Here are 5 imperfect women in the Bible every woman we should celebrate.
Many of us as Christian women look at our past and the things that we have done and we disqualify ourselves from being used by God.
But God uses imperfect women.
God uses women who might seem unqualified, and unwanted and He uses them to reach other imperfect women. I pray that this post encourages you and helps you to see past who you were and see who you can become through the power of Christ.
The Courage of Imperfect Women in the Bible
The imperfect women in the Bible showed extraordinary strength by embracing their vulnerability and relying on their faith in difficult situations. One example is Esther, who risked her life to approach the king uninvited and ultimately saved her people.
Another is the woman with the issue of blood, who approached Jesus for healing despite societal barriers. Rahab, a prostitute, defied the authorities to help the Israelite spies.
These stories show that vulnerability can be a catalyst for change and divine intervention. Imperfect women in the Bible teach us that embracing vulnerability leads to strength, growth, healing, and deliverance.
In Genesis 38 we are introduced to the story of Tamar.
As we read on in the story, the bible tells us that Jacob (otherwise known as Israel) bore a son named Judah. When Judah left his father and brothers behind, he later married a Canaanite woman named Shua. They soon had a son and named that son Er.
When Er was old enough, his parents chose a wife for him who was called Tamar. However, Er was not a righteous man. He sinned earnestly before the Lord and because of this, God struck him down; leaving Tamar a widow and childless.
Due to the law about marriage at the time, Tamar was later married to Er’s younger brother Onan.
According to Genesis 38, however, Onan refused to bear a child with Tamar. This again was a sin against God because of the way he went about doing it so the Lord took his life as well.
Soon after, Tamar was alone. Men were terrified of being married to her because of the fate of both of her previous husbands. Later, Tamar had to trick Judah into sleeping with her in order to bear her a son and continue the family line.
Why should we study Tamar?
Many of us reading the story of Tamar might be led to believe that Tamar was a jinx or unlucky because of the deaths of her two husbands.
We tend to miss the end of the story where, though Tamar suffered long, though she tricked a man into bearing a child with her, God still extended grace towards her.
Not only was God able to forgive her sins, and the sins of the men in her lives, He later blessed her with twin boys, Perez and Zerah.
Tamar may not have been one of God’s chosen people, she may have been an imperfect woman, but she was still used by God throughout her life. It shows how redemptive and compassionate our Heavenly Father is towards us.
Her story reveals to us that God loves us no matter how messed up we may be. He doesn’t love us any less, no matter how much of a twisted past we might be carrying with us, how low we might think we’ve sunk, or the struggles with sin we might have.
Hagar, also known as Agar, is another imperfect woman whose story can be found in the old testament.
Hagar was an enslaved Egyptian woman who was bought by Abraham and Sarah because they were in desperate need of a child. Due to their old age and probably numerous attempts, they felt that Hagar was their only chance of bearing a child to continue Abraham’s family line.
Soon Hagar became pregnant. Once she did begin showing, however, the bible tells us that Hagar became an arrogant woman because she was able to bear a child and Sarah wasn’t. Because of this change in attitude, Sarah mistreated her so badly that eventually Hagar was forced to flee into the wilderness.
While in the wilderness, Hagar is given a message by the angel of the Lord who tells her to return home. The angel also tells her that there will be many descendants born through her son’s lineage.
Why should we study Hagar?
Hagar’s story is significant for us as Christian women who struggle with imperfection and negative thoughts on a daily basis. We might feel unwanted, unloved, and rejected in the same way that Hagar was not a perfect biblical woman, and was rejected by her family.
What’s truly significant about Hagar’s story is that in Genesis 16:13 where it is revealed to us that God saw Hagar. He saw her in her weakness, in her sin and He spoke to her.
When the angel came to Hagar, he didn’t speak to her and admonish her about her past or present sins. Instead, he chose to focus on her future. The angel chose to focus on all that Hagar and her son would become regardless of their present situation or past mistakes.
Many of us might be in a place where we are isolated and feel like the whole world hates us. But in many ways that is a good thing.
Look at Hagar.
When Hagar was cast out and removed from her masters (the people who control every single aspect of her life from what she does to what she is allowed to believe), she develops a personal sense of who she is. Though she might not be chosen, though she might not be the cream of the crop, the relationship she develops with God becomes the most important relationship she will ever know.
God isolates you so that you can get yourself together. It might seem like you have lost friendships and relationships, but He is building the most important relationship of them all.
When we think of the sisters Mary and Martha, many of us might see Mary as the woman to study, the woman to look up to. For me, however, I feel like Martha is one of those imperfect women in the bible who is often overlooked due to her “mess up” when Jesus came to her house.
