I admit. I am an independent woman. I can do most things by myself. I was raised by an ultra independent woman. I never saw being independent as being a bad thing. A few years ago, someone made this statement: “Oh, I KNOW just how independent you are.” They clearly did not mean it as a compliment. In fact, they find my independence offensive. This statement bothered me for quite some time. Am I not to be independent? Am I to be, as the world sees meekness, powerless or even brainless? I have many friends who are single and who are told, “you’re too independent to be married” or “you’d never submit to your husband you’re so independent.” Some are told, “It would take a very strong man to rein you in.” So I went to the Bible and started digging. Do you know what I found? Some extremely independent women!!!! Women who are heralded as being virtuous. So, let’s begin in no particular order.
The first woman who comes to mind doesn’t have a name, but she is clearly defined as a strong, independent woman. Proverbs 31 describes this woman as a hard worker, industrious, business minded, frugal, fearless, and an entrepreneur. She is compassionate, kind, and wise. She is not a slacker. Her husband is not threatened by her. Quite the opposite. His heart trusts in her and he praises her. He is known in the gates and is a respected man. Do you think he’d be held in high esteem if his wife was so independent he was emasculated? Her children rise up and call her blessed. They are not afraid of her. Verse 29 sums it all up by saying, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”
Secondly, meet Abigail. In I Samuel 25 Abigail is described as “of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance.” (verse 3) We read that her husband was “churlish and evil in his doings.” His name is Nabal and Nabal means fool or senseless. Here is an abbreviated scenario. David, who was to be king, was in the area and sent servants to Nabal to ask for provisions. Nabal, being foolish, says “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse?” (Even in the day before social media, I’m sure David’s encounter with Goliath got around.) Nabal harshly refuses and sends David’s messengers on their way. Long story short, David wants to right this wrong in blood, a servant of Nabal’s finds out, tells Abigail, and she springs to action. She gathers food and drink for David AND his men, rode out to meet David, and fell at his feet. She took the blame (verse 24-“upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be:”), intercedes and mediates on behalf of her husband and household, and convinces David to not shed blood. Nabal ends up dying either by stroke or heart attack and Abigail goes on to marry King David. This is not the work of a weak woman. This is a wise, strong, and independent woman.
In Judges 4 we find a woman named Jael. Allow me to set the scene. Sisera was the captain of King Jabin’s Canaanite army. As they were being defeated by the Israelites, Sisera fled (real hero, huh?). He sought refuge at the property of a man named Heber, a man who had an alliance with King Jabin. Heber’s wife, Jael, was very accommodating. She welcomed him in, gave him some nice warm milk to drink (maybe some fresh cookies?), and covered him with a blanket. Once Sisera was lulled to sleep, Jael quietly and expertly drove a tent spike through his temple, fulfilling the prophecy that a woman would receive the honor of killing Sisera. In Judges 5, Barak and Deborah sang her praises. Literally.
Speaking of Deborah, she was Israel’s only female judge. Talk about your independent woman. Queen Esther entered into the presence of King Xerxes without being summoned. In the days of the Persians this would mean death, but she was determined and grace was extended. Jochebed defied the king’s orders and hid Moses. She eventually put him in the Nile, he was found by a princess, and Jochebed was able to nurse him and raise him for a few more years, and was paid to do it. Time does not permit me to expound on the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27), Rahab (Joshua 2), Jehosheba (II Kings 11), and many others.
So to you independent women: Good on ya! Don’t be embarrassed to be how God made you. There are obviously boundaries, but don’t pretend to be something you’re not. God used many independent women throughout the Bible. Don’t let someone try to put you down by saying you’re too independent. If you are living in accordance with God’s Word, you’re just fine.