written by Ann Voskamp
The gorgeous woman that had stood up there on stage with the microphone?
Yeah, she hikes up the side of her shirt to show the whole crowd of us how her white thigh spills thick over the elasticized waist of her pants.
And I’m sitting there wanting to know what Jesus thinks of women.
“I’ve been rejected all of my life because of my size.”
That’s what she says at this gathering of women I was once at.
The singer holds her milk white thigh right there and she’s vulnerable thin to the front row and to those at the back and I look down at my feet.
She’s standing on a stage and she’s holding out her bare roll of skin, a bearing of soul, holding out her cellulite.
She’s begging us to look in her eyes and why are we looking away?
There are thousands of women there were sitting under this roof holding out their hearts like empty cups.
They were right next to me — all these women rejected for the size of their pants, the size of their house, the size of their family, the size of their callings, the size of their work.
Women brushed off because they live too large or they live too small, because there is more of them than people know what to do with.
Because they can’t or don’t or they won’t fit into someone else’s box.
Women who can’t make their faith just fit thin into their heads and these skinny lines of dry bullet points, but let their God-life roll over into their outed closets and messy stories.
Women who don’t only fit into these categories — mommy blogger, size small, housewife, single career woman, mother, retiree — because they are women made in the image of God and they are more. than. only. this.
I look around at all these women, scarred and banged up and brave and still standing, and the singer is standing there a bit bare and all I can hear is their song.
All I can hear is the whole uncontainable song of this sisterhood of women and I see how their lives break the refrain and the whole place reverberates with a truth that rolls over…. rolls like thunder.
Our God is the God of Hagar and Ours is the God who sees.
For the women forgotten and for the women discouraged and the women lost, there is water in the wilderness and He is our well and all. is. well.
Ours is the Savior who told women stories and this is serious theology — stories that were messy and large and in full colour life: stories about a woman with a broom and He says she is the hero who lives good doctrine, the woman in her house seeking and finding the certain kingdom of God.
Ours is the Savior who sings of us, of the woman who won’t walk away from the unjust judge, the woman who will not walk away from the call, from the plea, the women who never give up, who just keep on keeping on — and He says she is honored and His, the woman who just keeps going and giving and believing in grace.
And God Incarnate, Son of Man in the flesh, He makes one of His daughters the cameo of real theology and right praxis, a sister, this woman, this widow, who walks into the temple, and gives the very smallest of coins, 1/5th of a penny —
And God Incarnate praises the woman who. did. what. she. could…. who just did what she could in the small and the sacrificed, and He said it was everything and He deems it large and this is who we are.
We are the women who want the thing God wants — more than we are afraid of it.
We are the women who know when the love of Christ motivates — the more fearless of everything we become.
We are the women who know real joy is not found in having the best of everything but in trusting that God’s making the best of everything.
We are the women who make our lives about the cause of Christ, not the applause of men.
We are the women who live to express the Gospel, not to impress the Jones’.
We are the women who live not to make our absence felt, but to make Christ’s presence known.
We are the women who know it’s not about us and all about Jesus.
We are the women who unloose the hair, the women who do the lavish unlikely, the women who bow at the bare feet of God and touch pure holiness and we are rent by grace and we break and we fit and we spill over everyone with this shocking love.
We are the women who are the real sisterhood:
Girls can rival each other. But the Real Sisterhood of Women revive each other.
Girls can empale each other. But the Real Sisterhood of Women empower each other.
Girls can compare each other. But the Real Sisterhood of Women champion each other.
We were made from dust, a bit of earth kissed by heaven, and we are made to be ground breakers and peacemakers and freedom shakers.
So you can take your glossy Vogue covers and use them for washing windows because we’ve always thought the most beautiful women have dirt under their fingernails and could shake a bit of the very earth out of their worn and pioneering shoes.
The singer on the stage, she stands there and she says this, her eyes welling, her skin bare right there in her hands:
“I’ve been rejected for my size — but Jesus takes all of me.”
And all the women who’ve felt rejected for the size of their lives and the size of their bodies and the size of their gifts, they stand and sing it with this breaking free abandon— Jesus takes all of me.
Thousands of women lifting the roof right off everything.
This article was originally posted on Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. Ann Voskamp's passionate rallying cry to women begs our response. Whether forgotten, discouraged, lost, rejected, scarred, brave and still standing, come as you are – we have a place for you.
"There is water in the wilderness and He is our well and all. is. well."
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