I guess you could say that I’ve always been a window shopper of sorts.
Not of brick and mortar stores in a quaint town square with an iced latte in hand, although I have done that and it is wonderful and needs to happen again very soon. But no, in this I am speaking metaphorically of those times in which my window shopping looked more like hands and face pressed up against the glass outside the shop of womanhood.
Some little girls are intentionally raised to be strong women with a secure sense of identity and family traditions passed down from one generation to the next. And then there are others, like myself, who have to find their own way, and sometimes get a bit lost in the myriad of possibilities.
As a young girl I would pay close attention to the church ladies and my friends’ mothers and older friends of mine. I would observe how they dressed, how they prayed, the books they read, the music they listened to, how they decorated their homes and what kinds of meals they prepared. I would watch television shows and movies and read books and magazines, adding color and detail to this picture of womanhood I was drawing in my heart, dreaming of the woman I would someday become.
Then that young girl grew into a woman, and no longer having to peer through the glass, I eagerly stepped inside the store to load down my arms and head to the dressing room to try a few things on for size.
I tried on various garments of womanhood trying to find the best fit, and when learning from real life women and magazines turned into blogs and Pinterest, the store became much larger, the selections greater, the displays more desirable. And at times I got a little overwhelmed with all of the options and found myself stuck in the dressing room, busy trying things on, afraid to make a decision because every time I thought I found what looked best on me, something better caught my eye and it was back to the dressing room.
I had written out an entirely different ending for this post, and almost hit publish, but something just didn’t feel right so I decided to sleep on it a day or two. Kate and I had the house to ourselves for a few hours last Friday. I was washing dishes with her asleep on my back, listening to my current favorite worship song, You Know Me by Bethel, on repeat.
You know when I rise and when I fall
When I come or go, You see it all
You hung the stars and You move the sea
And still You know me
And nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
And You know every detail of my life
And You are God and You don’t miss a thing
And the Lord began to speak to me.
He told me that the reason I always feel stuck inside this dressing room of womanhood is because I keep trying on hand-me-downs. I continue to try on what others have already worn, but their clothes weren’t made to fit me.
He told me that he has something brand new for me, an identity he designed just for me, an original story he is writing out on the pages of my life.
In You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream, Holley Gerth says…
God has a dream for you, your talents, your one life that has never been and never will be duplicated by anyone else. He doesn’t want you to be a “me too” when it comes to your dreams. He wants the one, original you whom he created to do exactly what he made you alone to do. No one else can fulfill your purpose.
So while his design for me may at times look or feel similar to others around me, the story He has for me is as unique as my fingerprint.
As a person who likes to play it safe and live somewhat inside-the-box, the idea of an unknown outcome can be very difficult for me to accept. I find it much safer to mimic someone else and hope for a similar outcome, to copy their style rather than to wear a unique style of my own.
But as I live MY life, as I pursue the passions and dreams he has given me, as I say yes to the gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit and knock on doors to see if he will open them, I have to trust that when the loose pages are gathered they will tell a beautiful story of a girl who fully became the woman the Father created and called her to be, a woman who used the gifts and talents and personality and voice that he gave her to build his kingdom.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes the online world gets a tad noisy. There are a so many voices and opinions and ways to do everything under the sun.
For the most part, I think it’s great. The internet opens your eyes and your world to the opportunities and possibilities that exist outside of your four walls. It allows you to dream and often provides you with the knowledge to turn your dreams into a reality and become the person you want to be. But if you are a woman who struggles with her identity, all the voices and possibilities can leave you feeling a little stuck.
While I was on my blogging hiatus, I stepped away from being a over-consumer of the internet so I could turn down some of the noise and find my own way in a few areas of my life. It was good for me and to be honest, I hesitate as I come back to this space. I’m not sure if I want to be a contributor to the noise. To your noise.
But I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today without this online community. Even though the Lord has a unique design for me, he has allowed me to be accessorized by my sisters as he has used their voices to positively influence and shape me as they share their lives and their stories through blogging and social media.
I wouldn’t be the mother I am without Sally Clarkson and Jennifer Kindle. I wouldn’t be the homeschooler I am without Sarah McKenzie and Heather Fontenant and Ginny Sheller. I wouldn’t be the creative person I am without Anna Maria Horner and Rae and Amanda Blake Soule. I wouldn’t be brave enough to live authentically without the honest and beautiful words of Sarah Bessey and Shauna Niequist. I wouldn’t have the knowledge or confidence to cloth diaper and babywear and to live more naturally if it weren’t for women like Megan Tietz and MacKenzie and the community of natural living/parenting bloggers. I wouldn’t be the blogger I am without Trina Holden and Gretchen Louise and the Ladder Bloggers. And the list could go on.
And it is for that reason that I continue to blog. I blog with hope that the Lord will in turn use my voice to positively influence and shape others in their creativity or motherhood or homeschooling or journey of faith. I share my story with hope that I will inspire and encourage you in some way as I aim to offer you an authentic glimpse into my life.
Just please don’t ever let my voice or the way I do things send you to the dressing room for too long.
May the voice of the Holy Spirit be the loudest we hear, and may we always first find our identity in Christ and in being who the Father has uniquely created and called us to be.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19