Part 5: Being a Woman
Yes, I am a woman. An XX. It is how the Lord created me in my Momma’s womb. It is how he intended me to live my life on this planet, every one of my days known before one came to be.
I have been a believer in Jesus from age six, with a clear understanding of what a woman in the Word of God was. Not only was she a wife and mother, but she was also a helper (Genesis 2:18), teacher (Act 18:24-26), influencer (Esther), business woman AND manager of her home (Proverbs 31). But I was also an introvert perfectionist, which went into hyper-alert after my sexual abuse as a teenager. This meant I was going to be super woman – or die trying – all in the name of Jesus. OUCH! And UGLY it was!
This wasn’t terrible in teaching other women and Sunday School and Awana and such, but it did not go so well in my marriage and parenting – more in next few weeks on those. I was insecure in living out that Biblical idea of womanhood in a culture where it was looked down on and belittled. So I put lots of energy in being that Biblical woman to the very letter of the Law. My kids can attest to that – and I will expand on that more in a few weeks when I share on parenting.
You see the Law is supposed to point us to the realization of our need for a Savior, because we cannot live for the Lord as He calls us to in our own flesh. It is why Jesus came and lived it perfectly in our place. We need His perfection to be written to our account – relying on His forgiveness and grace to walk the call He makes on our lives. It is NOT to be for controlling myself and others out of fear or power.
Everything about being a woman was hard for me. I was a tomboy by nature. I loved the outdoors, hated cooking, was very uncomfortable having people in my small “cute” house, as it was not perfect and all my womanhood – or what I perceived hospitality to be – was on display for others to notice and critique. I did not want to be seen as a lazy hostess or inept housekeeper even though I loathed housework and would rather be in my gardens – flowers and veggies. I cleaned when the image of needing a clean house was absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I hit the high spots and drove my family crazy when people were coming over. I was a mess. I see a theme in this series – I was and am a mess.
Intimacy was a disaster! I was terrified of sex. I was a “walking-wounded” woman and I felt bad for my husband, but I was not ok with being sexy or desirable. Yuck! and hide in my shell to cope. He was kind and patient, even while wanting me to learn to trust that He was not my abuser and loved me. I was attractive to him and he loved me and wanted to protect me, while I laid there and did not share the panic of being found actually desirable many nights. He never hurt me, but it was such a rough period between marriage and 40 years of age. Thankful for the Lord’s healing and the love of my patient husband and praying friends. It is now the source of my desire to help women find that trust in God, having Christ’s confidence to help them live forward without fear. That was a battle in the background of my femininity that roared forward with chaotic symptoms in every area of the rest of my life.
Measuring yourself by your culture, your children’s expectations, and your own flawed ideals is not healthy for a woman. I volunteered where my heart lead, home-schooled because I loved learning and wanted my kids to not be overrun by the culture’s ideas of God and life. I lived for others’ approval of my “God-honoring” sacrifices. I felt inadequate, always catching up, wanting to be better at being a wife and mom. I was defensive of my choices as a woman – even though I was intelligent and what I believed was based on proven truth of God’s Word and His faithfulness to Himself and the promises he made within His Word.
I did ministry, worked as a secretary, served as an Awana director,. I volunteered at the Pregnancy Counseling Center, discipled young women with Cru on the University of Michigan North Campus, helped at a local nonprofit gardening club, taught at a women’s prison, and now am building a business as a Christian life coach.
And yet I struggled with thinking I was doing something wrong. Where do I find my worth? How do I know what I am doing is what a woman should be doing? Have I lived my whole life thinking wrongly about being a woman?
Abuse. My view of God and His Law skewed. Not fitting any pattern of womanhood – even the Biblical ones I wanted to live up to or thought were important. For example: being warm and hospitable to strangers, selfless, a cheerful cook and servant, a warm compassionate mom, a sexy wife, a working dynamo – in ministry or in the workforce. I did not get the job as an artist when my daughter was 3 and I felt like maybe I was wrong to have gone to school for that. And now that my nest is empty and my kids are off discovering how to impact their world, I second guess my choice to become a Christian Life Coach. What was I thinking? How can I help other women through the minefield of discovering their purpose after a wounded past that has affected their identity, when I am still on the journey myself?
I am a messy Christian woman who survived sexual abuse by the grace of God and the faithful prayers and encouragement of women who believed God can used cracked pots for His glory. My life- each day – belongs to the God who created me, saved me, and is chiselling a masterpiece of His very own for His very own. (Ephesians 2:10) I am NOT super woman and I am learning that that is a very good thing.
What I Have Learned
- Made me a woman, uniquely different than man – all for HIS glory, not my skewed ideas
- Did not make and save me to leave me to my own devices in making HIS plan happen
- He doesn’t make mistakes – no detail of my being a woman is left to chance
- He calls Himself “Helper” numerous times in His Word and I am in good company as my husband’s helper
- Loves women – has a unique place within His creation for them that Eve screwed up and culture constantly screw up to the detriment of all women
- He protects me better than I can protect myself, working all things for good and His grander purposes
- Cannot dictate who I “should be” as a woman – only God’s Word defines that.
- Christian woman can be too strict with what being a means and culture wants no boundaries at all – both ditches are not God’s will for women
- Women can truly be wounded so deeply by life that they lose the joy of being who God intended them to be
- My husband can cook and I can mow – God is not displeased.
- Abuse changed my view of sexuality and importance as a woman – this hurt my daughter’s view of being a woman and this makes my heart sad
- I enjoy being my husband’s helper even while he says he never married me to be his housekeeper – whew!
- Helper looks different for me that it does for other women and that is ok as long as I am being obedient to the Lord’s call in my marriage and life
- My worth comes from belonging to Jesus, not in how clean my house is or how sexy I am in bed or the work I do each day
- I belong to God – He defines my purpose and place in His kingdom work
- I have worth whether I am out in the workforce or choose to be at home with kids or work from home building my business/ministry.
- How much I make is not an indicator of my right to continue to exist or matter to others
Ultimately, we as women were made for a specific purpose in the mind of God. Our worth and value are not tied up in our roles or duties, but in His declaration of who we are in Him and for Him. Are we living in surrender to His will for us or being defined by others in the church and in the world?
How About You?
- What biases, cultural or church-based, do you have about being a woman?
- How are the these biases affecting how you live as a woman daily?
- Where do you find your value and identity as a woman?
- What wounds have shaped how you see you yourself? How have they shaped how you see yourself?
- Who has been the greatest influencer on who you are as a woman?
- How do you think God sees YOU as a woman? What does God in His Word say?
I work with married Christian women who are sexual abuse survivors struggling with trusting their own decisions, others’ intentions, and God’s ability to protect what matters most to them.
- Do you doubt the decisions you make, thinking, “Am I making the RIGHT choice here?”?
- Do you question the intentions of your husband and those closest to you, afraid to be hurt AGAIN?
- Do you feel compelled to always be in control, because you are not sure God has your back?
I will help you process through your experiences to see how a faithful God is lovingly using YOUR life events to shape you as a unique masterpiece for HIS purposes. This will enable you to have greater confidence in Christ’s ability to guide your today, protect you and your loved ones, and live forward without fearing your future.
*Share this with others in your life who you think are struggling in these ways and want or need this kind of partnership for their lives to move forward with confidence.
423-743-0032 (Please leave name and number and I will return your call!)