Dear Woman, You Matter

you-matter

A post in the Your Home Matters Series

Opening an old journal I found on the shelf I found these words in my handwriting: “I really wanted to go to the meetings this morning, but here I am in our apartment being a mother. Mothering doesn’t stop. Their needs don’t stop. Sick kids can’t be delegated. So once again I’m isolated and he, my husband, is not.”  I felt again those challenging, relentless days of my motherhood when my six kids were between the ages of six months and ten years old.

“Father, I pray you will teach me more about my identity and my call as a mom. Teach me too the value of that call because so much of my work is inside these walls—unseen and immeasurable.” I was honest in my plea for help. I needed the Lord to confirm His purpose in me. I needed to hear Him say: you matter!

“There are times when I feel I’ve given up everything; that there is nothing left of me. My interests are all shelved. My world is outside of the mainstream of adult life. And I wonder why a lot. Why did God give me creativity, interests in art, color, beauty, if I can’t use them? Is it a matter of finding the right expression? Is it all a matter of timing? What does it mean to lay up treasures in heaven?”

I felt trapped that day and many others. I know you have felt this too.

The feeling of living out thankless obscure lives links us as women across generations and reminds us we are not alone. Though we often feel that way as we serve our people and steward our homes.

But today our image-driven culture makes it more difficult than ever for women to feel our worth.  We turn to social media for connection in the midst of long at-home days.  Except with each scroll through newsfeeds, visuals on our phones tell us our homes aren’t decorated well enough, our bodies aren’t toned tightly enough, our kids aren’t dressed cute enough, and on it goes.

We start to believe we don’t even matter: as a woman, as a wife, as a mom, as a person.  But that comparison is lethal if our heart identity isn’t anchored firmly in the value Jesus places on us.

So balance those screen hours with significant time learning the truth about who you are. Here’s a little truth to get you started. You matter. 

Your life is not an afterthought.  With careful, loving, predetermined foreknowledge, the Creator designed beauty in you, in us as women. He even added God-like qualities: creativity, intelligence, leadership (to name a few). He instilled all that we need for relationships: the ability to communicate, feel, reason, dream, imagine, and love. Life would not have continued on earth without women.

It is a gift that you are made “a little lower than the angels” and not like the animals who can build but who can’t create, who can grow physically but not spiritually or intellectually. So what if you aren’t the most beautiful, intelligent, or talented woman. You are who God made you to be. You are living with the people He gave you.You need to give thanks. He makes no mistakes. Dare I say, “Get over it and say, ‘Thank you, God’?”

Most importantly giving you invaluable worth as a woman, is the indescribable honor that you can be the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.

“In any given age saints are messages from the Lord as to what the world at that given moment of history needs especially to hear and see.”* If you know Jesus and He lives in you, you are one of these saints (see Colossians 1:2).  

You matter! Inside of you is the residence of the Most High God!  And when Christ indwells you, He is able to work out a God-ordained purpose for your life.

You’re the only one who can do what God has planned in your home. Erwin McManus explains in his book, The Artisan Soul, “We have no control over the gifts and talents given to us, but we have every responsibility for their stewardship,”* So rather than mourn what we don’t have or aren’t recognized for, thank God for what God has given. Then ask Him how He intends for you to use what He has given for His good and glory.

Here are 3 challenges for you in this New Year.

  1. Remember the season principle. At a recent Christmas lunch for our Ever Thine Home team, I had to answer this question from Untie Your Story Memories napkin ties.  “Describe a time when you knew you were doing what God created you to do.”  The first was when my children were born and I was able to nurse them, after some trial and error of course. I felt a sense of fulfillment like I never had before in my life. I knew God made me as a woman for motherhood. My husband will never know that experience. When it worked as God intended, it was deeply satisfying.

The second time was in the early years of Ever Thine Home. I recognized that my lifelong interest in history, my love of art and everything beautiful, and my passion for God’s Word finally came together in this work God has given me to do in my empty nest season. (You can read more of that story here.)

As I shared above, years of my life were lived in what felt like obscurity doing all the mundane work we women, especially mothers, know so well. In that season, I felt my tiny talents and interests would never find growth and development. Still, I learned to trust, knowing God wanted me to teach and create art in the lives of my six children.

