Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Thoughts on Strong and Courageous Woman ~ Not Prone to "Fainting Fits"


"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
~ 2 Timothy 1:7

If you indulge in reading old Victorian novels, you will notice the female characters would come to a stressful situation and simply "pass out". Apparently, they convinced themselves that they weren't strong enough to handle it. Unfortunately, I don't think this is what a Proverbs 31 woman stands for. She is strong and capable (Proverbs 31:17). She is not afraid (Proverbs 31:21). In a nutshell, she is not prone to "fainting fits".



There is a difference between "weak" and meek.

There is a difference between being spineless and being spiritually sturdy.

Please don't misunderstand the verses in the Scriptures to mean that women are a frail and fragile gender! We may be second in command (Ephesians 5:23), we may be physically less capable (1 Peter 3:7), but we can and should be just as spiritually strong, fearless and fierce (in a feminine way of course) when it comes to spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:13)!

Ladies, we must maintain a gentle but an enduring strength.


Think of the courageous Esther and the heroic Abigail. There were no fainting fits there. Though they were damsels in distress, they did not get distressed.

There was no fear or timidity but only purpose when that woman thought "If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole."

There was no sign of cowardice when Abigail met the rugged and revenge-filled army of David and "said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid."

There was no feeble and weak-kneed Esther when she declared "Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish."

Even the mild hearted Mary greeted the Holy Angel with complete composure when she said"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." There was no hysterics or panic attacks, there was only trust in the One who sent him.


This earthly life is a battle and the believing woman needs to be spiritually strong (Proverbs 31:25). We have an adversary and need to be prepared for spiritual warfare and dressed in the sturdy armor of God. This can be accomplished by reading the Scriptures, believing what God says and applying it in our lives. To completely cleave to the faith that His promises are true and that His ways will conquer!


And finally, we must always be active in powerful prayer!

"On some such night as this she remembered promising to herself to live as brave and noble a life as any heroine she ever read or heard of in romance, a life sans peur et sans reproche; it had seemed to her then that she had only to will, and such a life would be accomplished. And now she had learnt that not only to will, but also to pray, was a necessary condition in the truly heroic. Trusting to herself, she had fallen."


Dear reader, when I was but nineteen, my grandfather told me a sad story and I cried. To my surprise, he told me, "you gotta toughen up".

Why I thought? -- Just because tears flowed at his tragic tale? My young, tender heart thought him to be rough and I was hurt. However, throughout the years, his comment has haunted me...

When tough decisions were required that I just couldn't "bear" to make, I thought of those words. When following my husband's lead proved to be too hard for my "fragile heart", I thought of those words. When I needed to correct or protect my children from worldly ways but felt "sorry to", I thought of those words.


Perhaps what grandpa meant to say was "grow stronger". Truth be known, many of us are in some dire situations where the raw and rough words "suck it up!" need to be said (forgive the crude language). In the heat of battle, we must march on! We must adorn ourselves with the sturdy armor of God, we will require skills in the weaponry of the Word and we will draw our power and strength from the Holy Spirit. We will choose to fight with all our might and valor against the forces of evil and we can prevail like the godly women before us!


For our husbands may simply need a smile and reassurance when all we want is to shed tears. Our children need endurance and stability when all we want is to give up. The sisterhood needs encouragement and support when all we want to do is hide ourselves away.



I once witnessed a scene at a hospital of an elderly couple. The aged man was bending over his dying spouse. He told her, "when you thought you were leaning on me all those years, I was leaning on you." I was deeply moved when I heard this. I don't think either one of these faithful believers felt the weight, because both were leaning on God. Both had been relying on His strength. And this same powerful source is what will make us strong and not be prone to "fainting fits" when the going gets tough in this earthly battlefield called life.

"And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not."
~ Galatians 6:9


"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
~ 2 Timothy 1:7

47 comments:

  1. Jes, I don't think the women in the Bible were the fainting type at all. LOL! I usually think of them as strong and courageous especially Esther who is one of my favourites. My granddaughters love her story too.

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    1. Excellent! Unfortunately, some see the words "meek and gentle" spirit and tend to think of themselves and being more "tender" and so forth... But you are right, Esther was a very strong woman!

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  2. Thank you so much for this!
    Excellent post, and I'd love more like it.

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    1. Thank you Tammy for taking the time to visit and share here today! :)

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  3. Wonderful encouragement! Indeed we are strong, strong in the Lord and therefore strong in Spirit if we obey and follow Him. It takes strength of character to live life as a follower of Christ, especially these days. We shall not grow faint, Jes. Bless you dear sister in Christ!!

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    1. I couldn't have said it better Jenny! Thank you for sharing this additional encouragement!

