Monday, June 3, 2013

Coming to Terms With My "Womanhood"

There are a few truths I can admit about myself now that I have come to terms with being a woman. Don't misunderstand me, I am still coming to terms with everything it means to be a woman created in the image of God. However, more and more these days I am sensing freedom. Freedom to be and to do. That freedom, so unabashedly pure and life giving, is where I want to camp out. And only the gospel offers it full force and undiluted.

A Gospel Foundation

What overshadows my womanhood is the gospel, and the freedom it brings me to be myself. 

I know that sounds simplistic, but the truth is I am caught up in the world's expectations and I get lost in a shadowy image of me. Where is the true me? Will the real Lori Harding please stand up?

There are so many ways that I fail at this female thing, every day. I struggle with being too feminine and not feminine enough. I long to be more straightforward like a man and yet I have compassion and sensitivity and lots of words and emotions. Sometimes I like that about myself and other times I hate it.

There are days I want to climb the "corporate ladder" and other days when I long to nurture, "home-make" and grow herbs. How is it that I can offer gospel encouragement to one hurting friend and act like a jealous schoolgirl with another? I love a pretty dress and a chain of pearls, but there is nothing more comfortable and sexy than a great pair of jeans and suede boots. I am easily scared, incredibly ticklish and horribly impatient. I get cranky for no reason. I am fiercely loyal and I cry a lot. And, and I actually like to cry...a lot. I go from feeling as if no one understands me better than my husband to "How could you not know that about me after 30 years of marriage?"

What can explain the desirable yet insanely hard parts of being a woman?

Only the gospel.

There is no other explanation given on this earth that completely answers the question of why we live tension-filled lives. We live "between the times" caught in this world which was once perfect but is now marred by sin. I battle this fallen world with its corrupted thinking and values. I am faced with a never-ending barrage of expectations. In response, I turn my head towards bright shiny objects and my desires can easily change with every new fangled gadget and thought this world has to offer. I fight my flesh day in and day out as old temptations continue to haunt me and new ones stalk me from every angle. I fear the devil because I know he is prowling and on the hunt looking for someone to devour. God has him on a leash, nevertheless he does his damaging work.

Not Freedom From But Freedom In

The gospel does not free me from the tension and turmoil. The gospel frees me in the midst of the tensions of this life. The gospel is the only place I can run to with all of my neurotic feelings and thoughts. The gospel is the only place where I find acceptance and value in the face of my feelings of unworthiness and insignificance. 

The gospel confronts me as a woman created in the image of God, yet fallen; then rescues and comforts me in all my humanity and weakness.

Just this morning I was quaking in my boots before I hit the send button on an email to some friends. I was nervous about making suggestions regarding a joint project and I hesitated. That's when the gospel reminded me of my infinite and eternal worth.

 In Christ, it is not possible for my worth to be any greater than it is already. 

I have already been given unending love, grace, acceptance and value, and on that, I can rest my weary head. When I spy that shadowy figure of myself or when I give in to impatience for what seems like the millionth time, it's ok. I can face the enemy when he turns to taunt me and say, "You're right about me. I am faced with tension and I struggle with who I am, but in Christ, my struggle ceases because in Him my identity is sure. I am His and not one hair on my head will be harmed as a result!"

All the clamoring this world has to offer has no standing before the Savior and Redeemer of his people. 

Your King Has Come

If you are struggling with all it means to be a woman in this world, rest your weary soul. Christ came to redeem us from all of our striving, hand wringing and second-guessing. You are beautiful, forgiven, loved. Your King has come from that very far country to save you and His mercy now reigns. In freedom, you can rest in the reality of who you are and in the tension of your womanhood, knowing God cannot love you any less. His love for you will never give up and never go away! Amen.

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