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A Woman Of Strength

Not long ago, (or so it seems) I entered into a season so dark and lonely, I did not think my soul would survive it.

A betrayal so deep – that at the time, I felt my heart could never overcome it. I cried out to God in deep anguish, and sleep never came to me.

I could not eat

I could not rest my mind.

I was full of anger and, bitterness and fear…

…for an entire year, I was in a deep state of grief like none I had ever known.

It was during this season of grief that I found a truth so beyond the truth of this world. I found a strength within myself that I never knew existed. It was not my own. It was true strength that only God can give us.

I was always a self professed ‘strong woman’.

But it took this long dark year in order for God to transform me into a ‘woman of strength’.

In this time of transforming, I learned the difference.

A woman of strength relies on her Lord for all her needs. A strong woman relies on herself, or the tangibles of this world.

A woman of strength runs to the protecting wings of Gods tender mercies, and there she is refreshed. A strong woman runs to worldly comforts and comes back empty and alone.

A woman of strength will never feel alone. She will endure every trial set before her with her grace and poise intact, because she trusts in God and not her circumstances. She does not need to ‘feel’ His presence to know He is near. She believes in His presence regardless of her ‘feelings’.

A woman of strength is created by a loving God, through her trials tended with hours of solitude spent in His presence. A strong woman is created by this world…through her trials and moments of chaos, spent alone in her own spinning thoughts.

I am not the woman who began this journey.  no.

…I am a new creation.

I was broken by the trials of this world. But when I brought my heart before my loving Saviour, I was transformed into something beautiful. I now look back at that dark season and am thankful. It birthed a refreshing into my soul…and created within me a deeper faith and unshakeable trust.

If you are in the dark hours of your life today, allow yourself to be a woman of strength. Put the ‘strong woman’ aside and run to the loving arms of God. Allow Him to hold you, heal you, transform you.

Beside my cottage door it grows,
The loveliest, daintiest flower that blows,
A sweetbriar rose.

At dewy morn or twilight’s close,
The rarest perfume from it flows,
This strange wild rose.

But when the rain-drops on it beat,
Ah, then, its odors grow more sweet,
About my feet.

Ofttimes with loving tenderness,
Its soft green leaves I gently press,
In sweet caress.

A still more wondrous fragrance flows
The more my fingers close
And crush the rose.

Dear Lord, oh, let my life be so
Its perfume when tempests blow,
The sweeter flow.

And should it be Thy blessed will,
With crushing grief my soul to fill,
Press harder still.

And while its dying fragrance flows
I’ll whisper low, “He loves and knows
His crushed briar rose.”

-F. W. Robertson

Photo Courtesy of D.Reichardt

AboutShelbi Awabdy

Shelbi is a Photographer / Writer (and a closet Poet) who finds her greatest joy in being a wife and a mom. She has spent the last 10 years as a jewelry designer, but discovered her favorite part was when she was behind the lens, photographing her wares (or one of her four children). When she’s not in her flip flops, camera around her neck – you can find her curled up with a warm cup of something, keeping company with her crochet hooks. She is passionate about sharing the word of God and the message of hope and healing that only Christ can bring. She is currently working on her first book which chronicles her personal journey through her photography, favorite scriptures and essays. She admits to having a serious cupcake addiction, but is learning to finally just say ‘no’. Her very favorite thing to do is drive along the coast beside her adorable hubby, family in tow, in their ‘sunshine family vw bus’ (eating cupcakes together).
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Comments

  1. Rebekah says:

    I feel strengthened by reading your beautiful post…He is refining, He ia shaping, He will take care of His “rose.”

  2. martha brady says:

    Thanks shelbi for that beautiful picture that contrasts the woman of strength whose trust is in God, with the strong woman who trusts in herself and her abilities.

    I also love the picture of the rose that goes along with this. Beautiful post that describes suffering in ways we don’t always hear it discussed. Thanks!

  3. Carey Scott says:

    BEAUTIFUL words, girl. Oh my gosh! I love this line… “A woman of strength relies on her Lord for all her needs. A strong woman relies on herself, or the tangibles of this world.” BIG truth in this message. I’m sharing it on my wall. Just love it.

  4. shelbi says:

    thanks so much sweet ladies. God always makes beauty from ashes….

  5. Kari Day says:

    AMEN! A -Stand -on-my-chair-shout-it-out-loud-AMEN!!! My dear Shelbi…Woman of strength… I have been there. I know that road you traveled and described so beautifully! I have been steeped in that dark time, and I too have come out thankful. ONLY God can make us thankful for those dark hours. I love your words. You spoke them perfectly! God is good!

  6. Love, love, love the comparison between a woman of strength and a strong woman. Lord, make me a woman of strength.

  7. Lauren says:

    I am in that place…that bleak and hollow and dark and “feels like” lonely place. I’m not sure I’ve made it to “woman of strength”, but I do know this “strong woman” is broken and weak. I’ve just lost both my parents within a year of each other…and some family brokenness came as a result of my mother’s recent death. There’s an emptiness inside that I’ve never felt before… but it’s an emptiness I plan to let God fill because I know nothing else will take care of it. I’m grateful for this post…for knowing someone’s been there and made it through. Thank you for being faithful to post His work in your heart.

  8. shelbi says:

    kari, i love this; “ONLY God can make us thankful for those dark hours”. you said it perfectly!

    Shannon, i am still so far from being all that God can help me to be, but my cry is yours as well :) !

    Lauren, i am sorry to hear about your loss. sadly, you are not alone in your walk…family hurts run so deep. only God can fill these hollow places that human touch creates. and yes….you will overcome with Gods comfort and leading. don’t doubt for a moment sweet friend…xo

  9. solita says:

    Wow! I like it this post, i want to post in my fb but i can’t post huh! :-( thank you it make me stronger. Yes my strength is in the LORD. <3

  10. Ali Dent says:

    Shelbi, You are a beautiful woman.
    Proverbs 31:17, “She dresses herself with strength,” kept going through my mind when I read your words. Jesus is our strength and that is how you are dressed.
    Thank you for writing and sharing your heart.

  11. Kela says:

    Shelbi, I was asked by a woman to describe the difference between a strong woman and a woman of strength. I went searching for it and came to your site.
    You’re right on! Thank you.

    Oh, and the verse that Ali quoted in her comment is exactly what came to mind when I thought of the comparisons. :)
    Be blessed!

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