When I saw recently that the International Women of Courage Award was given to a biological man, my initial reaction was, “Where is the outrage?” How is honoring a man during Women’s History Month a celebration of women?
This gesture is just one of many reminders that we cannot define ourselves by the culture.
That was part of the message at this year’s women’s conference hosted by the Eastern Catholic Re-evangelization Center (ECRC). I sat in the pews among more than 300 women at St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield listening to powerful talks from Lisa Cotter, a Catholic speaker, author, former FOCUS missionary wife, and mother of four; and Iklas Bahours Bashi, LPC, a Catholic therapist, certified life coach, motivational speaker, writer, wife, and mother of two adult children. I sat in contemplation, meditating on what the Holy Spirit was putting on my heart as I participated in praise and worship as the ECRC’s band "Ignite the Spirit" led us in song.
We are living in a time of an identity crisis, and it’s because we don’t know who we are in the eyes of God, made in His image and likeness. During this month that we are to celebrate women, let’s look at women from the lens of God — how He sees each and every one of us.
Many years ago, I grappled with becoming an adult. I had reached the age of 18, when the law says I was an adult, but I didn’t feel like one. I wondered when I would know I had actually completed that transition from girl to woman, just like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.
I even wrote a book titled "I Knew I was a Woman When…" and shared stories of others talking about that transition. I thought I could find the answer to the question from other women. I didn’t discover the real answer until many years later, when I sought out answers from God.
I knew I had become a woman when… I realized I was a daughter of the King. I didn’t know my worth until I started to really know my Creator.
Knowing my identity in the eyes of God is when I had that epiphany. From that point, God revealed so much about myself to me.
I knew I was loved when … I realized we are all loved by God who is LOVE.
I knew I was valued when … I realized that God values all life.
I knew I was destined for greatness when … I realized God gave each of us gifts to do great things.
As Lisa Cotter so passionately explained, our identity doesn’t come from the world; it comes from our Lord. I was reminded that God showed us a long time ago what it means to be a woman. We need to only look to the Scripture to know this truth: “So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Pope St. John Paul II talked about the "feminine genius" and wrote a passionate letter to women. As we celebrate women this month, I encourage everyone to read that letter. God gave us our Heavenly Mother as a constant reminder of what a woman is and should be always. We need not look to the world for our identity as women, and believe the lies from the evil one. We need to only look to our Creator, our Lord and Savior, read his word in Scripture, speak to Him in prayer, and we will begin to see our identity through the lens of God.
Vanessa Denha Garmo is the founder of Epiphany Communications & Coaching where she is a Communications Strategist, Evangelist, writer, and consultant. She is also a certified Life, Leadership, Communications & Strengths Coach. She is the host of Epiphany on Ave Maria Radio. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.