What is a woman anyway?

“I don’t really know how to be a girl,” my student confessed. She was wearing a pink, flowered top with jeans, men’s shoes, and a short, spiky haircut. This beautiful teenage girl is only one of thousands of young women wondering what femininity really is and if it’s worth it.

I have numerous biologically female students (ie. they were born female) who profess to be gay or trans. This phenomenon seems to be prevalent in girls more than boys. I have had several interesting conversations with them, and the things they have told me are revealing. Some of the main reasons they tell me they have varied from the biological and heterosexual norms are:

“I have always liked ‘boy’ things, like sports and boys’ clothes.”

“My dad always treated me like a boy, so it’s more comfortable.”

“I was raped by a man, so I don’t think I could ever be in a relationship with one.”

“I don’t really know how to be a woman, and I am attracted to girls. Doesn’t that mean I should just be trans?”

“I don’t know. I just know I’m not like girls on social media. I don’t know where I fit in.”

“Being a woman seems weak. I want to be strong so no one can hurt me.”

These are just some of the reasons I’ve heard. I expressed empathy and kindness to these students, but I felt sad at the same time. Some of these are big reasons. And I hate that these girls have gone through so much trauma and confusion. I hate that they are struggling with such huge issues that I don’t believe kids should have to struggle with at such a young age.

But another thing I hate is that, in most of these circumstances, these girls are rejecting who they are. And they are rejecting the privilege of being female.

I think our culture has turned from the oppression of women throughout history—you know, when women were seen as another piece of property—and has twisted it all around so that being a woman is still considered a bad thing. Instead of being unable to vote or to own their own businesses, now women are “liberated” to the point that they can choose not to be a woman at all.

Why not want to be a woman? Because our culture actually values traditionally masculine traits like physical strength, having a career, being emotionally distant, etc. above feminine traits. It is looked down upon to be vulnerable, gentle, meek, or a mother. We see more and more female heroes in movies, but they are usually stoic and unfeminine. There are tons of female music artists, but they often make women look like sex objects instead of valuable human beings.

Our postmodern society thinks we have “evolved” to the point of liberating women above all past cultures, but maybe we are just projecting the same values and dressing them up to look different.

You see, God truly values women. In her book, Captivating, Stasi Eldridge pointed out that when God made the earth He went from the most basic things to the most complex. He created the simple parts (like dirt) in the beginning and, as the days went on, His creation became more detailed and more beautiful. What do you think was the final masterpiece of His creation? The last thing He made?… Woman! He sees woman as His crowning glory.

Jesus also cherished women during His time on earth. Bruce Marciano’s book, Jesus, the Man Who Loved Women, opened my eyes to this. Jesus broke social norms to treat women with compassion and show them they had value. There are numerous occasions in the Bible where He went out of his way to make a woman know that she was important (Mark 5:25-28, Luke 13:10-13, John 4:6-7, and many more).

I am still seeking to understand what exactly being a woman really means. It is something I have wrestled with a lot in my life. But one thing I do know is that being a girl/woman is not a bad thing. It is an honor. It is not something we should run from, but something we should embrace. We are an expression of God’s love that He created in the first book of the Bible (Genesis, chapters 1 and 2). We are made in God’s image. Yes, we are different from men, but that difference is good. Yes, we are often the more vulnerable humans (physically and while raising children), but we bring actual life to the world! Men can’t make people; only we can! What a privilege we have, ladies. Let us cherish our place in God’s plan for the world. Women are His beloved creation!

Note to my readers: I am planning to research and write more about what it means to be female. Please feel free to comment or send me your recommendations of articles or books to read on the subject. I would love to hear from you. -Lauren Lnewsom77@protonmail.com

Do Miracles Still Happen?

Do you believe in miracles? I mean, really?…Most people don’t nowadays. I struggle to believe in them too.

But this one really happened.

My mother-in-law has a terminal illness. It’s so bad that she has not walked or eaten or even changed the tv channel by herself for years. And she’s in her 70’s. Not someone you want to get the Coronavirus.

