We watch the woman stand up from her place at the table and walk across the room. A daughter spilling forth grace as she steps. A woman reflecting God Jesus to the rest of us watching ones. We watch her laugh loud and clap her hands together, pure joy. We see her kindly remark to her friends and regard each person as important. We hear her talk about her family, her job, her relationships, her life.

We watch as she flourishes.

And yet have you noticed? The fractured woman tries to rise from within us and all we can do is wonder why she’s where she is and we’re where we are and then the canyon separates us like shattered parts. We are separate now and her life is far from ours, ours far from hers.

From where I stand, I tell myself it only looks beautiful, like glass; but she would tell you it may be a little broken, like sand. And there’s always more to a story of a woman. Always the depth we can’t see at first glance. God just works like that. . . refinement of days that brings forth a rich story. One worth getting close to hear.

woman in field with sky

And I wrestle with this feeling inside as we watch her live with grace. Is it inadequacy that swells in my belly? Or is it cracked jealousy? My heart quite can’t decide and I’m left with a smile plastered, pretending to joy in the woman in front of me. And so it goes with this soul day in and day out— they are where I’ll never be and I’m too far behind to get there. Harshness where holy should be, I know. And I compare her before I celebrate her.

Have you ever been here?

Where the comparison creeps and the contentment seems to slip away like a gift not even touching the hands? Like the contentment was never even there and I honestly don’t even know the feeling.

And they say, okay 1 Timothy says, that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” So often I’ve prayed for this treasure. So many days I’ve started out content only to end up compared and it’s the most devilish of things. The separation of women by the game of comparison is like a terminal disease. . . it only continues to grow. 

So I’m back at this empty grave again (this seems to be a daily thing) and my hands are full of this trap of discontentment. And if anything can heal this fractured heart, I know it’s my Jesus. But, Lord, my instagram feed screams that I should be more artsy, more determined, more successful, more married. I should have a kid on the way and a retirement account and a dog that gets excited when I come home. I should use more filters and contour my face and be involved in politics. I should have more direction, more friends, more followers, more interests. And it’s wearing me out, this losing game of comparison. Have I missed Your calling? Have I missed an open door? Have I totally overlooked an opportunity? 

God, You must teach me to celebrate because I just don’t want to compare. 

sparklers

I have these two friends that drive my heart wild. And they are the ones you pray years for, only to end up thanking Jesus profusely for actually sending them (I’m still surprised every time He answers my prayers. . . oh well, He excites me!) So these two are heart of my heart and the strong ones God created for me to lean on. They tell me to dream big and reach far and think beyond what I’ve ever imagined because, as they like to say, All of Heaven is roaring for you, Kels. 

And it’s not that they don’t end up on this exhausting wheel of discontentment. I guess they just don’t have time for it anymore. So we group text like we’re rallying each other on in a triathlon (as if) and we cheer like the others are running for president of the United States (not in our lifetime). Because when you’re a woman and you’re caught in the middle of life, everyone needs a Heavenly reminder that we can

And it’s true that when women celebrate one another, all of Heaven roars. 

I’ve found, or rather Jesus has revealed to me, that when women are confident and content in who God says we are, celebration in our every day is as natural as breathing. Celebration of life overflows from contentment in our identity. We celebrate others because we are confident in who we are and Whose we are. And our contentment and confidence flows from God’s celebration of us. So Jesus continues to amaze me. We celebrate others out of our contentment. We are content because of the One Who celebrates us. And it is for the precious cycle of contentment and celebration, never to end, that we were created.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7

So I’m switching gears today and my prayer is that you’ll do the same. Together we can make a peaceful shifting in the world of women around us. Her accomplishment is our accomplishment. Her calling is our calling. Her marriage is our marriage. Her child is our child. So we celebrate and celebrate big because Jesus has planted within us a contentment that can’t be contained. Heaven is in this beating heart and you better believe I’m passing some of this around!

Here, beautiful woman, let me celebrate you and where you are right now! I refuse to compare my life to yours, drawing harsh scars over what God has perfectly ordained. I refuse to pit us against each other when I don’t even know your story. I refuse to tell myself all has come easy to you and your blessing will never happen to me. Because when I do that, our hearts are disconnected and we are no longer Heavenly family. I take away your identity and I take away mine. Instead, I want to edify your identity and, in turn, edify mine. 

Today, my sister, I celebrate you! Today I embrace your season of joy, your job, your marriage, your full term pregnancy, your promotion at work, your vacation, your retirement, your graduation, your acceptance. . . today I just flat out celebrate you. Because you deserve it and Jesus says it and I believe it. I know who I am and Whose I am, and I excitedly relish your life with you! I clap and cheer and watch with wonder because God has surely worked in your life and all glory is going to Him right now! 

And honestly? If all of Heaven is roaring for you, if all of Heaven is celebrating you, as I know that they are. . .  I want to do the exact same. 

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