Rejoice & Encourage: A Crusade for Women

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 Though the Lenten season is a difficult one, I rejoice in my quiet times of reflection.  My thoughts come with clarity and I feel I have a better ability to draw conclusions from my journal entries.  One reoccurring theme in each entry is the idea that life is like a great juggling act—some balls float effortlessly through the air like graceful butterflies in the spring breeze while others balls constantly clunk clumsily to the ground like a baby learning to toddle.  Things like Relationships and Faith seem to be more delicate and are juggled with great care.  Other necessities like Mopping, Ironing, and Not Eating Cookies for Dinner Because You’re a Freaking Adult seem to be of less importance.  Those juggling balls are sturdier and can be dropped without fear.

 If my conclusion is true and life is an epic and fragile act of balance, we as faulty humans need assistance in our efforts to keep the important things afloat.  Surely the good Lord is watching over us in our acrobatic attempts for His eye is on the Sparrow, but we humans require relationships with other humans.  We need positive fellowship because as living creatures, we relate to other creatures.  While every one of us is different in our abilities, I’ve noticed that as a whole, women struggle with this.

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 Picture a mother in the grocery store who is well shod, perfectly coiffed, and dressed like she stepped freshly off the streets of Paris during Fashion Week.  Her children are of course, in perfectly starched outfits with pleats and smocking.  The smart looking bow tying back her daughter’s curls perfectly coordinates with her expensive looking stockings.

 The immediate reaction is to think something dreadfully terrible like who on God’s green Earth has the time or money for that?  What a Stepford Wife!

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 Picture yet another woman, a career minded lady with goals and aspirations.  Perhaps she’s without children or a spouse but she has a sporty car and a plush penthouse.  She’s an ace in the business world with a firm command of the boardroom.

 Why doesn’t she get married and have children?  This isn’t Working Girl!

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Or how about this scenario?  The Room Mother of your child’s class makes Easter goodie bags for the students.  They’re sweet and cute and obviously took a lot of time and effort.  She delivers her wares with pride and the children enjoy their homemade sweet treats along with the perfunctory Cheetos and store-bought cupcakes.

 Who has time to make goodie bags?  And homemade candies, cookies, and cheese straws?  She’s just trying to show me up!

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 An exhausted looking woman shuffles through the freezer section at the market dressed in yoga pants and an oversized Atlanta Hawks t-shirt.  Her hair is obviously filthy, she’s wearing Chacos and she isn’t even hiking, and her eye makeup was totally done for hours ago.  And to be honest, that frozen pizza she’s reaching for isn’t going to do her any favors.  {P.S. this is me}

 That girl has let herself go.  She obviously hasn’t worked out in months, so why’s she wearing yoga pants?  And her toenails are totally ratchet.

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 The point is women need to give each other a break.  We need to rejoice in womanly triumphs and support one another in both good times and bad times.

 The woman with the seemingly perfect children?  The balls she likes to juggle are obviously different from the mom who allows her daughter to dress herself.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  We need to rejoice in both the triumph of perfect pleats and the beauty of holey jeans.

 The Working Girl?  Yes, her aspirations differ from the dreams of a stay-at-home mother.  We should rejoice each time a merger and acquisition takes place.  Likewise, we should validate each batch of homemade play dough.

 That Room Mother who finds fulfillment in baked goods?  Rejoice in her accomplishments!  The mother who is doing all she can to drop off a bag of Lays and a two-liter soda should be celebrated as well.  Why does one have to be better than the other?

 And that poor woman in the freezer section who is obviously wearing her husband’s ratty old t-shirt?  Instead of instantly judging her for looking exactly how we all feel at the end of the day, offer a smile or nod of encouragement.  As women, we have days when we’re at the top of our game.  Likewise, we have days where we’re so low, we’re not completely certain that we’ll regain our footing.  If women as a whole could switch off that sinfully automatic “judging” switch in favor for the “encouragement” switch or the “rejoice for the accomplishments of others” switch, the world would be a better place.

 Life is a balancing act, both delicate and intricate in nature.  The balls or clubs we juggle may differ, but we each require support and encouragement from others.  Once the Lenten season is over, I plan to continue to encourage other women instead of judging them for having different priorities.  Will you join my Crusade?

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