A feather or a sign (for my feather buddy)

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I have a friend I don’t see very often. And though I’m a bit older than her, we used to play when we were young. See, our parents were friends way back.

I have great memories of running around her property, riding in the tractor bucket, jumping in their pond, swinging the swings into the high heaven, and singing songs with her and her sister late into the night (Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop, Shimmy, Shimmy, Bop)…

Anyway, life hasn’t turned out so smooth for her. And she posted the most beautiful poem today (copied from a friend). After reading it, I was inspired to write her the longest Facebook message ever. But just as I finished typing it up, my computer went black. Some sort of error shut me down.

When I rebooted, I hoped the message would still be there. That I could send it. When I saw it wasn’t, in frustration, I gave up. I wondered if the computer glitching was a sign to not send anything.

Then, I looked to God and said, you’ll have to send me a sign today if I’m supposed to send that message.

About six hours later, I received the above feather. A totally unexpected gift from my cousin. Well, to me, this is God’s sign. Reach out to my friend and tell her what I’d been thinking…

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I’m six days into this devotion. Because of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a strong woman…

I’ve told my friend more than once that she’s the strongest woman I know. And if you know who I’m talking about, you know why. See, she takes care of her kids. They need her. More so than other kids need their mama’s.

I ended up printing that poem she shared for my journal. I have her name on it, with a note, “Wonder Woman?” See, I’ve asked her before if she’d be willing to share her story with some women…

How God’s helped her through life.

Today, I wondered again if she’d be willing to. One day. God willing. Maybe via video… because her life is just too up and down to commit to anything outside the home. It was the following from the poem that made me think it again:

“A little one fighting for their life – And you, strong beside them in perfect stride.” Again, “More strength than you had ever known. A faith in God and Him alone.” Again, “You’ll fight and give up and fight some more. You won’t be stopped by seemingly closed doors.” And finally, “Your motherhood was not the way you planned. But today you love more – and stronger you stand.” 

Wow.

This describes my friend perfectly. And what stands out the most is that part about faith in God. Him alone. See, my friend has a faith in God that runs deeper than most and she’s very vocal about it. No matter how rough things get, she continues to praise Him. To thank Him. Never losing hope…

And because of a conversation we had recently (via messenger), I think I understand why…

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

My friend had posted a picture of a feather. I had to ask why because feathers recently took on new meaning to me. I just love the image of God covering us with His and even wrote about it a few months back. Lo and behold, after finishing the piece on feathers, I caught one in mid-air. Out of the blue.

It felt like a miracle.

One month later, I received another feather. This one was deep, down in my purse. I found it the day the state shut down. My second feather coincided with the shelter in place.

Well, after my friend posted the picture of feathers, I learned she loves Psalm 91:4, too. More, I discovered she also receives feathers. Hers being way more dramatic and way more amazing than my finds but that’s not my story to tell…

The point being, because we bonded over feathers, I believe God nudges me to send that message I started earlier. That golden feather inspires me, too.

What I find amazing, though, is that my message would have been incomplete had it gone out earlier. Because I hadn’t read what I did tonight…

And I can’t help but wonder if the timely shut down of my computer was so I’d have the following to pass on first.

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As I said, I’m reading a book called STRONG. Because of that, I’ve really dug into the definitions of strong and weak and meek. The above find provided me with a picture of the younger me. Man, was I meek. But also, I was weak and I hated that about me. Oh, I despised my timid and mousy demeanor.

Not surprisingly, my friends were always the opposite. Bold and secure and strong and confident and all that went with the package. And because I admired them, I made this my aim. I wanted to emulate the strong woman, not the weak.

Because strong women are admirable.

But see, God’s taken me to task over this the past few years. It’s been quite a process. Basically, though, I now comprehend I was trying to be strong according to the world’s standards. More, I was trying to be strong and confident and the whole package through my own power.

But what I want to share here, is that I believe my friend emulates not just the world’s model of a strong woman, but also God’s. I think she is strong because God is within her. I think He equips her and empowers her and I think that’s true because Psalm 91:4 is her verse. “He will cover you with his feathers.”

