My Women of the Year.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31

            I recently heard about Glamour Magazine including Cecile Richards and Bruce Caitlyn Jenner in their selection for "Woman of the Year."

            I am not surprised, disappointed, or even dismayed. 

            I know the kinds of women our culture puts on pedestals. I know well what our culture thinks is "brave" and "honorable." I am well-versed in the fact that our culture thinks a woman who has proven to be a liar and fraud with no care for the unborn is worthy of the title woman of the year. I am not surprised that our culture is telling women that a man who decided to medically become a woman is more deserving of such a title than any other woman living in 2015.

            I also understand that titles are unimportant, and that what Glamour magazine says does not matter. But what does matter is being inspired by the kinds of women who are truly living honor and bravery in their lives, the women who deserve all the laud and awards, but who would never wish for it or look for it a day in their lives.

            They are my women of the year.

            My woman of the year was born without a 4th chamber in her heart. She has been through countless surgeries and unimaginable physical suffering, and endures it all with the utmost grace and radiance in her heart. You will never see her out in public without a smile on her face, a laugh on her lips, and genuine questions about how your life is going. She is thoughtful, loving, and joyful. She was excelling greatly in her career path but is currently unable to work because of her health, which would be tremendously frustrating for anyone. I have never once heard her complain or look for sympathy for this incredible struggle. She continually lives the life and circumstances she has been given with dignity and beauty. She is my woman of the year.

            My woman of the year just heroically defeated uterine cancer. She works extremely hard at her job and has selflessly cared for her mother in her own home for many years. She is an extremely loving, faithful, patient, and kind friend to all. She is a great listener, a generous giver, always putting the needs of others before her own. I have never once heard her grumble about her trials, about all that others expect of her, or how deeply unfair life can be sometimes. She accepts all that God wills with a heart of prayer, open to all that God wants and does not want, all that God gives and does not give, and in doing so teaches others to do the same. She is my woman of the year.

            My woman of the year is a mother to 3 girls who saw a great longing and need for spiritual connection among women, so she prayerfully and proactively created a community that is thriving and growing by the day. She truly lives out the words of St. Joan of Arc, "Act, and God will act." She has selflessly built an infrastructure that has cultivated incredible vulnerability, friendships, and sisterhood for women all across the world. She quietly carries heavy crosses in her life and through it all serves her family humbly and generously while running her beautiful community and working a demanding job. She is one of the brightest spirits you could ever meet. She is my woman of the year.

            My woman of the year runs a youth ministry program at a parish in Texas. She gives more than anyone sees to make incredible youth ministry happen for young people. Much of her work goes unrecognized, and her humility is stunningly magnificent. She does not ever show a need to receive accolades or recognition. She spends her summers bringing teens to nearly every event imaginable, spending long nights on buses, late nights in hotels, and early exhausted mornings taking care of God's young people and making sure they encounter Him in a powerful way during their teenage years. She longs for God to bring her a spouse but I have never once heard her complain about her state in life as she accepts all as grace. She works and lives with a beautiful peace and generosity in her heart, and is a beautiful example of holiness and virtue. She is my woman of the year.

            My women of the year know how to glorify rather than to look for glory.  

            These women who inspire us in our lives know how to dig in deep when the going gets rough, they know how to serve until it hurts and then keep serving. These are the women who get grit, who understand grace, and who do not cease opening their generous hands and hearts to put complaints aside and others before themselves.

            Today and every day I thank God for the women around us who radiate love and who live beautifully inspiring lives of quiet suffering and sacrifice.

Who is your woman of the year?

"We are the women who want the thing God wants more than we are afraid of it, the women who know when the love of Christ motivates, the more fearless of everything we become, the women who know real joy is not found in having the best of everything but in trusting that God’s making the best of everything.

We are the women who make our lives about the cause of Christ, not the applause of men, live to express the Gospel, not to impress the Jones’, live not to make our absence felt, but to make Christ’s presence known."

-Ann Voskamp