Friday, February 6, 2009

Made in God's Image, as a Female: Mystery and Romance

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Yesterday I wrote my first post regarding exactly how women bear the image of God in their female design. I spoke of how the beauty of woman reveals God's beauty to us, and the truth that God wants us to delight in that beauty, to enjoy His beauty, and desire Him; all the same things a woman longs for. Read my first post here

In my first post I shared the following quote which is from a letter my husband wrote to me:

"Some may say there's not much in a name, but I say there is much in the name of the one I love. She, Esther Ruth, is a "star" in my life. Out of her shines what I call true beauty; a beauty that this fallen world knows not much of. Just like the distant stars of the sky, there is a mystery about her. This mystery beckons me to stare long and hard at who she really is. Where does she come from? What's going on in the midst of her?"
I stated how perfectly those words illustrate the first three qualities I would speak of: beauty, mystery and romance (or being pursued). Today I will write about the later two of the three. Most of my quotes are taken from John and Stasi Eldredge's book entitled "Captivating".

2) After her beauty, it is in her mystery that a woman bears the image of God.

"The kind of beauty a confident woman possesses is an odd mix of mystery and warm allure that invites you always a little deeper into the essence of really knowing her." (Paula Rinehart)

"Writing a book for men (Wild at Heart) was a fairly straight-forward proposition. Not that men are simpletons. But they are the less complicated of the two genders...both men and women know this to be true. The mystery of the feminine heart was meant to be a good thing, by the way. A source of joy. Yet it has become a source of shame- women almost universally feel that they are 'too much'...and men tend to pull away from the deeper waters of a woman's soul, unsure of what they will find there or how to handle it. And so we have missed the treasure that is the heart of a woman, missed the richness femininity was meant to bring to our lives, missed the way it speaks to us of the heart of God."

"One of the deepest ways a woman bears the image of God is in her mystery. By 'mystery' we don't mean 'forever beyond your knowing,' but 'something to be explored.' Prov 25:2 "God yearns to be known. But he wants to be sought after by those who would know him. He says, 'You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.' (Jer. 29:13)"

"Is not the Trinity a great mystery? Not something to be solved, but known with ever-deepening pleasure and awe, something to be enjoyed. Just like God, a woman is not a problem to be solved, but a vast wonder to be enjoyed. This is so true of her sexuality. Few women can or even want to 'just do it.' Foreplay is crucial to her heart, the whispering and loving and exploring of one another that culminates in intercourse. That is a picture of what it means to love her soul. She yearns to be known and that takes time and intimacy...As she is sought after, she reveals more of her beauty. As she unveils her beauty, she draws us to know her more deeply. Whatever else it means to be feminine, it is depth and mystery and complexity, with beauty as its very essence."

Looking at those quotes, we can see that the kind of beauty that a confident woman possesses is a mix of mystery and warm allure. It is a mystery that, as my husband wrote, "beckons" one "to stare long and hard". Women are complex; God made them very detailed. The trinity is likewise mysterious. But that is a good thing, and when one begins to explore the mysteries, depth and richness is discovered. That brings us to a third way in which woman bears God's image.

3) Women want to be romanced, or in other words, pursued.

As Paula said in the quote above, a woman's beauty and mystery "invites you always a little deeper into the essence of really knowing her." My husband was "beckoned" to stare- for a loooooong time!

God is beautiful and mysterious. He desires that His beauty and mystery would allure us to seek Him. He promised that if we seek Him with all our heart, we would know Him. God wants to be our priority. He wants us to pursue Him, spend time with Him, talk to Him, listen to Him. He desires our attention. He longs for our love. So He put those same desires in woman, to reveal Himself to us.

A woman is beautiful and mysterious. She wants to be sought after with the whole heart of her pursuer, just as God does. She wants intimacy. She yearns to be known. She wants her husband to talk to her, listen to her, spend time with her, enjoy her. She longs for his attention and love. This is one way she bears God's image, as a female.

This is precisely why, in 1 Peter 3:7, husbands are told to live with their wives "in an understanding way" or "according to knowledge". God knows the desires of a woman because He put them there, to reveal His own desires to us. Yes, women are complex, and some men may think they will never understand a woman. But God has commanded them to at least understand their woman. A husband is commanded to know his wife. This is what every wife longs for.

Yet there is no way to grow in understanding and knowledge of a woman unless you spend time with her. Just as God does, she longs to be sought after and pursued. That is what it means to be romanced. It takes time and intimacy.

"Why do our days seem so unimportant, filled not with romance and adventure but with duties and demands? We feel unseen, even by those who are closest to us. We feel unsought- that no one has the passion or the courage to pursue us." (Stasi Eldredge)

"Most of our addictions as women flare up when we feel that we are not loved or sought after...every woman wants to be seen, wanted, and pursued...We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing." (Stasi Eldredge)

"Cut off from love, rejected, no one pursuing her, something in a woman wilts like a flower no one wants anymore. She withers into resignation, duty...the radiance of her countenance goes out...but this same woman...becomes lovely and inviting when she is pursued. Her heart begins to come alive...what happened...was merely the power of romance releasing her true beauty, awakening her heart. She has come alive. As women we long to be loved in a certain way, a way unique to our femininity. We long for romance. We are wired for it; that's what makes our heart come alive." (Stasi Eldredge)

"We don't have to be embarrassed by our desire to be romanced. It is a true, glorious longing in our hearts! It is, in fact, where we bear the image of God. God loves romance." (Stasi Eldredge)

Women do often feel unseen. Unsought. I know I do. And it is truly one of the most difficult things to deal with, when we feel like no one has the passion to pursue us. I am good enough to work and serve...and I want to do that, but I also want to be desired. Enjoyed. Pursued.