But I think the key to her strength is found in the first verses of the Psalm…

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

There’s a lot to do with dwelling and resting and abiding in here. And I think my friend does this. She stays with God. She remains with him. She has to. But because she does, she can state the following and really mean it:

“My God, in whom I trust.”

Honestly, before this past year, I couldn’t say that in all sincerity. I still placed my trust in too many other things. And when those things gave way, there went my confidence. When everything I hoped in was shaken, I was left shaking. Insecurity abounded.

Here’s my big revelation of the evening, though. I find it in the definition for trust. Among other things, it means: confidence, secure, confident, bold, sure, to have confidence, to be bold, to be secure, to feel safe.

Wow. This is my definition of a strong woman. It’s everything I ever wanted to be. But I realize if I want to be this kind of woman, I have to dwell in the shadow of His wings. If I want to be bold, I have to remain with God. If I want to be confident, I have to stay with Him.

And I have to tell you, this really kind of rocked my world tonight. Because it feels just like God handed me the blueprint for becoming a strong woman…

Nestled right here in the verses I’ve been meditating on for months and months. Tonight He showed me exactly what a woman who trusts God looks like. She looks just like a strong woman. And she looks just like my friend…

Because when a woman has that kind of faith, it shows. The world can’t help but notice her sureness. An inner strength.

This describes my feather buddy. Because no matter how hard life can be, no matter how difficult, and no matter how crushing, she always displays strength. But I now know, her strength stems from trusting God.

The end result is the strong woman she is.

I want her to know that I’m not the only one who sees her strength. One born not only of struggle, but also, born of God. That’s what I want her to know…

Strength. It’s her feather.

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I realize I could have sent a private letter. Or a whopping personal message. Instead, I opted to post this blog. There’s a reason for that…

See, when my feather buddy and I talked about feathers, she told me it was time to receive another. Well, I’m putting this out there because I’m hopeful it will feel just like she found one…

Because that golden feather given to me out of the blue today? I can’t help but think it was right on time. A nudge from God for me to tell her just what I just did. Thus, I have no doubt in my mind…

That one was just for her.

Because indeed, God covers her with His feathers.

 

Older women (or my life as a country song)

September happened. It was a big month in our household. There was Labor Day, Jason’s birthday, me and a friend hosted a ladies’ event called Something Beautiful followed up by a beach trip. This all made for incredibly packed days. Oh, so busy.

Also, I chipped this cup. My hurried state caused me to carelessly unload the dishwasher. It’s the family rules mug. The thing is, when it happened I wondered if perhaps more than a piece of Porcelain was broken. Common earthenware. I wondered if just maybe, the rules themselves had been broken…

Covenant vows, even. Alas, the notion was a a passing flicker and quickly faded.

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Yes, September happened. This photo showed up in my Facebook feed along with it. I can’t help but wonder if God wanted me to see it. Because I stared when I saw it. I just looked so different then. My smile reached my eyes. I looked happy. And thin. And I can hardly believe it… I had only one chin.

And I know this may come across as vain, but I think I look pretty then. Beautiful, even? Because youth has a way of making one shine. And six years ago, I was younger. I’d just turned forty.

In reflecting on the me of 2013, I know I was younger, bolder, and confident. I had something to say and wanted to be heard. More, I wanted to be seen. I wanted to insert me into the world because I’d taken up a platform. It had to do with the woman’s role. And it had to do with being on the outside. Way beyond my walls..

Yes, in my smiling eyes, everything important happened out there. Where one could be seen.

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Funny thing about being seen. As I planned that ladies’ event, Something Beautiful, I recognized the irony of it. I knew I’d never felt more un-beautiful in my life. And also, I did not want to be seen. Mostly because of my outward appearance.

See, my contours have changed. I’m not as angular as the 40 year-old me. I have wrinkles and bags under my eyes while my waist heaps over my pants. I have bulges where I never did before. Oh, there are lines in unsightly places and veins mar my legs.

