She was strong, but she wasn’t hard.
She still had child-like wonder awake beneath her skin, and an innocent love of beauty woven into her sinews.
She felt things deeply and wasn’t afraid to share them with others – but she was a little afraid she’d never find someone else who felt them as deeply as she did.
She was a paradox of desires – wanting to be brave and confident – and appearing so to much of the outside world – but also wanting to curl up in her shell and not be noticed by anyone.
She loved home – she loved away.
She loved babies and families and stay-at-home moms – she loved her job and the mental stimulation that came with it.
She’d never claim the title of a feminist, but sometimes she might have behaved a little like one.
She believed in forging ahead despite obstacles and setbacks – but she also believed that sometimes you needed to stop and grieve a shattered heart and broken dreams.
She had light in her eyes – she also had a hidden sadness that shaded the light.
She knew how to plunge through deep waters – but she was desperately afraid of drowning.
She didn’t want to have to explain herself to someone – she just wanted them to understand.
But so very few did.
She was art – and conviction – and desires – and happy contentment – and idealism – and shattered realism – and optimism – and gray clouds – and a leader – and a wide-eyed observer – she was a visionary – and a loather of change – she was a thousand stories waiting to be told – and waiting to be read by only one – who had a fascinating story waiting to be mingled into her own.
Maybe you’ve been that girl, too? Maybe you are that girl right now?
The girl who feels too many things all at the same time, maybe even contradicting things that she can’t explain.
The girl who tries really hard to be all that “they” say a girl should be – and maybe the girl that you really enjoy being – but also a girl who sometimes feels like she just isn’t enough.
When you come to the end of the day and you’ve checked all the boxes off your to-do list – or maybe you didn’t because everything seemed to go wrong today – do you still feel a sense of guilt, like maybe you’re still a failure?
Maybe if you’re married, you feel like you’ll just never get all this “wife-ing” thing down and you don’t want to disappoint your husband. Or maybe if you’re single, you feel like you’re just not doing enough to bring the possibility of a husband into your life.
Maybe you’re too strong and independent. Maybe you’re too shy and weak and scared. Maybe you don’t know how to cook. Maybe you snap at others when you have a headache and you’re too tired to handle life anymore. Maybe you feel like you somehow missed the “How to Succeed at Being an Adult Woman” seminar that everyone else apparently went to.
Today that might be how you feel.
But let me remind you, sweet girl – sister in Christ – your feelings are not the truth.
Truth is, we’re always going to fail in one way or another. Some days we’ll be brilliant – and we’ll do that job thing or that mom thing or that wife thing or that leadership thing excellently. Some days we’ll be making mistake after mistake until it becomes ridiculous how many there are.
Truth is, that doesn’t define us. Not our excellent accomplishments. Not our multitude of mistakes.
Truth is, it’s Christ’s work on the cross that defines us. If our trust is in what He did rather than what we did, we’ll have infinitely more peace. Because what He did is finished – it’s complete, nothing will change it or take it away from us.
What we do changes from day to day and there’s no guarantee that we’ll always love what we’re doing.
So take a deep breath in, my friend, and inhale His promises. Then exhale all your anxieties and imperfections. They don’t worry God one bit. He knows all about them already. And He’s covered them in grace.
That girl – the one who’s a paradox of desires? He created that girl with a lovely purpose in mind.
She is not perfect. She is redeemed.
Called for a purpose. Ready to serve her Master wherever He calls her.
Her compass is set, even if the destination is unknown.
She’ll follow her Guide and Good Shepherd to the ends of the earth if that’s where He says to go.
And He has some amazing places in mind for her to go – if only she stays surrendered to His path for her life and not her own.
Because in His strength, she can do exactly what He’s called her to do – which is to make much of her Savior in all she does, no matter what stage of life she’s in, even if she feels like a mess some days.
And that is the most outrageously beautiful paradox of all.