As I raise three boys and wonder at their wildness, I cannot help but be amazed at the uniqueness of their design. Our eldest loves art and adventure. He tends to pick up quickly on the emotions of the people around him, and often tries to be the peacemaker, while also being the judge. Our second-born enjoys playing alone for long periods of time. This feels strange to us sometimes, as he always needs us all within calling distance. He is at his happiest in the sand, playing with water and toys. And with bugs. He loves bugs. He tells us that the bugs love him, too. Powerful natural situations intimidate him such as facing a thunderstorm, or being near the ocean. We hope that as he learns more about the One who created them, he will embrace the majestic power of the display. Our third little one is a whirlwind like no other. He is driven, athletic, and every surface is a challenge to be conquered. He leaps and tumbles, reaches and grabs, and consequently drives his mother up the wall! I am astounded by the frequency of times I need to say "NO" to him in a single day. And when that "NO" is subsequently ignored, and his intentions fulfilled (consequences usually following) I am gapingly astounded at the magnitude of the tantrum afterwards; like 7.6, maybe 8 on the Richter scale. Just kidding...
But as I observe these beautiful beings that we call boys, I am filled with this certainty: they are boys.
I never thought I would be blessed with boys. As I am the eldest of 3 sisters, I thought I would be a good mom to daughters. I did, after all, have some experience in the area. But, Abba absolutely knows best. And as I look back, I can say that with unblurred certainty; I love being a mom to my boys. I love their wildness, their daring ideas and their adventure. I love the simplicity I can embrace with my boys. Yes, I am now the only female in my house. Yet somehow, I don't feel the need for more than I have. I don't "need" to have a biological daughter, as many seem to think I should. I am blessed with the visits of many sweet, precious little jewels that my boys are pleased to call friends. They dance; flit around exploring our garden; or help the daddies dissect bait during their fishing trip! And for me, experiencing these colorful daughters is enough. Abba knows best.
It seems nonsensical, but the question of gender seems to be dwelled on much lately. On a practical level, it may feel to us such a waste of time to be debating something seemingly so obvious. But when I take a step back, and clothe myself with kindness and compassion, I realise that one's identity, and the joined beliefs, must be severely damaged if they are cracked so deep; right to the foundational core. Our genders are within the very core of our design. Let's look at what the Word says:
"So God created man in His own image,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them."
Genesis 1:27 ESV
The Hebrew word translated as male in Genesis 1:27 is zakar זכר.
The root of zakar comes from the following:
to remember, recall, call to mind
to cause to be remembered, keep in remembrance
to make a memorial, make remembrance
The man was called to be a remembrance of who God is. We are made in His image and likeness. The heart of the Father is for us to be able to look at men and see something of our heavenly Father in them. Sadly the world has corrupted this image. Thankfully there are a generation of men rising up and remembering who God made them to be. They are calling to remembrance the purpose that God has for them. Son of the Most High King, you are remembered by your Father and called to be recorded in the book of Life.
Is Ephraim My dear son?
Is he a pleasant child?
For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still;
Therefore My heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:20 NKJV
The word translated as female in Genesis 1:27, is the word neqebah נקבה
This word stems from the word neqabwhich means the following:
to pierce, perforate, bore, appoint
be designated, be specified
At first this doesn't seem like a positive word. Piercing brings pain, and the crucifixion to my mind. However, this word also means appointed and designated. We as women are chosen and appointed to the purpose the Father has for each one of us.
Male and female was the first thing we were told here. Male. Female. This point being made, no further than the first chapter in the first book; the book of beginnings.
A friend of mine, shared the following scripture that uses the word neqab (נקב) as name:
"The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory.
You shall be called by a new name (נקב),
Which the mouth of the Lord will name."
Isaiah 62:2 NKJV
"The context of this verse is Jerusalem. Abba calls Jerusalem a female. She is corrupted and pierced yet He doesn't forget her, but redeems her and gives her a new name. Just like Eve messed up in the garden and needed to be redeemed so Jerusalem also spilled the blood of the prophets and needed redemption. Daughter of the King, you are designated and appointed by Him."
"The Maker of skies, the Maker of seas
The Maker of every beautiful thing
He made you, He made you too
The mountain high, the river wide
He tells the sun when to set and rise
And He made you, He made you too"
I believe the essence of both the man and the woman in their design represents different characteristics of Elohim. The man represents strength, where the woman presents sweet vulnerability. The man bravely charges, the woman invites. Man battles for protection, woman lovingly binds wounds. I don't think one can exist without the other. And there are so many dimensions to the human design, within the automated binary "male" or "female" the world would like to degrade our genders to. I know many driven women, who are faced with accusations of being "manly" simply because they succeed in the corporate world. I know many artistic men, who I am blessed to call brothers, that inspire and captivate through painting, music or photography. Does this make them feminine? Soft, perhaps?
Or how about this for a question:
Does your personality, or your talents, dictate your gender?
The world often implies that they do. God doesn't. He made you male. Or female. He chose. He weaved you together in your momma's womb. He chose your every cell, hand-picked your hair. You are richly, lovingly, exclusively, intricately pieced together to form the complex, colourful, beautiful YOU. Psalm 139 says:
"For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb...
My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!.."
I believe that the enemy wants to keep us distracted, and that questioning our basic foundation is a really good way to do this. If you are not certain of what gender you are, what gender (or what) you're attracted to, and whether you are happy with that choice, then how far will you move away from your designed calling in which there is fruit and fulfillment?
Let us not be deceived. Let us focus on living out Abba's will, originating from the basis of being fully male, or fully female. And finding our unique calling and purpose within that design.