You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘woman’ tag.

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t worry.

Instead, I PANIC.

This week, I woke up and decided it was high time for some panicking.

Just kidding. But really, I did panic.

It was like for so long I (and we) have been in the dramatic upheaval of marriage and missionary training and moving and starting out support raising that I didn’t have time to panic, only to keep my head above water.

But slowly, things have settled. We’ve unpacked our things. We bought a comforter. Our rings became less shiny and our stuff less new and our marriage less novel, and suddenly I wasn’t just surviving.

And when I finally had enough time to stand and look around, I panicked. Not just panicked, but PANICKED. Like, freaking out, crying, full-blown angry-thrashy-sweaty-nightmare-filled sleep panicked.

Like a child who suddenly realizes they’ve swum into the deep end on accident, I’ve lost my footing. Spluttering, choking, gasping for breath.

How are we ever going to do this? Missionaries? What were we thinking? Really. There are people far smarter, far better, far more spiritual and qualified for this than us. Trust me, we went through training with them.

But here we are. With the title “Missionary” on our marriage license and our tax forms. Doing just that.

But for some reason, God chose us for this. I definitely don’t always appreciate it (last night as we were getting ready for bed, I told Clay that I really wish God could have chosen to make us something more stable, like an office-worker or full-time vacation-taker. He told me the first one isn’t all that stable and the second one doesn’t exist. Dang.) But I know we’re right where we’re supposed to be.

And honestly, it’s a scary place to be. I wish I could say that I wasn’t scared, that I was trusting God completely, that I was at peace. But I’m not. But I’m getting there.

Every day I wake up, I’m dragging these reluctant feet a few more steps, urging this stubborn heart to soften just a little bit more. I’m getting there. I am. I’m just slower than you might expect.

“I believe I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

I have clung to this verse like it is life itself. To me, it says so much. It says not only will I see the goodness of the Lord, but that I will see it in the land of the living. Did you catch that? I won’t have to wait until heaven. I will see it here. Now.

Oh, that gives me so much hope!

To know that it’s not the interminable waiting. To know that I’m not stuck on “this side of eternity”, a phrase to me that sounds like being a toddler stuck behind the baby gate, watching all the fun happening in the other room.

To know that I can, right now, in this place, in this situation, experience his goodness, no matter how scared or small or insufficient I feel.

I love that. I need that.

I BELIEVE I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of living. In the land of missionary support raising. In the land of newly-married-ness. In the land of Columbus, Ohio (aka far, far away from the ministry and the students I love.) In this land, right here, today.

I believe I will.

I believe.

 

 

Be still, my soul. The Lord is on your side. 

Be. Still. Be STILL. Don’t run, don’t hide, don’t curl up in the fetal position. Be STILL. Relax. Rest.

The Lord is on your side. YOUR side. The LORD. The God of the universe, who controls every atom and every galaxy, each dost mote and every star. He’s on your side. He’s not going to leave you. He won’t suddenly decide to revoke friendship or drift out of your grasp. He is on YOUR side. He is for you, never against. He is more zealous for your joy than you could ever be. Trust Him. 

Be still, my soul. Don’t fret over the painful things that have happened this week, or last week, or last year. Yes, cry. Grieve. But don’t worry. Don’t dwell. Don’t worry about the unknown future stretching out before you. Leave to your God to order and provide. Let the God who unrolls the past, present, and future of the world like a scroll arrange your present and future, just as He has the past. Has he ever let you go without? Has he ever not made things work? Has he ever left you alone? No, never. And He won’t start now. In every change, He faithful will remain. 

He is faithful. Trust Him. Be. Still. 

 

A few days ago, my headlight burnt out. Because I’m naturally a penny-pincher saving for my honeymoon, I decided to save some money and just buy the bulb instead of paying an auto shop to do it.

I have absolutely no car knowledge. None. (I know how to fill it up with gas, wash it, and drive it. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I grasped the distinction between a car and a truck. I really don’t do my own maintinence) So, in the past, I would have had my friend Rob or my fiance to do it, but sadly Rob has moved away, and Clay is in Florida for the week. I sat, considering this fact, after I’d already bought the bulb. For a moment, it seemed it would have to wait until Clay got back from Florida, over a week later.