So this past Sunday, shamefully, I skipped church. One, September had taken its toll. The busyness left me so tired. And honestly, thinking about what I could pour my body into was too much to bear. So I drank coffee instead.

Later, I motivated myself to stuff my rolls into clothing and rolled into town. There was a baby shower and I had to finish off the gift. That’s when I found a beautiful box of stationary. And I bless God for this gift. Because it serves as a reminder.

See, Ecclesiastes 3:11 was the theme verse for the ladies’ event. Something Beautiful had a lot to do with being beautiful, but from the inside out. Letting your outer match your inner. And this box was God’s gentle way of reminding me of what’s truly important. Goes back to the broken vows I mentioned earlier. And my insides…

Not my heart, though. What’s inside my walls.

Stand by Your Man…

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She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:12

September is always a big month. A seasonal time of reflection. More often than not, I find myself melancholy and enter a period of repentance. This is what September means to me.

Thus, I can’t help but reflect on a particular verse. Because in two days time, it’ll be the anniversary of Jason’s proposal to me. It happened October 4th, 1997. Yes, this man of mine got down on one knee and asked me to be his.

And that’s not surprising, really.  Because back then, I would have moved heaven and earth for him. I revolved around Jason. I’d follow him to the moon and back and pretty much did. Yes, I bent over backwards to please him. I was a woman who stood by her man. At least I did, then.

But the truth is, I don’t do that anymore. No, somewhere along the line, it became more important to do all the back-bending and flips out there in the public forum. That’s where all the credit is. And to be completely frank, I’ve given more time and energy to those on the outside than to those on the inside. I easily turn down a request from my loved ones but no rarely escapes my lips when someone from out there asks.

Yes, as I slide into the back side of forty, this is where God leads me. He has me seriously consider Proverbs 31:12. Particularly that word good. The bigness of it being it’s the same used in part of the ladies’ event. And it means just what you think… good, pleasant, agreeable, welfare, etc. But also, it can mean beautiful. Two times in Scripture, the word is used to describe a woman’s appearance. 

She does him good. She does him beautiful. She is agreeable and pleasant. But in September, I did not emulate this verse. And Jason called me on it.

That’s because no one knows better than Jason how I bent over backward for the ladies’ event. And please don’t mistake me, I’m glad I did. However, I let everything get upended at home. I had so much to uncover from afterward, it left me feeling pressured.

Thus, I cracked when Jason requested something extra of me. Oh, I didn’t say no but I let him know how inconvenienced I was. Not in words, mind you. Just my demeanor. Coldness. Silence.

Not at all like the woman I was way back when. And most assuredly, I was not beautiful inside or out at that moment. Sadly, my actions nearly nullified everything about the event… Something Beautiful. Almost.

And so, as I close in on my forty-seventh year, I comprehend what God wants…

He wants me to bend over backwards at home. Like I did when I first met Jason. He wants me to stand by him and support him. He wants me to treat those I love the most like the ones I treat on the outside.

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The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

Look at us. I knew I’d see my friend this past Sunday and I wanted another photo of us side by side. Because we were beautiful in our younger days. But God, He tells me we’re even more beautiful now. In a hundred ways….

And though I can’t speak for Carolyn and what she’s learned through the years, I can speak about her heart. Because in the words of Willie and Waylon, she’s a good hearted woman. Life’s thrown her curve balls and stumbling points but those seasons have created a softness inside. She always sees the best in people. She sees the best in me.

And when I think of our outer shells, I can’t help but wonder if our not-so-firm skin and less-than-angular contours mimic the softness inside. Our hearts being more tender than they were…

Because I think I am. Six years have made me older and wiser. And softer. Because I’m more pliable. And when I make a mistake, I realize it and own it quicker than I once did. Like the day Jason asked me to do something and I resisted. I apologized for my actions within an hour. The old me would have held to my rights and plans for days allowing the coldness to shroud our home. Plucking down my walls with my own hands.

