Just recently I was asked to give a talk on a retreat. It honestly was one of the hardest messages I had to ever share since being a women of God is so hard! But I would like to drop my talk here for anyone who needs encouragement on how to be a women of God.
It is really hard to be a woman and a Christian in today’s world. Everywhere we turn, we are being told what to do and what to think. Our society is so caught up in material things that it’s almost impossible to separate yourself from your worldly possessions. In today’s world, where sex sells, and waiting until marriage is almost unheard of, it has become the new normal. Dressing modestly is uncool. Judging others based on appearances has become too easy to do. I have been hurt so many times by girls who call me out for every single thing I say or do. I do my best to follow Jesus, but I am told I’m not very holy. I truly look for the good in others, but it’s like no one sees the good in me. Most of the time, it seems like others purposely hurt me. It makes me feel unworthy of love and rejected. I’m sure many of you can relate to these feelings. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Let us put aside any pettiness and vow to change together. We need to be not only strong Christian women, but we need to be one body in Christ. Right now, Christians are being persecuted daily all around the world. Our churches are being vandalized and burned. Religious statues are being removed. God is being deleted from our lives and we are letting it happen. We are so busy living life, that we forget who we are living for. We are so busy living in this world that we forget that this world isn’t our goal. Society is making us forget who we really are – Daughters of the King!
We all know that life can be hard, and it’s made harder when we are being judged by the world. We were each placed on the path God has chosen for us, and our paths may look very different. But it doesn’t make your path better or worse than anyone elses. I accept my 6 chronic illnesses as the cross God gave be to bear. Some days the chronic pain is more than I can stand. But I only have to think about Jesus and know my pain doesn’t even compare to His. Many days I feel like no one understands what I go through. It’s then, that I need to remember that God has given us all crosses to bear, and many times the crosses we carry may not be visible. The hidden crosses can be the heaviest. This is why we shouldn’t judge what we cannot see. “…Not as man sees, does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). As sisters in Christ, we need to step away from the world’s view, and see each other through God’s eyes. We were created in God’s image, and we are each a beloved child of God. We are God’s artwork. He made us each unique, but we are all a piece of the same amazing puzzle. When we start seeing each other as God’s beautiful creation, there won’t be a place for judgement, jealousy or hatred. We are not each other’s enemies. Not one of us is better than the other, and not one of us is a mistake. God creates beauty, not mistakes. So, let’s lift each other up and help lighten one another’s cross. “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Recently in Mass we heard the parable of the weeds and wheat. The wheat represents the good, and the weeds represent evil. We each have weeds and wheat in our lives. But I believe we are made up of more good than bad. Even when we try to do our best, a lot of times a weed sneaks in to destroy our goodness. The weeds want us to forget who we are and what we are about.
We were made in love, to love and to be loved.
Sin wants to separate us from each other, but most importantly, from God. Sin tries to destroy the goodness that God planted in our hearts. Sin blinds us from seeing the good in other people. The sooner we recognize the weeds in our life and remove them, the sooner we are reconciled with God. Our God is a merciful God and He wants nothing more than a relationship with us. He doesn’t want sin to stand in the way of that relationship. That is why He is willing to forgive us over and over again. There is no sin that is unforgivable. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) So run to God – His arms are always open, waiting for you.
This leads me to conditional and unconditional love. “I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you, so also must you love one another”(John 13:34). This is easier said than done. God loves us unconditionally because He’s God. He loves us as only a Father can. He sees the good, the bad, and the ugly, yet, He still loves us! Often times, we turn and run instead of staying and being a true friend. I can’t tell you the number of times that my “friends” stop talking to me because of my views or criticized my choices. This always makes me feel like I’m only worthy of conditional love. The narrow view that we use to see others, only leads us to conditional love. Our love for each other is based on our views, our looks, and our life choices. Our love is very shallow if we can’t accept the differences in each other. If we can’t respect someone because they think or look differently than we do, we can never reach unconditional love. How can we love like Jesus if we can’t see one another as children of God? When we start looking at each other through God’s eyes, we will see the beauty and overlook the “ugly”. Our mistakes won’t define us, they will help us grow. Only then can our conditional love turn into unconditional.
We are not only called to love our friends and the people we meet unconditionally but we are also called to love our future spouse unconditionally even if you haven’t met that person yet.
Purity is a beautiful gift from God, and we should do our best to honor and uphold it. God created sex for a husband and wife, sex in itself is a beautiful act, when of course it is in the bond of marriage. God created sex for Unity and Procreation, not one or the other but both. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Matthew 19:6) When you have sex with someone you become one flesh, you have a bond to them the rest of your life and that is why as Catholic/ Christians we are called to wait for our person in marriage. As Christian females, the virtue of purity is something that we have or will struggle with at some point. Outside of being in a committed relationship, it’s easy to say that you want to wait until marriage to have sex. I was that person, telling everyone that they should wait until marriage to have sex. That was before I met my boy. Then I saw a whole new side of things and understood why some of my sisters in Christ struggle so deeply when it comes to waiting. It is a hard promise to keep once you’ve actually meet someone that you really care about. Yet, a sacrifice that will always be worth it. Did you know only about 5% of couples actually wait until marriage. It’s important to let your person know your intentions and if they are for you, then they will respect your decision and hold you accountable. If they are your person, they will lead you closer to Christ, and not further away.
I know there are many of my sisters in Christ who haven’t waited till marriage. And I am here to tell you that it’s okay. Each day is a new day and Gods love for you isn’t dependent on your actions but rather on your being. It is never okay to judge someone for having a different view on purity than you have. Everyone has a different situation that only God knows. Just because it might be easy for you personally to wait, for some people it is almost impossible. Always love your sisters no matter their past, present or future. Our love should be dependent on their being and not their actions.
As sisters in Christ, we need each other. We are more similar than we are different. Yes, our struggles may not be the same, but they all lead us to the same feelings of brokenness, heartbreak and hopelessness. Let’s stop adding to those feelings by judging, and instead support one another. Let us build up, rather than tear down. Let’s celebrate our differences, share each other’s successes, and encourage one another. Together, we are stronger. Today, let’s promise to help each other, to love in spite of our differences, and to see each other as we truly are – a beautiful child of God. Let us strive for heaven together. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).