Whether you’re 24 year-old me, or my four year-old little girl, some things about being a woman hold true for the littlest girl in ribbons and I would guess also for the one with the whitest crown of curls.
Every woman has felt the pain of days that make it deeply challenging to be a woman. It’s a pain that can easily bring the deepest wounds a woman’s soul will know. But even as every girl’s womanhood can be so deeply wounded, it is also true that a woman is most deeply moved and emboldened in her person, when she is offered the freedom to embrace the womanhood she was made with…
When I was eighteen and you and I had just met, I would stay put in church every week until you came to talk to me. I always knew if I stayed around long enough you would make your way to me with a kind smile and gentle conversation. You could always make me laugh but more than that, you were a gentleman. And it made me feel like a woman.
Then one Sunday as church ended, I got up and left. I was afraid you didn’t want me to wait, so I didn’t. But that same Sunday night, I was headed for the door again and you didn’t want me to leave without letting me know. I was almost to the door when you called my name. I turned around and there you stood with the courage to be nervous in front of me. You weren’t ashamed to let me know that you had missed talking to me that morning. And more than that, you weren’t ashamed to give me a sheepish grin and say those words that made me float, “I made you something.” You said it like a shy schoolboy who was so in love and gave me your handmade card, the one you had cut out and drawn on yourself and I felt like a woman in the very best way.
And the first time we went to lunch, you didn’t have to hear a word of how I felt about you before you gave a nervous speech letting me know with an open heart that I was the girl you hoped to grow old with. You risked a rejection that could wound you so deeply. And you meant it, I could see it in your eyes. And even though I’ve always been shy, though I was struggling with who I was as a woman, I knew I could trust you to treasure my womanhood, whatever that meant. And close to seven years later, though it’s never been perfect, though I’ve seen how very human you can be, and you have felt the pain of wounds that I have given you, it has been a constant truth to me that you are a man who embraces me as I am and fights to free the woman in me.
You embrace my womanhood. You speak love into my wounds. And sometimes perhaps I’ve expected you to heal the wounds of my womanhood as well. Sometimes I forget that no man can heal those kinds of wounds.
I still bear those wounds and I’m still seeking healing. And while you’ll never be able to heal my wounds I know you’re always there to help point me to the Healer.
There are still times when it’s hard to be a woman and these are the wounds that still sit on my soul. Every woman bears wounds of her own and sometimes a lifetime can feel like too short a time to heal. There are still moments that pick at old wounds. And those old wounds can hurt just as much as ever. And even while trying to bind up old wounds, there are still wounds coming in this wounded world. But the wounds to a woman, while they may leave her feeling powerless for a moment, they can become her greatest asset. Because every ugly wound can make her beauty that much stronger.
Here are moments that wound a woman.
It’s hard to be a woman when there is no one asking you to dance. This does not make a woman weak. It makes her a woman and it’s the strength of who she is.
Women are born with souls that long to be pursued because this nature plays an essential part in our world. And women don’t simply want to be danced with. They long to be ‘asked’ to dance by a gentleman. And asked by him again. And no matter how much a girl might think or say that she doesn’t want a request to dance, she does. Yet sometimes her request fades away. And sometimes the request never comes.
This can leave a woman feeling that her beauty is not worth being pursued. And while every woman can know truthfully that her beauty has the deepest worth, even with that knowledge she can still be deeply wounded.
If all was perfect perhaps there’d be a gentleman to pursue every girl but even still, maybe sometimes the reason a girl isn’t getting her request is because men are wounded just as easily as women and those wounds can leave us both struggling to be what we were made for…
It’s hard to be a woman when you must wrestle through the question of whether it’s the time and place for you to do your own asking. This rubs rough against the grain of who a woman is because the mystery of her womanhood is made to be pursued. Sometimes a woman must step outside of her nature, yet when a woman is doing the pursuing, she doesn’t feel much like a woman. She opens up so much potential for old wounds to grow deeper.
If she questioned before whether her beauty was worth being pursued (as her nature has intended) now she’s opened to the struggle of feeling that it’s not worth receiving even if she offers it herself.
She boldly dared to defy her own nature and open up the mystery of her womanhood for another. Whether it was treasured or not, she took a bold risk and gave away a piece of her own mystery for the sake of love…
It is also hard to be a woman when any little piece of your womanhood feels taken from you instead of offered by you. When a woman is danced with without being asked… When she is flattered by a man who doesn’t recognize the mystery of the woman inside her… When she is treated like her womanhood has an owner… When her affection or commitment is assumed instead of pursued… these are moments that want to trample the worth of her soul. A woman is fully a woman when she is strongly pursued while also given the space to offer her own womanhood.
A woman needs this space dearly. For it is a pain that echoes far into her life when a woman struggles for the space to let her nature be free.
These wounds can leave you in a battle with yourself… trying to remember that your wounds do not define you. It is one battle to know it in theory, but it is another battle completely to learn to part ways in daily life with how you’ve let your wounds define you before. It can leave a woman saying no for a bit, simply because she’s still battling to find her own yes. For she does have a need to heal.
And what does a woman seeking healing do with her wounds?
She stays in the battle. And when she looks at the womanhood she wants to embrace and knows that she can’t do it, she looks to One inside her healing her soul and trusts that He can. No matter how many times she falls, she keeps stepping forward in the nature she was given.
And she loves the one who wounded her. She recognizes that every person who has wounded her has first been wounded themselves. She never excuses the wrong that was done, but she always forgives. She does what she must to protect her womanhood from the offense, while she loves the offender where they are.
And inside of the cross, every soul is worth loving no matter how wounded. No matter how often we’ve allowed our wounds to drive us, no matter how many wounds we have caused, no matter the wounds we bear on our soul or how much of our lifetime it can take for us to heal, nothing makes it impossible for us to still give love and still receive it.
A woman in healing acknowledges her wounds and invites Jesus in. She can learn to boast in these wounds because there is a Savior whose love penetrates the hollow places these wounds have made inside her. These wounds are where Jesus breaks into her beauty and uses it to invite others into His love too.
When it’s hard for a woman to be a woman… this makes her deeply needy so she can be deeply aware of how she is pursued by the only One who fully knows her.
This is the strength of who she is… Yet she gets to be more.
The nature of Jesus is one of pursuit, but the funny thing about pursuit is that it takes two and in the kingdom of God we all get to play a part in both sides of this story. The more deeply needy and inviting we are, the more we will notice Jesus pursuing us. And the more we see Jesus pursuing us, the more His love will drive us to pursue the needy people around us.
So in Him we find that we are both the one pursued and the one pursuing. And this is the best adventure we could live.
So in the end… when it’s hard to be a woman, life gets fuller still.