But the new me? The older me?

Basically, I’ve come to comprehend I was nothing more than a self-made woman back then. I put all my effort into making me into what I wanted to be. Something more. And there’s nothing wrong with striving and goals.

However, all my goals had to do with what I considered the big things. Important things. All being outside my walls. Oh, I struggled with my maker for years and years, asking Him “why have you made me thus?” (Romans 9:20) I resisted His purpose for me, which is mainly domestic. At least for now. Because ultimately, that’s what He built me to do…

Yes, sometime in the past year, I submitted to God’s design. Instead of being a self-made woman, I became a God-made woman. And there’s relief in that.

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“It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper (one who balances him – a counterpart who is) suitable and complementary for him.” Genesis 2:20

I love how Scripture fits together. Take Proverbs 14:1 for instance. The wise woman builds her house. The word build is also used in Genesis when God made woman. He built a woman for the purpose of helping the man. Yes, God built me to help my husband.

Help meaning to aid or succour (assistance in times of hardship or distress). It comes from another word meaning to surround and this speaks to my heart today. Surround him…

A woman will encompass (tenderly love) a man. Jeremiah 31:22 

Because once upon a time, I surrounded Jason. My life revolved around his. I’d have done anything for him and I did. But then we got married. And that’s when I began to struggle. Jason’s time against mine. His plans against mine. All my plans being those that made me into what I wanted to be. A self-made woman all the way…

All leading to something outside my walls.

Ultimately, my plans conflicted with God’s. Thus, years and years of struggle with my Maker. But finally, this year came about. I raised my white flag in surrender and submitted to His will and to what He makes me…

Which is a wife and mother. These first. Above all else.

This is what God made me to be. It’s what He created me to do. He wants me to back-bend and roll over and surround those He’s entrusted to me. Joyfully and with all my heart.

Older women… 

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There’s a country song that’s been rolling around in my head. Read some of the lyrics…

Older women, are beautiful lovers
Older women, they understand
I’ve been around some, and I have discovered
That older women know just how to please a man.
Everybody seems to love those younger women
From eighteen on up to twenty-five
Well I love ’em too, but I’m tellin’ you
Learnin’ how to really love, takes a little time.
So baby don’t you worry about growin’ older
Those young girls ain’t got nothin’ on you
‘Cause it takes some livin’, to get good at givin’
And givin’ love is just where you could teach them a thing or two.

 

Call me weird, but I see Scripture in that song. It’s a bit like portions of the Titus 2 woman…

Older women… teach what is good and right… encourage young women to tenderly love their husbands and children.

A few years ago, I thought this verse was odd. Why would older women have to teach the younger to love their husbands and children? Well, now I know. And I believe the me of 2019 can speak wisdom into the me of 2013.

Because back then, I did not love my family as good as I could. I couldn’t because I gave too much of me to the outside leaving leftovers for those inside my walls. And that’s what much of Titus 2 touches on…

The younger woman is encouraged to be a maker of a home. It comes from a word meaning house/build. The maker of a home is domestically inclined and works at home. This is how a wise woman can build her house and love her family. It doesn’t mean she can’t go out or work outside the home. But I think it means a woman makes home a priority.

For years, I did not. What a hard truth to learn. And how many years it’s taken me to realize it.

But since I do now, I feel like my life somewhat resembles that country song. It’s taken some livin’ to get good at givn’ love. And I’m really getting there. And this is where I could teach them younger women a thing or two…

So what are my words of wisdom? You give the best of you to those inside your walls. Love them first. Then, after you love them good and well, go beyond your walls and love the others.

That’s what I’d say to younger women. And in truth, this is what makes us women truly beautiful inside and out. When we’re just as lovely inside our homes as we are on the outside. At least, this is what God has been teaching me these past few years.

I have to wonder. Is it too late? My broken rules and vows? Is it too late to do my husband good all the days of my life?

