When Submission Starves the Soul
Finding Freedom as a Woman in Christ
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—This Sunday, a woman somewhere in America will don the literal head covering of 1 Corinthians 11 and depart for church, where she will be expected to remain silent. In another church, a woman will stand before the congregation to deliver the sermon. Most of us will fall somewhere between these two extremes—no head covering required and free to teach children or other women or to accompany the church choir, as long as we remember that some spiritual gifts are off-limits to us. In this climate, many women are spiritually suffocating, unique giftings and God-given callings crushed by a male-dominated church culture determined to keep them in their place—regardless of what God is doing.
For author, ordained minister, and international speaker Ruth Conard, these feelings of rejection and confusion are all too familiar. “I have been in all kinds of churches, and it seems God is pretty consistent for men,” she says. “They don’t have to change their clothes, all offices are open to them, and they have been redeemed from everything. The truth is that for women, the verdict on these issues changes from church to church.” Despite the contradictions in opinion within the church, Conard believes that God is consistent in His love and His plan for women. In her new book, Designer Women: Made by God, Conard inspires women to rise up and embrace God’s unique design and purpose for them by examining the biblical accounts of women who were mightily used by Him.
“These women, as leaders and strong examples in varied facets of life, did not act because there were no good men, but rather because they were good women, created in God’s image, gifted by God, and working in obedience with their Maker,” Conard states. “These women of strength were pillars in home, society, and faith communities. And they are my foremothers and your foremothers with much to teach us.”
Designer Women was written for the average woman in the pew trying to make sense of her calling and function in God’s kingdom. As she shares some of her own past struggles in ministry, Conard offers special encouragement to those who have been told that who they are—the woman God designed them to be—is not acceptable. In the process, she takes on the foundation of the patriarchal society (a result of sin, not an expression of God’s perfect plan, she says), the misogynist writings of certain church fathers, and the “problem passages” in the Pauline letters. Grounded by well-researched theology, Designer Women challenges the domineering attitudes that have been passed down for generations. Conard also includes biblical examples of the negative female tendencies that women should avoid.
Conard’s own journey to spiritual freedom was over thirty years in the making. After serving on the mission field in Peru and Mexico, she finally enrolled in seminary at the age of 53, working as a secretary for two university presidents by day and graduating after five years of night classes with a Masters of Divinity. Two years later, she was ordained. At age 60, she preached her first sermon. Since that time, she has travelled the world as a speaker and mentor encouraging women in their gifts.
“You are a designer item, one of a kind,” Conard proclaims. “No one can tell you that the way you were made is wrong. That is an insult to the Designer.”
Designer Women by Ruth Tuttle Conard
ISBN: 978-1-934068-75-5/238 pages/softcover/$14.99MY REVIEW
Designer Women is an excellent book and I believe it would be perfect for a women's group study . Conard uses the stories of women in Scripture to show us our worth as women in God's kingdom. She uses tons of Scripture. Her chapters are easy to read and follow and understand. Designer Women is packed full of truths women of God need to hear. I definitely recommend this book.