I’ve seen a strength in women that has forever changed my perspective on what I can or cannot handle. It’s not to say it doesn’t exist in a man as well, but the strength of a woman is different. It reaches down to their very core and pronounces defiantly, “I won’t let this take me.”
Women who care for a loved one unable to give them very little, if anything, in return.
Women who lose parents too young.
Women whose marriages end.
Women whose babies get dreadfully, mightily sick. Sometimes they die.
Women who fight against all odds (and medical opinion) for their health.
Women who climb out of some mighty deep pits. Sometimes they dug the pits.
Women who stay in marriages where fulfillment seems like a desert oasis just out of reach.
Time and again, I try to put myself in their shoes and I just can’t. In these times of unimaginable suffering, how does an individual put one step in front of the other?
Yet they do. These women are real. They cry tears. They talk about their feelings. They seek community because even though it’s the last thing they might want to do, they know they’ll surely drown if left on their own. They forgive, even when they could never forget because life reminds them every single day.
I have befriended some women going through tremendously difficult, unfair circumstances. I hurt with them. I pray for them. I ask God again and again, show me how I can be Your hands and feet.
At the end of my days of doing life with these women, I return home to my husband and my child and I want to hug them and weep. It’s hard to take them for granted when you realize so many aren’t living in a season of blessing at the moment. Sure, the blessings are still there in great tragedy and loss. But you have to reach so hard for them sometimes.
That’s what I’ve seen these women do.
These women. I watch their relationship with Jesus change because suddenly He’s more than just God in a happy song. He’s more than the God in some Bible stories they learned about as a kid.
When their life is spiraling, He is the reason they take their next breath. He’s there to carry them through the hard. Although it’s challenging to sit with these women, amidst such despair, God shows up so big you feel blessed to experience it. He becomes their absolute Savior. Indeed He always was, but in the words of Job:
I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. (Job 42:5 NLT)
They survive. Every. Time. It means creating a new normal but they do the work. They stand tall and show us all that we can do the next thing. Even if it's super hard.
We’re told in the Gospel of John that if we’re in this world, we’ll have trouble. I believe it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. If we’re not experiencing major trouble right now, it’s probably not too far off. Furthermore, it seems these days, we’re often balancing trouble and blessing in the same moment.
You know who I want by my side in difficult times? These women. I'll need their strength. I’ve seen them do anything and everything for their families, their kids, their health. I want to be around that power. I want us to call on the name of our Jesus who has rescued and redeemed us again and again. Together.