Every now and then a woman will shine like a beacon through the clouded mess that is our normal lives and be forever be engrained in your mind as the woman you want to strive to be. You know the ones, the Joanna Gaines of this world. The women who seem to have it all together. By “together” I mean they seem to have all their life details wrapped in a Martha Stewart worthy package served with perfectly paired wine and exotic cheese. Their children are wearing the latest fashions and well-behaved (of course). Maybe they have a house that could be featured on HGTV and a back yard that is void of even the slightest whisper of a weed. Oh, and while they give you a tour they of course look like they walked out of a J-Crew catalog and are just slightly behind schedule for the photoshoot they must be dressed for.
These women are rare and I am willing to bet my current cup of coffee (If you know me you know that this is a serious bet) you would NEVER count yourself among them. You could NEVER have a house like theirs, a yard as beautiful, or heaven forbid pull off that stunning outfit they always seem to throw together.
What initially draws you to these women may be their clothes, hair, shoes, house, etc. but I would argue what keeps these women in your mind- what cements these women in your eye as someone to look up to- is the sight of a woman who walks in freedom. A woman who is unbound by human constraint.
Free from comparison.
Free from the weight of judgement.
Oh, she’s still compared and she is definitely judged. Indeed, she’s talked about and picked apart (probably more than most). She still struggles with the internal voices saying, “She’s not enough.” The difference is she dresses each morning with a slippery hide, one that lets these voices slide off her like drops of water rolling unhindered down the back of a fisted hand. She chooses not to listen when the voices challenge her heart. Her slick hide is a quilted one, sewn together from the pieced together identity she has come to know and love. The one she is still sewing and tenderly caring for.
When internal lies suggest she's “trying to hard” she easily answers, “I’m just being me.” When she’s shopping and “You could never pull that off!” slides in her mind she answers by grabbing the hanger and heading to the dressing room. The fact that she is drawn to the beauty of that new dress is all she needs to try it on.
She is an expert at turning her back to the onslaught of media driven expectations and instead turning to face the sun. Turning so her eyes are towards the light of her Savior’s face. Towards His approval and delighting smile. She has practiced listening and is constantly tuning to hear the Father’s voice. She allows herself to drink and be filled with His truths and His precepts.
She takes to heart her husbands’ affirmation. When he calls her beautiful she believes him. When he says she’s sexy she can laugh but still know his words are true. She allows herself to soak in the extravagant cheers of her loved ones and the sweet compliments of her closest friends. These people- the ones she loves and who love her in return- these are the voices that matter. These are the ones her ears have been trained to listen for.
She is able to accept herself as she is. Flawed and imperfect is more than ok. And the freedom she has is what allows her to walk gracefully through this messy life.
This woman is the one you and I are drawn to. It is not that she has arrived at some elevated position but that she is on the path we all deeply long to be walking.
For some this path seems untouchable. It’s like these women are not as real as we are and surely haven’t wrestled with what we have. We will NEVER be them no matter how hard we strain and hope. The reality is, you are right! You will never be Martha Stewart or Joanna Gaines but that is not the point is it? Thinking that is just another step on the worldly path of comparison.
Instead let these women challenge you. Let them inspire you to step off this path of insignificant thoughts and oppressive words. Let their journey towards freedom draw you to your own freedom. The path may be different but the Lord always remains the same. His voice for you is the same. His love for you is the same. It is the same deep affectionate adoring love that truthfully and adamantly states “You are enough,” and then pursues you until you believe it.
Let us be women who are bravely marching on this path of freedom. Women who are practiced at turning our faces to the Lord with ears to hear His voice. Women who know when to listen. Your journey- this path of freedom- awaits. This truth will help set you free.
Today choose to wear your armor. Choose to hear the voices that matter and together we will forge a path so wide that those who come after us will join easily and excitedly. Your best self is just around the bend and together this path won’t seem so treacherous. Will you Journey with me?
Michelle Coppini is a boudoir and portrait photographer located in Clovis, New Mexico. She loves capturing authentic traces of people and making each session a deep experience. She considers herself a hunter of beauty and a champion of freedom. A big part of what drives her is a desire to know and love people: deeply, authentically, and honestly. Photographing her clients is just an added bonus. She loves her job, and occasionally has to pinch herself to be reminded that she's not dreaming.
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