior who enters the world sent by the Father, but that Christ was before all things. And that word before really is what prompted so much of this thinking that he was before all things and that all things were created through Christ and for Christ. Well, then go back and read Genesis.

Then go back and think about the fact that we were made male and female through Christ and for Christ. And it starts to put a little bit of a new dimension on how we think about what we were made for. And it just it gives me tons of hope. It's an anticipation.

Yes. Of what he has done and what he has created in us. And when you brought up Colossians 1, I thought of the key verse for the Passport to Purity series that Family Life produced years ago. The one verse that starts that off when you want to help your kids understand what it means to emerge in adolescence, to hold the birds and the bees, peer pressure, all of those issues are going to face. We take you to Colossians 118. He is also the head of the body, the church, and he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself might come to have first place in everything. In everything. When you think about your femaleness and your maleness, does Jesus have first place in those things? It's the lordship of Christ over every aspect of your life. Are you surrendered to that or are you rebelling against that?

Yes. I'm watching Abigail not vigorously. I am nodding my head. I am amen-ing in my heart. Abigail, thank you for your work, for your courage, for your thinking, for tackling hard issues, and all of the letters we get we're sending to you. All right.

I'll frame them and put them on the wall. Thanks for being on Family Life Today. We've got copies of Abigail Dodd's book, A Typical Woman in Our Family Life Today Resource Center. You can order the book from us when you go online at familylifetoday.com or call to order 1-800-FL-TODAY is our number.

Again, the title of the book is A Typical Woman and the A is in parentheses. A Typical Woman, order online at familylifetoday.com or call 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Those of you who listen regularly to Family Life Today know that during the month of May, we've got some exciting stuff happening here. We've had some friends of the ministry who have come to us and have agreed to match any donation we received this month, dollar for dollar, up to a total of now $350,000, which is a great opportunity for us. David Robbins, who's the president of Family Life, is here with us, and David, the thing about a matching gift is when a listener makes a donation, the impact of their donation is effectively doubled.

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You can donate today by going to familylifetoday.com or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate by phone. We are so grateful that you'd even consider it. And we'd ask that you'd pray that we'll be able to take full advantage of this matching gift opportunity here at Family Life Today. And we hope you can join us again tomorrow when we're going to hear about what it was like to grow up in a Christian home in Scotland in the 60s and 70s. Our friend Alistair Begg joins us to share about his life, his testimony, his call to ministry. It's a great conversation with Alistair tomorrow. Hope you can be here for that. I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, got some extra help today from Mark Ramey and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life of Little Rock, Arkansas. A crew ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-16 23:08:17 / 2023-11-16 23:20:26 / 12

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