Most of my adult career has been working with women. If you’ve ever lived or worked a great deal with women, you will notice that something strange occurs. Their menstrual cycles begin to synchronize with one another. I believe it is nature’s way of telling us that we were created to work in unison as well as letting us know exactly how influential femininity is. This implies that our patterns and behaviors have the power to influence our environment. This could be good or bad.
In my new book releasing in July, “Wisdom is a She” explains that femininity has always been associated with heavy influence. In biblical history, cities and nations were referred to as a “she” because of the weight that they carried on the culture and society. Like a mother that breastfeeds its infant, whatever is being fed to the people will determine the overall health and pulse of the nation. In fact, the state of a culture and society was measured by the participation of the women of the time because the matriarchs set the standard for behavior as the bearers and nurturers of life. They set the tone. Roman 1:26 tells us that Israel had become so corrupt that “
Even their women
exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.”
“Even their women” was often written as an indication of how bad the culture and society had deteriorated. When women abandoned their natural instinct to nurture the next generation for their own selfish desires, (fame, fortune, status) it became a nation in ruin. It was the physical manifestation of the consequences of violating the law of nature. Today, women are the leaders in the pro-choice movement arguing that their civil rights supersede human life. When women abandon femininity, the youth are silenced, discarded and/or abandoned and chaos ultimately follows.
Like all life, we were created for specific roles much like the north was created to sustain life in the frigid temperatures of Antarctica and the south was created to sustain life in the rain forests of Brazil. When nature is thrown off course, it disturbs the weather patterns and interrupts the cycle of life. Like the oil spill in the gulf, millions of corpse’s washed up on the coast making us painfully aware of the consequences of interfering with nature and defiling the source of life. This is what tends to occur when humanity abandons their role of the law of order in creation and sets out to follow their own plans.
When I was five years old I was sent to foster care while my mother served time in prison. This was a vital time in my life because I was a young flower uprooted from a garden of weeds for my own well being. Where I would be replanted would determine my chance of survival. Luckily, I was planted with my aunt and uncle. But my aunt wasn’t just any flower in any garden, she was a rose. Unlike annuals, roses are perinnials. Although annuals only last one season, perinnials bloom every spring after surviving the worst of winter storms. They survive and resurrect because of their strong roots. She inherited her strong roots from the one who came before her.
My aunt was an only child and was very close to her mother. We would have dinner with her mother a few times per week and I would watch and analyze everything around me, absorbing my environment like a sponge.
My aunt’s mother was the first person to introduce me to Jesus. It was through her that I first heard the song “Jesus loves me.” She would also sit beside me and readbible stories. I remember her reading to me the story of Moses, telling me that he was separated from his mother but it was because God had a plan for his life. He was ”set apart” from his family and later sent back so that his people could be free. She told me that I was like Moses.
She would make the most beautiful dinners, putting such effort and attention to detail into every single plate, glass and napkin. She would set up the table as if she was serving Jesus Himself. Before each meal, she would pass around a prayer box in the shape of a loaf of bread that we would pull prayers to read to one another. We would read them aloud and when I had trouble reading in my childish dialect, like a patient teacher, she would help me sound it out but never read it for me. Little did I know at that time that she was helping me to transform from an annual to a perinnial by planting in me strong roots. And even long after I left their garden going back to a garden of weeds, my roots remained strong. Once they were planted, they could not be uprooted, no matter how strong the elements.
My aunt carried the exact traits of her mother. From the way she decorated her home, put care into her hair and outfit for the day to the dinners that she served for her family and community. She presented herself to the world as an ambassador and servant for Christ and her mother passed to her those same traits.
My aunt became the woman that she was because her mother guided her through every aspect of life. Her character spilled over into her daughter and then her daughter’s character spilled over to her daughter’s daughter. And for some reason, God saw it fit to place me there for a short time to glean the seeds that they were willing to share with me.
Their natural femininity had an enormous impact on me in such a short period of time. Our femininity within seeks to align with the matriarchs of our day that we are supposed to model after. A woman’s instinct has a gravitational pull like a flower reaching and stretching for a tiny taste of the sun. It aches for that warmth and beauty. The problem today is that the models that we are to emulate have become harder and harder to find as that soft and gentle femininity has become a thing to be hidden.
Last week I received notice that my aunt’s mother had passed away. But I realized while standing at the funeral home watching her family weep over her that even though she was gone physically, she lives on through the generations that she influenced. I now know exactly where I got my love for hospitality. I thank God for the time that I had with them because I picked up so much from them to pass to my own daughters. Her legacy spread much further than her own family.
I believe she had such an impact because she understood her role in the cycle of life. She understood that she did not need to be a celebrity or the next Martha Stewart to be recognized as the apple of God’s eye or the matriarch of her family. Her obedience and sacrifice was the standard and she set that bar quite high. She knew far in advance what most of us do not realize until it’s too late. She avoided anything that sought to destroy her because she understood the power of her influence that would be left long after she left this life. Because of her character, her family will never carry shame or inherit generational patterns that could destroy their name as her name carried the symbol of the cross. She never once compromised due to the One she represented.
As women, we can learn a lot from her influence. Our girls will follow in synch everything that we do, like a shadow that follows behind us. From how we speak, how we present ourselves to the world, how we treat ourselves, how we treat others and the type of men that we will bring in and out of our lives. If you would like to know how your daughters will turn out, look in the mirror, listen to your speech and then look at your behavior. You will see a direct reflection of what will be left behind when you are gone.
“As is the mother, so is the daughter” Ezekiel 16:44
Photo credits: Models, Jewell Freeland, Yvonne Green, Brittany Case & Kinley Case (Four generations of matriarchs) and also the women mentioned in the article. Photographer, Heather Chapman at HMC Photography.