To all the Teachers, the Pastors, and the Leaders of Organizations-
This past Sunday, I attended a church that I have recently stumbled upon by accident. How I discovered this church is almost as miraculous as the fact that I want to go back for more. This jogged my memory of the last thirty-five years of participating in church congregations, as well as learning institutions and work organizations. From what I’ve experienced, some are effective, and some are not. Some are inviting, while others are unappealing. Some grow, and some cannot retain their members. Some empower, while others micromanage and stifle.
I am by far no expert when it comes to romantic relationships. I’ve probably caused more headaches and heartaches in this department than the ordinary woman.
I was reminded of this today at my annual check-up at the doctor’s office. I had to complete a New Patient form because my husband and I have recently moved back to the same area we lived in two years ago. As I checked off the married status I chuckled to myself thinking of how, at one time or another, I could have checked off just about EVERY STATUS on the form.
Hey Girls. Name that movie. You is KIND. You is SMART. You is IMPORTANT.
Yup- That extraordinary line, that would become a classic quote, had most of us in tears or covered with goose-bumps.
And why is that? I’m curious. Did the character, Aibileen Clark, inately know that the southern privileged young toddler of a pristine, rigid, self-absorbed mother could possibly misconstrue her true identity and end up not living the life God had planned for her?
(Oh, in case you missed the film, that line is from the movie The Help. And every woman NEEDS to watch this movie.)
Personally, I am eternally grateful that both of my parents told me, as I was growing up, that I was Kind, Smart, and Important. I believe God helped me to put this treasured blessing to good use. In turn, as a classroom teacher, I sincerely tried my hardest to remind my students that they were extraordinary, as well. And when I became a school administrator (for 5 short-lived years), I made efforts to remind the teachers how important they were for their selfless, dedicated work- day in and day out, with children.
It just so happens, that God feels this way about us whether our parents, teachers, and bosses tell us or not. But still, the world has a way of opposing this truth and often successfully misconstrues our knowledge of who we really are. As a result, a woman may not ever come to terms with some truths.
God has given me a heart for children and a passion to encourage women. God put it there! It’s why I love kids…and why I love teachers. And it’s probably why I taught kids and supervised teachers. My heart led me to these 2 influential positions in which I could try to bring out the best in others.
God brought so many needy children, weary teachers, and broken women in to my life. In spite of my loving and pampered childhood, God allowed me to experience my own share of brokenness as I entered adulthood. So, now I can fully understand (and hope to see as LE Woman grows) that God truly does distribute blessings and lessons so that He can help us help one another. He is in the business of working ALL things together for good, ladies. If you don’t see that today, choose to open your eyes, and you will see this, in time.
Romans 8:28 says:
GOD WORKS ALL THINGS TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE HIM. AKA The goodthings. The bad things. The blessed things. The embarrassing things.
Anyway, there are times when I’ll say to someone, I’ll pray for you. I try to remember to write down that particular prayer need. Obviously, this list has grown from when I first started offering this kind of service a few decades ago. So now, I dedicate specific days of the week for specific prayers. There is one day each week (Thursday, for some reason) that I pray, solely, for my friends.
Recently, I realized that God had given me a deeper level of insight of the women who were on my prayer list. These women, these wonderful women, share some very extraordinary (yet potentially crippling) characteristics. I realized that some of us are battling day in and day out in ways that we may not even realize. And quite frankly, I think I may need some help with all these prayers.
But for now, I figured I’d write up a list of some of my personal insights and perceptions. Do you fall into any of these descriptions?
- Some of us are tired. We are putting more than 100% into one area in our life thus having nothing left for ourselves.
- Some of us are working too hard. Trying so hard to meet expectations that we may not even be able to do.
- Some of us are NOT taking good care of ourselves. Or possibly we are over-obsessing in how we look over how we feel.
- Some of us are disappointed and/or angry…perhaps even at God. We question about our circumstances…”Why me?” We cannot let go.
- Some of us are not really in to church or even learning about something beyond what we see, feel, experience- right now and today. We find the bible, church, religion, or faith to be boring or even irrelevant in our current times. So, we just try to be “good” citizens, moms, employees, etc. and hope that it’s enough.
- Some of us are trying to be authentic, but settle to just fit in with whatever seems accepted by our counterparts.
