Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Life & Faith / Motherhood

Becoming the Woman I Never Wanted to Be

Barefoot and pregnant. That’s me at this moment, for the fifth time. And even though that phrase is often laced with negative meaning, I’m proud…no, thankful…to be both of those things. Motherhood is a journey and children are truly a gift, albeit gifts that come with a lot of responsibility.

I’ve been thinking a lot about attitudes, how they shape our beliefs, how beliefs inform our choices, and how choices impact the world around us. Little thoughts, a pebble dropped into a pond, ripples sent out to a space beyond where they started. When my pebble plunked in, I had no idea what ripples would come after. I did not always value what I have come to value in life now…I was a different person, in a different time, with a different attitude about what I wanted out of life. I have always respected the mothers in my life, but if I’m honest about my real thoughts from that time — I didn’t want to be a mother. I didn’t want to be domestic. I didn’t want to see anything get in the way of my dreams and ambitions, and I worked very hard to that end.

I had plans of my own. I was going to do great things. Soar to great heights on the winds of feminism that blew under my wings in my youth. Find my own way through the jungle. Lean on my own understanding, because, lets face it, I “knew everything”. I vowed to be a strong, independent, successful woman, and somehow thought I knew what that meant. Now, I don’t mean to rag on feminism.  There is no way for me to really personally know what oppression women have faced in previous generations and in other parts of the world, and there has clearly been a need in this generation for women to find freedom from the sometimes quiet, sometimes deafening forces at work to make women anything other than free, loved, and valued. I recognize that my field of vision is small and my understanding of the depth of women’s issues across the world is likely even smaller. I’m just one person. But I do think we have been sold lies about the value of women in this culture…lies about what it really means to be free…lies about what love looks like.

I have heard and read many stories. I know many women who have been devalued by others and still more women who devalue themselves on a regular basis. I’ve watched as one friend after another has engaged in self-destructive behaviors in the name of their freedom to do so, or their inability to recognize what is at stake. I’ve cried over the loss of genuine respect for women’s bodies, women’s wombs, and women’s heart’s from all sides, all while trying to figure out how to sort out the mess of voices that scream at me every day about who I should be, what I should do, and what I need to be happy.

It is a total lie that a woman’s value is found somewhere, in some social circle, or some job title, or some accomplishment, or some dress size. If you’re searching for significance somewhere, you’re looking in the wrong place. I know, because I’ve looked. It’s not a somewhere, it’s a Someone. The Creator of your soul, in fact, that wants to show you just how beautiful life can be.

He gives wisdom. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

He gives grace and mercyBut God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…Ephesians 2:4-5

He gives strengththose who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

He gives good giftsEvery good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

He gives Himself.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

I write all of this to say, I have tried it the other way. The by-myself way. And when I did that, I was empty. Broken. Totally faking strength and bravado. I didn’t know it then, but comparing that DIY season to how full and rich and good my life is right now as a yielded servant…and mother…and homemaker…There are just not adequate words. I have found peace in the quiet of home. Purpose in the task of raising children. Joy in the most mundane household tasks. That is not to say that anyone else’s story will or should look like mine…but I do think searching for truth, searching for Jesus, and holding our hands open to what He gives and takes will bring about the most meaningful life we could hope to live, even if that life begins to look like something very different than what we have planned.

Stop trying so hard to prove that you are valuable. You only become a slave to your own expectations, your social circle, your family, your scale. There is nothing ‘free’ about that. You are valuable just the way you are. And if you are able to press into the truth of God’s word, you will find that true freedom looks a lot different than what our society, media, and even politicians tell us.

As for these photos, I made a pie today for the first time in my life, at thirty years old. I giggled all the way through the process because I never in my life have wanted to make a pie until I got the overwhelming desire to this afternoon. To me, making pies is a quintessential picture of the domestic woman I never wanted to become. How funny is that.

If you would like prayer for any situation in your life, send me a note. I will pray. Thanks for reading.

9 Comments Becoming the Woman I Never Wanted to Be

  1. Jani Hedegaard

    Oh Emily – your words touch my heart once again. As I travel through this new season of womanhood called widow, I will remember my value is found only in the One who loves me forever as I am. We spread Bill’s ashes this weekend and your Dad blessed me beyond belief. He doesn’t know it, but the healing towards him that happened for me was truly a gift from God. He gave me a giant fish plague that he and Bill had caught years ago and he spoke powerful words out on the lake then he finished it off by pulling out a pump shotgun and firing it off in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! It blew us all away, but it was perfect!!

  2. Kirsten Oliphant

    I’m so glad you linked up and that I read this. I think this journey is so important in terms of finding our value in God, and realizing it doesn’t come from anywhere else. I feel like as a woman, there is this struggle and esp within the church now as well there is struggle for women to find value and know where that comes from and to try to define it ourselves whether it’s on the side of wanting women to be MORE free in being pastors and feminists or on the side of feeling women should be in the home and submissive. I don’t like sides. Let’s follow Jesus and be where he puts us. 🙂 Thanks again for linking and sharing! Love the look of that pie! And man– five kids by 30! I’m impressed. I’m on my fourth now, but I’m 36. I packed them all in from 30 until now, so it’s been fun. And wild.

    1. Emily

      Kirsten – Thanks so much for your comment and also for hosting your link-up…I have a great big desire to write, but sometimes it feels like its not the season, until I realize that the time I have is now, and opportunities like the link-up on your blog help spur me on!

  3. Kristi

    You share some great thoughts about where to find your worth – something all women need to hear, whether they are stay-at-home moms or not. It is so easy to base that on what we do, or don’t do, instead of what Jesus says about us. Thank you for the reminder!

  4. Laura Melchor

    I love this post–but for some reason, all I want (I’m 21) is to be an at-home wife right now even though I just graduated from college and have more years to go–my husband and I aren’t planning to have kids for a couple years still–and cook and clean and read books and write, and luckily I get to do that for a few months. After all the insanity of school, I feel a pull to the home, and I am enjoying it. Your pie looks delicious, by the way@

  5. Anita Ojeda

    Ah, feminism–it’s such a loaded topic. I feel as if the movement for women to break free from the chain of stereotypes and male dominance has been hijacked by angry people (mostly women). God sees equal worth in each of us–we should do likewise. I had the privilege of staying at home with our daughters for a year, and it was the hardest thing I ever did–mostly because I didn’t feel that my husband truly understood all that goes into being a stay-at-home mom. The following couple of years, he stayed home with them and went to school in the evenings to get his master’s degree while I worked. Once he ‘got it’ (and he DID) I could have happily stayed home with the girls–but alas, they were in school by then. I’m glad that you are able to embrace the calling God has put in your life–we need more people who see parenting as a calling and not an aside.

  6. Pingback: Not So (Small) Stories: Seventh Edition - Kirsten Oliphant

  7. Peach

    So sorry for the lateness in commenting, but I’m so glad I read this. I enjoyed reading your words and the fact that you included the pie pictures. It all tied together so beautifully and I know the dessert came out yummy! 🙂

    I love that you found peace and joy in a world where so many cannot or do not. Perspective is truly the key.


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