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  4. Dear Jess,
    To be a Christian now it takes a fair bit of courage. My Dad said to me the other day that to be a Christian now is very hard. Deadly in many places, means imprisonment in others, means ridicule here if you stand up and speak about it and stick up for Christian values.
    I guess it was always this way. It takes courage and fortitude!
    Also... if women can have babies they are pretty tough!
    I like the verses about putting on the whole armour of Christ. We need to do that. With love Annabel.xxx

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    1. Good point about having babies!!! And raising them! :)

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  5. What a wonderfully encouraging post! I loved reading all the quotes, especially the scriptures, and the images compliment them perfectly. There is nothing I've leaned on in my life more than the Word of God. I don't know how others make it through trials without it.
    Have a great Wednesday!
    Toni

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  6. Ladylike isn't the same as meek, which you pointed out so well. Great reminder.

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  7. Wonderful post JES, and an important message. I think sometimes we women concentrate too much on being feminine and gentle, that we forget we need to be strong, too - just strong in a womanly way! Our husbands and children will respect us more, too, if we are willing to show a little backbone.

    I also want to say that the artwork in this post is absolutely gorgeous! Many of these paintings I have not seen before. Thank you for always making your posts such a feast for the eyes! :)

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    1. Great points! Thank you for sharing! And I am so glad you enjoy the artwork. Most are by Sir Edmund Blair who is one of my favorites. The woman in armor is Millais I believe...

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  8. So encouraging! Some days I just want to fall on the couch and cry, but I know that God created us to endure! This post has just convicted me of that all the more!

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    1. Oh we all have those days dear Dolly! The important thing is that we DO get up and march forward! :)

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  9. What a beautiful post Jes! Thank you! This was just right thing I just needed to read today! And your recollection of the elderly couple at the hospital brought tears to my eyes!

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    1. It was a heart wrenching scene! Especially coming from such a spiritually strong man! It put a lot about my wifely position into perspective. Our strength and support is more important than we can imagine.

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  10. I know those stories you are talking about, but I've also noticed in many older books the heroine fights valiantly to keep back the tears, brushes them away and puts on a smile in order not to upset those around her. etc. Lots of talk about self-control in some of the older Christian books, which we sadly lack in our "share all your feelings" culture.
    And then on the opposite end of the spectrum, we see action films where the women are rescuing the men. Yes, we should have moral, spiritual, and emotional strength, but I do hope that a man might carry me out of a burning building, not the other way around!!
    I love the pictures you chose to go with this post.

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    1. Absolutely!!! ~ This is speaking of moral, spiritual and emotional strength but by all means, let MEN be MEN and women be women when we speak of the physical world. We women can tend to get in a rut and hide ourselves under the blankets in bed when we must get up and FIGHT for our families and loved ones instead of becoming depressed and secluding ourselves. I am speaking of prayer and God's wisdom as our weaponry.

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  11. Wonderful, wonderful post Jes! I don't want to be the one to have those fainting fits. We all need to be strong and courageous at times. Yes, we should do it in a womanly fashion, but we shouldn't let the weakness take over either. We are strong, for we are strong in God's Word!

    Enjoy your day!
    Hugs, Amy

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  12. I think blending femininity and gentleness with true strength is a real challenge. The culture sees traditional women as weak, and that certainly doesn't help.

    This is such a good post! The women of the Bible were definitely not wimps, and some of the women I've come across in historical studies and admired had a certain steadiness, strength and resolve about them as well. I think this is one reason why I'm so drawn to historical fiction when I read novels. There are so many good stories out there of strong, godly women.

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    1. Yes, I think that is why I love reading about women in history too! The pilgrims, puritans and pioneering women come to mind especially! The challenges they faced and the strength they needed is very inspiring!

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  13. Dear JES, This post is so full of wisdom and truth. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. And let's not forget Jael, whom the Bible calls "blessed above women". While we probably won't be faced with her literal, physical circumstance, I think sometimes we are required to have this fortitude spiritually in facing our own challenges. I will be printing this one out for my notebook, for sure. With love, Kelsey

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    1. Very true Kelsey! Thank you for sharing!

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  14. Good post! Definitely good things to think about. May I tell you a story similar to yours? :)
    "Suck it up," "grow up," toughen up," "man up," (even though I'm a woman, haha!) I heard these things all my childhood. Without Christ at the time, I was demolished by them and they haunt my walk with God today. They trained me up draw strength from myself and rely on myself alone. (Strength that's extremely limited, it's safe to say! :) )
    Faced with so many situations where I needed to be stronger, I often got stuck on the question: How? How does a godly women strengthen herself?
    It's a command of God Himself: "Be strong!" (Eph 6:10) But the important caveat is "in the strength of His might," not my own.
    Being strengthen with true strength, at least for me, doesn't add anything to my own sense of power. Rather it's a recognizing my great weakness, of deepening reliance, and of experiencing God when I run to Him over and over and over. If anything, though I'm stronger than I've ever been now, I feel at my weakest. I am the most emotional, most sensitive, and most frail internally that I've ever been in my entire life. I'm free to be at my fullest weakness because the Lord is my strength, my shield, and my refuge. I have no need of personal strength anymore with Jesus in me. All my power is Him. And it is glorious and wonderful!

