The Belle and Beast costumes are hanging up 6 feet away from me in my office at the church. Staring at that bright yellow dress and blue man's "whatever you call it" with gold trim and white ruffles makes me shake my head in wonder yet again at all of the things Dana, my Beauty, is able to convince me to do.
It is the Valentine season, and at our church we held our valentines banquet the week before Valentine's Day. Dana and our ladies spend months planning and preparing for every big event we do, and this one was no exception. In fact, due to the very elaborate nature of all things "Beauty and the Beast," this one took a great deal of extra time and work. But when everything was ready, the Hope Center, our gymnasium and fellowship hall, had been transformed into a Disneyesque banquet hall.
There were roses under glass covers. A chandelier was hanging from the ceiling. The tables were adorned in black and gold. There were tea pots, old clocks; they really missed nothing.
The meal matched as well. Cornish hens, hand-cut green beans, new potatoes and even "the gray stuff" for dessert.
But the biggest surprise of all was the dance.
Months before the banquet, I sat at my desk in bewilderment as Dana stood across from me and said, "Oh, I also want you and me to do the Beauty and the Beast dance." Those who have read this column for any length of time likely have an awareness of how legendary my dancing skills are, and I mean "legendary" in the worst kind of way. The last time I attempted any dancing was in my late teens, and it ended with the words, "Dude! Would you stop? You look like a geeky white boy!"
And now my Beauty was asking me to dance. In public.
In the weeks leading up to the execution, er, "event," she showed me choreography videos of what steps to take and moves to make. Then began the actual practice. Step by step, turn by turn, spin by spin, we acclimated ourselves to the movements. But all the while my martial arts/power-lifting mindset kept intruding, demanding that I make firm movements and have every muscle in my body as tense as a violin string.
But Beauty was patient with me, determined to tame the beast.
The night of the banquet, everyone was seated and waiting. Beauty and I were outside, waiting for the music to start. When it did, I walked in and began to greet people. They were all perplexed about my costume. Then Beauty came in, and I turned to greet her in "surprise."
"Dance with me?" she asked.
"No, I uh "
Then she curtsied, I bowed stiffly at the waist, and we were off. I plopped both hands on her shoulders, she carefully reset them where they should go, and we began to move in time. I am not at all claiming that we achieved Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers levels of skill and proficiency, but I am telling you that it went very, very well and brought a loud round of applause once we finished and bowed to the crowd.
Beauty convinced the Beast to dance. I outweigh this woman by 70 pounds. I could very literally bench-press her 30 times. And yet she was able to convince me to do the one thing I determined never to even attempt again for as long as I live.
For good or bad, the raw power of a woman is an amazing thing.
Delilah destroyed Samson. Esther remade Ahasuerus. Jael was the doom of Sisera. Jezebel sent the mighty Elijah into hiding. Ruth rescued Naomi with one hand while winning the heart of Boaz with the other. Mary agreed to bear the Christ-child and changed the entire course of history. There is simply nothing quite so powerful as a woman.
But like all power, it can be used or misused. Consider the list above, and notice how some used their power to build, while others used it to destroy. Stating the ideal, Proverbs 18:22 says, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord." But not all ladies fulfill that ideal, as Solomon himself well knew by experience.
Ladies, the question is not whether or not you are powerful; you are powerful. The only question is how will you use that power, to build or to destroy, to taunt or to teach, to serve yourself or to serve others?
I need to go now. Beauty is calling.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.