Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Woman's Heart Part Five: Helping Hands

I have worked on many projects, and not a few happened to be with all men. See, I am good at building things. I love to look at a house and start from the ground up. I obsess over woodworking and designing beautiful creations that take labor and time to perfect. As you can imagine, my crowd that I help with on these projects rarely, if ever, consists of enthusiastic and, much less, knowledgeable women. I used to find myself offended when a man offered to handle the power tools instead of me or when the men took the saws away from me to finish the job.

All I ever got stuck doing was painting it seemed (and just an fyi, I hate painting – talk about dull). Needless to say, my frustration lead to me pushing them aside and insisting that I was apt enough to do the job, thank you very much. But, I started watching the guys as I did this. They were lost.

Thus, I adopted a new philosophy: ask how I can help rather than demand how I can help. The guys never seem to have a problem with me using the saws or the drills or doing something dangerous with the knife (*grins* --- me and knives are deadly), but they wanted to take the lead because they felt comfortable doing that. It was their way of saying “I love what you are doing, but I want to help you here.”

Men take a huge risk with women. They go against their very nature that fears failure to put their necks out for us. And what do we do? We join the feminist movement and take their careers away from them. Or we submit to them and let them lead wherever they want (which doesn't help them either).

Yet, that was not what we were designed for. Women have such a high calling for their lives that no amount of money can compensate for the loss when women abandon their post. We are the helping hands. We are the right hands of men.

A good man seeks woman for advice. Seriously. Women are made to be critiquers and supporters. Your words as a wife or even simply as a friend resonate louder than most men will ever admit. We were gifted with the unique insight that it takes to stand at the side of leaders and be their comforting advice, encouragement, and strength.

No man on this earth could do what woman does. They were not designed for this purpose. They were designed to lead and we were designed to support.

This design is not only intentional, but brilliant. A leader fails miserably without their right hands. The support feels undue pressure and eventually breaks down without a strong bearing in their path. Neither of the positions are lesser or greater, but they each need each other so much so that if one fails, the other fails.

Many women hold the Biblical position to be that of slavery. They see it as a demand to remain in the kitchen and be under a man’s leadership 24/7. Taking care of children and running the household is their only foreseeable future. (And this position stereotyped as the only Biblical position is not quite the ideal representation of being the supportive by the way.)

Yet, statistics show that when women choose a career field outside of the home, they choose one where they can help. They don’t choose one to lead others or to be prideful in their accomplishments. They choose a position to be the helping hands.

That’s what we are. It is not a job title that confines us to the home or to the career field. It is a passion and a calling that pushes our hearts into a place God designed them to go.

You remember the guys I build things with? Well, guess what? I use the power tools and saws just the same as them but in a different way. They like to finish the job; I like to start it. I like to guide the job, fix the spots that are broken and get it to perfection. The projects not only get done faster, but they get done with a joy and an appreciation that is often lost.

They respect my knowledge, seek my advice, and allow my hands to create the perfect details. But, in the end, I can see that they want to take the pride in these projects and feel like they led and accomplished them.

And you know what? That is fine by me. I want to know I mattered. I want to know I made a difference. I want to know that I was there to help and to lend what I could to the job. That is what I want and that blends so perfectly with what they want that is makes a team.

Just a side note though: if you think I am dropping the power tools or letting them carry everything or handle all the saws, you are dead wrong. Unfortunately, I happen to take a good deal of pride in my woodworking and all my hands on work too. The more rigorous life is, the better off I am.

Women and men are a team. I have offered you ladies a glimpse at God’s beauty magnified in you, the reason you fear abandonment, the reason women suffer so much oppression, and the source of your strength.

But, in the end, it all leads to one thing: God designed you, inside and out, for a very specific purpose. He placed in your hearts passions, fears, callings, hopes, and joy so that you would always thirst for Him and always want to magnify Him in your life. You all have a unique way of going out this and have absolutely gorgeous hearts to prove it.

God not only adores you, but He needs you to desire Him. He truly does. Your love and your understanding of who you are to Him mean more than anything else. Women were chosen to have specific struggles to counter our natural sinful tendencies, and in those struggles, our only answers would be God and the comfort of His callings.

What we feel and experience and long for and fight for is good. If it wasn’t a struggle, we wouldn’t have rewards, we wouldn’t have triumphs, we wouldn’t know how good things really are.

My heart goes out to every woman out there. I wrote these posts because I believe these truths can touch your hearts, can give you just a look at what God has in store for you if you would just let Him into your hearts, ladies. It is so worth the journey.

Thank you all for reading. Blessings!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Woman's Heart Part Four: Bare Strength

Have you ever noticed how a woman attracts more attention than a man? A woman who attracts more attention not because of her physical beauty, but the beauty of her soul? Think about it. The moment a woman laughs, sings, smiles, politely comments, makes conversation, heads turn. She attracts people’s attention, woman and man alike.

