Heroes. Superheroes. Sheroes.

I’ve recently been pondering two major themes in my life: mountains and biblical womanhood, not necessarily in that order. Since I live in Texas and the closest real mountains are a day’s drive away, I’m choosing to focus a little more on women.

A friend (the inimitable Zach Neese) posted a word on Facebook that caught my attention. He used the word ‘sheroes.’ As in, heroes that are girls. Women. Sheroes.

So I started pondering all the sheroes in my life that have rocked my world in one way or another, and you know, I’m pretty overwhelmed by the list. And not a one of ’em wears a cape. At least, I don’t think they do. They might. They’d be justified if they wanted to. Wear a cape, that is.

But I digress.

As I examined what I know of the lives of these women, a few common elements began to surface. Bravery, loyalty, love, kindness, grace … almost sounds like the Boy Scouts, right? They do have Den ‘Mothers’ for a reason.

These women are all women who have embraced their position; in fact, not only have they embraced it, they’ve purposefully stepped out into it. They’ve taken the mantle of womanhood seriously, not striving to be something they’re not.

One of my favorite movie scenes ever is from the third installment of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, where (*spoiler alert*) Eowyn is facing the king of the Nazgul. He’s a pretty bad dude – about ten feet tall, huge sort of Scream-ish mask, all black, big ol’ poisonous sword, you know, standard big-bad-dude fare. Eowyn has been disguised as a soldier, hell-bent on avenging her father’s death. At the climax of a pretty bloody battle scene, she finds herself face to face with this bad guy. He scoffs at her, claiming, ‘No man can kill me.’

In a pulse-racing, heart-pounding moment, she rips her helmet off, brandishing her sword, and declares, “I am no man!” She then proceeds to kill the enemy who couldn’t be killed – by a man.

“I am no man!” That declaration screamed in my brain the first time I saw that movie. Eowyn could do what no man could, simply because she wasn’t one. Her gender qualified her for a different part of the battle; one that was short and sweet (sweeeeet!!!), but ultimately proved to be a strategic victory that lead to the downfall of the true enemy, Sauron.

Battles. Enemies. Swords. Fighting. Blood. Victory. Sounds violent, doesn’t it? Well, sister, it is. We’re at war with a real enemy; have been, ever since that little scene in the garden.

A bunch of stuff came out of that scene in Genesis, but one very important detail often gets overlooked as Eve gets blamed for it all. As part of the serpent’s curse, He said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman.” (Gen. 3:15) Webster’s defines ‘enmity’ as ‘positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill-will.’ Positive and active. Mutual hatred. Make no mistake, ladies. We have an enemy. He actively hates women.

So as I pondered these ‘sheroes’ in my life, one trait kept coming to the surface; these women are fighters. Not content to sit idly by and watch the enemy destroy their lives and loved ones, these warriors come out swinging, determined to take dominion, kick butt, and take names.

In a dress.

Or not.

I can’t point to a single common physical trait. Some of these fighters enjoy domestic pursuits like housekeeping, floral arranging and scrapbooking; others develop hives at the mention of such things. Some are mamas in the physical sense, and others in the spiritual sense. But all of them share the ability to kick some serious enemy booty, simply by embracing their womanly selves.

In their every-woman-should-read-this (men, too) book Captivating, John and Stasi Eldridge explain some of this phenomenon. Throughout the ages, when an artist attempted to capture a woman’s true beauty, she was seen at rest. Lounging, reclining, relaxed.

Ok, please don’t go tell anybody I said you didn’t have to vacuum anymore. That’s not what I mean by ‘rest’. A woman’s greatest weapon against the enemy is when she quits striving, quits trying to be something she’s not.

I am no man!

When God was handing out consequences to Adam and Eve (see, that’s all it was – natural consequences), He told Eve that she would ‘desire her husband,’ meaning she would desire his position, his authority. She would try to be like him (as satan had tried to be like God. Huh.), and in doing so, would be in a constant state of unrest and striving. You know what I mean. When you see a woman who has spent her life striving to be something other than what she’s created to be, it ain’t pretty. But when you come across one who has embraced her womanhood, embraced her femininity, it doesn’t matter if she’s in a hard hat or heels (or both). She’s beautiful.

When she enters that place of true rest, she is positioned to enter the battle. If she’s striving, controlling, focused on what she’s not rather than what she is, she is actually entering into agreement with the enemy, and cannot possibly defeat him in any real way. But when she’s finally chosen to relax and just be, she steps into the place of battle covered and empowered.

The minute Eowyn ripped off that helmet and stopped pretending, she was perfectly positioned to take on the enemy that only she could defeat. These sheroes in my life have ripped off their places of striving, dropped the need to control, and are now perfectly positioned to take on the enemy of our soul, who doesn’t even show up unless he’s going to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). They are at rest, but not lazy. They are peaceful, but not passive. They are feminine, and strong.

Eowyn wielded her sword from a place of understanding. In that moment, she fully embraced her position and was able to defeat the enemy. My sheroes have done the same; they have stepped into an understanding of their power and authority as women, and are able to wield their sword and defeat the enemy in their own lives and the lives of those around them.

My sheroes are mothers, sisters, daughters, midwives, pastors, CEOs, writers, single moms, athletes, cooks, housekeepers, readers, fashionistas, artists, and the list goes on. But they are also fighters, warriors in the kingdom, ready and able to take on the enemy. And they’ve taken up the battle cry –

I am no MAN!


12 comments so far

  1. Jennifer Stracener on

    Love it, Nancy! I am no MAN!!! From one warrior to another, great job on a well written article. I love the things that He is showing you!

  2. Caryn Clark on

    This was just what I needed to read. So glad you are using your gifting to encourage us!! This was a huge blessing to me.

  3. MichelleBenami on

    Excellence….pure excellence.

  4. Linda Godsey on

    Good word, Nancy. Love your style and message. That’s why I want to go to Alpha Summit!

  5. Cindy S on

    C H A Y I L !!!!

  6. ambergobers on

    Dang, this is truth. Nance, you are an anointed writer- you know that right? I mean, you are gifted with words and humor and all that jazz… but the Holy Spirit is all over this. Thank you, ever so much for sharing your amazing with the world. Love this more than I can say. Keep shining.
    Love, love

  7. marissastar on

    Women who are “hot” with swords … Hello!!! And of course my definition of hot isn’t sexy it’s secure!!! A woman who’s put her comfy clothes on and kicking’ it on the couch with Jesus because she has become comfortable in who her God has said she is. Not comfortable like complacent. Comfortable like resolve to the call. Nancy you are my sheroes, which sounds a lot like she rose … Like rose up … Girl you’ve been doing a lot of that lately. I like it!

  8. Susan Bautista on

    Love, love love it!Isaiah 30:15

  9. Zach Neese on

    Man! That was womanly and burly at the same time! You go, lioness!

  10. Kisha on

    Go girl!

    If it is ok with you, I’m stealing this! I’ve been working on a lesson for young girls on embracing femininity and it’s truest definition. I struggle with words and word pictures (unlike you) so I’m just going to let you say part of it for me!

    Thanks for sharing so powerfully! LOVE, love love this!!!


  11. Rene Lackey on

    WOW! This IS really good. “A woman’s greatest weapon against the enemy is when she quits striving.” Yes! Thank you. I needed this today.

  12. Sherry Floyd on

    Fabulous! Thank you for writing this!

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