Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Woman Worth Admiring

I remember being a young woman, full of life, hope and plans.  I'd seen many women that I admired, and the traits that brought on this admiration were:
  • Confidence
  • Independence
  • A Drive to Succeed
I would look out my window at some of my older neighbors as they would get into their cars and pull away, headed to what I thought to be another day full of fun and opportunities.  Then again, I would notice the other neighbors who weren't as confident, independent and goal-oriented as they were.  Instead, they were man-dependent, and they seemed to always be fighting with whatever man they were depending on or taking care of.  They only seemed to smile on the first of every month, and it was on the first that their hair would finally be combed, styled or halfway decent.  It was also then that you'd see their boyfriends hanging around their apartments or houses, and it was then that they'd fight the hardest.  I was passionate about not becoming like them.
What's amazing is: Those women (the ones I admired) didn't know I'd been watching them.  After all, they were much older than myself, so I wasn't exactly on their radar.  Instead, I played with their sisters, nieces or younger cousins; nevertheless, I was watching them and studying their ways.

When I turned eighteen years old, I started to develop an identity for myself.  My clothes got shorter, my hairstyles were more daring, and my personality got bigger.  Like most young women, I'd picked out so many personalities that I'd seen in other women over the years, and I'd come up with a tailor-made identity fit for a lost soul.  Of course, I wore that identity with pride and confidence.  In my warped thinking, I thought I was on my way to being the woman I'd always striven to be.  I was going to become a woman worth admiring.

I was lost; my heart had been darkened by the hatred that was in it, and my mind had been perverted by the many things I'd witnessed, experienced and heard.  With little clothes on, I left the house each and everyday looking to be lusted after.  I wanted to be that woman every man wanted, but could not have.  The word "scandalous" was tattooed on my arm, and served as a message to any man who dared to approach me.  In my warped thinking, I thought that the tattoo would warn men that I didn't mind tossing them away if they were to even consider hurting or offending me.  After all, I'd come to believe that I was cold-hearted, and could withhold my heart from men, and I'd come to this conclusion after watching so many of my friends bawl their eyes out over their current or ex-boyfriends.  I didn't understand why I'd never cried over the loss of a relationship; instead, I simply moved on.  Of course, the reasoning for my inability to display emotions after my heart had been broken was a combination of pride and a hardened heart.  I'd been hurt so much by the people (family) that I loved and trusted, that I didn't dare trust anyone outside of my family.  All the same, I'd experienced one heartbreak at the age of seventeen, and after him, I'd made up my mind to guard my heart from love.  I knew that my ways weren't good; after all, I believed in GOD, and I feared HIM.  I wanted to change, but I didn't know how to change, so I continued to embrace my then dark thinking, often joking that I would get saved when I was old, so that I could go to Heaven when I died. 

One day, I was visiting one of my uncles, and his daughter and another one of my younger cousins was at his house.  I was wearing a midriff top, a short spandex skirt, and stilettos.  My younger cousins were about four years old, and I loved them and wanted to protect them.  Suddenly, one of my cousins looked at me and said, "When I grow up, I'm gonna be just like you.  I'm gonna dress like you and all the boys are gonna want me!"  That's when the other cousin weighed in.  "Yeah, me too," she said.  "I'm gonna be sexy just like Tiffany when I get big, and all the boys are gonna want me."  I was devastated.  For the first time in my life, I began to realize that my choices were impacting someone else.  Here it was that I'd picked up so many personalities from other women over the years, and I'd begun to channel those personalities, only to influence a younger generation.  How could I set those young, beautiful souls up to experience the pain that I was living in day after day?  "No, don't dress like me," I said.  "Get up and go to college.  Do something with your life."  I was surprised at my own words because hearing myself speak let me know that I wasn't all-too-proud of the path I'd chosen for myself.

A few years later, I went to church and gave my life (but not my mind) to the LORD.  I was struggling to overcome my mentality; I was struggling to overcome the demons that had plagued the women in my family generation to generation.  Inwardly, I was hurting, and even though I appeared to be confident, I was secretly fearful.  I feared being hurt, and not just being hurt, but I feared how I would respond to being hurt.  I had a lot of hatred in me, and I knew that something was brewing on the inside of me; something that I feared would one day send me to prison if I didn't get it out.  It took years upon years for me to finally give my life and my mind to the LORD, and as I got closer to GOD, I found myself wanting to go back and find those many women who'd been influenced by me.  I wanted to lead them to CHRIST.  I wanted to apologize for having misled them in my years of dark thinking and ignorance.  Nevertheless, by then, they were all adults who'd taken their own paths, and a couple had taken the same paths that I'd taken.  They didn't want to hear me talking about GOD and change; after all, they'd spent years developing the characters they'd become, and here I came with a whole new perspective on life.  It goes without saying that they did not want to change, and they no longer looked up to me because I'd become something foreign to them: I'd become a woman of GOD. 

In many families and communities, faith-filled women are seen as religious hypocrites who wear large hats, and judge everyone who attempts to come through the doors of the churches they are attacking guarding.  Many women (myself included) had gone into churches in their darkest hours, only to be judged and spoken reproachfully to by some judgmental, self-righteous woman who'd made a big deal out of everything they'd done, including but definitely not limited to:
  • Not wearing pantyhose
  • Having a run in their pantyhose
  • Wearing short skirts
  • Wearing fitted clothing
  • Not coming to church often
  • Wearing too much makeup
  • Being too skinny
Of course, nowadays, I know that such women are demonic plants (Jezebels) assigned to drive away any lost souls who walk through the church's doors looking for deliverance.

The enemy sabotages the lives of so many young girls by surrounding them with women who are lost, perverted and unrepentant.  In many communities and families today, the young women don't have any positive role models to look up to.  Instead, they find themselves having to look up to the woman who seems to have mastered her demons; the one who's more cunning, daring, and confident.  Truth be told, what we oftentimes see as confidence is nothing more than pride wearing a mask.  Additionally, they choose their role models from the big screen, and that's why the enemy has erected celebrities (largely celebrated people) to pervert the minds of the youth.

Believe it or not, some little girl is looking up to you, or she may be looking down on you.  It is very, very important that you set a positive example for her, and the many girls who will one day look up to her.  It is very important that she see you pressing through each storm that comes your way, and it is very important that she sees you overcome each storm.  With or without your permission, you will find yourself being admired by someone.  Just make sure you're a woman worth admiring.