Though I cannot go back and change what’s been, I can surely change what’s to come. And I can surely do him good all the rest of the days of my life. I can. And the past few days give me hope it’s all true.

First, take a look at my little girl. This was Sunday (the day I skipped church because I felt so hideous). Well, she had on a t-shirt and shorts. After she saw me, she went back to her room and came out with the white blouse on top. She imitated me and truly, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. How precious that she wanted to look as I did.

Afterward, my son told me I look nice (he never does that). And then I found two sets of stationary with the messages “He has made everything beautiful in its time,” and “Beautiful inside and out.”

I praise God for that. I do. Because despite my mess-ups (namely the one immediately following that ladies’ event with my hubby), He assures me a hundred ways I’m beautiful.

The best way, though, was through the lips of Annabelle. When I told her she was beautiful the other night, she quipped, “I know.” When I asked how, she said it’s because I love her. But she also said, “Because God made me.”

And ultimately, this is how I know I am beautiful. For I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God-made. Built to love my children. Built to love my man.

You know, I’ve come to this conclusion again and again. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about all things domestic. And experience teaches me the last thing my husband wants is another blah, blah, blog. Words not backed by action.

So this time, as a belated birthday and early anniversary gift (of sorts), I plan to give Jason my life as a country song…

In deed, I hope to be a good-hearted woman standing by my man all the rest of my days as an older woman. Because as the song goes, we make beautiful lovers. This is my vow to my husband. Till death do us part.

i am woman

She said, “Do you demand respect? Or do you earn it?” And my heart thudded as her voice boomed out through the sanctuary. It was February of 2013 and my insides screamed out YES! Let them have it! Because I burned inside. Anger and wrath ignited. All directed at the opposite sex, of course. The male population. Or more particularly, the male population within the very traditional church I found myself.

The speaker used Titus 2…

In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered. v. 3-5

She used Ephesians 5:25 as back-up. If husbands would only love their wives as Christ loves the church, then women would respond more willingly. Or submit. And in my ignorance, I thought the message was for all the men surrounding me who sat in pews. However, the longer her voice droned on, the more uncomfortable I felt.

And thirty-two months later, I know why.

Because those words weren’t meant for their ears. They were meant for mine. The question was directed at me.

God said, “Do you demand respect? Or do you earn it?”

And in looking back, I’d have to say I demanded it. I felt it was deserved. Along with honor. But none of that was coming my way. Not there. So I picked a battle and chose my side. And I stood for women. More particularly, women’s rights in the church.

Yes, that’s what I chose.

Listen to me!

 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12

Today I have absolute clarity. It has to do with respect. See, when I left home at 19, I didn’t have any. I didn’t possess one ounce of self-respect. And to compound matters, after only five short years away I managed to do everything I could to lose the respect of those who knew me. No details necessary.

But one day, I met God. I wasn’t even looking for Him. Eventually, I learned to call out to Him. And five years ago, He talked back. Through Scripture… words specific to me. Yes it’s true, God heard my cries. He listened, and miraculously, He answered.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

God sent me back to my hometown. I asked and asked and finally, in His infinite mercy and grace, He gave me what I desired most. And after settling, He spoke again and again and again. Revelation to revelation and glory to glory. I swear, the fall of 2011 was one of the most wonderful times of my life.

Because God listened to me. And I listened to Him. A relationship was formed.

I am woman

I wanted to share what I knew. I was simply on fire and wanted other women to feel as I did. Because what a discovery. The fact God really is real astounded me. Before God, it was empty religion. I merely sat in church and went through the motions. I followed rules and did all the right things.

Thus, I didn’t have much to say. No voice at all.

But one day, He spoke. To someone as insignificant as me. And that was miraculous. That God would look down from His throne and speak to me in the midst of an ordinary life was remarkable. Noteworthy. So, I tried to share. Because if it happened to me, it could happen to other women.

So I wrote manuscripts and endeavored to lead women’s Bible studies. I wanted women to discover what I had.

