Let Me Be A Woman

I have sat down to write this post no less than 20 times.  Each time typing as fast as my hands can go and then re-reading what I wrote only to hold down the backspace button unsatisfied.  Not that I am fully satisfied with what I’ve ended up with but really enough is enough.  Here’s the bottom line.  Over the past year and a half I have experienced a lot of change and transition.  And over the past year and a half I have struggled through this change and transition.  There I said it.  Why has it been so hard to admit that?  I suppose because it’s hard to be vulnerable.  It’s hard to share struggles especially when His blessings are so abundant.

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I know I am not alone in this struggle.  After Roxie came home a friend and I exchanged several emails about the struggles of moving from one season of life to another.  We agreed that moms had such a difficult time talking about these struggles.  This conversation provided clarity and encouragement on what was going on in my life but the changes and transitions continued and so did the struggles.  I eventually found myself asking the question, Who in the world am I?  And what is going on?

God began to open my eyes to the root of this restlessness I was experiencing.  I was failing to understand my true identity and embrace it fully.  So what did I do?  I started back at the beginning.  Back to the basics.  As Elisabeth Elliot says, “In order to learn what it means to be a woman we must start with the One who made her.”   I began a journey to learn what it means to be a woman, starting with my Creator.  It has been a journey filled with humility.  My eyes have been opened to how I have failed as a wife in so many areas over the past four years.  The sin in my life has been brought to the forefront where I cannot ignore it anymore.  And the responsibility of being a mother has weighed heavily on my shoulders.  But in the midst of this there has been peace and clarity.  As Elliot says, “I know that real satisfaction and joy come in response to acceptance of the will of God and nowhere else.”

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This may seem vague and somewhat random.  It is not my desire to focus on the details of my own struggles.  And I sure don’t share this for pity’s sake.  I share this because I am convinced I am not alone.  As women, we struggle in so many unspoken ways through various seasons of life.  But I honestly think the problem is with our identity.  Regardless of the roles I play, circumstances I find myself in, or relationships I have my “identity is certain and secure, it does not shift.   I am a human being created in the image of God.  I am created as a woman.”

This journey will be lifelong.  This journey might even conflict with other worldviews regarding women and their role.  As I journey along I will remember Elisabeth Elliott’s encouraging words, “When you are overwhelmed by all that God has required of you when He let you be a woman, read Isaiah 41:10-11.”

Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. 

 

God has led me to some wonderful resources that I hope you find helpful as well.

Let Me Be A Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson
Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman
A Woman’s Wisdom by Lydia Brownback
Biblical Femininity (just started this one)

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Hudson’s Two-rrific

Two years ago I wasn’t at the hospital laboring for my son.  I didn’t hear his first cries or change his first diaper.  I didn’t bundle him up in a “coming home” outfit or tuck him into the crib down the hall.  Two years ago I was in my home thousands of miles away from Ethiopia, Africa laboring for my son.  I was painfully awaiting his arrival into our family.

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The word labor means “work, hard physical work”.  In scripture, God said that women would have pain in bringing forth children (Genesis 3:16).  Pain and labor are most definitely associated with extending our families through children.

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While my labor and pain may not have been physical, there were still very difficult, anxious moments in bringing him home.  Over two years ago we started praying for this little boy, praying that God would grant us to extend our family.  During this time we have shed countless tears, prayed lots of prayers, and had many difficult days.  But today we are celebrating!  Today we are celebrating God, who has given Hudson Lee Wilson life and allowed him to be a part of this earthly family.

“Through him we have birth and life and every thing and every person in our lives.  So God is the reason we have anything to celebrate.  He is the ultimate source of any of our celebrations.”  -Noel Piper

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is not variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

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Receivers of Mercy, Givers of Thanks

A year ago, on Thanksgiving Eve, I was lying in the borrowed bed of my dear friend Ashlee in Washington D.C.  We were on the first leg of our trip to meet our children.  My eyes wouldn’t seem to close due to some obvious nervous anxiety and a bit of fear that we would oversleep and miss our flight. We didn’t miss our flight and as the story goes we met Roxie Kyle and Hudson for the first time.

