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For Heather, for mamas, for all the warriors

A couple friends of mine and I were recently having a discussion around the shared experience of -- Do you ever actually stop to think about how beautiful women are, and then want to cry about it?

Comical as it sounds, we each meant it truly; that to reflect on all the women, all our sisters and mothers and mentors whose unique and stunning bearing of God’s image has made an impact on our lives, we cannot help but get a little emotional.

On the identity of women, Sarah Bessey writes,

“God called the first woman ezer - a name he embraces for himself throughout the Old Testament. Yes, in the garden, God created woman out of Adam’s side, and he named his daughter after himself. The word that accompanies ezer is kenegdo, typically translated as ‘suitable’ or ‘helpmeet’...

“In the Old Testament, the word ezer appears twenty-one times in three different contexts: the creation of woman, when Israel applied for military aid, and in reference to God as Israel’s helper for military purposes (in this context, ezer appears sixteen times)... Our God is a strong helper, a warrior. By naming his daughters after this aspect of his character, God did not name women as secondary helpmeet assistants. No, friend--women were created and called out as warriors.”

On this day of celebrating moms, we talk a lot about our gratitude, rightfully flowing with abundance at all that our moms have done for us and the value added to our lives because of the women around us. But the thought that has captured me today is not only what these women do, but who they are in this identity of strength and beauty. And goodness, the impact that’s had on my life.

I come from families of deeply caring, fiercely loving women on both sides. From three grandmas I have inherited an example of immeasurable love and wisdom and grace and generosity that I could not put to any concise amount of words without weeping. Each are sacrificial lovers and spoilers.

But my mom’s wild, 20-person extended family in particular thrives in girl-culture. It was four sisters, each so different and so crazy in their own way, and who produced mostly daughters until my sweet cousin Eli was born and ended the six-year girl streak (much to my brother’s gratitude, I’m sure). Each of these aunts and mamas have made a mark on my life, cared for me deeply, pushed me to try new things, prayed for me, made me laugh until I cry. In this I have a sisterhood of cousins and beautiful examples who bring out my truest, most crazy self, and in that I feel so known and loved.

Of course, the greatest impression has been my own sweet mama. Who has loved me fiercely, served sacrificially, and taught me so much since day one. You, mom, are responsible for at least half of my curly hair, a retail therapy problem, and, as documentation tells us, some impressively hilarious baby outfits. Your example of daily morning Starbucks instilled my coffee obsession, undoubtedly. You taught me how to make oven-fried chicken and THE Christmas cutout cookies™ (and surely other things, but these are the things that matter). You took me to Disney and indulged my inner child, have consistently supported me even if you didn’t fully understand me, and have been the most dedicated cheerleader of me and literally anything I touch. Even when I want to bury my writing in a dark hole, your loving heart wants to hold it from a mountaintop and scream it to the world; in you, I know I have a number one fan. And now as an adult, as we grow into a new season of relationship, we often find how different we are, and goodness, what a gift that is. Your wisdom counters the deficiency in my car insurance breakdowns, and I get to teach you about new ways to cook vegetables as I learn it myself. And while I am sorry I will probably never connect with your interest in the Twilight saga or cheesy Hallmark movies or Snapchat filters, please keep loving these things because these are the hilarious and unique pieces of the beautiful, loving, contagiously joyful person you are.

So today I am humbled and teary about the beauty of women. I would be absolutely, positively nothing without my mother, or without this universal identity of strength exemplified for me, that each of the women and mamas in my life carry with a significance and boldness that so clearly reflects their Creator. My prayer for you today, Mom, is that the Lord would show you anew what it means to be His daughter, and the power that you already carry and have impacted so many people with. My other prayer is that He would bring you rest in this identity; that you would know your heart is the most valuable thing about you, the most beautiful gift you have to offer, and you do so with a selfless grace. It is your God-given warrior spirit that has compelled, inspired, and blessed me in your ability to serve with strength, move mountains, and love deeply.

Happy Mamas Day.