In the midst of all this revelation and glory, we joined a church. A traditional one. And at first, I was eager to share. I reached out immediately and there were quick dividends. For within months I was asked to read Scripture at the women’s Sunday. It was that February service in 2013 when I heard the Titus 2 talk.

You know, my spirits were dampened even before I heard that woman speak, though. It was after I’d told a couple of gals I wanted to lead a women’s Bible study and learned I wouldn’t be able to. There was a two year rule in place and it didn’t sit well with me. Because, I felt I knew so much. And had so much to say. Important things. Meaning, I was important.

I blurted out,  “I can’t just sit here for two years.”

Well, turns out I did. It goes back to the respect thing. And only in looking back can I see what I did. I rolled up in that church demanding respect. I expected people to want what I had to offer. But they didn’t even know me. And because it felt like rejection, I began to feel so small there. Unworthy. In truth, I’d never felt so diminished as a woman in all my life.

And so, my light got dimmer and dimmer as another flame was fanned. Over the months, it blazed and consumed me.

I shrugged on a new mantle and adopted my battle cry.

It was, “I am woman. Hear me roar.”

the wrong fight

It’s with clarity I speak today. See, I left home feeling like a nothing. But before and upon my return, God spoke! To me. I felt so important. And when it seemed as if my church didn’t want my offering, I was offended. Highly. And an internal war raged. I wanted the woman in me to be heard.

This is what I carried into my home life. Because I wrote and wrote. With all my heart, I wanted a published book. But pure intentions became tainted by pride. Getting a book deal began to have less and less to do with God and His glory, and became more and more about me and mine.

See, a book with my name on the cover would really show those people who rejected me. All of them. Then they’d know I was worth hearing. Especially the men who surrounded me… who dampened my spirits. You know, the ones who needed to hear the Titus 2 message. Those who demanded respect.

The utter realization, though, is I’ve been slandering God in this manner. Denying my true mission in life by failing to submit to the one thing He really wants me to do. And by resisting His leading, I realize I’ve been fighting against my own family. I didn’t comprehend my stance on women’s rights caused me to lose ground in my own home.

love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands

This is what God wants me to do. He commands me to love my husband. To love my children. To be self-controlled and pure. A homemaker. Kind. He wants me to submit to my husband. And this…

All this…

I’ve been fighting.

Because my eyes have been clouded. My perspective skewed by the secular world in which I live. See, it’s society that places value on status, ego, fame, self-seeking, and the list goes on. I’ve been hanging on to this set of values. Not His.

Still.

For this is what motivates me to write when I have a pile of laundry and dinner to prepare. Not always, but often enough. Because if I could just get my name in lights, it would validate all I’ve been doing. I would be validated. Good enough. Worthy of respect. Worthy to be heard.

Because, oh how my heart skips a beat when my little alarm shows orange on my blog site. It means someone liked what I had to say.

Oh, I am woman. I do roar.

Hear me…

Please.

I’m gonna say no

Today, I choose to say no. To the world and it’s scales. I say yes to God, instead. I submit. I give. Because with all my heart, I want to please Him. I want to do the one thing He wants me to do and do it well. And that means I give place to Him by giving place to my family and my home.

Today, I embrace biblical womanhood and all it implies. I submit to my husband as the head of our household. And it’s a blessing. I am blessed because I have a good man who loves me. Just as Christ loves the church. And we have a mutual respect for each other. We have love.

Today, I choose to be the mother God wants me to be. And that means saying no to my children. I will discipline them because they need boundaries. Training. Upbringing. It’s my job. And they will rise and call me blessed.

And I will enjoy being a homemaker. And all the chores that surround it. For it’s a blessing. And an honor. It brings me pleasure to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for my family.

Yes, today is the day. I say no to the world and what it has to offer.

I say yes to God instead.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. 1 Peter 3:3-4 

I am woman and wife. I embrace it. And I am mother. I cherish it. Because it’s such a gift. Motherhood.

