It is International Women’s Day. A friend of mine blogged a beautiful story at the encouragement other women who believe in the power of story. She, in her reflection, celebrates the Girl She Is and The Girl She Once Was.
Sharing her story took guts, but reveals the raw beauty she was born with as God paints her face with His fingers. What she’s encouraging women to do is share their stories…and through it, we reveal the ‘otherness’ we are created for…and that gives me courage.
I was the little Chinese kid with teeth that grew out of every available space in my mouth…glasses. Hair that refused to cooperate with any amount of wrangling…I had tomboy tendencies that would shred lacy anklet socks in 10 minutes flat.
The problem was, my mom wanted me to be a princess. I wanted to be a princess, but really, when you looked at pictures of the princess, she was tall, slender, graceful, blonde and really, really, really, NOT Chinese.
The closest I could come to ‘princess’ was ‘Amazon Warrior’…and so, my princess was Wonder Woman. Her story played fast and loose with Greek and Roman mythology which frustrated me, but as she had strength and played for justice, I could live with a confused identity.
I had dark hair, she had dark hair. I was athletic, she could stop cars. Seriously.
Being Wonder Woman was fantasy. She had respect. She could stop the bullets fired her way. That was where the reality crashed into make-believe. I had no one’s respect. Hurtful words hit and sank deep, creating emotional scars I carry to this day. I grew up believing I was ugly and stupid because that’s all I ever heard in connection with who I was, and the disappointment I was to any and all who cared to notice me.
When I noticed myself, I hated looking in the mirror because I didn’t like what I was seeing—I WAS ugly and I believed I deserved the disdain I lived with.
Here’s the thing: I’m also created by God—created for purpose, for beauty, and in His creation, it is good…therefore I am good. I am redeemable…and redeemed. At 16, I decided to stop obsessing about my outer appearance since I could do nothing about it, and focus on my inner appearance…because that’s what would last. I wanted to be God’s grace when I grew up.
I had seen gracious women in my life and they were towers of strength. They were gentle. They were unstoppable. They were nurturing. They were forces to reckon with if you messed with their families. They were prayer warriors. They are the beautiful women we see described in every facet of the Bible.
They are the Esther’s of this world, the Deborah’s, the Doris’, the Mary’s and the Martha’s. They are worthy of note because they are beautiful as they reflect God’s character. They are the women that wear purple, care for their families, run the household and are the ‘grace to do’—part of the royal priesthood.
Understanding that freed me from the yoke of wanting to be blonde, tall, willowy, not Chinese. I could finally celebrate who I was created to be…and on this International Women’s Day, that is the following:
- God is who He says He is
- God can do what He says He can do
- I am who God says I am
- I can do all things through Christ
- God’s Word is alive and living in me.*
Today is about celebrating who we are created to be. Be strong. Be real. Be free, because it’s beautiful.
*From Believing God, by Beth Moore