I’m constantly amazed at the increasingly early age (should I say premature age?) at which girls decide they’ve got to have a boy in their life! If you listen very long to a group of primary age girls you’ll likely hear a few refer to their boyfriend. I suppose it’s cute in a “they don’t really know what they’re talking about” way. I have discovered that once upon a time this fascination was temporary and the shelf life was about 1 week. At that point it was over, done, finished and moved on to Strawberry Shortcake and friends; however we now move on to a different boyfriend, and a different one after that . . . Our society and the seductive media have managed to persuade even the youngest females that life isn’t complete (or at the very least it’s better) unless you have a guy in your life, one that you can stake a claim on as “yours!”
We have multiple generations of females believing they are incomplete without a man. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised by it. After all, Genesis reminds us that one of the consequences for Eve’s disobedience would be yearning for a man. And, that man would also take advantage of it. “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16b We typically focus on the first half of verse 16 as it foretells the travails of labor and childbirth. But difficult as this may be the rewards are immense and the difficulty of it all soon forgotten. However, the later part of the verse details consequences that never leave us. It is a constant battle lived out all across the world in every generation and culture. The great Deceiver has played this to his full advantage and on many occasions, the media is his favorite tool.
Magazines, music, television and cinema saturate us with images of the importance of having a man at your side. On one extreme is the dysfunctional relationship so out of balance that a woman endures any abuse just to keep her man. At the other end of the spectrum is the woman so desperate for relationship that she loses herself in the quest to find him. Healthy, well-balanced, truly loving relationships are portrayed to idyllic extremes that are impossible to attain except in a romantic comedy. We’ve lost an authentic perspective on what a woman needs. We’ve lost an authentic perspective on what a man needs.
I was powerfully reminded of this truth earlier this year while attending the memorial service of a dear friend’s mother. Mrs. V lived a long,
rich abundant life of more than 80 years. While I knew quite a bit about Mrs. V and was blessed to have interacted with her on several occasions, I was about to learn something surprising. Her pastor shared how she dearly loved the Lord and served Him fervently through her work associated with the church. Until her very recent decline in health just prior to her death; she was active in choir, mission work, Bible studies, Ladies Ministry and on and on. When a volunteer was needed, Mrs. V was there in some capacity. If the church doors were open, Mrs. V was there to support the church’s mission. All of these details were familiar to me. But then came the surprise.
Like most young women of Mrs. V’s generation, she married fairly early in life and soon gave birth to a beautiful daughter. This daughter was the pride and joy of her parents and the future seemed bright for this young family. Life’s seemingly random turns and twists brought devastating changes to the family. Mrs. V’s husband unexpectedly died while their daughter was a young teen. What is a widow, the mother of a teen-aged girl to do during the 1960’s? With few marketable skills and a daughter to care for, how would she survive? Her friends and family surrounded her with well-intentioned and somewhat practical advice.
She should find herself a man.
It made perfect sense. Mrs. V was an extraordinarily beautiful woman (and remained so at her death.) It wouldn’t have been difficult to quickly attract a new husband. A man would be able to step in and fill the role vacated by the untimely death of her husband. Income would be provided, Mrs. V would remain at home to care for the daughter and the family would remain intact. Life would go on as before. Repeatedly Mrs. V was faced by those offering up this sage advice, “V, you need a man.”
After listening, with considerable patience to this message for some time, Mrs. V confidently but firmly stated to her advisers,
“What I need is to take care of what God has already given me.”
Well. How do you argue with that? Mrs. V even at this early stage of life, fully understood Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians in chapter 4:12 – 13, the secret to being content. Gratitude, faith, confidence in God’s provision.
I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that friends never again mentioned what she “needed”. Because never again did Mrs. V marry. She reared her only child, by herself. She worked any number of jobs never grumbling about the work or the conditions. Both mother and daughter were in church at every opportunity, teaching her the importance of loving and trusting in God. It paid off, I think Mrs. V’s daughter and subsequent grandchildren blessed her” beyond anything that she could have asked or imagined.” Her legacy is rich with descendants that are devoted to serving the God so lovingly introduced to them by Mrs. V.
What does a woman need? Let’s reflect on what she doesn’t need. She doesn’t need what the world tells her she needs. The one thing she does need is the same that every individual needs, a saving relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Mrs. V knew it and she lived it. She trusted in God that Jesus indeed, “came that we might have life and have it abundantly.”
Let us live out the legacy of Mrs. V, let us “take care of what God has already given us.” The benefits prove to be astounding.
In His grace,