by Leslie Chambers
One of life’s greatest challenges for me has been to be comfortable in my own feminine skin. I am finding that many women, whether they have struggled with same-sex attraction or not, have been frustrated with and had serious questions regarding what being a “Woman” means. If you happen to struggle with lesbianism, please know that you are not alone in dealing with the awkward, difficult, and often distressing realities of being female…feminine.
Throughout childhood and adolescence I steered clear of everything “girly.” No dolls or dresses for me. Instead of sweet nicknames like “Princess” I was the Great Green Frog, Sausage Legs, Lester, Pack Mule, and best of all Lumpy when I was going through that awkward stage of early adolescence. The last time I was mistaken for my mother’s son was when I was a sophomore in college.
I think part of my problem has been that I am competitive by nature. If I didn’t have a shot at being the best, why play. As for beauty, brains and brawn: I did well in school. I was strong as an ox, some said, and did well in competitive swimming. Yet, I knew I was never going to be pretty so why even try. In fact it made me feel better to degrade anything feminine. I was strong and confident on the inside and it did not matter what I looked like on the outside. I was not going to make a big fuss just to please others who might be looking at me.
This attitude affected me into adulthood. During the first of years our marriage whenever Alan and I had to attend a social event fancier than church I freaked out. Where he enjoyed dressing up I feared being overdressed. I hated the thought of trying so hard at something I was destined to fail. And equally horrifying was the prideful thought that everyone would know I tried and see that I failed. As we contemplated having children I thought it would probably be best if we had boys because I had no idea what to do with a little girl.
Last fall I began a Beth Moore Bible study called Breaking Free. At the beginning of the series Beth said that we would be more beautiful by the end of the study and wouldn’t that be great. “NO!” cried everything within me. Promise me that I will be wiser, more discerning, stronger, more patient, more loving, anything but more beautiful. Why would being more beautiful be important or even desirable? Ever so softly God spoke to me and said that to be more beautiful was to be more like Him. He is beautiful.
I don’t for a second think He was telling me to keep up with the latest fashions. He was asking me to be ok with being more like Him. Femininity is not what our culture has made it to be. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Lucifer was a beautiful angel and that our culture has a distorted view of feminine beauty. Remember in Genesis God says that He created us, male and female in His image? He is as beautiful as He is strong. He is as full of grace as He is truth. He wants us to reflect His perfect beauty. Being a woman of God, being feminine, is not just about being beautiful. That is simply one aspect of it, but if I reject that aspect I am rejecting something of God Himself. I don’t know the full extent of what this means but I do know I need to be okay with letting Him make me into a beautiful woman.
Leslie is the wife of Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International. She has served as Events Coordinator for Exodus and is the proud mother of Isaac & Molly. Leslie and her family make their home in Orlando, FL.