  1. Be strong and courageous. To be what God designed us to be requires courage to refuse to be like everyone else. We all claim to want to be unique but we constantly try to fit in, blend in, and conform. Comparison gets us every time. Being who God made you to be means swimming upstream. It means thinking not only why you are doing what you are doing, it also means constantly asking God what He wants you to do. “God, do you want me to train my children like my friend suggested?”

Like you, I’ve struggled with comparison all my life. I too look at social media and feel my house isn’t as cute as others or that my work isn’t as important as others. So when you feel the pull to compare:

  • Resist the temptation to settle for mediocrity, which means becoming like someone else.
  • Read your Bible every day to realign your thinking with the only One whose opinion matters. Keep Scripture before your eyes. (Our Spoonful of Sugar series offers cute weekly printable scripture!) Memorize verses God uses to speak to you.
  • Run to Jesus with your fears and worries that your life doesn’t matter. Listen to Him. Listen to music about Him to fill your mind with the truth.
  1. Believe that your life is a work of art. We women share many of the same colors on our palettes, but we have individual differences in quantity and combinations. My lack of certain colors, which I see as limitations, is part of God’s design. Bible teacher Jen Wilkin said, “Our limits are to point us to worship our limitless God.” When we chafe at what we can’t do, we are telling God He made a mistake. We are rejecting part of what makes us unique. Therefore, we miss becoming that one-of-a-kind design that only we can be.

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You matter.  You’re the only one who can influence your family, your home the way God intends. And because we can’t be who God created us to be on our own power and effort, I offer a prayer for all of us women:

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” -Hebrews 13:20-21

 

   

 

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12 thoughts on “Dear Woman, You Matter”

  1. Super helpful and encouraging to me as a mom with school aged kids. My ongoing struggle is the feeling that I’m not enough. Realigning my thinking with God and His ways is necessary. Thanks for sharing and for reminding us of God’s priorities which should be our priorities. God bless!!

  2. What a breath of fresh air! I remember when the children were little and I felt stretched to the breaking point. I would read speeches from history; like Teddy Roosevelt’s “The importance of mothers”. These things along with prayer and God’s Word kept me going during those times. Like you I asked God at why He had made me the way He had if I were not using it. I left medical school and my plans to become a Doctor after all those years I had worked so hard to get in to the program, to be a wife and Mother. I knew God called me to this, but it was hard remembering that when finances were tight or non-existent, when sleep was a foreign word, when several babies were sticking their fingers and toes under the bathroom door for the one minute I got to be alone, meanwhile other woman are going to the gym four hours a day to keep their youthful figure, asking ‘so what do you do’?

    But now, as I look back over the years, and especially today I am immensely thankful for God’s plan. Our three older girls are home from college for the weekend. I got to help one daughter with her algebra homework, and watched her despair go to hope as we worked the problems together. The other daughters and friends were struggling with their nursing coursework, and as we reviewed Anatomy for a test, giggling and working hard, I felt such joy that God had given me a way to use my gifts of teaching and helping to guide them on their journey. His ways are so much higher than ours, His thoughts above ours. Thank you for the reminder. I am grateful I found this blog. 25 years ago I was grateful beyond words that God led us to our first marriage weekend, and then to the small group where we heard that ‘your mate is not your enemy’ but a gift from God to be received as from His hand. How good and faithful is God to lead in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

  3. Thank you so much. This is a struggling home schooling mom. I needed to hear it again. I am going to photocopy this encouraging words and read it often.

    God Bless you ministry,
    Irine.

  4. Thank you for taking the time to write such comforting and insightful words. You have such a beautiful gift for giving encouragment and infusing spirituality in each word. You motivate others without being critical to be a better followers of Christ, better mothers and better wives. This post rings true for so many women; especially with small children. Accepting that this is what God called us to do – be mothers seems like comment sense but is often forgotten. Remembering that being a mother IS ENOUGH.

    Thanks Barbara your are an angel.

    Kari

  5. You might be good at art, but I think you have the wonderful gift of encouragement, Barbara. Another string to your many talented bow!

  6. Thank you for all your encouraging words! They reach deep into my soul!! I love the line “My interest are all shelved.” That line rings so true to this mother’s heart.

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