I’m 6 months away from turning 30 and I still don’t consider myself a woman.
I think something has happened.
Some part of me has accepted the idea that in order to be a full-grown woman, I have to be married and/or have kids and because I have neither, I am merely just a young adult or young woman.
But what happens if I’m 45 years old and I still don’t have a husband, house, kids and a dog?
Am I still just a young woman then?
Where within the context of the local church body will I fit then?
What will I have to contribute in conversations with “full grown” women then?
Will I even have a seat a their table or will I be pushed to sit with the other older, unwed misfits?
I wouldn’t have said everything she did (mainly because I really love cupcakes…and crafts) but when she expressed the need and desire for Jesus, deep spirituality and community, wrestling with injustices and biblical theology, serving our communities, challenging one another and gleaning from older generations, I can 100% agree and relate to that need and desire.
Considering I’m technically old enough to be called a full-grown adult, but by my own standards don’t count myself as such, I’m beginning to wonder how this will affect my younger sister and her generation.
My sister is 18. You know, the age where you definitely aren’t a full grown woman and it’s clear cause you just graduated high school and you still have the “teen” attached to your age to prove it —so less is automatically expected of you, which means you’re safe to do whatever and not be judged because, without debate, you are absolutely still…young.
Then there’s a bunch of confused people like me who are running out of 20s to claim and beginning to add new numbers behind the zero that once followed the 3 and we’re expected to be self-sustaining because we’re now old enough to have a career and pay bills and after all, we’re ok because we have have each other.
But we aren’t shown that we are in fact grown women because the women’s issues being talked about the most are issues that we can’t fully comprehend since we don’t have a sick child at home or a husband who won’t help wash the dishes.
We have careers and a gang of single friends and we cook for four, but only so we can have leftovers for later and we take our own trash out, get our own cars washed, and make sure we pay all of our own bills because for this point in time, we are the only life that we’re responsible for sustaining.
Now, please don’t take this as me viewing singleness as a “devalued” or “less than” state. I personally absolutely love and enjoy it. This time has been precious. And I’m thankful I’ve been unmarried for this long because I’ve had more time to grow, learn and more resources to give to others and I think that is a huge gift.
But there are still tons of issues that we, unmarried, young women, carry that need to be addressed. We still have questions and need someone to walk alongside us. And at the same time, I believe we have a role to play in the generations below us.
While I’m expressing these thoughts and views I’m asking us all to consider, what is womanhood?
If I don’t figure it out for myself soon, I’m concerned I will aid in contributing to a generation of young girls who count themselves as less than a woman, simply because they have not seen true womanhood modeled as anything other than having and raising a family.
I don’t want my silence to hinder another person’s progression.
So as I’ve thought through this issue, realizing that there’s way more to learn about the complexities of my being as a woman, whether I’m married or not—and so far, I’ve concluded this:
True womanhood shares and lives out compassion for the hurting, homeless, widows, orphans, and lonely.
True womanhood pursues purpose and calling with boldness and urgency because it knows that it is the one designed to accomplish said purpose.
True womanhood is selfless. It shares. It gives. It sacrifices.
True womanhood understands that femininity is a gift, a much-needed gift that clearly demonstrates the love God to a troubled world.
True womanhood fights for righteousness and justice.
True womanhood is fearless and strong.
True womanhood is submissive and humble.
True womanhood isn’t found in a life responsibility or title, it is found in the One who created it and called it good.
True womanhood is a vital reflection of God because we are told that we are made in His image.
And if all of this is true, then I think it’s safe to say that true womanhood knows no age.
In fact, I’ve been a woman since birth— on a constant tandem journey towards growth and maturity. And I’ll remain on this growth continuum until the day I die…each day discovering more and more of the woman I’ve been since before I was even in my mother’s womb.
And if all of this is true for me, then I’m convinced that it must be true for every woman, including you.
So…where do you think we go from here?