I stand before my seven floor-to-ceiling bookshelves looking for a fresh thought to share with you today. I walk back and forth, sure one would reach out and grab me with a “Write about me!” kind of attention.
So, instead, I pick up the book I’m currently studying with a small group of girlfriends this summer: Lost Women of the Bible by Carolyn Custis James.
I turn to chapter two: “Mrs. Noah: The Unknown Soldier.” Carolyn shares that her scholarly husband was concerned when he knew Noah’s wife would have a chapter in her book. “He feared I might be heading off into murky waters of speculation. I assured him there was plenty to say about her without a bit of speculation.”
I can hardly wait for her insights. I mean, really, how many of us know the story of Noah? Yet how few of us ever think about the Mrs.? I pause, wondering, if I’ve ever given her much thought myself. So I challenge myself to wonder for a while before diving in.
Then I open Carolyn’s book and begin reading, highlighting and penning my applications in the margins. (I know for some this may seem disrespectful. But to me, I am engaging with the author in a way that would probably honor her if she ever found out.)
First of all, this book is well worth the $16.99 printed on the back cover! What fun to watch Bible characters come to life through the insights and imaginings of a gifted writer.
Carolyn’s five insights about Mrs. Noah are all thought provoking:
The first fragment of her life is that Mrs. Noah lived during terrible times.
Wickedness and violence…the whole world was in chaos.” Mrs. Noah could sympathize with many women today.
The second fragment we know about Mrs. Noah is the fact that she was married.
Her identity and her claim to fame are bound up in the single fact that she was ‘Noah’s wife….What we can say about her marriage assignment was a tough one.” Despite the fact that Noah is remembered for his incredible faith…during his ark-building years, Noah was ridiculed and apparently fruitless. No doubt a tough journey for his wife to walk.
A third fact we know is that Mrs. Noah was a mother of the first rank.
Having given birth to three sons. At least in the world’s eyes at this time, that made her a success. And even today, “motherhood” can sometimes attribute an irrational validity to a woman’s life.
Fourth, Mrs. Noah was a survivor.
She lived through the loss of family, friends, home and all that was familiar to her.
Finally, she was a daughter of Eve…
...and every woman born after the flood descended from Mrs. Noah.” Yes, that includes my family.
Then Carolyn gives me the courage to personalize the story of Mrs. Noah with a provocative question and a comment:
“So how does Eve’s legacy fit into the life of Mrs. Noah? Did her own walk with God brace her soul to face the loses of the past and to tackle the enormous task of rebuilding that lay ahead?”
“In our world, as in hers, there are days when it feels like more is sinking than is staying afloat. And her story, no matter how heroic and newsworthy it may have been, didn’t get written up.”
We may have moments when we, too, are asked by God to do “enormous” tasks. I’ve had a few of those myself. Perhaps you have, too. The only thing that has kept me afloat is my own personal walk with the Lord. I could not – and cannot – lean on another’s faith alone to keep my head above water.
And there have been times when my story didn’t get told – or at least not told truthfully from my perspective. I love these words from the last page of Carolyn’s chapter:
“Mrs. Noah got lost in Noah’s shadow,
but in God’s eyes, she was never lost.”
TO CONSIDER: Do you feel unseen or unheard – a season of shadow living? A comforting truth for you to ponder: “The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalm 121:8