Biblical Wallflowers: Learning from Overlooked Women of the Bible
I am a wallflower by nature. You’ve seen women like me. (You might even be a woman like me.) Comfortable on the sidelines. Terrorized at the thought of speaking in the group. You’ve got nothing to say, especially compared to THEM. Experience bears this out, so I remained at an emotional distance relationally many years. That is until I began to understand how God sees me., and how He uses women just like me for great and eternal purposes. In the Bible, I discovered how you and I are to conceptually understand His love and goodness toward us.
Across Scripture we find examples of women like you and me who help show us how He embraces the individual. The lives and experiences of these insignificant Nobodies have influenced me greatly. I no longer find myself in a room feeling invisible or unworthy of being chosen and used by God. You might say these Biblical wallflowers have helped me learn how to be seen and used by God in this life. In fact, I’ve moved from feeling invisible to being what I might call spiritually invincible.
You, too, can experience the freedom and joy that comes from learning how to become seen for all the right reasons and in all the right ways. Let’s look at nine women just like you and me—comfortable in the shadows, living their best wallflower lives, who God uses to show us His love and design for our own lives.
Biblical Wallflowers #1: Abigail
(1 Samuel 25:2-42)
Abigail demonstrated wisdom and diplomacy in a critical situation involving her husband Nabal and David. When David’s men sought provisions from Nabal, he responded rudely, provoking David’s anger. Abigail intervened, bringing food and making peace with David. Her actions averted disaster and showcased her intelligence and courage. After Nabal’s death, David married Abigail, recognizing her as a woman of virtue and discernment. God uses her in her personality and gifting to become more than she ever dreamed possible.
Biblical Wallflowers #2: Priscilla
(Acts 18:1-3, 18-26; Romans 16:3-4; 1 Corinthians 16:19)
Priscilla, along with her husband Aquila, played a significant role in the early Christian community. They were tentmakers by trade and worked with the Apostle Paul. Priscilla is mentioned several times in the New Testament, and she is often listed before her husband, indicating her active involvement in teaching and mentoring. In Acts 18, she and Aquila instruct Apollos in the ways of the Lord. She uses the places where God plants her, sharing her life, experiences, and understanding of who God is in a way God uses mightily.
Biblical Wallflowers #3: Jael
(Judges 4:17-22; 5:24-27)
Jael is a woman who played a crucial role in the defeat of the Canaanite general Sisera. After he fled from the battlefield, seeking refuge, Jael welcomed him into her tent. While he slept, she drove a tent peg through his temple, delivering a decisive blow to the enemy. The Song of Deborah in Judges 5 praises Jael for her bravery in fulfilling a key role in Israel’s victory.
Biblical Wallflowers #4: Joanna
(Luke 8:1-3; 24:1-10)
Joanna was one of the women who followed and supported Jesus during his ministry. She is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke as having been healed by Jesus and later becoming a benefactor to him. Joanna is also one of the women who discovered the empty tomb and witnessed the angelic proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection. Her role in financially supporting Jesus’ ministry and being a witness to the resurrection is noteworthy.
Biblical Wallflowers #5: Huldah
(2 Kings 22:14-20)
Huldah was a prophetess during the reign of King Josiah. When the Book of the Law was discovered in the temple, Josiah sent a delegation to inquire of the Lord through Huldah. Her authoritative response played a crucial role in the religious reforms initiated by Josiah.
Biblical Wallflowers #6: Tabitha (Dorcas)
Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, was a woman known for her acts of charity and kindness. She made tunics and other garments for the widows in her community. When she died, the apostle Peter raised her from the dead, showcasing the impact of her benevolent deeds.
Biblical Wallflowers #7: The Woman with the Alabaster Jar
(Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 7:36-50)
An unnamed woman, often identified as Mary of Bethany, demonstrates profound love and devotion to Jesus by anointing him with expensive perfume from an alabaster jar. Despite criticism from onlookers, Jesus praises her actions, emphasizing the significance of her gesture in preparation for his burial. This woman’s act symbolizes deep faith, love, and understanding of Jesus’ impending sacrifice.
Biblical Wallflowers #8: Euodia and Syntyche
Euodia and Syntyche were two women in the early Christian community at Philippi. Although their specific contributions are not detailed, the Apostle Paul mentions them by name and acknowledges their partnership in the gospel. This suggests their active involvement in spreading the Christian message.
Biblical Wallflowers #9:The Widow with Two Mites
(Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4)
In a brief but powerful story, Jesus highlights the sacrificial giving of a poor widow who contributes two small copper coins to the temple treasury. Though her offering is minuscule in monetary value, Jesus commends her for giving all she had. This woman’s act of generosity exemplifies the principle of giving from the heart and sacrificing despite having very little.
These women may not be as well-known as some of the major figures in the Bible, but their stories offer valuable insights into the roles and contributions of women in biblical narratives. They are here for you and me. These testimonies live in the pages of Scripture so that we can see more clearly how God sees his people—even the ones who feel left out and less than.
Four Ways to Draw Inspiration from Biblical Wallflowers
There are at least four ways you and I can benefit from these stories about obscure women on the sidelines.
There is Strength in Diversity
Do not miss the sprinkling of these women across two thousand years, in different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and stations in life. There is no mold we must fit into. They were not limited to one specific role or task, demonstrating that wallflower nobodies can contribute in various ways. Whether it’s through acts of kindness, courage, wisdom, or financial support, the Bible showcases a spectrum of strengths that women possess. You and I are to embrace our God-given unique qualities and understand that our contributions, however small they may seem, can have a significant impact.
Aim for Character and Virtue
The testimony of these lives showcase the importance of character and virtue over societal expectations or outward appearances. PRAISE GOD! Many of these women were recognized for their wisdom, courage, and faithfulness rather than disappearing into the woodwork of their conventional roles. You and I need to ask God to cultivate our inner strength, develop more resilience, and plant in us integrity. For these qualities hold lasting value and can make a lasting impact.
Your Faithfulness in the Ordinary Changes the World
These examples of women like the Widow with Two Mites or the Woman with the Alabaster Jar illustrate the power of small acts of faithfulness, kindness, and generosity.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT
Remember, seemingly insignificant contributions, when offered with a believing heart, are highly valuable to God. It’s how He does much of His Kingdom work. What we do in our daily lives matters. Our God is in the ordinary, and He has ordained it for changing the world. The testimonies of these women show us the value of generosity and compassion for the individual and for the body as a whole.
Aim for an Audience of One
Your life, worth, and contributions, though unnoticed by the world, are seen and valued by God. He sees you, knows you, and has a plan for your life, even if and when others in our lives may not. Just as these women in the Bible were sometimes overlooked in their social connections or by society at large, they were recognized by God, Jesus and those we might deem the A-Team of Christianity. Wallflower Friend, your efforts are seen and appreciated by the only One that matters.
Embrace your uniqueness, cultivate virtuous qualities, engage in acts of kindness, and recognize the significance of their contributions in the eyes of God.
If you are like me and have trouble taking God at His Word in this arena, Can You See Me, Now? Good News for the Lonely, Left Out, and Less Than, is for you. As I have confessed, I naturally operate out of a wallflower mentality that keeps me hidden, unable to experience all God created me to enjoy for His glory, and my good. In Can You See Me, Now I’m passing on my notes to you for how to say “goodbye” to invisible you and start living life seen, known, and loved.
I wrote it for you. Buy the book. You won’t be sorry you did. You can learn more and purchase a copy here.
For His glory,