For the next little while I would like to share some thoughts from one of my favorite books, Captivating, by Stasi Eldridge. I strongly recommend this book, and encourage every woman to read it; I would also encourage every father with daughters to read it.
I don’t know if you are a woman like me but for too many years I tried so hard to hide the desires of my heart as a girl and then as a woman. Maybe like me you have been put to shame and had guilt placed on you by others for having feelings and thoughts that God himself put within you…that is so wrong and so sad…..
As some of you may know by now, if you’ve read any of my blog that my childhood was anything but safe. And although there was sexual abuse it was also a conservative home. Girls didn’t wear nail polish, and especially not red nail polish because only a certain type of girl wore red. Even the clothes we wore were to be modest and again red seemed to be the scandalous color so you avoided it. Red also meant you wanted to be noticed. And as a girl you were to blend into the scenery. Even though this wasn’t a Christian home there was an unspoken rule that if you enjoyed dancing, singing and wanting to be told you’re lovely and beautiful then you were considered immoral, or at the very least you were wanting attention and that was wrong….good girls didn’t seek attention.
Yet, growing up was confusing as we received two conflicting messages; you are a female therefore a man is justified in using you, but also that as a female you were to dress modestly because you didn’t want to be considered a tramp!!! On one hand you were to be a good girl, wear nothing flashy or showy, and yet pornography was viewed in the home and the men in my family openly flirted with waitresses while the family sat and watched. There were two kinds of women in the world; the bad girls and the good girls. I was a good girl, yet a sexually abused girl-so which one was I???? What a confused, mixed bag of messages.
So when I married into an ultra conservative Christian family where the women only wore dresses, black shoes and head coverings I became even more confused. And guess what, in this religious culture red was considered a “worldly” color and so the women’s dresses were very plain of nondescript color.
A couple years later the Lord Jesus found me, and I continued to struggle as I tried to sort through all the “laws” of being a “TRUE” Christian woman. Now I had not only the chains from my childhood to break free from but also the constricting, invisible prison walls of religion binding me.
It has taken me many years of walking with Jesus to break free of those chains and I am still sometimes daily breaking those chains.
There are still things in my life that I hide from certain people because I am afraid they would judge me or they would consider me a “backslider” or what ever it is people try to put on you….so many of the things that religion shouts; “don’t do this, or wear this, or go there, or do that, or listen to that”. The voice of religion that shouts; “if you do that you’re going to fall away from the Lord” or “you’re not going to be good enough”….”or you are not considered as “spiritual” as the rest.
Truthfully, I am really tired of it. I am tired of trying to fit a mold that constricts me, that restricts the source of LIFE. Tired of trying to be someone I am not and trying to do things to be good enough.
That isn’t how God created me. I want to be who He created me to be. Daily the Lord gives me the strength and reminders to be myself and stay strong and walk in my freedom as a woman in Him.
And it isn’t easy, but then freedom never is.
Yet I confess there are still days when I get tired of dragging behind me, like a worn heavy blanket, the agony, concern and fear of what others think. But I thank my Lord Jesus that those days are much fewer because I have tasted what it is truly like to not drag that cumbersome blanket and live like God created me to live.
What a beautiful journey….what freedom….when we become women captivated by Jesus and we begin to discover the beauty and power of being a Woman.