God’s up to somethin’ these days… Of course, that’s always true, but I’ve especially noticed it since my thirty-second birthday back in January. Right around that time, the Holy Spirit started nudging me to do a series for women only—exposing lies and wounds, while also providing a sanctuary where discussion and healing could happen. On Fridays from February 19 until now, we’ve done that here at Living Between the Lines…
I shared about my rape in a post titled “Secrets.”
Val shared about escaping an abusive marriage in “Shattered.”
Bridget shared about the pain of abuse—including emotional and verbal abuse in “Control.”
Helen shared about the struggles of infertility and childlessness in “Empty.”
I shared about being sexually abused and the resulting fear and shame in the post, “Naked.”
In my first open-to-guys post, I asked “The Question” (which today’s post will help answer.)
And then, I decided to give the guys some attention. First, we had an incredibly insightful post by Anne Lang Bundy. Then, we had a sweet post from Billy Coffey. Last week, we were blessed with some wisdom from Jason Stasyszen.
And then, I received another email from Anne. I weep every time I read it and so I knew I needed to share it here. It ties together so many of the loose ends that we’ve discussed here over these weeks and it helps to answer The Question. In case you missed that post and don’t have time to read it, The Question is: Why is it that one of the enemy’s favorite weapons to use against women is sexual abuse?
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s a gift from Anne Lang Bundy. Thank you, sister of my heart!
This post is written as a gift for Sarah Salter, whose Friday posts “For Women Only” honor women and God alike. With love to my dear friend, from Anne4JC.
For Beauty, if She is Listening
Beautiful woman, you have an enemy in your life, and he’s not any one of the men who have hurt you.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
~ 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
Your enemy hates you because God uses you to birth and nurture life—relationally, perhaps physically too.
Because your power lies in your femininity, that is where your enemy attacks. Your womanhood has surely been violated. You’re likely aware of it, though you may have been taught by violator or peers or culture or to accept the injury to your psyche. If you’ve not been healed, you know something is wrong, even if you don’t understand why.
Some violations are brutally obvious, such as rape, incest, or another form of molestation. You may have been hurt by a stranger, but it’s more likely you were hurt by someone you trusted, perhaps even someone you sought for healing and help such as a counselor or physician. Or it could be that your appearance or gifts have been suppressed or exploited. Maybe other women have marginalized you as competition, men whom you’ve loved or respected have dishonored you, or you have believed yourself lacking in beauty.
Have you tried to compensate either by becoming tough and harsh to prove your strength, or by denying your strength and succumbing to frailty? Have you covered your beauty by either letting yourself go or putting outward attributes on display? Have you listened to your enemy’s lie that you’re not quite good enough, and either exhausted yourself striving for perfection with endless sacrifice of yourself for others, or given up trying with indulgence in things which never bring peace?
Then I became in his eyes
As one who found peace.
~ Song of Solomon 8:10 (NKJV)
Beautiful woman, there is a day when you kneel before your Maker to face your sin. If it comes after you die, you will be forced to agree with your accuser and stand condemned.
But if you kneel while you draw breath and ask the Lord’s forgiveness, He will purchase you from death with His blood and make you His. If you have done this already, have you also met a defining moment of understanding that because He owns you, He also owns all your sin, all sin committed against you, and all the accompanying pain?
Anyone who hurts you does likewise to your Master. And because He not only suffers with you, but has greater understanding of how much you are being injured, your Lord suffers your pain more fully than you do. The more closely you are joined to Him, the greater you’ll share His understanding—even as you may more fully share the pain.
But know this: in growing close to Him you will also experience His peace and grace amid pain; you will feel His love and approval; and you will begin to appreciate your true beauty.
You will understand that of all the majesty in creation, God’s crowning expression of beauty was put in woman. Your physical features are a veil, which only the worthy may see beyond to the greater beauty in your soul. Your beauty is perfected as you exercise your power to birth and nurture life physically or relationally—or spiritually.
“You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~ Matthew 5:14,16 (NKJV)
Woman, you make visible what His bride is to be—ultimate beauty of love, joy and peace, manifest in a countenance which gives light even the unworthy cannot help but see, that they might give glory to God.
Have any men dared read? Men, if you are His, you also represent the beauty of His bride. Every word of this applies to you as a member of Christ’s beloved church. If you will read again with spiritual eyes, perhaps you will catch a glimpse of why she has suffered, but also how very beautiful you might lead her to be.
My prayer is that those who read these words will grasp the power of Christ’s church, which lies in her ability to birth and nurture spiritual life through love.