But she got it. And we all prepared for the worst.

She was sent to the hospital a week ago, and—no surprise—no one could visit her. It broke my heart that she was there, possibly dying, all alone.

I started to pray for her. I had a crazy idea and prayed that God would send her an angel—or even Jesus himself—to visit her and comfort her in the hospital. I know, it sounded kinda like a ridiculously big request to me too. I prayed it a couple times over the course of the day and then forgot about it for awhile.

Well, this is where it gets interesting. The next day I asked my husband how she was doing and if he had heard anything that day. He said the nurse had actually helped her call him on the phone. He said she mumbled a few things (normal for her condition) and told him she loved him and wants him to visit. Then he said something interesting…he shook his head and said, “She kept saying something about Jesus being there…seeing him in her hospital room…”

My heart stopped beating for a minute. I had never told anyone about my prayer. Yet his mother specifically said she was being visited by her Savior.

Could this be some kind of hallucination or silly gibberish from a sick woman? I might think so if I had not just prayed that prayer and specifically asked for what she reported.

The truth is this: God is still at work. Miracles still happen. Keep your prayers big and your eyes open.

Dont stop believing,

Lauren

P.S…My terminally ill mother-in-law, who’s in her 70’s, is going home from the hospital tomorrow. Not for hospice. No, she is better. She has survived Covid.

As CS Lewis wrote: “Aslan is on the move.” Take heart!

5 Life-Changing Truths I Learned From My Mother

“Write an essay about the person in history that has most greatly influenced your life.” The teacher stated the prompt as she wrote it on the board. It was tenth grade, and I was quickly searching my brain’s data base for the subject of my essay. Although I wanted to sound intellectual and impress the teacher, I could not deny the fact that the person who had impacted my life the most was not a president or a Civil Rights activist. It was my mother.

Nothing has changed since then. My mom is still the person that has most greatly impacted me. You see, I was blessed to get the best. I know everyone says that, but mine really is the best. Although she raised four children and worked off and on during my childhood, she still found time to help anyone who needed it and to be very involved in our church. When her mother became elderly, my mom jumped right in and took care of her–despite their strained relationship. My mother gives until she has no more to give. She is one of the most selfless, humble, and compassionate people I know. She’s now retired, but she continues to volunteer at the church, go on mission projects overseas, teach ESL to immigrant women, and take care of grandchildren. She gets paid for none of it. And to top it off, she’s wise–really wise. I once told a therapist something that my mom had told me all the time growing up, and the therapist said in a matter-of-fact way, “I didn’t know your mom was a therapist!” My mother’s wisdom got me through so many trials in my life, and if she didn’t have the right words to say she pointed me to the Book that did.

So, now that Mother’s Day is approaching yet again, I wanted to share with you the blog post I started last May but couldn’t finish. These are five of the many things I learned from my wise and loving mother. I hope they bless you as much as they have me.

1. People Matter More Than Things

Throughout my childhood whenever things would break, my mom would recite, “Well, people matter more than things!” And that was that. Even if it was something of hers, or the new lamp in the living room. No matter what. People are more important. Relationships are more important. Things will come and go, relationships are what last. She is like a saint, but, no, she wasn’t just born this unattached to material things. She got this philosophy from Jesus. It’s how he lived and loved. And he is the love of her life (no offense, Dad, she still loves you!), and she imitates Jesus. He taught that “Heaven and Earth will pass away…” and that knowing God and loving others is all that lasts for eternity. And if we believe something, we live it. Even if it’s hard. Even if means we choose time with an elderly relative over going shopping or that we don’t scream at our kid when they break something. Relationships before stuff. Before comfort. Before me, me, me. I’m so thankful to have learned this truth, and it has been a huge blessing in all of my relationships.

