I remember that day. It was a God-moment, where faith and life collide. I was Martha-standing at the stove with a wooden spoon and a threadbare heart. He came like a whisper, asking me to be more like Mary. “None of this performance matters to me” He said. “I already love you. I already accept you. Come and sit at my feet. Put your spoon down. I’ll give you what you really need to make it in this life.”
I stood there, confused. “Are you sure Lord? All of this work doesn’t make me a godly woman? This isn’t what you want?”
“I don’t want your striving, I want your heart. I don’t need you to follow this crowd. I want you to pursue my ways.”
I was searching for approval, something I’ve done all my life. As a little girl, I constantly tried to reinvent myself to gain approval from my classmates, my family, this world. I’d go back to the drawing board time after time, revising changes to my wardrobe, practicing new catch phrases, trying to stand a little taller under the crushing weight of rejection.
But rejection followed me like a stalker. That day in grade 6 when the teacher made me the laughing stock of the class, I thought I’d never be free. Little hands clasped tightly night after night, I would beg God to make the kids stop teasing me. I kept asking, What’s wrong with me, Jesus? Why don’t they like me? I know he was whispering it then too. “Julie, nothing is wrong with you. I made you and I love you just the way you are.” I know he must have been whispering it to me because I remember feeling His love. Before I understood the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice, before I knew that God’s forgiveness was always there, I felt His love. I felt it, but I never fully understood it.
Until that day. When I stood in the kitchen, hands clasped around a wooden spoon, stirring a pot of soup-the kind of food I made on my most tired days. I was asking, “What’s wrong with me, Jesus? I can’t do all the things they say I should do to be a godly woman. I’m failing at this Lord. I’ll never be good enough for you.”
Instead of embracing the woman God made me, I tried to take on a man-made identity, a sort of super-woman agenda that I felt would guarantee me approval. I baked bread and increased my family size. I made changes to my wardrobe, homeschooled my children and did everything a good housewife and Christian mother should do.
But, I didn’t feel more loved, more accepted or approved. Instead I felt worn out and empty. And then all my doing had come to a screeching halt. Burn-out set in and I could no longer keep up with the Biblical Womanhood model.
My reinvention had failed, once again.
Jesus is a good teacher and burn-out has a way of making a woman ready to listen. As the Lord spoke love and acceptance into the deepest parts of my soul, I began to see more clearly the woman I’ve neglected all these years. I grieved for her and for the little girl she once was because we had both believed that in order to be loved, in order to be accepted, we had to be someone else.
The day God walked into my kitchen, He spoke freedom over me. Freedom from doing, from fake identity, from rejection. Freedom to be who He created me to be, to love outside of man-made boxes, freedom from a threadbare life. Freedom to walk out of my kitchen a little (a lot) more often to experience life more abundantly.
Can you relate? I’d love to hear how God is bringing freedom into your life! Share in the comments! xo
Stove/Kettle: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/antonnovoselov/4951016241/”>Anton Novoselov</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
Little shoes: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/starlights_/3560549434/”>starlights_</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
Soup: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/reid-bee/6209908148/”>jazzijava</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>