It’s not easy being a woman. I know that seems like such a tired cliché, but it’s quite true.
When I first met the husband I compared myself to the other eligible women in the church he could marry. I heard countless times how Sister X would make a better match for the husband and shouldn’t I think about his long-term spiritual health. Always the people pleaser, I broke up with him at one point to try to make everyone happy. All I succeeded in doing was make us both miserable.
Marrying the husband didn’t end the insecurity. I began to compare myself to the women he interacted with every day. Women who knew who they were (or appeared to know), who had a college degree, a career, friends…a life. My life was the church and the husband. When I would share my insecurities with the husband he would get irritated and not understand why I didn’t see myself the way he saw me.
I figured the days of comparison would end when I became a mother. Oh how naïve I was. Becoming a mother was horrible in terms of my insecurities. The moms in my new mom group were not like me. They talked about nights out with girlfriends, part-time professional jobs and their awesome organized days. I was a mess, swung between crying and screaming and spent the majority of the week alone since the husband worked out of town. I was included in the regular play dates but never included in the mommy dates. I was never invited to the movies or nights out or spa dates. The husband tried to help me out by telling me I needed to get to know the moms in our church. Moms who were older than me, definitely more put together. In our church, where perfection was the standard, becoming close to the moms there was terrifying.
The kids started public school and I discovered that the junior high bullies grow up to be moms on the playground. I managed to make one friend. Even though I volunteered my heart out, I was never included in the moms circle. I figured it was just another cost of following Jesus and tried to rejoice that it hurt so much. After all, it meant that my flesh wasn’t winning.
I struggled with being a wife and mother. The husband and I argued about my lack of domestic skills and nurturing. We argued about my refusal to do anything to take care of myself. We argued about my scattered, chaotic management of our life. And his way to help me? To keep telling me about all these women who could function. The women he worked with. The women he knew before me. His mother. His sister. The women in our church. The women whose houses he visited every day. All these women had their crap together and there I was not functioning. It was entirely maddening. When I was diagnosed with ADD I figured life would get easier. Now I had at least a medical reason for my inability to function as a woman.
Then I was invited to a Titus 2 group. Have you heard of them? Titus 2 groups are based upon the scripture Titus 2:3-5. The idea is to have “older” women help the “younger” women be godly wives and mothers.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
I desperately desired to have someone who could help me become the godly wife and mother I wanted to be. I figured this was the perfect scenario. I could find someone who could be honest and I could be honest with and I could finally get my life figured out. There was just one teeny, tiny problem. I didn’t belong to their church. After about 4 meetings a few of the women insisted that it only be the family, so they’d feel safe. Once again I was not included.
Then I became a homeschool mom. If you want to be insecure, become a homeschool mom. A Christian homeschool mom. A BLOGGING Christian homeschool mom. There was no end to the comparisons I could make. I didn’t have the right curriculum. The right schedule. The right activities. I wasn’t the right kind of Christian. And I was definitely not a Proverbs 31 woman.
If you want proof that you suck as a woman, read Proverbs 31. This woman is the epitome of what is a godly woman according to some people. And I just knew that if I strived to become her my husband would be happy. It’s one thing to compare yourself to a living, breathing woman…but to a woman in a poem written in ancient times…that’s a special kind of craziness! Obviously, I failed at being a Proverbs 31 woman.
I’ve quit comparing myself to other women (well, for the most part). I’ve come to accept that I was not blessed with the domestic and nurturing gift that my husband grew up with. I’ve realized that where I lack, I make up in other areas. And finally, I understand there is no magical formula or way to be a woman.
I wasn’t called to be my mother. I wasn’t called to be his mother. I wasn’t called to be the women in the playgroup. I wasn’t called to be the women on the playground. I wasn’t called to be the women in the church. I wasn’t called to be the women in the houses that my husband visited every day. I wasn’t called to be the women I met through blogging and homeschooling and the writing team. I definitely wasn’t called to be the Proverbs 31 woman.
I was called to be me.
I believe strongly in the ideas behind Titus 2. But I believe in a different kind of Titus 2 woman. I want a real, honest Titus 2 woman to stand up. A woman who can drink a glass of wine and still teach me that I need to put boundaries in my life. A woman who can encourage me that I can love my husband and children but only if I love myself first. A woman who believes that self-control and purity come from putting our lives into the hands of Jesus and not something we do. A woman who understands that being busy at home may sometimes look like a woman who wakes up at 6:30, dresses her children, drops them off at school, works her butt off at a job, picks her kids up, drives them to practice, makes dinner, reads them stories, tucks them in, cuddles her husband and falls asleep exhausted. A woman who is always kind but is not afraid to get in your face when you cross a boundary…who is not afraid of being the warrior. Who doesn’t believe that their husband is a king and someone that they are subject to but is their love and the person that they walk hand-in-hand with.
When we make being a woman about a specific formulated rule then we malign the word of God. We reject the beauty he created when he made some of us nurturers and some of us warriors. We reject his wisdom when we look at ourselves and say, “I’m not like them.”
There are thousands of us who need the real Titus 2 woman to stand up. To stand up and speak truth and life into our lives. To set us free from expectations and molds that do not fit us and give us the wings to love ourselves, our husbands and our children exactly the way God designed.
I’m not a perfect woman, but I am a woman. I am a princess and a warrior. I am beautiful and I am broken. I am insecure but I have security in my Jesus. I am a mother but I still need my mother. My husband calls me his love and he is mine. And one day, I’ll be able to take the hand of a young woman and show her that the best way to be a woman…is to be the one that she is.