This has been on my mind. I need to write it out, if not for any other reason, for my own growth.
First of all, I have to admit that many many years ago I didn't really like being a girl. My parents had filled my heart with love, so desiring a boyfriend was not close to my thoughts- and most girlfriends made me feel horrible about myself. I was not interested in the competitions of who was the smartest or prettiest, even though a compliment once and a while felt good. Girls were mean, and they were emotional and dramatic... But I was a girl and sometimes acted the way that I despised. I tried not to, though because I enjoyed my guy friends and didn't want to ruin that with girly interruptions. If I could have lived my whole life with guy friends (along with a few like minded girls) I might have. We all know, though, that would never work.
Over time, I've learned that being a woman is an amazing thing. I've learned to embrace emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. I've gone giddy over Pinterest and love to dress my little girls as princesses. I've even learned to like the color pink (or at least tolerate it... my laundry loads are not just light and darks- they are pinks and blues).
I've noticed, though, that the competition thing lingers on. This time, the race is toward sainthood. Who had the worst pregnancy? Labor? Who has the most kids? The pickiest eaters? Which is harder, to work full time or stay at home? (Typically the one that we do). What about to home school? Who volunteers the most? Who has the worst husband? Who has the best husband? Who is the busiest? Who has sacrificed the most with the least to give?
Someone once commented on how lucky I was that I never had any problems. "Oh, I've had 'em" I replied. When they asked what they were, I started with the one that has deformed my heart the most.
I began to describe what it is like to grow up living with and around people I love with special needs. But before I could get too far, I was interrupted with a "that's not a big deal."
Once I attended a christian class/camp that I needed to learn from- but I also learned that the same person that provided much enlightenment and wisdom for my young mind also was pompous and assuming. He brought his blind son on the stage and pointed his finger into the crowd and said, "YOU have NO idea how hard life can be."
It must have been the Holy Spirit that caused me not to walk out in protest. I've never been blind, but my heart broke a thousand times before I was 18, and I was certain that in the crowd of 100 plus that I was not alone.
Who can assume which of us have suffered the most? Furthermore, why would we?
I had horrible pregnancies. They gave me Pitocin. My third girl was born two months before my first turned three. I was poor. I had to go to work full time for a year, and I had to quit because I had another baby. I've come in contact with hundreds of children that don't know what hope is, and couldn't do much about it. I've taken care of my niece, and I had to let her go. My car has 180,000 miles on it (and it's stained upholstery probably stinks). And I hate my carpet!
I've never been abused. I've never gone without a meal. I've never adopted, or needed to be adopted and I've never had to take care of more than six children at once. I don't have addictions (except maybe coffee), I've never had multiples. I've not lost a child nor a parent for that matter. I've never been chronically ill, nor seriously feared for my life. I am not a single parent. Oh, yeah... I've also never had to bear the burden of a dad.
I always had an epidural. My husband loves me. My children love me, and I AM adopted by the King of Kings. My parents are still married. I've had hundreds of prayers answered and have the hope that millions more are to come. I live in a great country, in a beautiful state, and am blessed to be able to enjoy that. I am so thankful that I have a job and also that I can stay at home. I love my husband for working hard and am overwhelmed with the grace he has given to me.
And each woman has her own list that should not be minimized or compared to.
I know it can get hard, and I am not suggesting that we hold it in- we are women for goodness sakes! We need good friends that we can genuinely confide in. I'm just saying that it doesn't do anyone any good if we are out to prove which of us have it worse. Maybe I'm just talking to myself here...
I tell my girls that their job is to do what they know is right to do, but when another does what we know is wrong, it is our job to give them grace, because we can't do a very good job working on ourselves if we are constantly worried about everyone else's report card. Like when they blurt out, "She was looking during prayer!"
I know that I need to do a better job at simply enjoying the little things that get me through my day, and building up my joy to encourage someone that really needs it. My good things seem to erase the bad. We need each other, because we are women. Mamas sacrifice hourly. Dreams are delayed. Life goes on. But when I have really needed a listening ear, the thing that hurts me the most is the one that minimizes my pain in order to accentuate theirs.
We are so blessed to be moms, and to be women. And if one is not a mom but is a woman, they are blessed too- blessed with work or education or more time to bless others. But I guess I relate best to moms right now.