    So, I'm glad you included Jesus in on your post about strength. I feel it is a point worth further highlighting, because it's a topic near and dear to my heart. And I'm afraid at times the world gets in a skews the truth idea of strenth, too... :(

    On the flip side, have you ever noticed this? There's never an issue with telling myself that I need to be strengthened. Sometimes though, I'm tempted to tell someone else who is struggling that they need to "toughen up." The reality in my heart is that it's a cop out, a way of excusing myself from being compassion, patient, sharing in another's suffering. x/
    Ah, I feel like focusing on the person in the next pew is a temptation on every topic!

    Thanks for writing. This is a great topic to talk about!
    And boy, do I always love your pictures!!! :D

    -Christina

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    1. Thank you for sharing your heart Christina. Our strength is nothing without His! And regarding the "toughen up", sometimes it needs to be said not out of being compassionless, but out of being practical. We can not wallow in our sorrows while our life is falling apart. We must march on, we must pray, we must continue to "fight the good fight"... Many women will give you a pity party when you really need a gentle nudge... I know women who will lock themselves up in their room over their upsetting circumstances and meanwhile, their family is falling apart ... But in all this, you are right, in our weakness, we can be strong in the Lord! And this is where we will be courageous and victorious!

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  15. Love this post. Thanks so much for the inspiring words and pictures and all you do to encourage women. This reminds me of a book I just read called "Fierce Women" by Kimberly Wagner. It was a great book and I would highly recommend for newly married women especially.

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    1. Thank you for sharing the book recommendation!

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  16. Love the story about the elderly couple...yes, we lean on each other as we lean on Christ!

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    1. Oh, if you would have been there!... It broke my heart and yet warmed it at the same time...

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  17. Hi, I believe that this is the best truth for our generation. We are told that Sara did not fear and in a way that would be fainting , she did not fear what was to come. Hugs Roxy

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    1. Good point! Sarah was an inspiration to me in many ways in my life. I am thankful for her example.

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  18. Very well put! Thank you!
    Blessings, Leigh

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  19. Your post was so inspiring on many levels. We need to be strong and courageous while maintaining our unique femininity and the strength we get from our faith in Jesus! But also those beautiful images that you have added are simply regal, taking us back to another era.

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    1. Ah, thank you for visiting and leaving such an encouraging comment Mary! :)

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  20. What a marvellous, inspiring post, my wonderful friend, and what lovely images accompany it increasing its meaning and it Beauty, thank you for sharing it !

    With so much gratitude I'm sending dear, so dear love to you
    Dany

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    1. Thank you always for your kind and encouraging visits :)

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    2. Your post on being strong and courageous could not have come at a better time. My 95 year old father has an inoperable mass in his intestine and I am weary from caring for him. The doctors are not sympathetic and there is very little support from my 4 grown siblings. The weight of this is exhausting since I have been his primary caretaker for 26 years. God is
      awesome and has enabled me to do this as I honor and love him dearly. Please pray for me and him as he transitions heavenward. Your blog has been a source of encouragement during some difficult seasons. I thank you for the time and effort you put into each post...

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    3. Dear Lisa, God bless you for your loyalty and love. Thank you for sharing. I will pray for you as you honor your father! May God give you strength.

      "You shall rise up before the gray headed, and honor the face of the old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD."
      ~ Leviticus 19:32

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  21. Yes! We are called to be strong and courageous. Also, I love your beautiful pictures!

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  22. Beautiful paintings, too! I recognize a few of them -- who is the artist? (I'm just guessing they're all by the same, since they're thematically and stylistically similar)

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    1. I am glad you enjoy the artwork. Most are by Sir Edmund Blair who is one of my favorites. The woman in armor is Millais I believe... Thank you for your visit ;)

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  23. I love this post Jes! Thank you for your encouragement and inspiration!

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  24. Thanks for so clearly differentiating between meekness and weakness. God calls us to some pretty big tasks, and He absolutely equips us for them. I am reading Mary Slessor's biography (missionary to Africa) with my children right now, and it is truly phenomenal what God did with one 5-foot woman yielded to him. Our blogging community would be blessed if you shared this at the Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup. #LMMLinkup http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=988

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    1. Thank you for the kind invitation! And yes, the missionary women share the truth of this to us! We have just studied Gladys Aylward and were very inspired by her strength and fortitude.

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