Recently I felt an acute level of fear and despair that I had not felt in years. Feelings of powerlessness, shame, and weakness engulfed me even as I wore a smiling mask that was slowly crumbling to face the outside world. In my wretched state I could muster up only the energy to get the bare minimum done during the day and then sink wearily into a depressed stupor alone at night. During that time loneliness was pervasive, I lacked the words and the confidence to confide in anyone other than God.
These words weren’t pretty. I pleaded with God to take away the circumstances that I believed were the causes of my failure and insufficiency. Shamelessly did I barter and make empty promises to alleviate the fear and anxiety rooted so deeply in my heart. The future seemed a macabre apparition an unattainable distance away. I was certain that any future joy would be tainted by sin and shame, the loneliness I felt would be my permanent companion. I felt like the mourners in the Bible who tore at their clothes and donned sackcloth in their repentance and grief. I felt pathetic.
Yet God in His lovingkindness embraced me and pointed relentlessly to His truth and promises that are irrefutable in spite of my brokenness:
She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future…
These are not pretty platitudes that we say about ourselves, this is God’s word, His proclamation about the character of women around the world: His precious children, heirs to the kingdom. That God’s word is absolute regardless of who we are at our best and at our worst is the only word we need heed. This declaration is irrespective of the lies we tell ourselves when we think we are not pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough, simply not enough. But the Creator of the universe says that He is more than enough to cast down our doubts and fears. He is more than enough to show us that the clothes we wear pale in comparison to the adornments of strength and dignity – crowns we wear with pride and a price. For Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was the ultimate price, the defining act that empowers us to stand bold and fearless in the face of whatever the world may bring.
So it doesn’t matter what we say about ourselves, or what the world says about us. The headlines, the objectifications, the stigmas, stereotypes, and derogations are nothing compared to the irrefutable truth of who He proclaims we are. As we begin to journey into the questions of strength, dignity, fear, and future, we delve into the realms of identity – who we are in light of His love. The stories we share may be full of pain, sorrow, and darkness but may we yet laugh for we have nothing to fear.
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