Women’s lives are so complex and their responsibilities vast. Some are wives, some are sisters, some are caregivers, some are moms, some stay at home to care for their families, some work at home while simultaneously caring for their children, some work outside the home and must balance caring for their children during the early morning and evening hours, some have long commutes and work for large corporations, some are entrepreneurs who work hard to create a business out of their passion. Aside from all the responsibilities and labels we carry, we are all still women, and as such, that is something every other woman can relate to. I’ve said it many times, but why can’t we just encourage and support one another. Is it so hard to celebrate another woman and not to shame them?
To share a little context behind the origin of this post, I’m going to have to be vulnerable. Something that is never easy for a 40-something, introverted, shy, insecure, modest, woman, wife, mother of two adult children, full-time professional caregiver, writer, and teacher of the Word of God. Did I mention insecure? You never know what people may be insecure about, but believe me, that’s another thing we all have in common. I’ve never thought myself very photogenic, I’m terrible at “selfies” and could break out in a sweat getting a notification that somebody “tagged” me in a photo. Yesterday was a day when I went out on a limb, shared a rare photo of myself and, was sadly shamed by another woman for doing so. In the photo I was sitting in my bedroom on a little stool in front of my full-length mirror where I always sit to curl my hair because my menopausal, hot-flash prone body will wilt into a sweaty mess if I stay in our tiny 1930’s bathroom too long after showering. I had already done my makeup and was fully dressed in a pair of faux leather slacks and a classic high neck sweater. In the photo I captioned that Saturdays are normally my one day for some slower-paced “self-care”. During the work week, I am gone from home 12 hours a day and usually shower at night, because I’ve never been a morning person, and after a long day don’t have the energy it takes to blow straight and flat iron my naturally frizzy hair, so Saturdays are my day and my hubby LOVES and encourages me to take time to care for myself. Yesterday was no exception, especially since I had planned a very special date night to finally celebrate my hubby’s birthday which took place earlier in the week, but alas,… tiredness. I posted how I had put in a little extra effort for my date, as trendy ripped jeans were not gonna cut it for this special occasion and the temps were too low and snowy for heels and a dress. And how my hubby is not one who asks for presents so I guess his gift was ME. My hashtags were “date your spouse”, “marriage”, “forever date”, and “true love”. I surprisingly received dozens of likes and comments as to how lucky my husband was, but sadly, one private message that told me sharing a “provocative” photo of myself in my bedroom was not appropriate for social media and that I was being a negative example for young girls. I hesitate to even share this but honestly, this is sadly an issue that needs to be better understood. If you know me, I am a girl who may seem bold in the Spirit of God, but I am sometimes timid in my natural disposition. I bend rather easily to criticism, encourage correction, and even correct myself too harshly at times (one of my blessings is having a husband who is ever my safe place and encourages me to show myself the same grace I afford to others). When I was younger I heard someone say, “be who you wish you could have had as an example when you were young.” And as I am now on the downside to the approach of the half-century mark, I officially see myself as a “Titus 2 woman”, aka the older one who should be a godly example to the young women, wives, and mamas. Especially as a preacher of the Word, I take my role of influence very seriously. Sadly, her rebuke of my intention couldn’t have been further from the truth. My photo was not seductive in any way, nor was I scantily posed on my bed. And yes, my bed surprisingly happened to be in my bedroom, I was just glad that it happened to be made. No, it was just a photo of a girl, sitting on a stool, who is now somehow a middle-aged woman, who happened on this rare occasion to feel confident enough in her own skin to share it in hopes of encouraging another such woman out there. Seeing as my Monday through Friday uniform consists of jeans or leggings paired with a t-shirt and a cardi that is nothing too precious because my job as a caregiver rarely finds me returning home unscathed from the evidence of a day filled with bodily fluids, Desitin, food, or finger paints, it’s fun for me to feel womanly and “dressed up” on the weekends.
My intent was to encourage the younger generation that they don’t always have to show cleavage and thighs to look or feel beautiful (but of course, in private, do it often). My intent was to encourage wives, young and old, to keep dating your spouse, keep putting in the effort like you once did. I told my husband that after 25 years of marriage I still do it because I still think he’s worth it. Aside from Jesus, if you are married, your spouse is the greatest gift you will ever receive. Someone vowed to take their entire life and join it to yours for the rest of your life! Nobody else will ever do that for you! After 25 years of marriage, something we are learning is to always keep that truth in perspective. Your children are a huge blessing in your life, and it is an honor to train them and pour your love into them, but they will grow up and eventually have their own lives and while still joined to you in a sense, will have their own unique callings and purpose to fulfill. But if you are married you are anointed to live life with passion and purpose with your spouse by your side. Don’t ever be ashamed to celebrate your spouse. They are your greatest earthly gift and you are theirs! “When a man finds a wife, he has found a treasure! For she is the GIFT of God to bring him joy and pleasure.” Proverbs 18:22 TPT
~Remain Blessed, Jenny