A woman of longing
Feminists have sought to make women equal to men. Their motto is "anything a man can do a woman can match". While many would say that they have been successful in achieving this goal, these woman have yet to alter what a woman is on the inside. For as long as women has been, the core of who she is has remained untouched.
This is evident in the life of Leah. I have been reading through her story in my devotions and the Lord has shown me just how much I have in common with this woman who lived thousands of years ago. Our first introduction to Leah is that she is the daughter of Laban and that she was "tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured" (Gen 29:17). The first time Leah is mentioned it is in comparison to her sister, that she is beautiful and Leah is not. Sound familiar? That's because it is. Women are bombarded on a daily basis by numerous types of ads whether it is on TV, Facebook or even verbal ads on the radio, there is no escape. We are constantly told that if we don't have this body shape, this hairstyle, or this type of make-up, we are not beautiful. For a disclaimer, let me say that this does not mean we should let ourselves go and give no care to our appearance (though I do relish a pajama day every once in a while myself!), we should always seek to be presentable but it should not dictate our life. Like Leah, we often feel that we are not good enough on our own, and we struggle with the constant comparisons around us causing us to suffer from insecurities, insecurities that Satan loves to feed. He comes to us with the famous "too" lie. You know which one I am talking about. It's the one that says we are too much, too little, too big, too thin, too ugly, too heavy, too odd, too dumb, too smart, too something and the "too" list goes on and on. Satan uses the world and it's vain things to drive this point home and because we are surrounded by it we slowly begin to accept this idea.
For Leah this point was driven home by her own father Laban who decided the only way he could marry her off was by deception. Leah was like any other woman, she had dreams of having a family of her own, a husband and children to love. Instead of having a man come and see her for who she was, she was brought to the man, in the dark of night, a man who was supposed to be marrying her sister. That was her wedding tale, she took her sister's spot, her story was one of deceit and discovery not love. I am pretty sure this was not how she had pictured her wedding.
Even though it was not a planned marriage Leah was determined to win Jacob's affection. She longed for the love of her husband, to be noticed by him. Every woman has a question that she desperately needs answered, "Am I lovely?" Laban had already given her an answer and it was no. Jacob's answer was the same. This question is vital to every woman and has the power to influence her view of herself. In their book, "Captivating" John and Stasi Eldredge state that when the answer to the question is a no it creates a wound, a wound that makes us believe "horrible things about ourselves" and leaves us unaware that this question still needs to be answered. This makes it easy for Satan to come with his "too" lie and make us believe, like Leah that we are not good enough or lovely enough to be cared for or loved by anyone.
Leah hoped that maybe with each child she bore, Jacob would finally love her, listen to what she says about her first child, "now therefore my husband will love me" or what she said when her third son was born, "now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons". With each child Leah's hope of finally being loved grew and each time her disappointment was greater. In her society a woman's worth came from how many children she bore. Things are still the same today except the worth can come in different forms. Woman today believe that if they can just lose those pesky 20 pounds, or wear that certain outfit they saw on the manakin in the mall, or use that new foundation which promises to make them look 10 years younger then they will finally be worth loving. Unfortunately, like Leah we are looking in all the wrong places.
Her story has an interesting element to it. God saw Leah, this fact is recorded for us. He noticed her and her pain, "And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated". She was not unnoticed, but seen by the very One who created her just as she was, tendered eyed and all. Even though no one else gave her a passing glance, the God of all the universe gave her more than that, He looked upon her and her circumstances and had compassion on her.
Our world is filled with hurting women who are struggling to find their worth. As they scroll by yet another Facebook ad which promises they too can look like the beautiful, slender girl by simply ordering this amazing product their heart sinks just a little more as they are reminded of their lack. This comparison bombardment is not something that can be taken lightly, it is real and it is present in our world today. Everywhere you look girls are trying everything to be noticed, to be enough and seeking to answer that question that haunts them. I struggle just as much as anyone, I see those same ads on my newsfeed and feel my own heart sag.