2. It’s Not All About Me

My poor mother was a full-time mom, teacher, and shoulder to cry on for most of my childhood. My adolescence was plagued with social anxiety, so Mom became my resident counselor almost nightly. I often followed her around lamenting my lack of social status at the well-to-do Christian school that my parents scrimped and saved for us to go to. (Yes, we were those “poor” kids at the private school that had five rotating outfits and never went to Disney World over spring break.) I cried to her over and over again that “I have no friends!” And she patiently listened and asked, “Have you been a friend?” To which I would roll my eyes and whine, “Mahhh-ahm!” You see, my mom taught me to put others before myself. She told me to think about them instead of about me. She often said, “When you walk into a room, instead of wondering what they think of you, find someone who needs a friend and ask them about themselves.” Mom believes that if you focus on the other person–listening to them, encouraging them, asking them about their life–you will forget about you and your insecurities. And it worked. Focusing on others brought a confidence and freedom, and I gained a lot of new friends! (Nowadays, you might say it worked too well…I never meet a stranger and I love to talk! Ask my poor husband!)

3. God Comes First

My mama loves the Lord Jesus, and it shows. I often saw her with her Bible open in front of her, and it affected all parts of her life. She lives her faith. For real. And she taught us that God is number one. He is the Creator of the world, the Lover of our souls, the Prince of Peace, the King of kings, the Counselor, Confidant, and Friend. We went to church every week, and to Christian school, but it wasn’t just “religion” to my family. My parents took time to read us God’s Word (and maybe also a Chronicles of Narnia book) as a family almost every night. We actually talked about God’s Word and how it affects our lives. Even when each of us hit our rebellious teen years, we had been taught enough about the awesomeness of God and His Word that we did not stray far from the fold.

4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

One of my favorite parts of the Bible is 2 Corinthians. It seems like Paul, the author, writes over and over about how we humans mess up. We are weak. Or forgetful. Or selfish. Or disorganized. Or rude. Or we ignore that person we knew in middle school when we see them at Walmart, because they were once that “nerd” that everyone made fun of. (Ugh, yes, I did that once. Not proud.) Paul writes, “We are like treasures in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not ourselves” (2 Cor. 4:7). And in chapter 12, verse 9, God says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This is one of the big life lessons Mom taught, and still lives out: Don’t worry about your failures or your imperfections. God is bigger than that. It doesn’t matter to him. That stuff is “small stuff.” Now, we can learn from our failures and do better next time. But my mother taught us not to dwell on them. What seems like “big stuff” to the rest of the world, really isn’t that important. Material success or fame or the approval of other people don’t matter. “Don’t worry about that, Lauren,” she still tells me. “God will handle it.” All problems are “small stuff” to our God, who cares about each detail but never worries. He’s got it all under control.

5. This Too Shall Pass

Finally, the phrase I have heard numerous times–especially when I had a newborn at home–is “This too shall pass.” I don’t know who originally coined that phrase, but my mom has stolen from them pretty often. But I’m glad. Because it’s true. And this truth has helped me get through some really tough times. Break-ups. Labor. Divorce. My first baby’s bout of colic. Migraines. Working two jobs as a single mom of three. Depression…Mom has always been there to remind me lovingly that this trial is temporary. And one day we’ll be in Heaven, and all of these hard times will be blurry memories. Keep perspective. It’s gonna get better. And then life will be hard again. And then it will get better. Rinse and repeat. But we know where our future is and the Creator of the universe has us in his hands. We don’t have to worry. The story ends well for those who follow Jesus.

As I finish this tribute to my heroine, I want to say that if you don’t have a Mama like mine: I’m sorry. If you met mine, she would give you a big hug and make you feel like one of the family. However, Jesus, the source of her joy, is there for you. He is a “father to the fatherless” and a comforter to the lonely. He will listen to your problems, and his Word (the Bible) will speak back to you words of hope. If you have any questions or would like to know this Prince of peace, please fell free to contact me at lnewsom77@protonmail.com. The Bible says, “He puts the lonely in families…” (Psalms 68:6).

God bless you and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

love,
Lauren
Me and Mom