You! Yes, you!

Today, I write with a heart filled with wonder at the soft, curvy, emotion-rich beauty that I see around me in the women I admire and call my friends.

This week, I have helped my oldest daughter prepare to move a few weeks before our big move, and part of our mission was for her to have a chance to hug the necks of the women we love.

As I spend moments with each of them and look at the faces of the ones who literally changed my every idea of what a woman should be, I am in awe.

At this moment in my life, I know examples of beauty that leave me in tears even as I write.  I don’t have words enough for the way they have proven to me how love embodies a human heart.  How God can change and reshape and use women to bind up, to help each other heal, to fill the gaps.  But I will try.  I owe them at least the effort.  Especially this week, when we are given a day to celebrate womanhood.

On Mother’s Day we hold high the position of a mother, but ever since the day that I was put in charge of ordering the number of carnations to hand out in church on this holiday, I find myself quite aware that mother or not, this heart I see, the heart of a woman, deserves recognition.  The unique strengths that women carry in our very fibers is where the beauty begins.  Even those not yet fully grown have a beauty that is precious and vital.

I would imagine that our Creator knew that though the man he made was capable of many great things, he would lack–there was a void.  So He reached into the part of Who He is that nurtures and pours out kindness and softness and added it into the mix for round two of human-making.

(Men, don’t you worry.  Father’s Day is not too far off and I might be inspired to write about how great round one was as well.)

Today, I hold high those who, with dignity and femininity, have risen to meet their life challengesapple blossom head-on.  Who have made the choice to love with abandon and have settled into what a woman was created to be with grace and humility and joy.  Who make those around them better just for the very presence in this world.  Who build up even if they came from a torn-down place.

I take my metaphorical hat off to each of you…

You, the woman awake all night praying for your children.

You, the single mom making every single end meet even when you don’t want to or feel like you have one single thing left to give.

You, the mom holding the sticky hands juggling several children in Meijer on your birthday.

You whose own mother did not show you love, yet you allowed a legacy of love to begin in and through you as you loved your babies.

You, the woman working all day and then coming home to make a home for those you love.

You, the mom who would give a limb for a half hour nap because you give until the tank is dry.

You, the woman holding everyone up emotionally when no one sees how much you could use a little holding yourself.

You, the woman taking care of the needs of folks who once took care of you–elderly parents and grandparents.

You who listens well to the hurts and words of those you love, somehow smiling with tears a heartbeat away–barely hanging on.

You the woman who would give anything to be a mom and the time isn’t just right quite yet–or maybe ever.

You, the woman who took in children of someone who had no business birthing a child, yet you love them, become their family, create for them a home, and make them your own.

You, the new mom who pours out every single bit of herself physically and emotionally–stretched to the very limits–and still selflessly gives and gives, day and night, into this new and precious little human.

You, whose children have grown and you find yourself in a brand new place in life;  yet, you choose to live a life of purpose and joy and come alongside those you love to build up and encourage.

You, the younger woman who is in the midst of finding who she is.  Who stands quietly strong in her convictions, poised and ready to rise to the unique challenge of womanhood.  

You, the mom who finds a way to feed hungry bellies from a few ingredients in the pantry, perhaps feeling a little hungrier yourself.

You, who teaches her children at your own cost of time and plans because it is simply what you were called to do…

You, the woman who holds the hands of a friend in tears and hears her heart and weeps with her and covers her in your prayers.

To you who has an inkling of hope that her efforts and sacrifice have import that is both eternal and exponential.  Be assured.  It is. They are.  You–you are the safe and soft place to fall for those you love.  You are the steady that keeps lives around you in forward and fluid motion.  You are strong and graceful, capable and a precious expression of the heart of God.

And well worth celebrating.

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