I would consider myself a champion of women. A cheerleader of women of all ages and chapters of life. Women are incredible. Women have an untapped power that when fostered, shines in the most graceful of ways, reflecting Jesus at their core. I am a supporter of women who are reflecting not just the Proverbs 31 woman, but the ENTIRE GOSPEL woman. Reflecting redemption and grace, cheering on the good in this world and throwing off the weight of lies, expectations and shame.
I recently became a new mother. I had a pretty textbook pregnancy and an even simpler delivery (praise God from whom all blessings flow), so the prelude wasn’t too bad for me. Once the baby was in my arms and we were heading home, there was this realization that set in that I literally had no idea what I was doing with this babe. I nearly asked my husband to turn the car around and head back to the hospital so I could ask the nurses if they could move in with me and rock ME to sleep too. I say all this because once the fog lifts you look around at all the expectations that are set before you, and if you’re like me you begin to cave. I became very aware of all the new taboo mommy things to argue about - don’t google them, they will only let you down. When I stepped back, I saw something else. It wasn’t just this overwhelming sense of expectation as a mom, but this alarming sense of expectation as a woman.
Have you ever really thought about what is expected of us as women? Like REALLY thought about it? To name a few: be pretty but not petty, be smart but not outspoken, be flirty but not forward, be considerate but not gossipy, be modest but not dowdy, to get married quickly but not too quickly that you look desperate. You must be able to clean, cook and host but also work, drive, raise kids, walk the dog, all while being an attentive and not to mention submissive wife. You must be able to please your husband, bring tiny humans into the world and make sure they are contributing citizens of society, be sexy but not slutty, be a room mom but not a helicopter mom, be able to help your child through high school Algebra, retire on time, travel, love a new child that your child has decided to marry, be a grandmother, and really the list could go on and on. Then if you are a Jesus-loving sister, you have to spend time with Jesus for more than just the five minutes you have in your busy day, be involved in a ministry, serve on the hospitality committee, host women in your home, sing in the choir, drop off the prayer shawls at the retirement home on your way to Bible study and bring a casserole dish to the church potluck. Am I right?
Do you see what I’m getting at here? This list of expectations, while none of these things are inherently evil, weigh on us. They put pressure on our shoulders, arms, minds and hearts and what we have left over is nothing of substance to give. If you're like me, some nights you crawl into bed and you look at this list and you say to yourself, “I don’t measure up - I didn’t meet all or even any of these expectations.” I am here to tell you that this list is worth nothing, my friends! It is worth absolutely nothing compared to the Spirit-breathed Word of God that calls us daughters of the most high King. THAT is our list to follow.
That’s why I chose this name for God: El Roi - the God who sees me. He sees ME. Not the me that has cooked the most delicious dinner or has the perfect husband or the crying children in the store or the only one who forgot the casserole for the potluck. That’s not what He created me for. He created ME for Him to see and delight in. And you know what He doesn’t call me to do? To do. He doesn’t call us to perform for Him or complete tasks for Him. He doesn’t expect us to check lists and meet expectations. His Word doesn’t call me to do, but to be. Be still (Psalm 46:10). Be restful (Matthew 11:29). Be His (1 Peter 2:9 ). Be loved (John 3:16 ). Be forgiven (1 John 1:9 ). Be light (Matthew 5:14-16 ). Be who God has called you to be, not this world.
The list of God’s expectations of you is so much more full of grace than what this world offers. As women we should be applauding each other, not weighing each other down by lumping heaps of shame and disapproval on each other’s shoulders. In Galatians 1:10 we read, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Honest and hard words here that we all need to hear.
We are daughters of the King who SEES us, we don't have to seek approval from others. He delights in us and cherishes us more than the world could ever do. So let’s take off a burden or two and remind each other that we are called to more than this world wants from us. We are called to belong in Christ as a body of believers, sisters in Christ. Who better to belong with than the women of God’s story?