As I read through the story of Leah and really began to pick it apart God spoke to me and reminded me of a few things. First, I need to stop listening to the "too" lie of Satan, he says I am "too" something but my God tells me I am enough because I am made in His image. I am made in the image of my Creator and He is enough. Because He is enough, I am enough, and I am lovely. This is the truth that needs to sink into our very souls. He loves us not because of what we are, who we are or what we can do, He loves us because He made us in His image and that makes us lovely. I don't know about you but that is pretty exciting to me! But in order for this truth to sink into my soul I must mediate on the Word and less of the world. As I continue to read my Bible I find more and more evidence of just how much He thinks of me, the One who has made me just as I am.
I know that this was a lot to read but if you get nothing else out of this know that God (the One who made every star in every galaxy) loves (with a love that sent Jesus to die on a cross) you (and that includes every freckle, wrinkle, and bump). Let that truth sink into your heart. So stop listening to that old "too" lie and embrace the truth, you are loved with an everlasting love, a love that is persistent, unchanging and inescapable.
Just wave hello!
There is an old man that lives in the town next to mine. Often I find myself riding into that town early in the morning and I catch sight of the yellow reflective vest which brings a smile to my face because I know what is coming next. As I drive by I see him lift his hand and smile as he gives a big wave, there is nothing to do but wave back! I don't know how long he has done this traditional wave walk but what I do know is that this man brings joy to so many by simply waving hello. If I were honest I actually look forward to seeing him and eagerly keep a lookout for that yellow, reflective vest. I have actually begun to wave first. Such a simple act but one that brings such a wave of happiness to so many. As some may remember, I gave a two week kindness challenge last month. Let me just start by saying I struggled, there I said it, I confessed!! But I also learned something in those two weeks and I wanted to share it with you.
First, kindness does not come naturally. It is something that must be worked at and opportunities sought. When I took the two week challenge I had a list of things I wanted to do each day but you know what I found? That was easier said than done. I would get so busy with my day and consumed by the things I needed to get done that I almost forgot about the kind deed I wanted to do that day. Opportunities to be kind are usually not that obvious, they take work to uncover and require us to be on the lookout. It required me to take a break from what was consuming me at the moment and look around. The verse from Proverbs 31 kept coming to my mind throughout this challenge. "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." Prov. 31:20. This verse means that she looked for opportunities to be kind and helpful to those around her and this kindness challenge taught me to do the same.
Second, kindness does not need to be big or costly. Part of the challenge was to simply speak words of kindness, ones of encouragement and praise. To be kind does not need to involve money but it always involves time. Time is one of the most valuable possessions we own and it is ours to do with as we please. How I spend my time says a lot about the person I am and when someone chooses to give me some of their time it says a lot about how much they care about me. My birthday was a few weeks ago and a dear couple wanted to go out to eat with my mom and I to celebrate. Having them take time out of their busy day just to spend it with me meant the world to me. Taking time to write someone a note of encouragement or tell them how much they mean to you can make more of a difference than you will ever know. Taking the time to call someone to say hello can make such a deep impact on their day, even more than a text could. I believe we have fallen into a rut, one that involves us being consumed by our day to day that we have forgotten what it is like to stop and see the need around us. We have lost sight of what is truly important and what we are called to do. We have been called to be a light to the world and our light shines brightest when we reflect the love of our God.
Third, kindness needs to be exercised like anything else if it is to thrive. To be kind requires us to act. If we want to be kind we must make it a part of our daily life which means it needs to be exercised daily. Just like any other habit, we need to make a conscious decision to be kind today.
That old man I spoke of, he takes his walks with a cane and is out walking no matter how cold or hot it is. He may never realize how much joy his simple act of kindness does to the people who drive by but it does. It gives them a smile, one that may last for hours. So would you join him and take the time to wave hello and spread a little kindness today?
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I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.