Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Definition of Me (Part 6/10)

A woman's emotions can be a dangerous thing. I'm a woman. I can say that.

I'm here to tell you that there are many moments when an overwhelming emotion suddenly overtakes me. Call it hormones. Call it a downside of the feminine mystique. Call it whatever you like. It happens to all women ... or at least every woman I know.

To be honest, I'm usually just as surprised as anyone else about those sudden, intense emotions. I don't necessarily know that one is about to hit me full force until it does. I sometimes don't even know why I feel the way I feel.

Take tonight, for instance ...

I was sitting in church before the service began. I flipped through the latest Home Life magazine, as the prelude music filled the sanctuary. I was happily humming along. Life was good and I was feeling glad to be sitting in the Lord's house with my children and anticipating an evening of worshipping my Saviour. And then it happened ...

There, on pages 28-29, was an article about the importance of romance to women. There on the sidebar was a list of ways for husbands to romance their wives and nurture this part of their marriage. All it took was about 5 seconds before I was fighting this huge urge to cry. Tears sprang up into my eyes. I frantically tried to wipe them away, while I wondered what on earth was wrong with me!

About that time, someone that I did not know walked up to say hello to me. There I was with watery eyes. I don't even know most of these people at church, but they all know me because of my brother (a former youth pastor at this church). I'm sure I looked ridiculous ... sitting there trying so hard not to cry ... and talk this lady who obviously knows me by name but I have no clue who she might be. (And no, Reid, I do not remember her name. I was trying not to cry. I was also trying not to look like I was about to cry. I'm sure she told me her name, but I do not remember it at all.)

It's been 2 1/2 years now since my marriage fell apart . And to be honest, I'm truly okay with where I am in this season of my life. There was a time when I wasn't and I struggled with being alone, but God and I have come to an understanding about that ... well, truthfully I came to an understanding, but God had a lot to do with it! Still, I guess deep down, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that a part of me longs for the day when God will bring this season to an end and brings once again a romantic kind of love in my life. And I guess, there are times when a sort of intense emptiness hits me and I suddenly find myself feeling that achy feeling in my heart as I wish there were someone who found me captivating and wanted to shower me with affection.

As I sat there in church tonight, I realized that I'm just a woman who is acting and feeling like a woman ... and there is nothing wrong with that. I'm like every other woman on the planet. I long to be cherished and adored and, yes, romanced. I realize that there are plenty of married women who long for these things as well. I am definitely not alone in my desires.

Being a woman is just part of who I am. I can't change it anymore than I can change my eye color or my blood type. And yet there are times when I feel like a failure as woman. Satan lies to me and tells me that if I was a real woman my husband wouldn't have left me. He wants me to believe that I am not beautiful or that I am less than worthy because my body is not picture perfect.

Sometimes I think we women feel like failures if we don't meet the Proverbs 31 standard, in a way that the population of Christian men in general don't seem to feel if they don't live up to the Biblical standard given to them. Those verses read like that perfect woman ... the same woman that stares back at us from the covers of magazines or lives the fairy tale princesses we all dream of as little girls. You know her ... the woman who has the incredibly smart and talented children who are always neat and clean, who has an immaculate house that is beautifully decorated, who has a fulfilling career outside of her home and who has the perfect marriage to a wonderful and handsome Christian man. I feel so small in comparison to that woman. And even though I do not think God intended for Proverbs 31 to make women feel insecure, I often find myself feeling like there is no way I can ever be that perfect woman. Satan wants me to feel defeated before I ever even get started!

Then there is that debate about the "S" word (submission). So often, I've heard women vehemently debating those submission verses from all sorts of angles. And if that isn't enough to keep us all up in arms, there is also the question of our dress. Most would agree that Christian women should be modest in dress, but what exactly is modest? Can you wear sleeveless shirts? What about dress or skirt length? And how short can our hair be cut? It doesn't help that there are those denominations that feel women should always wear dresses, have long hair and never wear make-up or jewelry.

Obviously, being a woman of God is a tough, tough calling. And yet, I can rest in the knowledge that God created me to be fully female. It says in the Bible that God created males and females ... and that He called it good. I am meant to be a woman, full of femininity, and when I embrace that feminine part of me it is honoring to God. He loves me despite my failings, and finds me with all my feminine charms and failings, to be His wonderful daughter.

What's more ... God wants to meet those feminine longings and desires I have. He knows that my heart sometimes yearns for romance. And He is very willing to sweep me off my feet, often when I most need it but least expect it.

Tonight, as we drove home from church, one of my sweet boys asked, "Mama, do you like diamonds?" I said that I did ... I very much like diamonds.

Then my other precious boy piped in, "Good. We want to get you a diamond ring for your birthday. You can wear it and remember that we love you and think that you are beautiful."

And the first one added, "I'm not sure that we can get you a big one. How much do you think a diamond ring might cost anyway?"

Well, I certainly don't know anything about buying diamond rings (though I'm relatively confident my sons cannot afford to buy one for my birthday next month) ... but geez if that didn't make my heart pound and my stomach do flip-flops! It was enough "romance" for me tonight. God cares. He knows my heart longs to be beautiful to someone and adored for who I am, even with all my flaws and feminine emotional instability.

I'm content to walk through this season of life, knowing that God has my heart and my dreams and my future in His safe keeping ... and that He is the ultimate Lover of my soul, far more loving than any man on earth can ever hope to be. I trust that no matter what the future holds, God is going to meet every one of my feminine heart's needs and perhaps even some of my desires.

With these thoughts in mind, the sixth truth about me is this: I will never be the perfect Proverbs 31 woman, but I want very much to live in such a way so that I am worth far more than rubies. I desire to be a woman of faith, who is desperately seeking God in everything and in every way for every day of my life. I'm learning to embrace being a woman, created by a Heavenly Father who loves my femininity because He gave it to me. And I'm learning to run straight into the arms of Jesus, giving to Him all the desires of my feminine heart.

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