But then, a thought.

“I’LL DO IT MYSELF!”

So, like any strong, independent, college-educated, 21st century woman, I grabbed my toolbox and a flashlight and headed out to my car (still in my red dress and leather boots, of course).

I popped open the hood and stood there, staring at the engine with the owners’ manual in my hand. I must have looked pretty pathetic standing there, because my neighbor came up and asked if I needed help. I turned him down, citing a “need to learn.”

I wrestled with the bolts for about 15 minutes, before concluding that the one last bolt that I needed to get out was deep within the car at an impossible angle. Stalemate. But I wasn’t willing to give up. This wasn’t just about changing my own headlight anymore. This had become a matter of personal pride. To quit would be to admit defeat. I could never quit now.

Again, I stood, contemplating my options. It was then that I realized I had an advantage that the mechanic who had written this manual didn’t have: teeny-tiny “woman hands.”

I didn’t need to take the entire headlight out, I could just stick my hands in there and change it while it was attached!

15 more minutes later, some scraped knuckles, and a little bit of frustration – bingo. Bulb changed. I turned the car on and – LIGHT!! I did it! I had changed the bulb, all on my own. In a dress and a cardigan, no less.

I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!!

 

car

This is what success looks like.

This time next week, I’ll be building my own car from scratch.

Women, you were made as God’s gift to man. And gifts are supposed to be received with joy and treated with care.  The amount of care one gives to a gift should be directly proportional not necessarily to the preciousness of the gift itself, but of the preciousness of the one who has given the gift.

And if he is a man of God, he will know that God is the most precious being in all the universe – thus, you, woman, will be a most precious gift because of your most precious Giver.

Women – Are you waiting for a man who knows this truth, and acts on it? If not, you are a diamond being used as gravel. You are a gift. Not because of who you are, but because of who made and redeemed you. Wait patiently.

Men – Are you treating women in light of this truth? If not, you are not only abusing the gift, you are insulting the Giver. Pray. Repent. Abide.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” … So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
(Genesis 2:18, 19, 21-23 ESV)

I’ve been debating this post for some time now, unable to decide whether it would be appropriate and beneficial to publish it.  Of course, I mean all that I say within it, and it’s all true.  However, as a sister in Christ, I do care about my brothers – and I think too often, we resort to bashing them as they learn how to be men, instead of encouraging them.  I pray that this post will not be of that sort. I pray that this post is written in humility, love, and sincerity, and that it is read in a similar manner.

That being said, I’m going to attempt to move on to say what is burdening my heart, however clumsily I express it. And it is this – it never gets any less painful to see women that I love broken and defeated by men. It never pains me any less to hear stories of women bruised and hurting from mistreatment. And I will never cease to get tears in my eyes to see a woman of God in tears over a man in her life who isn’t treating her like the daughter of the King that she is.

All of this might be a tad bit easier if the men involved were not believers. If this were so, what they did would still be wrong, but at least understandable.  How can you expect a man who is blind and lame to lead a woman without damaging her?  But these men are Christians, or at least claim to be.

And lest I misconstrue anything, I want to say that I realize that I am absolutely blessed to be surrounded by the men that I know.  You are godly, and growing, and encouraging, and I appreciate you. That being said, much of the damage being done to these women that I love is unintentional.  Hurt caused by men who had no intent of doing so.  Pain inflicted by men who, in all honesty, were probably desperately trying to discern God’s will in their lives.

I get that. I really do. We’re all young. We’re all growing. We need patience and grace.  But here is what I think many men fail to understand –

Women. Are. Fragile.

I’ll say it again. We’re fragile. Delicate. Fine. Fragile.

Sure, sometimes we have backs of steel (or at least we pretend we do). But we have limbs of porcelain and hearts of much finer material.

