A Note to My Fellow Women on International Women's Day
Ever since I was young, I have been raised by, known and chosen to surround myself with incredible women. Whether it be my grandma, my mom, my sister, my aunts and cousins, my daycare lady, my youth group leaders, my teachers or my friends, I was enveloped by a tribe of powerhouses.
When I was younger, I understood that women were protectors, they were caring and nurturing and they were encouragers. They could do it all and with (what seemed like) little to no effort. I knew all of my friend’s moms and they all knew my mom because both sides had a hand in everything we did. They planned our birthdays, they drove us to dance practice, they made sure we all were doing our homework, they helped us pick out spring formal dresses, they helped us study for tests, they gave great advice and they kept us safe. The women in my life were a refuge and a breath of fresh air and I wanted to be just like a lot of the women around me when I grew up.
But somewhere in the time between, I lost sight of what really makes a woman a woman. From the ultra-conservative viewpoint that women can only be quiet housewives and childbearers to the ultra-liberal viewpoint that women should strive to do everything a man can do (and do it better), it can be hard to pick out truth about myself as a woman in they year 2019.
Throughout my years I have been on both ends of the spectrum. When I was younger, my goal was to get married young and raise kids. When I got a little older, I quickly realized that this plan was probably not going to happen. After unhealthily putting complete identity in the guys I dated and being emotionally wrecked a few times, I found myself swinging to the other side. I had a very twisted thought process that went something like “well, if these men don’t want to be with me, then I’ll become wildly successful in whatever business I choose and I will be the one that got away.” Again, this was a very confused and not common sense filled mindset, but nevertheless it’s what I strove for. I was the complete 180, career was now my only goal. My conversations revolved around the frustration that men were holding women down and that no man would tell me what to do.
Emotionally, I was vindictive, socially I was careless.
Then I hit a point a little over a year ago where I just found myself really confused. I was sick of being told by half the people I knew that my only realm of influence in this world was going to be my husband that I married and the children that I raised because then my time as an unmarried woman had seemingly no purpose. I was tired of hearing over and over again how women should let men take the lead on everything and that they would be best suited as helpers to the men. I was also sick of being told that, if I did not believe that women were better than men, then I was not an advocate for women. Both left me feeling purposeless and insignificant and about 13 months ago I found myself praying for God to reveal the truth behind my femininity.
In that time, this is what I have learned and what I want to share with all of you on International Women’s Day: You, my dear girlfriend, are way more than this crazy world boxes you in as.
If your heart lights up at the thought of marrying someone you love and having babies, but don’t want your marriage or parenthood to become your identity: That’s beautiful! You are not a man’s property and your title is not so and so’s wife. You are an equal partner in this situation and you bring just as much into a relationship as your man does. Don’t be fooled by those who look down on you for having children, your body is crazy amazing. You house a human being for nine months, export it from your body and then are the sole provider of food for months after. That is something your man cannot do! Your children adore you, even when they act like they don’t, because you are their go-to. You are the greatest impact on our next generation. That tiny screaming snot nosed rugrat in your kitchen may be a great leader one day who wins many awards and when they give their acceptance speech, you will for sure get a shout out. Do not lose yourself in the laundry you tell yourself you need to do or the comparisons you make between yourself and the other moms, they are having the same struggles you are! In fact, I’ve seen more than one mom crying in her car at Target, so I know they are! You keep doing you, girl, even on your bad days you’ve got this.
If you can’t have babies naturally, but long to be a mother or you are a single woman who longs to be married: I cannot tell you how many times I would be in a conversation with someone about the topic of future marriage or motherhood and they would tell me that my main purpose in life was to get married and have kids and be a great mom and I would think “What if I can’t physically have children? What if I never get married? Why would God make me then?” There is a lot of fear involved in this point, both the fear that your body may not work the same way as other women’s bodies work or that you may never get married. Both of these fears come from the devil. Your body is also amazing, whether it produces a child or not. If God is putting that desire in you, He will make it happen. Whether it is a child that comes from you after years of infertility, adopting many beautiful children who are in need of a sweet mama like you, or having major impact over your step children, your story is unique and it honors God when you look to Him for the answers. If you really long to be married but aren’t, don’t get down on yourself. Many people have had the most impact in their single years. For now, don’t get caught up in the wedding planning your friends are doing and don’t allow yourself to be isolated. This is your time! Stay out til 3am if you want to or go travel. Write tons of music and eat crazy food you’ve never tried before. Make goals for the next year and do something you never thought you’d do. Singleness is not a curse, it is one of the sweetest times in your life where you have no responsibilities and no one else to answer to.
If you’re really into building your career: Go build a legacy, boss lady! Don’t get caught up in the nuances of whether or not a man is your superior or how hard you have to fight for respect in your industry. Women can get lost in beating men at their own game and, as a result, end up taking on the negative tendencies that many men possess. We live in a culture that tells us we can do anything men can do, and we can, but should we? Women have such unique giftings that men are not naturally inclined to and I’d hate to see you all throw those away because someone in time told you that they make you weak when they don’t. Keep working hard and be diligent. Be professional and know how to network. Celebrate your successes and be proud of your accomplishments along the way. Be the girl that the men in the office look to for work ethic goals. Be creative and cultivate a support system around you. Don’t let your job become your priority, but don’t doubt yourself because you don’t desire the traditional route. God is using many women in leadership throughout business’ worldwide. When the bad days come, go home and recharge, then pick yourself up and get back to work the next day. They say that no one got where they are today overnight and I would add no one got there easily. Go get all the promotions you can and use your money and connections to build into others. This is your time, you’ve got this!
And if you find yourself somewhere in the middle: That’s cool too! Maybe right now you are the single woman taking trips and perusing local coffee shops, next year you could be working your way up the ladder in your corporate job and a year after that you may find that you’re ready to settle down and refocus on a husband and children. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this last year it is that there is not a rulebook when it comes to God’s plan. He doesn’t say you have to be in one or the other. He doesn’t say that, just because you’re attracted to one aspect of either side does not mean you have to revolve your life around one or the other. Keep doing you girl and keep looking to God, He’s got a plan, I promise!
I hope that this blog post serves as a source of encouragement for you today and many days and speaks truth into your life where you need it. Happy International Women’s Day, lovelies, let’s celebrate!