When I was a little girl, I was encouraged not to be strong. Don’t have strong opinions, don’t beat the boys at anything, don’t be too loud, don’t be independent. Don’t be strong. Strong, I was told, was ugly.
I can tell you now that I’m an adult that being strong is beautiful, but only when it’s strength in God. This week we talked about the Beatitudes in church, and the passage “The meek shall inherit the earth.” I didn’t always fully understand exactly what that meant, but now I understand it in a whole new way.
Being strong not only gets you through things, it helps you shine. Being strong is how I met the love of my life.
Being strong doesn’t mean you dominate, it means you allow your true self, the person God wants you to be, to come through. You can still be shy, dorky, or unsure at times, and be strong. You can still be a work in progress and be strong.
For years I tried to be the way certain people wanted me to be. I would actually pray for God to make me less than. Less strong. I couldn’t understand why He made me the way He did.
But now, I know. I know that as a young girl I would need that strong spirit that God created in me. I know that as many times as people yelled at me, strike me, or told me I was nothing, that I would cry and feel lost but I would never be broken. I would deal with the hurt, try and understand these people in my life who blamed me for things that were not my fault, and pick myself up and move on. I remained unbroken. God gave me strength that I didn’t always understand or realized I had.
Have you ever heard this quote from L.P. Hartley, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
I so relate to that quote.
So now here I am. Here we are. You and me. We’re different. And yet, we’re the same, because this strength was there all along.
This is the story behind this picture.
She has a smile that tells you it will all be okay. She’s been there, and she knows.