Martha’s story can be found in Luke:38-42. In the story Mary and Martha, the sisters are busy getting their house ready for Jesus’ arrival. While Martha busies herself with preparations from dinner to decoration and a plethora of other things, Mary is more concerned with learning as much as she can from Jesus.
After Jesus arrives, Martha still hurriedly gets as many things as she can do while Mary sits with Jesus and talks with Him. Frustrated by her sister’s seeming laziness, asks Jesus if He doesn’t care about Mary’s laziness and gives all her frustrations to Him.
Jesus replies and tells her “Martha, Martha, you are so worried and upset about so many things, but you only need to do one thing. Mary has chosen that which is better, and I’m not going to take it away from her.”
Essentially, Jesus explains to Martha that she has spent so much time concentrating on the wrong thing that she’s missed the point of His visit.
Why should we study Martha?
There’s a lot that we can learn from Martha’s story. But the most important lesson I took from her story is that oftentimes we spend our time focusing on the wrong parts of our walk with Jesus.
We’re concerned with how we appear to others, how we sound, and what ritualistic parts of Christianity we’re practicing.
In doing this we often forget that spending time with Jesus and getting to know more about who He is on a deeper level is far more important.
Martha spent so much of her time looking and comparing what she was doing with what her sister Mary was doing that she could barely concentrate on her tasks. Eventually, her frustrations led to her outburst of frustration.
The wonderful thing is that instead of chastising Martha and making her feel even worse about the situation, Jesus simply reminds her of the importance of being present. He reminds her that though her chores and tasks are important, spending time with Him is even more important.
Let’s use Martha as a reminder that in the midst of our busyness we need to also make time for our Heavenly Father.
Elizabeth’s story in the bible is a little bit different from the other women I’ve mentioned so far. This is because her imperfection wasn’t of a spiritual nature. Her imperfection lay in the fact that though she was a woman of faith, she was unable to bear a child with her husband Zechariah.
The bible tells us in Luke chapter 1 that Elizabeth was a woman of faith who was righteous before the Lord. She lived by His word and obeyed the Lord’s commandments.
Regardless of the fact that she lived a blameless life, she was unable to bear children. As a woman myself, I can imagine that this must have been hard for her. She must have felt alone at times as she watched her friends and family get pregnant and have fun with their own children while she struggled.
Though she could have given up and cursed God for her inability to bear a child, she remained faithful to Him. She took the Lord at His word and in the end, God blessed her with a son, John The Baptist.
He would go on to play a remarkable role in the life of Jesus Christ. In doing so she became one of the most important, imperfect women in the bible.
Why should we study Elizabeth?
Though Elizabeth struggled to bear a child, though she suffered disappointment and possibly rejection, she remained faithful to God. This, I find, is a true display of strength.
There are many times in our lives where we face disappointment and things don’t go the way we would like for them to go. It can cause us to build resentment towards the Lord and towards our walk with God.
But like Martha, we can learn to hold on to God. We can learn to lean on His promises and know that though things might be hard right now, things will get better. Elizabeth is proof of that.
Can you imagine how delighted she must have been to learn that she would bear a son? Just imagine the delight you will experience when your prayers are answered. Imagine how happy you’ll be when that heavy, damp season of your life finally comes to an end.
Just like Elizabeth, God is making things happen for you. Even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it and even when it’s not evident, God is working on your prayers.
The Sinful Woman
In Luke 7:36-50, we are introduced to the sinful woman. Many versions of the bible call her Mar.In this blog post, I will refer to her as the sinful woman. A woman who, driven by her immense love for God, presented herself before Him despite her sins and shame.
As we read the story, we witness the woman’s overwhelming response to Jesus, as she throws herself down to the ground. Out of her deep love for Jesus, the woman washed His feet with her tears and used her hair to wipe them. After she was done washing Jesus’ feet she anointed them with a bottle of very expensive perfume.
Jesus’ disciples were more than likely appalled at the waste of perfume and shocked by her actions. Jesus, however, saw past all of that and He forgave her of her sins and set her free.
Why should we study The Sinful Woman?
How many times have you felt like you were too sinful to go before the Lord? How often have you wanted to talk to Jesus, to throw yourself down before Him but pride kept you from doing so? The story of the sinful woman reminds us that God’s light can shine into every dark corner.
There is no sin that is so shameful that, when we go before God with a pure heart, He cannot save us from.
The story of the sinful woman reminds us that Jesus is there for us, whether we struggle with sins for years or even ones we are unaware of. In the midst of our pain and suffering, God is here to save us.
No matter how far we think we have strayed from God, He is willing and wanting to accept us back into His kingdom, to give us a hope and a future.
Let us celebrate these imperfect women in the Bible, for their stories remind us that God’s grace can transform our flaws into instruments of His purpose and love.
All my love,