"I just a-wanna be.....a woman..."

I love the song by Portishead 'Glory Box'. I have no idea what it means or what the lyrics are. I just like the sound. And the bit where she breathes, "I just a-wanna be.....a woman..."

I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about what it means to be a woman. I grew up really confused about what a woman was supposed to be like.

Dolly had an article once that had a bit in it about how guys 'don't like girls to be like one of the boys'. That confused me big time. So, I'm meant to throw out  my skirts, get angry/loud/bossy, 'contribute to society' by having a career and making lots of money, do what the boys do (eg, play footy) but I'm not to be like a boy. Huh? Being a girl when I was a teenager (not THAT long ago, ok??) meant wearing a very short skirt and enough eye make up to make me look like I lost a fight with the black Crayola!

At that stage in my life, I had no Bible knowledge and no wholesome teaching or guidance to fall back on. I knew for sure that I didn't want to be the worldly version of 'a girl', so I just sort of ignored it and went with the flow.

I ignored my desire to be married and have lots of babies because it wasn't politically correct for a young woman to say, "I just want to be married and have lots of babies!". I mean, who would have been brave enough to say that? Not me!

So, then I found myself married at 21 and a mum at 25. If you don't know what being a woman is about, having a baby will certainly point you in the right direction! Ha ha...well, maybe not for everyone, but it 'clicked' for me, anyway.

I absolutely LOVED being a mum. I loved feeding my little (big) baby and watching him grow. I loved the satisfaction of hanging the clothes out and bringing crisp, clean clothes in off the line every day. I loved cooking meals and seeing my man and my boy devour it! I loved learning to be gentle and smiling lots. I loved the challenge of juggling (or what I thought was juggling with only one baby!) housework with the baby and husband. I loved that the love that my husband and I shared now had a 'branch' in the form of a brand new precious baby. And when I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant when Matthew was only 11 months old, I was SO excited to be nurturing another new life.

For me, I found out who I was through motherhood. ( But I know it's not like that for everyone!)

Three things have stood out for me over the years about what being a woman is:

-Endurance. We endure men whom we love but whom can also be thoughtless and critical. Some of us endure over-zealous or just plain rude parents or in-laws who don't know the boundaries when their child gets married. We endure planning a wedding! We endure career changes :). We endure nine and a half months of pregnancy, or months of adoption paperwork and waiting. We endure through labour, breastfeeding, sleepless nights. We endure through teaching our children to eat, walk, talk, learn manners, read, write, grow. Our job certainly requires persistent and patient endurance - our work does not stop in the afternoon, for lunch breaks or holidays. That's what makes being a wife and a mum hard work!

-A Soft Place to Land: There's a Brad Paisley song called 'She's Everything' which includes the line, "She's a soft place to land, when I'm feelin' kinda lowly....." I love that line. Whenever I see my husband come home from work tired or cranky or upset, I think of that line and remember that to him, I'm like a soothing balm on a wound. My natural reaction is to throw his crankiness right back, especially when I'm busy or stressed myself, but I've realised that a hug, smile, kiss, neck rub or kind gesture from me is really powerful to him. It diffuses his irritation. When his job is hard and the world out there is a tough place to be, it's my job as his wife to be a soft place to land. Note that I said a 'soft place to land' and not 'a soft door mat'. There's a difference.

-We are excellent 2IC's. I've worked out that I don't need to dominate my husband to be a confident and happy woman. I've learned that marriage is like driving a car: he's in the driver's seat, I'm in the passenger seat. We are both at the front of the car, so we're equally important. His hands are on the wheel, so he makes the final call about where we're going. However, how can he drive if he's got no one to advise him or help him work out the right way? He won't be able to drive properly if he's trying to navigate as well as keep his eyes on the road. A wise husband refers to his wife - he realises that they're a team. A woman has time to look around and notice stuff that he won't necessarily see. I believe it's called 'women's intuition'?

But, if a wife is constantly reaching across to grab the steering wheel from her husband, then obviously that's not ideal either. I've worked out that allowing my husband to make the final call (and accepting his leadership) is the biggest blessing to him and to our marriage. I'm not as stressed out as I used to be - doing the mummy thing as well as running our family and making all the decisions....it was exhausting! I'm so much more relaxed now knowing that Ben's leading our family. We talk much more about things because I ask his opinion more things. We're much more of a team now! The absolute best thing is that I've watched my husband grow into an even better husband and father than I ever thought he could be. I love backing him up and seeing him succeed - because then we as a family succeed.

Those are just three little things that I've been reflecting on lately and again, I'm so blessed by the ministry of Above Rubies (http://www.aboverubies.org/). Without Jesus Christ teaching me and AR, I think my marriage would be a very difficult place to be!

I hope you find my posts encouraging....it's always my aim to encourage and build up. I never want to come across as someone who's up on a pedestal......so let me know if that happens!

May our wonderful heavenly Father guide you and strengthen you, my friends.

J :)

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