- Some of us are still waiting to feel validated and appreciated.
- Some of us hate aging. And some of us are never satisfied with the age we are RIGHT NOW.
- Some of us are pushing our bodies to defy the way our bodies may look naturally. And we forget what is “reasonable”.
- Some of us are not in touch with the way we really feel- Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually, Mentally. And if we realize that we are struggling, we don’t know how to help ourselves.
- Some of us absolutely love our husbands (or the hopeful idea of our future prince charming)…But either not enough or a little too much– to the point that we look to him for EVERYTHING. When the truth is, there is a part of our heart and soul that ONLY the one who created us can fulfill.
- Some of us are constantly negotiating with the clock. We are desperately trying to cut corners; Kill two birds with one stone. And if you take up more than the 5 minutes that we have for you…you can actually ruin our entire day…or week!
- Some of us are rarely able to fully enjoy the moment that we are in. We are either waiting for the next thing to come, or we are looking back to the yester-day in which we believed (at that time) it was too late. And as we are realizing this, we forget that we should make the most of our current moments.
- Some of us have regrets on bad decisions we made in the past. We feel ashamed as if we are the only ones that made mistakes or poor choices. Isaiah 43:15-25 tells us GOD TELLS US TO FORGET THE FORMER THINGS! DO NOT DWELL ON THE PAST! HE IS DOING A N-E-W THING! HE IS MAKING A WAY IN THE DESERT! AND EVEN GOD FORGETS YOUR PAST AND YOUR SINS!
- Some of us don’t feel God’s love and can’t understand, if there is a God, why we suffer? Why we lose our loved ones? Why we can’t find husbands? Why do we lose our babies or never even have them to begin with? (This is where we need to wait on God’s perfect plan. Isaiah 29:11.)
- Some of us are anxious and fearful of letting go of our children and/or losing control of our husbands. We are afraid of the world. And we fear that if we let go, something bad will happen. (Look up John 16:33)
- Some of us are afraid of being vulnerable and/or truly honest in who we are, what we want, what we’ve done, and/or the feelings we have inside. And we feel better off and safer if we are guarded and independent. And to the other extreme… There are some of us who are too vulnerable. With the wrong people.)
- Some of us are magnetically drawn to stories in which women (usually beautiful) are living luxuriously or adventurously…getting fame; getting fought for; getting even; getting thinner; getting a record deal; getting a wedding dress; getting…something… that we do NOT have.
- Some of us are not content with ourselves… our lifestyles, our circumstances, and/or our relationships. We wrestle with any so-called notion that WE ABSOLUTELY CAN LIVE EXTRAORDINARY LIVES…RIGHT NOW!
- Some of us still want to feel like a little girl in some ways. Maybe in how our man treats us. Or, perhaps we still wish that our own dad loved us more. (Matthew 18:3-4 reminds us that God wants us to be like children – In the way in which children are innocent, vulnerable, hopeful, forgiving, and EASY recipients of love.)
Ok, I’ll stop there.
Wow, that was a lot.
Can you relate to any of these characteristics? A few? Most? ALL?
On a personal note, I have made a choice to be honest with myself and address the characteristics that hit home for me. God helped me do that, and we are still working together on the ones I need to admit, forget, adjust, let go of, or just let it happen. This has been the best detox experience, ever!
Let’s get truthful. Ask God for help. And, pray for one another to live the way HE intended for us to live.
You is SMART. You is KIND. And You is IMPORTANT!
Within the last 36 months, I have invested more time in my female relationships than ordinary. I have visited 6 college friends that are literally scattered across the East Coast (From Rochester and Chicago to Orlando, Florida). I literally moved in with my beloved friend during the time of transition when I lost one job and acquired another. I coordinated several women’s luncheons and gatherings as well as a few girly get-away trips to the mountains. And, I made one monumental visit (in the Fall of 2010 and after 25 years apart) to visit my dearest and silliest elementary school friend, in Boston.
In three short days, my husband, Scott, and I will be selling our ocean-view condo in Margate, South Jersey. It was something we had talked about for a while, and now our hopes in officially and entirely owning an actual piece of land, closer to family and civilization (Oh, and coincidently including a massive home in desperate need of TLC) is finally coming to fruition.