And so, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention something I read yesterday. It has to do with all this. The role of womanhood…

Trevor MacDonald is a self identified female-to-male transgendered gay man, who’s given birth to two children since he transitioned. He’s expecting another baby in April. MacDonald explains he was born female but transitioned to male by taking hormones and having chest surgery. “When my partner and I decided to start a family, we got advice from my doctors and I stopped taking my testosterone. Because my surgery removed most of my breast tissue, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to breastfeed, but I really want to try.”

He’s accused the midwifery community of “transphobia” in The Huffington PostMacDonald argues that suggesting that trans guys who give birth are not men — but actually women, because of their biology — is “highly offensive to trans individuals because it denies our gender.” Michelle Jesse

I cried as I read the above http://www.allenbwest.com/2015/09/transgender-dad-offended-by-pregnant-women-midwives-deliver-epic-response/

And I have to tell you, I say, no. No, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too. You’re either male or female. And if you choose to have a baby, then you’re a woman. Women have babies.

Though Trevor MacDonald identifies as male, she relies on her female anatomy to carry her children. “He’s expecting another baby in April…” Again, no. Emphatically, I say it. No. Not he but she. Because motherhood belongs to the woman. Childbirth belongs to the woman.

It is a woman who carries a baby for nine months. It is she who develops stretch marks and pees twenty times a day. The woman suffers labor pains but then immediately forgets it all in the face of her infant. And she tenderly nestles her baby at her breast for nursing.

The woman nurtures. She soothes. And kisses boo-boos. She is mama. So I say No!

Do not take this away from us. Motherhood belongs to women. Birthing babies belongs to women.

Not to men.

I am woman. Hear me roar.

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A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. John 16:21

I say yes

I’ve been fighting God on this one. I wanted to be more than what He made me to be. I wanted to be more than wife and mother because homemaker just didn’t seem to elicit enough respect. At least not in my book.

So, I demanded it. Like that fateful February in 2013. I finally had my platform for I’d been asked to read Scripture. But me being me, I used it as an opportunity to be heard. It was a sermonette I prepared, not a verse. And I droned on and on. And you know what? My little boy was at home sick that day.

The evening before, Levi’s fever spiked to 103. I was so worried. I prayed and called relatives. I fretted. But the next morning, I went off to church anyway leaving my husband to tend to my son. I left my husband to fulfill my role as mother. Nurturer. Why? Because I had important business to attend to. I had to speak at church. Important stuff, you know.

So I opened my mouth but got little in return. Not the respect I’d hoped for.

Today, I know why. It’s just another step in my journey with God. And I realize I’ve been wrestling Him. Demanding that He give me the respect I feel I’m due. Thus, I’ve disrespected Him by denying His words. And what He expects from me.

But today’s another story. Because today, I say yes to Him and all that implies. Especially with regard to my womanhood.

I am woman. And finally, I’m willing to submit. I yield as I embrace my role as woman. Wife and mother. Total submission. And the miracle is, I end up finding the respect I’ve been seeking.

Self-respect returns.

Just because I said Yes.

To God.

An Average Woman

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So, yesterday was Martin Luther King day. And honestly, other than noticing how busy it was in town and that my son was out of school, I didn’t give it much thought. In truth, it’s just another day on the calendar for me. A holiday that’s observed, and by observed I mean Federal agencies and various offices are closed. In the fullness of yesterday, that’s the only thought that came to my mind regarding the holiday… busyness and closings.

See, I’m a busy woman. And yesterday, my son was home. So I hit the ground running. I had places to go, people to see, groceries to get, work emails to answer, dinner to cook, and aerobics to attend. And after all that, I had a baby to tend to. She was a bit fussy yesterday evening and her sleep was not sound. So, I slept on the sofa with her by my side in her bouncy chair. I wanted to be close…

That brings me to this morning. And that’s when revelation struck… Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. But what does that mean? Or more specifically, what should it mean to someone like me… your average woman. Overloaded and overwhelmed by duty and tasks. See, at the basest, I know what the day represents. I’ve heard all about this significant man. And he had a dream. And he had a purpose. And he gave his life, literally, for that dream.