It is so true that our addictions flare up when we are not pursued. Some of us might eat to fill the loneliness. Maybe we lose ourselves in movies, or novels, or soap operas- where we can temporarily feel like we are being pursued. Maybe we busy ourselves with all sorts of service, work, and activities so that we can try and forget our desires. There are so many addictions- shopping, gossiping, exercising- the list can go on.

If we are not pursued, in our human nature, we will fill that void with our addictions while, at the same time, withering into resignation and duty. Something in us dies. It is our heart. Our feminine heart that longs to be romanced, to be noticed, to be wanted.

But when we are romanced, boy do we come alive in all our feminine glory!

Husbands are commanded to love us the way we need to be loved- to pursue us (that is how they get to know us and understand the depths of us). But husbands are humans who sin and fail.

"You are made for romance, and the only one who can offer it to you consistently and deeply is Jesus."

In that quote, Stasi is not saying that Jesus is the only one who can offer us romance. No, God does want our husbands to meet those needs. BUT the only one who can offer us romance CONSISTENTLY and DEEPLY is Jesus.

"We have all heard it said that a woman is most beautiful when she is in love. It's true. When a woman knows that she is loved, she glows from the inside. This radiance stems from a heart that has had its deepest questions answered. "Am I lovely? Am I worth fighting for? Have I been and will I continue to be romanced?" When these questions are answered, yes, a restful, quiet spirit settles in a woman's heart."

"You have been and you will continue to be romanced all your life...every memory you cherish, every moment that has moved you to holy tears, all have been given to you from the One who has been pursuing you from your first breath in order to win your heart. God's version of flowers and chocolates and candlelight dinners comes in the form of sunsets and falling stars, moonlight on the lakes and cricket symphonies; warm wind, swaying trees, lush gardens and fierce devotion...He knows what takes your breath away, knows what makes your heart beat faster."

"We have missed many of his love notes simply because we shut down our hearts in order to endure the pain of life. Now, we must open our hearts again...so that we can hear his whispers, receive his kisses...If we listen, a Sacred Romance calls to us through our heart...it whispers to us in the wind...reaches out to us through the touch of someone we love...we've sensed it at the birth of our first child, been drawn to it while watching the shimmer of a sunset on the ocean...Something calls to us through experiences like these and rouses an inconsolable longing, deep within our heart, wakening in us a yearning for intimacy, beauty and adventure."

"God has been wooing you ever since you were a little girl...What romanced your heart as a girl? Horses in a field? The fragrance of the air after a summer rain? Was it a favorite book like the Secret Garden? The first snowfall in winter?...These were all whispers from your Lover, notes sent to awaken your heart's longings."

"God has written the romance not only on our hearts but all over the world around us. What we need is for him to open our eyes, to open our ears that we might recognize his voice calling to us, see his hand wooing us in the beauty that quickens our heart."

"The whole world was made for romance- the rivers and glens, the meadows and beaches. Flowers, music, a kiss. But we have a way of forgetting all that, losing ourselves in work and worry. Eve-God's message to the world in feminine form-invites us to romance. Through her, God makes romance a priority of the universe."

"Life changes dramatically when romance comes into our lives. Christianity changes dramatically when we discover that it, too, is a great romance. That God yearns to share a life of beauty, intimacy and adventure with us..."

"We were created to be the object of desire and affection of one who is totally and completely in love with us...What would it be like to experience for yourself that the truest thing about his heart toward yours is not disappointment or disapproval but deep, fiery, passionate love? That is, after all, what a woman was made for."

Beauty and mystery invite us to go deeper. If you hear beautiful music, you want to sit down and listen again and drink it in. It captures your attention. A garden calls one to enter in, explore, and feast upon the beauty. A great book draws us in, we can't wait to get back to it, spend time with it. These are all of the responses that God wants of us. All of the responses a woman wants too.

God is beautiful, mysterious, and longs to be sought after. That is why He put these qualities in females...that is how we bear the image of the One who made us. When we look at all that He created, we know God loves romance. He invented it. And because He loves romance, so does woman. It is another way we reveal God to the world.

The above are where and how females bear God's image, but there are more ways. I will discuss these in my last post on this topic.

4 comments:

Kelly said...

Esther,

Your posts are incredibly spot-on and your heart shared so beautifully. I got goosebumps readings your husband's sweet words to you! How special and how full of love he is! I often marvel at how non-believers can scoff at marriage, feeling that everything after a wedding goes "down-hill". If they only knew! A marriage made in Jesus is so fulfilling, romantic and blissful. Nothing beats it. :o)

I'll definitely be rereading this post. You've shared so many wonderful points and I not only enjoyed your thoughts but am enriched by them today. Bless you this weekend and have a lovely rest of your Friday! (HOORAY that it's already here, LOL!)

P.S. Your little ones are ADORABLE! Oh my, what gorgeous children!

Amy said...

YES! So spot on and in the world we are taught to despise the beauty of the woman's heart. AH! How backwards isn't it?? Wow!

Hugs.. Amy

Linda said...

This was so full of beauty and true comparison with the Creator and our relationship with Him. I will also need to re-read this to grasp all that you have given us here. And I will look for the books you mentioned.
It is so true that we long to know and be known by our spouses,...seen and understood,persued and desired, needed and appreciated.
I loved your visuals. I love girlie things,... and flowers and trees, sunrises and sunsets,...they capture my heart and soul and draw me in. I love to share a beautiful sunset with my husband,...and even before we were married we enjoyed those together. And the fact that he could enjoy that kind of beauty even drew me closer to him.
Thanks for reminding me how special it is to be a woman,...one of God's wondrous creations!

lisi said...

hey esther!!
just wanted to stop by your beauty blog and 'see' you!
thinking of you.. blessings and thanks for the great post! love you, lis

 

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