Understand this, please. We are much, much more breakable than you, or your guy friends. Don’t break us any more than this world already has, enmeshed in sin as it is.

Don’t flirt with us if you aren’t going to pursue us. Don’t even start. If you want to pursue a relationship, pursue it. Don’t leave us hanging.

Don’t begin to pursue us, and then back out. Be serious. Good intentions aren’t enough.  Many Christian men with good intentions still hurt their sisters because they rush into pursuing her before they really think about it, and then have to back out and leave a crushed woman in their wake.

Don’t date us if you aren’t ready. And by all means, don’t marry us if you aren’t ready to love us like Christ loves the Church!

Please, in all your dealings with women, remember – we are far more fragile and easily hurt than you can even imagine.

“live… in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. ”
(1 Peter 3:7 ESV)

I really wrestled with whether or not to post this, simply because it is so personal and vulnerable. After sleeping on it and getting it proof-read, I finally decided that it would be worth it to post it, because of this – in the past few days, I have noticed a trend among my friends in our conversationsAs women, we have a few similar desires. We want to be loved. We long to feel beautiful. We ache to know that we are worth it. But everything in this world is fighting against us, trying to distract us from what will ultimately fulfill those desires. It’s good to be reminded of the truth. So, here it goes.

Sometimes, life is really hard.

Maybe it’s being in a secular college setting, or maybe it’s taking a tough double-major course-load, or maybe it’s just life. But sometimes, it’s really hard – I feel lonely. I long for love. I battle with myself as I fight the temptation to attract inappropriate attention to myself with the way I dress. I want to be beautiful.

But, in times like this, it is wonderful to come to the Lord and be in His presence.

To come to him and remember first knowing Jesus as my savior, and recalling how his perfect love finally filled that hole in my heart.  Remembering how, for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel alone.  When my longing to love and be loved finally had a place in which to be fulfilled.

To counter the lies with the Truth, and realize that I am so desirable and so worthwhile that Jesus suffered and died and bore the wrath of God’s sin for me – even as my rebellious soul hated him and wandered.

To read his Word and realize that I am already wanted. I am already being pursued.  And nothing I can wear or do will ever change that.

To come to the Scriptures, and hear the words “You are beautiful, because I am beautiful,” whispered between the lines on every page.  The message ingrained in between every word in a book that describes a God so mighty that he could create the vibrant cosmos out of nothing, move the mountains with his hands, tell the sea to calm with his voice. A book that describes the same God working every moment of history to bring his people to him, to save them. To know them personally. To love them intimately.

To come to realize that in Jesus, I have everything that I long for – A man who stands in front of me, with more love in his eyes than every man in all the world – past, present, and future combined – could ever muster, and thinks more than “Wow,”.  He thinks, “Yes. This one is mine. I formed her before she was born.  I watched her as she grew.  I predestined her to know and love me.  And on the day that she came into my arms, I and all of heaven lept with joy.  Yes.  This one is mine.  Forever.”

On days like this, I am speechless. What words can describe a love like this? He is good.

Confession: When I look in the mirror, all too often, instead of thinking “Look at that daughter of God, physically formed just as He intended for the purpose of His glory,” I think “Wow. I look really gross.”

Surprise, surprise – in this culture of tiny super-models and airbrushed ads, I am a woman with image issues.

I cannot tell you how long I’ve struggled. It seems forever. The list of flaws seems never ending – I weigh too much, my hips are too big, my nose too big and crooked, my skin marred by scars and acne. They are painful for me to even write out and post on the internet, because I want to hide them. Because, deep down inside, sometimes (not all the time) – I think I’m ugly.

But what a sin that is.  To believe that a perfect God, who formed me exactly how he wanted me, somehow made a mistake. To believe that I am anything less than a beautiful daughter of God, made radiant by finding my hope in the Lord and my salvation in Jesus – well, that’s just plain wrong.

But, like any sin, any wrong, it can be repented of and righted. I can agree with God that I am in the wrong – He can change my heart.  Make me focus less on myself, more on others. Look to Him, instead of myself.  Learn to love Him, instead of struggling to love myself.

