Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What is a Maiden?


I found this forward in Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacy MacDonald, and thought it was a good discription of what a maiden is:

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What is a Maiden? When we hear the word, do we picture a medieval princess strumming on a lute in a fantastical castle? Or perhaps we imagine a prim and proper nineteenth century schoolmarm with every hair in place. Maybe we're even cynical enough to scoff at the very notion of maidenhood and decide that it is a quaint and outdated concept we are well rid of. After all, doesn't being a maiden imply that a girl will live a secluded life, shuttered away from the world and contemplating her virtues alone?


God's word gives us many beautiful word pictures of young women. Perhaps the best known (and often the least discussed!) in Christian families is the picture of the woman in the Song of Solomon. The writer describes his wife as a walled garden full of delicious fruits, beautiful flowers, rich perfumes, and sweet springs of water(4:12-16). The wall protects her from intruders and preserves her beauties for her husband- but the wall is not ugly or " restrictive". Indeed, a garden could not remain untrammeled and unharmed without the wall. She has been lovingly guarded since maidenhood, tenderly cared for and prepared for the one gardener(whether it be her spouse or the Lord if she is called to remain single).


At the end of Song of Solomon, the Shulamite men ask what they should do for their young sister. THe answer was to cover her walls with silver and build up her door with boards of cedar. Here we can see that it is the job of the brothers not only to protect the purity of their sisters, but to also make the"wall" of protection beautiful at the same time.Maidenly modesty is not dour and unsmiling. It is not shadowy or fearful. It does not suppress God-given femininity. Rather, modesty and propriety shine like silver and sparkle like pure spring water from a fountain. But these virtues cannot survive alone. They require champions and bold protectors-fathers and brothers who will guard maidenhood even as godly mothers and sisters cultivate it and nourish it.


But where have all the bold knights gone? Where are the pure maidens who inspire them to heroism?


It is easy to look at the culture around us and point fingers as we ponder the lost virtues of maidenhood. Even tiny girls walk around in "hooker chic" with jaded looks in their eyes, their innocence trampled upon by the media, popculture and peer pressure. "Where are their fathers?" we might ask. What is her mother thinking to dress her that way?"


But we need to look no further then our own hearts to see the root of the problem. The sin that dispises maidenhood is within all of us. From the moment Satan tempted Eve to sell her God given innocence for a dime store version of wisdom, we have been looking in all the wrong places for love, exceptance and beauty....


Read more about maidenhood, from her book, " Raising Maidens of Virtue. Stacy MacDonald is the mother of three growing girls, and they have helped her write this book. I really like it alot!


Entered by Laura H

4 comments:

Anna S said...

I loved that essay! Being a maiden sounds so old-fashioned, so not 21-st century. Yet I believe it's as important as it used to be, maybe even more important, and not for very young girls alone. Sometimes I hear women who say, 'um, I'm not 16 anymore, I'm 21 (25, 30...), surely I can be a bit more lax about all these 'maiden' things, even if I'm not married yet?' - well, no, ladies! We remain maidens until we marry, be it at 18 or 40.

Emily said...

What a fantastic description, thank you for posting Laura. I particularly love this part: "But we need to look no further then our own hearts to see the root of the problem. The sin that dispises maidenhood is within all of us. From the moment Satan tempted Eve to sell her God given innocence for a dime store version of wisdom, we have been looking in all the wrong places for love, exceptance and beauty...." It's always easier to blame the culture, our parents, and other people in general. But the problem does indeed lie in us - we are all inherently sinful.

I believe a maiden is a beautiful term which has been sadly lost in this day and age. However, that doesn't mean we cannot aspire to be maidens of worth, praise God :)

Laura H said...

Anna and Emily,
I really think we should start a Mayden Club. It would be a good think to have our member meet once a year, and start a crusade for Maydenhood! Just a thought!
Laura

Anna Naomi said...

There's just something wonderful about the word maiden, isn't there? I've always liked it!