Being Strong Doesn’t Look the Same for Everyone

beingstrong

I listened intently to Christine Caine yesterday as she discussed today’s Christian women and the challenges they face. And since then, I haven’t been able to get the idea out of my head that being strong doesn’t look the same for everyone.

I mean, I have a friend whose husband is working long hours on a job that he really needs. She cares for 4 children at home, doing laundry and helping with homework, making meals and managing a household,  all while volunteering at church and loving on her sweet 4 month old baby. Because we’re friends, I know her past. And man, she is so strong.

Strength looks like being a homemaker.

Then there’s a pastor’s wife I know and love. Heartbroken that her childbearing years were cut short, she made it through to God’s plan of adoption as a means of adding to their family. She works two jobs while her husband is in ministry full-time; they have four children, including their adopted child who has special needs that require going the extra mile. Extenuating circumstances have tried to beat her down, but she keeps going.

Strength looks like being a pastor’s wife.

There’s an author I know and love who has written many incredible books. If you met her in person, you’d never believe the abuse and absolutely crazy life she’s endured, yet she is joy-filled and radiant. It’s hard to believe that depression and distress has gripped her in the past; she is flat-out strong.

Strength looks like being an author.

I know a girl who has worked incredibly hard as soon as she was old enough to get a job. She puts everything into her studies and has made excellent grades for years upon years of schooling. In spite of financial obstacles and hurdles, she is headed to begin her last three years of medical training this fall. As many times as she might have felt like giving up, she didn’t; because she.is.strong.

Strength looks like being a student.

A mama hangs out by the bedside of her dying girl right now. She wanted to say goodbye to her baby at home, but the struggle was so great that they moved to hospice. Each day this week she is counting the number of times she gets to say “I love you.” Her only hope for the moment is that her baby girl who has lived with disease is hearing her whispers. I can’t wrap my mind around her strength.

Strength looks like being a mother.

A speaker stands before a crowd of church people, declaring that women in today’s church need to be recognized as leaders. That the world needs Jesus more than ever and we must tell others about his great love for us. She reads a Bible passage I’ve personally never heard preached and talks about how important the role of women was in the ministry of Jesus while he was here on this earth. (Luke 8:1-3) She boldly declares truth about the need for strong women in today’s society and that these women must be willing to be used of God. And I think to myself…

Strength looks like being a preacher.

A woman I barely know has made an incredible impression on me. Though she is a full-time nurse and well-respected professor, every few months she travels to a far away African orphanage and village. There she has almost single-handedly transformed many lives through providing glasses for those who cannot see and foot care for those who have no shoes. Her personal approach to following through on God’s whispers to her heart is more than admirable- it is strength.

Strength looks like being a nurse.

I don’t know your background, your education, or your career.

It doesn’t matter if you stay at home, work part-time, or work outside the home.

It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do on a daily basis.

If Jesus is your Savior, then you are a daughter of the King.

He promises to provide you with strength wherever you are.

He will lift you up when you are down.

His Word will transform you from a weak woman to a worthy warrior.

Being strong doesn’t look the same for everyone.

You

Are

Strong.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7

Psalm 287

Who do you know that needs to be reminded of his strength today?

Rachel

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22 Comments

  1. Thank you for your encouraging words. I woke this morning and asked the Lord to strengthen and help me. Your words and God’s promises & Presence have lifted me up. I am recovering from a stroke that has turned my life upside-down. My husband has pushed Jesus out of his life and has little connection with me. I give thanks unto the Lord that He is here with me. He makes me strong and keeps me company even when I feel weak and lonely.

    1. He will not forsake you, Patty!! Jesus, today I pray you would give Patty a sense of presence unlike she’s known before. Bless her, Lord for sharing her heart and her journey with us.

  2. There is such hope and truth in your words. I am touched that as women we tend to beat ourselves up instead of building ourselves up. God makes us strong in all our circumstances and loves each of us for who we are and how we honor Him in our daily lives. This was a beautiful post! Words that I needed to hear as some weeks we feel beat up and run down. Blessings friend!

  3. Kyle Cogan says:

    A very powerful post Rachel! we all sometimes need strength not just women. Not being religious myself but my way of understanding your post is that despite what we are all going through we all try to get on with whatever it is we are trying to achieve. Sometimes we try to put on a smile despite what’s going on behind it. We think we’re going along just fine and we can be hiding what’s going on until finally it’s virtually impossible to hide what’s going on I suppose there’s more to your post than what I’ve said here but it’s how I see it anyway.

  4. Beautiful! Thank you for encouraging female pastors as well as the other traditional roles! God is speaking to me that His joy needs to be our strength.

  5. So so good. I’m going through a tough season right now. I’m participating (not sure that is even the best word) in a divorce I don’t want, raising my kids alone because dad’s *new life* is hours away and lots more fun that being a hands-on father, new challenges all around. I’ve struggled with many emotions and a lot of guilt for thinking that some days, it’s hard to just get out of bed and face the day. Thanks for the reminder that sometimes, being strong is just getting out of bed.

    1. One foot in front of the other. God knows every detail, Melanie, and he’s got you!!

      1. RACHEL – I read a great book when my daughter was facing divorce, full of scripture. It was so comforting to me. I’m not sure what your guidelines are for posting the names of books here? I just wanted to check with you first. If it’s ok with you, I will share the name of the book.

        Thanks, Tracey

    2. MELANIE – the name of the book I read was “When Happily Ever After Shatters” by Sue Birdsong. Excellent book. It’s about a woman with children going through an unwanted divorce. It has scripture in it that was comforting to me when my daughter was facing a divorce. I hope you can read it. Take care of yourself.
      ~Tracey

      1. Thanks for the recommendation! I had a gift certificate and just ordered it. Since I’m kid free this weekend, I think I’ll dive right in and hopefully come out better on the other side 🙂

    3. YAY!! I really hope you get as much encouragement from her words of wisdom as I did. Let me know what you think. Take care – you got this!!
      ~Tracey

  6. Rachel, Were you listening to Christine Caine at the kickoff of Propel Women at Liberty? Is that video or transcript available anywhere?
    Thanks for your encouragement!

    1. Yes- I watched online at Liberty and as far as I know, it was only live and not available anywhere else. But you should email Propel to see if they are making it available. It was so good; I’d watch it again in heartbeat.

  7. Beautiful!

  8. Thank you Rachel to remind us of being strong woman,I have lost 2brothers in2years and a doughter in the last 6 years as well. it has been very hard,.With Gods help I am been strong for my family

  9. Mabile Bester says:

    Thank you for your words every morning. You inspired me with strength for the day.

  10. Thank you Rachel. This is what I needed to read now, at this time. I am struggling to get doctors to answer questions about my newly diagnosed medical issue and failing. I saw a neurosurgeon who made his pronouncement that he wouldn’t do surgery but woud not answer my basic questions. I was feeling overwhelmed and just lost in this unnecessary battle. Today I am reminded I am strong, Jesus will bring me through and to keep praying and striving to follow the “still small voice”. Thank you.

  11. Thank you for the reminder that we are all strong women. I needed to be reminded of that. I always see others as being strong, but not myself.

  12. Wow! That was powerful. Strength comes in many forms. We think of strength in terms of Superman or Wonder Woman. But you remind us that, unlike those characters, strength is real. It endures in us. And it looks like us.

    Praise God.

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