What is your daily battle? As much as we’d love to believe that life can always be seen through rose-colored glasses making everything look peachy and beautiful, the reality is that we are at war in our own personal lives on a daily basis. Life is full of beauty, goodness, and sunlight, but amidst it we are given battles throughout our lifetime that we are called to conquer.
Sadly, the words “you fight like a girl” are negatively thrown around in society as a means to belittle, insult, and demean. Boys attack one another with it to emasculate each other and girls are even put down by it when others disapprove of their efforts of battle. I can even remember as a little tomboy I was repeatedly attacked by it whenever I portrayed feminine strength instead of masculine strength. This degrading phrase that was tied to a lost sense of feminine strength would be a shaming tactic, making me and other neighborhood children feel bad about ourselves, causing many to grow blind toward what feminine strength actually looks like and how it is a powerful force of good.
I remember feeling as though in order to be seen as strong, tough, and fierce in my social circles I had to take on the role of masculine strength because that was all the world considered powerful, effective, and worthwhile. True feminine strength was undervalued, and in actuality not even on anyone’s radar. It seemed as though everyone (myself included) fell for the illusion that femininity had to be the same as masculinity for a female to be perceived as strong, otherwise she was viewed as useless or too weak, too emotional, too sensitive, or too something. It was never enough to just bask in femininity. I could not see a valuable distinction between the two powerful forces of good (femininity in its fullness and masculinity in its fullness) and how these are powerfully complementary to each other when blazing in each of their true light, and an incredibly radiant masterpiece of richness when each lived out in one's true fullness.
Society encouraged me to appear bigger than I was, think like a male, emotionally process like a male, feel like a male, communicate like a male, and when it came to being protective the only acceptable way was through a masculine demeanor. I felt pressured to ignore my feminine genius, instincts, chemical makeup, gifts, strengths, and own psyche through being made fun of, shamed, or others' skewed expectations of me. This wasn't just a weird me thing. I could see so many other little or grown women facing the same confusing battle of desiring to be accepted, approved of, admired, liked, and considered valuable, yet having to deny how they were made to thrive, by masquerading as little men.
Anything that a male would NOT do was considered fragile, timid, weak, soft, and unwanted, instead of a different desirable form of strength designed through the beauty and dignity of femininity. Being womanly was considered insulting and powerless to us females. Women's unique gifts, strengths, and spiritual role were wrongly perceived as undesirable and did not measure up to what God designed for men. If I so much expressed pride in being female, I was poked fun at and treated inferior, like my way of thinking was beneath the minds of men, and not something worthy of being lifted up, admired, and valued. I would be snickered at and patted on the head to go be content in my femininity all by myself, like I was delusional and needed to be put away because no one had time for it. I remember arguing that I liked being a girl, but hated how I was treated for being one, but it was ignored and taken as I wanted to be a boy as though I of course thought it was better to be one.
Gentleness was considered wimpy, sensitivity to the needs of others was considered babying, intuition was considered overthinking, merciful was considered being a pushover, empathy was considered being too emotional, and tears were considered weakness and not healing. I felt the consequences of a society living in extremes. There was no such thing as strength within gentleness, courage within receptivity, faithfulness within compassion, or fierceness within speaking life into another. Any form of such things was boxed up and shipped off as frailty and nothing of value. To feel brave, thick-skinned, intelligent, and heard, one had to deprive themselves maternal love, shut off their desire to express maternal love, neglect their true calling of rising in the fullness of womanhood, and to mirror the design of manhood.
In fact, to be a woman meant to be a smaller version of a man, and in order to be viewed as equal in value, one had to appear the same emotionally, mentally, physically, and psychologically. Gender differences were denied because they were abused and wounding, warping deep scars into perceptions of what it means to have differences. Instead of differences being viewed as POWERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, bursting in FRUITFULNESS, cause of celebration, study, and enlightenment to the wonders of God's divine plan, they became the swinging gates of hell. If you did not deny your gifts of femininity through embracing strengths of men, you were a disgrace to all women. If you were not rising to the role of adorned masculinity, you were not heard, respected, or valued by men. To be seen and perceived as confident and powerful in society, a woman had to sexualize herself while continue speaking and thinking like a male. Your feminine thoughts, feelings, and words were useless, undervalued, made fun of, and poo-pooed, unless of course you were willing to flaunt your goodies, then they were tolerated. I witnessed so many dear friends of mine feel trapped in this lose-lose situation. If you opposed society's mind games, you would be laughingly cast aside and overlooked by the males or crucified by the females.
If I dared do anything that a macho male would not do and actually live out my God-filled design as a woman, I, along with so many other girls, were viewed and treated as inadequate, pathetic, and incapable by both genders. Who wants to be seen as that?! Not this little big shot that’s for sure. So I learned through the wounds of the world that there was only one valuable form of strength, and this lied in masculinity. I psychologically conformed to it. I felt useless, powerless, and helpless without it. This was not through males alone, although some influenced my identity-theft through their own unfortunate lack of understanding true feminine strength, but this misunderstanding of feminine genius was formed through female relationships as well, with those who also lacked understanding of feminine strength in its truest form.
