This world needs women who have learned that they are strong.
This world, your friends, your family, and God need you.
This world is in dire want of women who build each other up; it is even more wanting for women who build themselves up. It needs women who deep down know they are beautiful, a beauty that echoes from every hallowed bone and every sacred sigh. A learned beauty and an owned beauty, a strength to follow. Because women can wear flattery for others like easy beads on a string, but encouraging words for another come only from broken and shame-filled places when you can’t truthfully speak those same words to yourself. Compliments for others outrageously ricochet and bypass your own glorious vessel. Those outward praises you fling for others can never seem to settle upon your ineligible frame. “She is beautiful…”
Oh, yes- but darling, so are you.
What I would do to help you see, to make you know, that you are an astonishing masterpiece crafted by the Master’s good, good hand. How the words you speak, condemning yourself, He has never spoken to you. Poetically fashioned from rib of man and breath of God, you are a composition in motion. The curve of your waist is not too excessive, and lengths of your limbs are not too short. The words you speak from the air you breathe are meaningful; you have the power to impact.
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
Sister, you are beautiful and valued and worthy. Stars burn illustriously and magnificently; a flower in bloom is an astonishing find. These things hide however, in their radiance, a hush-inducing mortality. Stars fall and petals wither, yet the soul you carry will endure forever. Your importance is intrinsic and unearned; it is given freely by the One whose image you bear. You are of infinite worth.
Your beauty is inherited, your worth is sealed. Darling you can be strong, therefore, when you are weak. True strength cannot be faked, and it cannot be manufactured. It can somehow only be dug up, or exposed; it comes alive once we are brave enough to bare it. True strength is found when we draw from the deep well of vulnerability, and nowhere else- or else we parade about, flaunting our ingenuine and forged strengths in the streets like counterfeit masks. Lying. True human strength is drawn from brokenness, not from power. It is humility and transparency. True strength is risky and honest and weak; it is at the same time, valiant and audacious and fierce. Darling, you cannot fabricate strength; you must live it.
You were made to impact and stir and create and move; you were made to thrive. The strength you have, you can give to others, and there is no fear in perfect love. You are free to try and you are free to fail; you are free to succeed without the guilt that whispers you should minimize yourself. You are free to give and you are free to receive; you are free to simply be yourself.
This is a call for strong women, in a world full of need. This world is desperate for women whose unchanging validation comes from Christ alone. Women who drink from the well of grace that they may give forgiveness; women who eat from the table of Eucharist that they may give mercy. Women who know empty can’t fill empty, and that Christ’s well is the only one that won’t run dry.
To the women of this world: I write this letter for you.
I also write this letter for me.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
referenced scripture: Genesis 2:22, Song of Songs 4:7, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, 1 John 4:18, Psalm 139:13-14
photo: Stephanie Lariviere