Psalms 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Job 11:18 “And you shall be secure, because there is hope; yes, you shall dig about you, and you shall take your rest in safety.”
Prov. 3: 5 – 6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Psalm 28: 7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
Scripture tells us the heart is central. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23. God knows that our heart is core to who we are. It is the source of all our creativity, our courage, and our convictions. Our beliefs, our faith, and our trust in God is held and treasured in our hearts. In Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the brain is not mentioned once, whereas the heart is cited 826 times. www.csun.edu The Bible uses the word ‘heart’ to refer to the whole person, the ruling center of the whole person. Look at the importance of our hearts in the scriptures above. The most impactful one to me is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” The trust we have in God, is held in our hearts. How powerful is that!
There is something fierce in the heart of a woman. Think about it, scripture tells us in Genesis 1:27, “God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them.” Scripture also says in Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.” Woman was created to be with others, to help others, to nurture, and to care for others. In our hearts we want to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, a beauty that glorifies God, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. WHO WE TRULY ARE!
Recently, I have wrestled with feelings of not quite living up to God’s expectations, His purpose for my life. When I look at the gifts, He has given me, I question if I have fully used all of them. I think of who I am, the relationships I have, and the choices I have made and reflect on how I have lived through those. Was I an example to others and if so what kind of an example? My struggle with my sense of worth points to something glorious God has planned for me, something He designed me to be. I am still living in this earthly plane, so my heart tells me that I have not reached that glorious plan quite yet. God is still working with me, and still preparing me for His ultimate plan. My heart fiercely wants to fulfill all God has planned for me, and as a result I started writing. God gave me the gift of teaching, the gift of nurturing, the gift of hospitality (and a mother who was a true example), the gift of serving, the gift of knowledge, and the gift encouraging and evangelism. I believe He also gave me the gift of writing, to enhance the gifts of encouraging and evangelism. I cannot always speak in front of a group of people, but I can write and share my faith with others as a way of encouraging and sharing my testimony. A few days ago, I found all my journals and writings from over the years. I read through each of them, and the tears flowed quite often. Writing has always been a source of comfort for me, yet recently it is more an expression of my life and the lessons learned. My desire now, and I believe part of God’s plan is to use my gift of writing as a way to share my testimony with others.
How we nurture relationships with friends, family, and even strangers are part of that testimony. God has placed me in many relationships too. These relationships and how I have lived through them reflect God and what are in my heart. These relationships are my testimony. These relationships are who I am, who God created me to be!
I am God’s child,
I am a Christian,
I am a daughter,
I am a daughter-in-law,
I am a sister,
I am a wife,
I was a widow,
I am a sister-in-law,
I am a mother,
I am a grandmother,
I am a friend,
I am retired,
I was a teacher,
I was a co-worker,
I was a caregiver,
I am a survivor,
I am a woman,
I am a woman with a fierce heart for God!
Women tend to define themselves in terms of these relationships and the quality of their relationships. This is not a weakness in women. It is a glory. A glory that reflects the heart of God, and of a woman with a fierce heart for God. A woman’s desire to fulfill these relationships relates to God’s vast desire to have relationships with each of us. A woman’s capacity to have relationships or to be defined by her relationships reflects God’s capacity and ability to have relationships with all his creations, man, and woman, and all the earth.
God endows women with certain qualities that are essential to relationships. He gives us qualities that speak of Him: inviting, vulnerable, tender, embodies mercy, fierce, and fiercely devoted. God also gives us women in our lives that serve as examples of these qualities and serve as mentors to us as we grow and mature in our relationships with Him, the most important relationship.
As I think back on my own childhood and teenage years, I can think of many women who served as examples to the woman I am today, they are the women who helped me grow and mature in my relationship with God and in all the relationships I have experienced in life. For each of them I am eternally grateful God placed them in my life.
My mother and her friends were some of the first examples of Godly women I had in my life. Helen Chandler, Diana Hearne, Frances Allison, Ramona Glenn, Peggy Tilley, Viola Phelps, and so many more. A church family that gave me so many wonderful examples to learn from and to model after. Ethel Smith and Catherine Farrell were probably two of the most incredible women in my life.
Catherine Farrell was such an incredible woman of grace and poise! She was my Sunday School teacher, GA leader, and church leader. She had a heart so fierce for her love of God and the heart of a servant. Her strength and courage were so amazing, her and her husband served as missionaries in Africa for several years. I remember as a young girl being in awe of her and the way she carried herself, and the way she spoke with such quietness yet with such strength and assurance in each word. Her words were from her heart, they were from God. She used her own experiences to teach us, to help us understand the part God wants to play in our lives. When she spoke, God was in each word, and you just knew she was speaking from her heart. I used to think I wanted to be able to speak like that, I wanted to influence others the way she influenced me. What I admired the most about Mrs. Farrell was her desire to teach me poise, grace, and patience. She exhibited those qualities every day. She never gave up on me. I often wonder if now she looks down on me and thinks, “Finally, she has poise, grace, and patience.” I pray that I exhibit those same qualities to others, my past students, my children, and grandchildren, and even to strangers. My last nine years teaching, all girls, at Hollis I often thought of Mrs. Farrell and my desire to instill in my girls those same qualities. I used to reflect back on those lessons, and think “Look, at me, Mrs. Farrell! I am teaching young girls how to use a napkin, how to set a table, and how important manners are.” Oh, my goodness, the impact this woman had on my life.
Another incredible woman and one so responsible for me being the woman I am today was Ethel Smith. Oh, the lessons I learned from her. She had such a demanding presence, yet a presence of a woman with such a fierce heart for God. I truly believe God knew I would need such a fierce, strong woman in my life to help shape and mold me to be the woman I am today. This woman was so knowledgeable of God’s word, but it was not just that she knew God’s word, literally every word, but she believed every word with her whole heart. There was never a doubt of her love and faith in God. The most incredible quality of Miss Ethel was that even though she was fierce and devoted in her knowledge of God’s word, we all knew she loved us and her one purpose in life was to share God’s word with us and to help us become women of God! She wanted that with her entire being. I think back with fondness now, but growing up as a young girl, tomboy and stubborn, I used to think she was my worst enemy, but now I know she only wanted me to know God and to have faith in Him. Today, I am so grateful for Ms. Ethel Smith’s presence in my life. I am sure she looks down on me in wonder, yet at the same time, with pride in the role she played in my life.
These two women, as well as the other women of my childhood church, gave me strength and courage to survive, to grow in my faith in God, and to hopefully be an example to others around me. God gives us the people we need to help us become the person He wants us to be. He is there always, knowing exactly who we need to help us to follow His plan for our lives.
God knows that our hearts are the core of who we are and who we are to become. God knew that I would need certain women in my life to help me build the relationships I would have, to help me overcome the struggles I would meet, and to help me be a testimony to those around me. From my mother, to Diana Hearne, to Peggy Tilley, to my grandmother, and even to Ethel Smith; they were all placed in my life at the exact moment He knew I would need them. What incredible examples of women I had in my life, that each played their role in bringing me to this point in life. For each of them I am forever grateful!
The heart of a woman is a beautiful thing. It is fragile, yet so very strong. It is delicate, yet resilient. The heart of a woman is fierce. It is fierce in her faith in God. It is fierce in each relationship she cherishes. It is fierce in her devotion to her family. It is fierce in love! It is fierce in her determination to see things through. It is fierce in desire to do her best in all things. It is fierce when it comes to protecting her family. It is fierce in surviving and overcoming obstacles in life. It is fierce in following God’s plan for her life. A woman’s heart is amazing! A woman guards her heart, nourishes it, and opens it wide to love others God places in her life.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”