This certainly developed me into one tough cookie who was not intimidated by literally ANYONE, was as lionhearted as they come, and had two fists that were ready to knock you back to last week if you so much stepped in my way. My ego was enormous. While I am so grateful that my self-confidence was set in stone at such an early age (it has helped me demolish obstacles in my life) and has enabled me to knock down a handful of bullies because of it, I also recognize the broken areas and deep wounds within my childhood where I was disconnected from my true identity, attaching myself to all things unfulfilling to a female, where I believed that femininity was weakness, and I had a deeply lost sense of true self. I was over confidently rooting my identity in all the wrong things by thinking it was all the right things. This discouraged me from embracing my feminine genius fully and understanding the difference between masculine and feminine strength, and how different yet equally valuable they are in the beautiful design of mankind. (I will be writing an upcoming 3-part series on my childhood, repercussions of misunderstood identity, and a deeper look into fierce femininity) so stay tuned if you’d like to get to know this part of my story!)
Today we are talking being fierce and feminine by leaning into the true meaning of FIGHT LIKE A GIRL, so as to rise above the lies and empty promises of the world that we may have easily fallen into through our wounded perceptions, behaviors, and broken pasts.
One of my heroines that has strongly kept my gaze, my heart, and my longing to imitate her, is the heroic Saint Joan of Arc. Her courage, fierceness, and lioness heart speaks straight to my soul through her empowering life story. She was a warrior and embraced her calling to live out her femininity in all its beauty, strength, and heroic virtue. She went to battle to FIGHT FOR GOOD. She was a leader. She was a warrior. She was a woman.
“I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”
St. Joan of Arc
As warriors of Christ we are called to lift our gaze maternally and battle FOR good. We are life-giving. We are called to nurture, heal, and console. We are called to be spiritual Mothers for wholeness and to pour maternal love into the world and each human being. We battle darkness, sin, death, shame, and evil. We are deep in battle with daily spiritual warfare, which viciously attacks emotionally, physically, and psychologically. We are called to battle for righteousness, joy, and peace. We battle for newness of life! We are called to battle for love, hope, and faith. We are called to battle for each other’s destinies, for each other’s strength, and for each other’s courage. We are called to battle for each other’s confidence, self-esteem, and breakthrough from depression. We are called to battle for those who need healing, rest, and empathy. We are called to battle for the sick, the dying, and the crushed in spirit. We are called to battle for the brokenhearted, the poor, and the forgotten. We are called to battle for redemptive suffering, for Christ’s resurrection within us and each other, and for His glory.
God trustingly places personal battles before each of us that we are called to stand up to and heroically grow through and conquer. We are called to battle each and every day. This is not just a masculine thing. This is not just a feminine thing. This is a child of God thing. We are all called to battle and are called through different ways that He intricately designed within us.
For women, you FIGHT LIKE A GIRL WITH A LIONESS HEART. You are not afraid. You are strong. You are fierce. You are courageous. You are noble. You have the authority of being a daughter of a King. You are royalty. You are heroic. You were born to do this. Fight like a girl with everything you got for the benefit of mankind, for the ones you love, for your soul, and for God. Fight with every bit of relentless love, grace, virtue, wisdom, every bit of hope, and every bit of faith that your strength comes from your Creator who intricately and beautifully designed you for battle. Embrace your gifts of FEMININE GENIUS and boldly live empathetically, receptively, generously, maternally, and sensitively to the needs of others. Embrace your fullness of womanhood and live fiercely through it for His eternal glory. This is not a rally of “girl power”, but a trumpet blast of God’s power.
When women are able to heal their perceptions of life-giving femininity, begin to believe in the value of their destined role, and how it profoundly fits into God’s battle cry, the world will experience a strength it has never known. Put on the full armor of God and you will be empowered to live your greatest, most impactful, fullest, and most fulfilling life possible.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
This is our anthem. This is our fuel to prepare for battle and to fight the greatest fight of mankind. Evil fights dirty. Women of God do not. Women with a lioness heart, with unshakable faith, and are steadfast in Truth, conquer every battle through Him. I believe it was in Mark Twain’s personal recollections of Saint Joan of Arc, where she said: “Now you have lion hearts to go into battle.”
Like girl, this stuff sends chills up my spine! How do we go to battle in our own lives every day? What weapons are we taking up? Are you fighting for your daughter’s self-confidence? Your son’s self-esteem? Your husband’s healing? Your purity? Are you fighting for a friend’s recovery of emotional abuse? Are you fighting for peace within your own heart? Are you fighting for virtuous friendships? Are you fighting for a restful home life? Are you fighting for a deeper prayer life? Are you battling mental illness, scars from sexual abuse, or the disconnect from healthy emotional connection with those who love you?