Admittedly, this will not be easy. It may be years until I can accept that I am who God made me. There will be many more times when I think I am a mixed-up mistake – a girl that talks too much, laughs too loud, trips too often, forgets things, and is way too awkward. But “I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Phil 3:12)

I long to be beautiful. I hope that I will learn that when I glorify Him, I am beautiful, because He is beautiful. That is the truth I am trying to learn.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time” – Ecc 3:11

So, in case you haven’t already figured this one out on your own, I have ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Full blown, “I get distracted by shiny things and – squirrel! – can’t sit still for more than 10 minutes” disorder.

I’ve often wondered how my ADHD fits into my life as a Christian. So many of the characteristics of my ADHD simply aren’t conducive to the stereotypical model of what a Christian woman should look like. I’m not quiet, I’m actually pretty loud. I can’t sit still through prayer – even if it’s 30 seconds, if I’m not the one speaking, my mind wanders. I’d much rather get up and move around than sit and listen to someone talk. I’m easily distracted, easily excitable, and am far more prone to fluctuations of emotion of epic proportions than a quiet spirit.

One of the things that I’ve struggled with particularly (and continue to struggle) is patience. If you ask a specialist, a lack of patience is actually a key indicator of ADHD. It’s simply not something I easily possess. When I want something, I want it right then. Waiting frustrates me beyond belief.  Now, as much as I want to, I simply can’t write this off as a symptom of my disorder. And trust me, I want to.

Overhead, on the shelf of my desk, I have the Fruits of the Holy Spirit taped up to remind myself what I’m striving for. They’re placed in order of how they occur in the Bible. I find it particularly ironic that when I look up from my desk chair, the first once I see, directly overhead, is patience. Everytime, I’m reminded of what I don’t yet have.

I want to be patient. But I want to be patient now. A lack of patience makes the Christian life very, very hard. I’m wrestling with this and more often than not, I feel that I’m losing.

I wish I had a nice little neat ending like “and then I learned to emulate the patience character of God and now I’m patient, and life is candy and butterflies.” But that’s not reality. The Christian life is far more often scraped knees and bruised skin. When I speak of my walk with Jesus, I should probably just say my “Stumble, trip, fall, scrape my knee, cry, get up, whine, and learn to keep going” with Jesus. Cause that’s more often what it is.

That’s what I’m learning. What are you learning?

I want to run,
but I haven’t learned to walk yet.

I want to sing,
but I haven’t learned to talk yet.

UPDATE: Wow! I cannot believe the popularity that this post has had. It’s been over 2 years since I first published this post, and the amount of emails, comments, and conversations it has sparked has been incredible. Considering that I wrote this blog for myself as a creative outlet – it’s a little overwhelming. God really can use anything!

That being said, I wanted to provide a few updates. I wrote this as a freshmen in college.  I am now finishing up my junior year, and I have to say – a LOT has happened over the past few years. God has been working on me like crazy. Life has been incredibly hard, but God has been incredibly good.

I still struggle in my walk with the Lord – a LOT. Patience is still an issue for me. But I’ve learned one important thing – my ADHD is not the cause of my sin. To be sure, ADHD significantly influences the WAY that I sin, but it is not WHY I sin. I sin because I’m a sinner. And sinners need grace.

Perhaps that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned. That Jesus died for that. Jesus died for my ADHD. Think about it – he died for yours too. He died for the anger, the tumultuous emotions, the impatience, the impulsive decisions. He died for all that. And because He did – we are freed.

The prescription for living the Christian life as a person with ADHD is the same as the person without. Grace. Grace upon grace upon grace. You might have to modify how you read the Bible, or how you pray, or how to control your decision making. But the need for grace remains the same. Pray for it. God will grant you grace abundantly when you ask.

And he will give it. He will provide the grace that we need to cover the inattention, the lack of empathy, the forgetfulness. The sin.

“Grace grace, God’s grace. Grace that will pardon all my sin.”

Tweet!

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Past Musings