Recently I asked my FBLand ladies to give me one word to describe herself.  I was pleasantly surprised at the answers I received.  The majority of them I received in private and I’m not sure if, because it was in private, women were more prone to speak positive about themselves or if my friends have a higher self esteem than what I expected.

What I was anticipating to receive were negative comments.  I was anticipating “procrastinator,” “poser,” “tired.”  The things that we all feel at our worst.

Instead I was met with some of the following:  caring, sincere, spiritual, honest, outgoing, and loving.  My exercise was going to take the perceived negative comment and spin it to where it’s actually a good thing.  So, YAY YOU GIRLS for having such positive thoughts about yourselves!

There was one word that no lady used to describe herself and that was “strong.”  … and some of my friends are pretty physically strong and my sisters, that I hold dear, have been shown mercy in receiving strength in their life journey.

Strong Women

I once wrote a blog post titled “Strong Women.”  It didn’t receive a tremendous amount of comments or “likes” on FBLand but I received a lot of private messages and texts about it.  There were some women I was close with that it spoke to…  truth be told, I was writing that piece not only for them specifically, but also for myself.  I needed some encouraging words at the time and I also needed my sisters to know how much I loved them.strong women

I ponder often those beautiful swallowtail butterflies we watch every summer.  Those days they spend inside of their chrysalis, morphing into that butterfly can’t be much fun.  They spent the previous part of their lives as caterpillars, eating and eating and eating and eating to finally purging, attaching themselves to a twig and becoming comatose.  While comatose, their insides turn to mush and starts transforming into butterfly parts.  By the way their chrysalises move and twitch during the process, one could believe they are in some pain or at least discomfort.

Guess what folks, that is just like life.  There will be days, weeks, months or even (gasp) years of utter hell before the transformation will be complete.  We just have to wait until God is done with the lesson, the sanctification.

Wikipedia says:

Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy

It is important for us to remember this process of sanctification.  We ARE being made holy.  Pain and suffering doesn’t come to us without a purpose.  Even if there is a lesson to be learned, it’s not just a lesson…  we are being made holy, STRONG, in the process.

We need to be reminded of our light during hard times also.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

It is our DUTY to shine our light.  Each one of us has a gift or talent or something that we have been blessed with by God and we need to shine it to others.  The point of having the light is so others can come to know Christ.  If we keep it hidden then we’re defeating it’s purpose.

When people face those dark times of life, they feel that their little light is being extinguished or maybe the fire that was once a raging furnace is now a tiny flame on a candle.  I think if we approached the cloud above our light a little differently we might be able to expose God even better.

For example, say something dreadful was happening to me.  Say I clammed up and hid it from everyone I knew and just dealt with it on my own.  What happens is that when I come out on the other side of the ordeal, no one will see the transformation.  No one will notice a change.   They’ll just see the beautiful butterfly but didn’t see the effort the caterpillar made in its body and its chrysalis to make that butterfly.

So all your trials, the empty wombs, the empty beds, the empty bank accounts, the cloudy future…  share them with your close comrades.  Let them know your struggles.  Let them pray for you.  Let them help you.  Allow them to see your transformation…  to see your light EVEN IN your darkness.  Because, sister, no matter how badly it feels your light is STILL shining.

I’m thankful that my girls share with me what they do, and allow me to do the same. It’s only through this giving and receiving that we will continue to grow in LOVE. Some days and seasons they need more support, some days I do. More often than not, I’m finding we are all suffering some trial or another…  there’s no reason to go it alone.

Let us never forget our direction to always love one another and be there for each other.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-7