I love how in C.S. Lewis’s novel Prince Caspian, we see this beautiful imagery of femininity awakened. In the story, Lucy had spoken a lie and was hiding from Aslan, who resembles Christ in so many ways, with his strength, truth, and healing. C.S. Lewis writes: “Lucy buried her head in his mane to hide from his face. But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her. Quite suddenly she sat up. ‘I’m sorry, Aslan,’ she said. ‘I’m ready now.’ ‘Now you’re a lioness,” said Aslan. “And now all Narnia will be renewed.”
The chills are back. Like wow! This transforming moment where Lucy buries her face in shame, not wanting to look into his face, like we so often do in our own hidden pain, speaks so much power into moments where God pours His strength into us when we bury our faces into Him. We become a lioness. We become ready to renew the world. We become strong enough to be life-giving. Let’s take it from little Lucy and become heroines in our daily lives. Let’s fight for each other, for other women, for true femininity in its fullness, for men, for true masculinity in its fullness, for our children, for the greatest good of mankind, and for the glory that is to be revealed to us.
I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds pretty mind-blowing and just my cup of tea. I’m going to fight my battles like a girl, like I was created to, like I know how, like I do it best, and because I was born to do it. I’m going to battle for the ones I love, for my growth in holiness, for victims of abuse, for the crushed in spirit, for the unloved, neglected, and for the ones who need to feel seen, known, and deeply cherished. I’m going to battle for my family, my friends, and for every soul I can touch. I’m going to battle through my prayers, my words, my thoughts, my actions, my blog, my studies, my service, and my undying belief in the Kingdom of God. I’m going to battle in my own personal wounds and my own everyday struggles. I’m going to battle with the faith that love for God conquers all and that there is reason to celebrate Christ’s victory over death.
I dream of the day when I have my own dear family to fight for too, where I can be a Mom to an overflowing armful of blessings. I want to be a MAMA OF KINGS. I want to raise my sons in such a way that they become tenacious soldiers for Christ, unshakable guardians of virtue, and bold leaders honorable to God. I pray they become so strong in their faith that they don't ever feel emasculated by other males or females, that they can stand their ground, confidently embrace their God-given masculinity and not be bullied into silencing their roars. I want them to be proud of their manhood and walk with such confidence, strength, and conviction that nothing and no one can cause them to feel ashamed of it. I want to pour so much trust into them that they grow up trusting themselves. I want to pour so much belief in them that they grow up believing in themselves. I want to affirm them so well and build them up so sturdily that nobody can knock them down without their permission. I want to let them be wild, untamable, and courageously conquering every ambition out in that messy and scary world, regardless if I think it's safe or not, because it matters to them. If it matters to them it matters to me, and my faith in their abilities to succeed will fuel them all the more. I want to let them be freely boys playing in the mud, getting roughed up through tackle football, letting them mess up and build things on their own so that they can figure out how the world works through doing, because that's how they learn it best and because I know they need to conquer it. I want to pour so much of this maternal love into my sons they are able to feel its strength and recognize its value in other women in their lives. I also want to pour so much empathy into them that they learn how to feel, have no shame in being vulnerable, can talk about their emotions without feeling like less of a man, and are able to even be empathetic toward others too. I believe in catching lizards, dirty bare feet, and in little boy dreams at four-years-old.
I want to be a MAMA OF QUEENS. I want to raise my daughters in such a way that they are able to confidently anchor their identity as God's Beloved so that they never feel being a woman is inferior to a man or that a man must become more like a woman to be worthy of respect or for women to feel cherished by him. I pray that my strong women will never fall into the lies of the world, nor believe the devil's lies about themselves, and that they battle with lioness hearts for their beliefs, their values, and for their powerful missions God designs for them. I want them to remember in the depths of their hearts and in the forefront of their minds that they are the crown of creation. I want them to always feel like royalty because they are each a daughter of a King no matter how much the world disrespects them. I pray they will live so intimately with God that they never second guess their worth, dignity, or how deeply loved they are. I hope to teach them true femininity through leading by example so that they witness its virtue, beauty, strength, power, and purpose. I want them to learn to brilliantly think for themselves, have lioness voices, feel no shame in feeling deeply, embrace their feminine genius, and wildly love themselves and everyone in their lives. I want them to be freely themselves, whoever God desires them to be, vibrantly colorful, and unafraid. I want them running wild, conquering their battles, demolishing their goals, breaking stereotypes if they so wish, letting their hair get messy, learning to punch back fearlessly, and being passionate for whatever God places on their beautiful hearts. I yearn to listen to their souls, minds, and dreams, and encourage them toward greatness because they are worth it. I want them feeling so comfortable and beautifully enough in their own God-given skin that body image is never an issue, they don't ever feel the need to change a thing, and that they know they are captivating no matter what size and what anyone tells them. I believe in playing dress up, climbing apple trees, and giggling till our bellies ache.
I know I will never be the perfect mother, but it is my prayer that with each passing day and through God's grace, I will learn how to grow my imperfect heart more like our Blessed Mother's Immaculate Heart so that my family will know and feel the transformative power of deep maternal love through me. It is one of my spiritual battles and dreams, but I am fighting like a girl for it.
What about you girl? How do you go to battle?