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In His Image

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  -Genesis 1:27

I’ve always struggled to be feminine.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a girly girl, even now.  You see, it had a lot to do with my childhood, particularly because I was a tomboy. I wasn’t the type of girl to dress up like a ballerina or princess. It just wasn’t me. I was interested in being outside, playing with cars and dinosaurs, and pretending I was fighting bad guys with swords or a bow and arrow. Maybe it was in part due to growing up with a cousin who was more like a twin brother.  I remember wanting to be just like him as a kid because he was one of my role models.

I already had an aversion to “girly” things, and then the boys I was close to reaffirmed that with remarks like “Don’t be such a girl” or “If you cry, you can’t play with us anymore.” I wasn’t the type to cry when I skinned a knee anyway, but I DEFINITELY wasn’t going to after comments like that. My resolve against all things girly was growing. What started out as an aversion to “girliness” became outright disdain. While this didn’t really have negative effects on my childhood, it became problematic when I got older. I hit puberty and ran into new issues like hormones. I went from being cold and detached from my feelings to having emotions I didn’t even understand. Ordinarily, I had been very rational and now my emotions didn’t match the logical reasoning I relied on. This simply made me more frustrated and bitter towards all things “girly”. I thought men had it better; I didn’t even like being a girl. In my mind, there were no benefits to being a female.

Jump ahead now several years. I find myself in high school, slowly allowing myself to act more like a girl. Sometimes I would even wear a dress or a skirt, but that was always met with shock from my friends and family. This made me want to immediately hide the femininity inside that was fighting to get out.  I hated the attention that my wardrobe additions brought, yet I still attempted to be more of a girl because I knew something was missing. I was denying my feminine side, to adhere to the tomboy mold I made for myself. This was simply easier than the unknown feminine world I had adamantly steered clear of. I was conflicted, I wanted things I had deemed girly, but I also hated myself for even allowing myself to entertain those desires.

When I was 21 I was confident, independent, and sure of who I was, or so I thought.  I didn’t realize it yet but that unsure little girl was still a part of me. For years I had built fortified walls around my heart to keep the agonizing pain out.  It felt safer locked inside, but brick by brick I worked until the walls were so high I couldn’t see over them. I no longer really knew who I was. I thought I did, I thought I had everything under control with no help from anyone else including God.  However, our God is a loving God and He never allows us to stay that way. Although I’m certain He was speaking to me for years, it wasn’t until this night that I let the truth of His word, and how He made me, penetrate those thick barricades.

I was hanging out at a friend’s house and it was late.  I found myself isolated in the kitchen because my mind was spinning and naturally I didn’t like to face my thoughts and emotions with other people present.  So there I was, standing in the dark, alone which was the scariest place to be since there was no one around to provide a distraction. I had been reading books on femininity for some time as God was trying to redefine everything I thought I knew about being a woman.  He began to show me who He intended me to be and what femininity meant to Him. It was not wrong or bad because He created it and God doesn’t create mistakes. As the truth He was speaking to me assaulted the castle around my heart, the foundation shook. I had tried so hard to make the walls as strong as possible and yet they began to crumble as I fell to my knees.  As I was sobbing on the kitchen floor He shattered my defenses as well as my stubborn resolve against His will for my femininity. Once I allowed Him to set me straight, I began to understand femininity as God intended for it to be.

Femininity is beautiful and it completes the picture of who God is. Sometimes this can be hard to see because in general, we refer to God as a male. He is Father and Son; He is the bridegroom. We use masculine pronouns in reference to Him and we see Him be strong, authoritative, direct, protector, provider, advocate, leader, and mighty. We tend to see Him as a man and that can leave us ladies thinking “Where do I fit in?”. There isn’t as much talk about it but God is also compassionate, nurturing, comforting, healer, and accepting of His emotions. I mean the Bible said Jesus WEPT. That’s not tearing up, I’m picturing ugly crying. That’s US ladies! We are the ones to sit for hours and comfort a hurting friend. We are the ones so overwhelmed with compassion for people we don’t even know that we start to cry when we hear their situation. We are the ones that want to care for those that don’t have anyone. Think about this for a second, when we do these things we are gladly being who God made us. We are glorifying God by showing the world who He is! That’s why men and women are made so differently, we showcase different sides of our Father in Heaven. Now we don’t have to be into cutesy things, own everything in pink, and wear frilly clothes all the time.  There is a difference between being girly and being feminine and we shouldn’t be ashamed of representing God’s more female attributes.  Don’t ever let someone make you feel bad for exemplifying God differently than they do, as long as you line up with Scripture.

So ladies, next time someone says you are “such a girl” take it as a compliment. That’s what I do anytime a man tries to insult me for being emotional or compassionate. It is a compliment because I want to be such a girl.

By: Whitney Rousseau