There is an awe about a woman who dares to bare her soul to the world, to shine a light that casts out all dark thoughts and places. A woman's soul is said to be medicine to the world. The passion harbored within her heart brightens up a day in a single song of praise, a kind gesture, or a gentle hand catching a falling object. She is a healer. She is mercy.

I’ve heard men rant at women for being forgiving, for offering second chances, for offering peace. I’ve seen men shake their head at the smile that comforts a naughty child or the helping hand to a man who just punched another. Yet, I’ve also seen men stop and stare, awe-struck by the mere thought that she might risk herself, her reputation, and her life simply to offer another mercy.

Women run such a risk of being misused or over worked or pushed around because they are so willing to put themselves on the line, their hearts on the line, when asked to. Granted, we don’t do it for every situation, but our hearts are naturally tuned to respond with grace more than punishment. We are the embodiment of God’s graceful, forgiving, peaceful and merciful characteristics. And for that, we bear both exploitation and glory.

See, there is a strength in women that few can match. A true woman shouts to the world. She knows justice; she upholds it; but she also knows when a heart needs a friend more than a new enemy.

We have the guts to let pieces of our hearts reach others, knowing full well they may be rejected, stomped on, or accepted. We know full well that there may be pain on the other side of a relationship offered entirely in grace, but we pick it back up again.

Even when plagued by the tortures of false beauty or fears of abandonment or the shame and hurt Satan pours on us, we still shine light into the darkest places because it is what we are called to do. Deep down there is a desire to be in situations that demand every piece of our minds, hearts, and bodies. We not only long for adventure, but we long to be run dry of all possible sources of strength.

There is gladness in our hearts when we open the doors to our soul just a bit to let others peek or even when we simply pour out our soul into something others would find meaningless. The heart of a woman does not thrive in moderation; it thrives in ups and downs, fills and drains. The key is keeping our hearts full.

That fullness comes from the Lord. He has specifically designed us to be a physical expression of His compassion and mercy. He also gives us the tools to engage in that physical expression every minute of every day through His word and devotion to Him. He sings to our hearts, dances in our minds, and empowers us with His words. We love to teach and spread the Word. But, we usually prefer to act on it rather than speak of it. We like to be the hands that extend love.

Now, this is not to say that we are to be unwise and lay our soul out for everyone to see and trample on. That’s not what I’m saying. A true woman knows when it is best to keep her glory close to her and when to expand it to reach others. What I am saying is that being a woman, a true compassionate creature of the Lord, takes a strength that no male-dominated career can provide. It takes a strength that no worldly pleasure can prepare. It takes a strength that no level of degree can alter. She is a teacher, a lover, and a healer. And those three alone mean getting hurt, rejected, despised, cast out, torn, neglected, misused, misunderstood, you name it.

The Lord never assured us that we would evade trouble in this life, but rather guaranteed it. Men find their strength in protecting women, in carrying out the justice of the world. Women find their strength in stopping punishment to rescue a soul that needs gentle care, not retribution.

The Lord doesn’t require that you become a feminist or that you embody every characteristic of the ideal woman (Proverbs 31 is a great example). What He asks you to do is bring all that you have to Him and let Him turn it into your battle plan. He equipped you with a unique and valuable personality that magnifies His compassion in specific ways, often times opposite of your best friend's and family's. He created you precisely as you are so that you could specifically carry out His plans through His grace.

So many women look upon strength as being at the end of a fulfilled check-list or an altered personality. Instead, you just end up with a broken spirit. Our hearts were not made to compare with others or to live up to standards that did nothing to fill our aching souls.

Only God can fulfilled those souls of ours, and we so often times run to the wrong places. We want to seem strong, bold, beautiful and worth it. Yet, we see greener grass on the other side without ever seeing how plush our own is. A woman who knows who she is, Who she needs to follow, and who she needs to hold her heart out to is a strong, bold, gorgeous, and well worthwhile woman. She is a rare gem that can never be found twice.

The thing is. . . you, right as you are now, don’t have to change who you are to become that strong, beautiful woman you have always sought to be. She is staring right back at you when you look in the mirror. Don’t be ashamed of not knowing how to cook or not desiring shopping or being the worst when it comes to colors. If it’s not you, it’s not you. Who you are right now is the person God intends to shape and use with His grace, not the woman you composed on some paper and have sought to make her a real person.

So, you know what? Throw away that checklist. If you love to sing, go to the market and sing your heart out. If love vibrant colors, go get some paints and start sharing your heart on canvas. If you love to hunt, get to practicing on your aim. If you love to mountain climb, get your gear and go! Do what you love and do it all for the glory of God. Flaunt your beauty, your heart. Give Him glory in a way that only woman can, with compassion, healing, mercy, grace, and transcendent splendor.

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)