*Guest post by Jennifer Slattery
When our daughter was young, I was very cautious of the television shows and movies she watched. It wasn’t just the language or violence that concerned me, but the image of women they portrayed. The media seemed to convey a constant message: “Women’s value is only skin deep.” I was probably overly cautious, but the discussion still holds merit. What do our choice of heroine’s say about our values as a society?
At the risk of sounding cliché, we’ve come a long way … in but a short period of time. The other day my daughter showed me a page from her magazine. On it, there were five models, each with different skin tones and body types.
I believe the heroine’s in Christian fiction are changing, too. I’ve read novels of women with disabilities, vices they need to overcome, backgrounds they’re not fond of. I’ve read of women doctors, single moms, those facing divorce. To me, a sinner saved by grace, it’s encouraging to read of women just like me—imperfect, yet strong. Struggling, yet overcoming. Imperfect women living in an imperfect world, embraced and loved by a perfect God.
I believe our cardboard heroines from the past arose out of honorable intentions. There was a general desire to set forth perfection in the hopes that we, as readers, would strive for it. And there is much wisdom to that theory, and yet, the Bible presents a different kind of hero and heroine.
Those like Abraham, who lied, thus betraying his wife.
And Moses, a prince turned murderer turned liberator.
Those like Ruth, who had to beg, well, glean, for her next meal.
Paul, a religious tyrant who watched as Stephen the first martyr was stoned.
A sinful woman with an alabaster jar who was willing to surrender something so costly when she found something of higher value—Jesus.
Each of these characters taught us something about grace and something about ourselves. Through their struggles, God reveals our own. More than that, through their triumphs, God stirs us toward victory.
I’d love to hear from you. Has there been a heroine—in a novel, movie, or the Bible—that God used to tap deep into your heart, revealing an area of weakness He wanted to change? Tell me about her, and what God revealed through her.
*Clash of the Titles’ hostess, Jennifer Slattery, lives in the Midwest with her husband and their teenager. She writes for the ACFW Journal, Internet Café Devotions, Jewels of Encouragement, and the Christian Pulse. Her work has placed in various contests and appeared in numerous publications and compilation works. Visit her online at her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud (http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com) or on Facebook at “Living by Grace,” a modern-day meet-at-the-well community.