I haven’t written for International Women’s Day because I’m a woman. And a mom. And a writer of all manner of things with lotta deadlines and a lotta chicken strips to cook.
And so today I’m sitting down now, finally, to talk about us women. And about the woman among women in my life. Wanda Williams. My mother’s mother. Gma Wanda.
There was no one like her. And I believe she changed the world.
And I believe that every single one of us can be a Wanda. If we dared. She lived in a way that by today’s standards would be radical. Unheard of nearly.
Who was she?
She didn’t have a profession. In fact she didn’t drive. My Grandad Virgil drove her everywhere she needed to go. She didn’t rally against any cause with great fervor or fly overseas.
She was a wife. She was a mother. She was a sister. She was a friend. And above all — she was faithful. She was faithful in everything she did. She loved the Lord. She loved her family. LOVED. THEM.
She won the long race. She finished well.
Us women (pointing to myself) spend a lot of time thinking of the ways to change the world. And there is nothing wrong with this. But, when I think about the greatest woman I knew she didn’t do any of the things I aspire to do.
She was a kind of Proverbs 31 woman. (Look it up. Write it down. Pray the Lord makes you one. I do on the regular.)
Wanda Williams is proof that to change the world we must first serve those with whom the Lord has entrusted us.
There are women who are called to go. And they should go.
But, let us never never (never ever) believe that those who are called to stay are doing less.
Motherhood (in all its forms) is a mighty undertaking when done faithfully. Not perfectly but faithfully. She raised humans. Washed their clothes. Prepared their meals. Filled their hearts. Filled their bellies. She filled them by giving of herself.
I didn’t reach motherhood before she headed to heaven. Oh, the things I would like to have asked her. She didn’t live in a generation of blogs, social media, or complaining about children and writing play by plays of birth stories. She didn’t pamper herself, yet she took care of herself with fresh lipstick and perfectly pressed clothes. She was perhaps the most well groomed human I know. I mean with the lipstick NO MATTER WHAT.
I’m sure there are things I write she never would because she was a private person. She wasn’t standing in front of a crowd speaking. She was speaking life into three children who turned out to be three great adults who were properly loved and cared for and taught to love the Lord. Each of them do.
I tell my weary momma friends again and again. This is holy work. This is real work. This is NOT the extra or the distraction. This is THE THING. The raising of the humans.
Never underestimate what properly caring for a child can accomplish. Never underestimate what soothing fevered brows and catching vomit means. Never underestimate what sitting through piano recitals and not getting your hair done because the kids need new shoes means. Never underestimate what rocking babies in the middle of the night means. Never underestimate what staying up in the middle of the night consoling a heart broken teenager means. Never underestimate what it means when you drive the old van so your children can buy that instrument for band and the baseball glove and the cleats. Never underestimate that what you give away to your children multiplies and pays forward and fills them. And sometimes it leaves us drained. And empty. And without what we want. And that is okay.
Women should and must take care of themselves. But, I find our culture to have taken this to the extreme. I know a few martyr moms and ya’ll gotta take care of yourselves.
I also know some moms that sacrifice way too much in order to spoil their kids. Not give them the basics, but go overboard. You know the mom that looks homeless so her child can wear a designer brand shoe or carry a Coach purse? Not okay. Take the whole family to Old Navy and get over it.
On International Women’s Day I am, once again talking about moms. Why? Because the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
The sooner you believe this. The sooner you take this seriously. The sooner you get faithful in the motherhood. The sooner you realize, sweet momma, and everyone else around you realizes that doing the radical brave incredible thing just may be sitting in the rocking chair the better place our world will be.
Never ever (never ever) underestimate the power of a woman when she becomes a mother. She will fight bears and wound warriors and stay awake for a week and still make muffins. She is the terminator with highlights and heels or yoga pants and a messy bun.
Whether you work or storm the frontlines or stay at home, you are growing humans. You want to change the world? It starts in our homes. It starts by filling up these tiny humans with love and kindness and a passion for wisdom and understanding of the Lord.
There is no special formula for being a Wanda Williams. It requires of us this one thing: our whole selves.
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