But you know, there’s a song that sheds light on something more about Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s called Up to the Mountain (MLK song). And from a video, I learned that Dr. King’s last speech was the inspiration for the song. And I believe anyone who hears the lyrics will be moved. Moved to go up to the mountain… just like he did.

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This morning, God reminded me of another man who went up to the mountain. Just like Dr. King. His name was Moses. And in Exodus 34, Moses’ instructions were clear. They were simple. Be prepared, come up, and stand before Me on the mountaintop. But God also said, “No one may go up with you.” And that stirs me this cold day. See, there are just some places you have to go alone. For some journeys are meant for only two… God and the individual. At least that’s what I gleaned from my reading this morning.

Moses, indeed, trekked up that mountain. Alone. And you know what happened? The LORD came down. God stood there with him. And God proclaimed His name to Moses. Moses received revelation, for He glimpsed God’s glory. And there he stayed for forty days and forty nights. In the presence of God… basking in His glory. Just God and him.

And so, I ponder Martin Luther King, Jr. And the MLK song. See, he went up to the mountain because God asked him to. I’m sure he prepared. And he stood before God. And most assuredly, I think he went alone. At least that first time. See, some journeys are meant for only two… And you know what I think happened? God came down. Dr. King received revelation. And a dream. And most assuredly, He glimpsed God’s glory. Just God and him.

But what does that mean to me? An average woman. Because going up to the mountain seems so lofty. See, I’m no Moses and I’m certainly no Martin Luther King. But does that mean God’s invitation went forth to only men like them? Or is it for me, too? A tired, harried, disheveled 41 year old woman. What in the world would that look like… going up to the mountain?

You know what? I can tell you. Because this morning, it happened. Amidst the chaos of my home, I heard God’s call. He told me to come up, and I did. But that meant I had to leave some things behind…

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Look at my house. Anyone who knows me knows how unhinged I can be when clutter abounds. But you know, I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t ascend the mountain dragging my stuff with me. So I left my duties and chores behind. The dust on my surfaces and the laundry in the basket and the emails in my inbox? They remained at the base of the mountain. And so, I prepared for my ascent in that I didn’t prepare my face. Or my hair…

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And I went up and stood before the LORD in my Spirit. All by myself. Face and soul bared. And the most remarkable thing happened…for He came down. He met with me. And I received revelation. A received a fresh glimpse of God’s glory. And there I basked in His presence. Just me… a tired, middle-aged, average woman. And God. A journey for two. And this… this is what going up the mountain looks like in my home.

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You know, this stained glass piece has been hanging in my window. But today, it means so much more to me than a simple decoration. It seems significant. For it’s a reminder of God’s invitation. But see, I can’t have it all. I can’t do it all. And so, every day hereafter, I’ll have a choice. I can stay at the foot of the mountain dusting and decluttering and accomplishing my lengthy to do list. Or, I can leave all that behind seeking something greater. Something more. Seeking God. The choice is mine. And today, I’m so glad I made the right choice. Because had I not, I would have missed God.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

So yesterday was Martin Luther King day. And it’s true he was a great man. He stood for what he believed in. He fought and gave his life for what mattered. See, he had a dream. And you know what… so do I. This average woman has a dream, too. It’s from God. It’s His purpose for me. It’s what I’m to stand and fight for. But you know… I could have so easily missed it. If I was too busy to hear His call, I would have missed His revelation. It’s so easy to do. We’re so incredibly busy… the average woman has such a full plate.

But hush now… quiet your busy mind. Can you hear Him? He speaks softly and His invitation is for you, “Come up to the mountain,” He says. Because there He’ll meet with you. But you must go alone. See, some journeys are meant for only two. God and you. Because He has a dream. And a purpose. Just for you. An average woman.

 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12

 http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=up+the+mountain+patty+griffin&qpvt=up+the+mountain+Patty+griffith#view=detail&mid=587AB0D52418B325C526587AB0D52418B325C526