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Looking back it seems so far away and in some ways like a dream.  On this Thanksgiving Eve I’m not thousands of miles away from them but only a few feet.  I can hear Hudson’s even breathing on the monitor and see the nightlight shining beneath Roxie’s door.

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Articulating all the emotions I’ve experienced through this process seem near impossible.  Even now, I fall short.  As simple as it sounds and during a season when at times we seem to throw around the words like confetti, I am truly thankful.  I truly feel am a receiver of mercy.  And as Charles H. Spurgeon says, “So as long as we are receivers of mercy we must be givers of thanks.”

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
And his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
His steadfast love endures forever,
And his faithfulness to all generations.”
Psalm 100

That’s my home.

I went for a run today and of course I took Roxie along in the stroller.  When I started walking to cool down I took her out of the stroller so she could walk alongside me.  I talked to her about exercise and nature and all the fun things about being outside.  As we neared our house I told her we were almost home.  When we came over the hill and our house came into view I picked her up and pointed to the house, “That is our home.  Can you say home?”  She raised her little hand and pointed her pudgy finger toward the house and looked at me with a grin, “home”.  Hearing that one word come out of her mouth hit me square between the eyes.  Tears welled up, wanting to spill over at the reality that this child has a home.  She has a family.  We are her family.  She is our family.  How amazing!  Isn’t God amazing? The plan He has for my life is so much more than I ever could have imagined.  I feel unworthy to be this little one’s mama.  But I am. God has allowed us to be mother and daughter.

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As a daughter of the King, I am like Roxie.  I have a home, an eternal home through Christ Jesus.  I am part of an eternal family.  Oh, how unworthy I am to be a part of the family of God.  This plan for my life, to be His adopted daughter is so much more than I could have imagined.

My daily prayer is that Roxie will become His child, that she will be spiritually adopted and that she can have so much more than an earthly home, an eternal home with the Savior.

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Everything at Once

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Have you seen the Microsoft Windows 8 commercials with the catchy little tune by Lenka?

I can’t resist a catchy tune so I looked up the song and of course the bouncy, light feel of the music drew me in and I downloaded it.  After listening to it several times I started to hear more than just the tune.

As sly as a fox, as strong as an ox
As fast as a hare, as brave as a bear
As free as a bird, as neat as a word
As quiet as a mouse, as big as a house

All I wanna be oh, all I wanna be, oh
All I wanna be is everything
Everything at once

To be honest, she has articulated exactly how I feel a lot of days.  I want to be everything at once.

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As a wife, I want to be submissive and strong. As a mom, I want to be gracious and stern.  As a friend, I want to be loyal and honest.  When I’m faced with a challenging situation I want to be brave and kind. The list goes on.

compassionate,

discerning,

conversational,

patient,

smart,

authoritative,

quiet,

funny,

kind,

stubborn.

There are so many roles in my life and instances that require me to be so many “things” . . . at once.  But how is that possible?  How can I be everything at once?  It’s not.  It’s not possible no matter what I “wanna” be.  It can be exhausting trying and what I’m learning is that I need to stop trying.

For so many years of my life as a Christian I have “tried”. I’ve lived thinking that I was in control of being everything at once. And do you know what that ended in?  Disappointment, guilt, frustration, sadness . . .

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Scripture says that it is God who works in me (Philippians 2:13).  My efforts to have all these characteristics and traits are in vain.  I am not in control. When I became a child of God through Jesus Christ I was equipped with everything that I might need to do His will (Hebrews 13:20-21).  The very same God who raised Jesus from the dead equipped me!  So why in the world do I honestly believe that my trying is going to get me anywhere?!  I’m already equipped by a power that I can’t even comprehend.

This equipping continues on until Jesus comes back through something called sanctification.  (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). I am being sanctified every single day of my life on this earth.  The Lord will not leave me, he won’t stop molding me, he won’t quit on me.  He will continue this work in me until completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).  Amen!

So do I need to replace this “trying” with something else?  Do I just sit back and literally do nothing?  No.  I will seek God with all my heart through immersing myself in His word, being in continuous conversation with him (prayer), and simply taking the time to be still and listen.  The efforts in trying to “do” and “be” are replaced by seeking wisdom from my God as if seeking for silver (Proverbs 2:1-5).  David makes it clear in His song of thanksgiving, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 105:4)