“Little and womanly.”

I was about eight years old when I found out that’s what my name means. I was in my lilac purple bedroom lying on my stomach on a lilac colored ruffled bedspread, my love of words barely budding as I obsessively read through the pages of the baby name book I’d found on my mother’s bookshelf. Name meanings were so cool! My brother’s name meant, “Gift from God.” Isn’t that so cool? I knew my name would mean something cool, too, something that would give me a glimpse at my future, at my purpose, at my meaning. It had to; I hated the way it sounded, so it must have a great meaning, right? What did I mean?

“Little and womanly.”

What. a. bust.

There were two things about myself I knew for a fact when I was eight years old: I was NOT little, and I was NOT “womanly.” My name was just one more thing that didn’t fit me. I was “the tall girl,” the one whose limbs didn’t always follow directions, the one whose pant legs were never quite long enough even though it took a belt to keep them up at the waist. I was the girl who was too big for the “one size fits all” princess dress up dresses, the girl who didn’t know how to do hair or makeup or wear the latest fashions, the girl who hated shoes. And as much as I loved girly girl toys and dresses and accessories, I was the girl who was mistaken for my older brother’s identical twin. Little and womanly. Sure. I wished.

As I grew, those words took on a new insulting twist; they began to sound derogatory, a patronizing pat on the head. “Be a good little woman,” they said. “That’s all you are, just a little woman, nothing else.” Go sweep the kitchen and fold the laundry, good little woman. Go make us all some dinner, something scrumptious. (Things my gifting does not include: cooking, organizing, cleaning, and vacuuming in high heels. Or, well, wearing high heels.) “Good little woman.” Sure. I wish.

It has always been clear: my name meaning was a fluke, unintentional at best, or maybe a flat-out mistake.

Recently as I was feeling the weight of life’s problems flying down the chute, piling up around me, as I grew more and more overwhelmed, I cried out to God in frustration. “Lord, I can’t do this!” I said to Him. “I can’t! I’m just ONE! I’m just ONE little woman!”

I heard myself say it, and I understood. Yes, Love, I know. I always knew. That’s what I named you.

Through the past several very hard years, as every last thread of my strength has worn and snapped and frayed, I always thought that God would rush in and change me, grow me, make me stronger – make me enough. But He did not. Instead, when my rope snapped and I was swallowed in terror and – yet – I didn’t fall…? He so clearly said to me:

You are not enough… but you are not alone.

That was it. That was the point all along.

I am just one little woman in this great big world. I am not enough. But I do not have to be enough… because I am not alone.

Neither are you, Love. Let the pressure fall off. You do not have to be enough. You are not alone. ❤

This is a collection of stories of what God has done when we could not, so that we can be small, weak, frail, flawed… and rest, like children. Children of God.

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