I was having one of those days where I just felt caught up in the hype of my condemnation.
I'm so not enough. I'm so too much. I'm an in between, ineffective mess.
Those were the words flowing and floating and meandering and absorbing.
In my most valiant attempt to squash them, I decided to spend my two hour car ride to Charleston listening to worthy words from the women who've come before me, rather than call friends long distance or belt out Katy Perry. It was a good investment. I listened to Carolyn Mahaney for a bit, then to Noel Piper, her message on Sarah Edwards, wife of the famed Jonathan, and the roles God had for her. I was so encouraged.
Sarah Edwards lived in an incredibly tumultuous time in America, and in the world's history. Her husband was a renown pastor, but he struggled privately with discouragement, tremendous spiritual pressure and a good bit of awkwardness. She had eleven kids. She went through a season that has been classified as intense depression or spiritual depression, that cost her husband's ministry because of public shame. She had an open home, was missional before anyone ever used the word, and she was just incredibly obsessed with Jesus.
Noel speaks to how truly Sarah Edwards was serving hundred of thousands of us to come, as she diapered her babes, cooked her dinners, encouraged her husband, and did her laundry. That to me, is the most beautiful argument against a modern femininity that tells women they are less than if they're not accomplishing ministries in the same form as their men counterparts. But, she wasn't just good at laundry. She loved well, deeply, in a way that cost her, and shared Christ's love and grace with her community at large. And all the while, she knew her beautiful, worthy place. Knew that loving each of those eleven kids well was beneficial and worthwhile and worthy. And the Lord used it.
Here are some stats of the Edward's family: Out of over 400 descendants, 14 became college presidents, 100 became professors, another 100 ministers, 100 lawyers or judges. Nearly 60 became doctors. Hundreds of believers, missionaries, lovers of God.
But this is the part that struck me the most: Noel read a quote that Jonathan had written in one of his textbooks, about Sarah, before their engagement - when she was roughly only 13.
“They say there is a young lady in [New Haven] who is loved of that great Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight; and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on Him…. [Y]ou could not persuade her to do any thing wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness, and universal benevolence of mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure….She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her.”
And of all a sudden, I'm not so scared of being a woman anymore.
Because at the core of it, schedules and plans and blogs and comparisons aside, I just have to strive to first be like Jesus, and second - to be like that 13 year old girl. To ask Him to make me wonderfully sweet and calm, to be caught up in Him, meditating on Him, full of joy.
Life will interrupt but I'm thankful that on that day of rapturous discouragement, my life was interrupted by her great witness.
And by the simplistic call of grace, bidding me to His sweet invisible conversation.