Melissa sat with downcast eyes as she stirred her coffee. Her beautiful brown hair hung loosely as if she hadn’t the inclination to do much with it that day. She considered herself blessed with a good marriage and beautiful family. Her life was full of activity as she ran from one event after another with her children and enjoyed a busy church life. I admired the Christian “Super Woman” I saw sitting before me. So why so downcast?
Her next words would be the catalyst to light a passion in my heart to know and share what God says about who we are:
“I am thankful to be a mom and a wife, it’s the place God called me to be at this time. But my kids will be out of the house soon so what then? I’m an ordinary mom with no special talents. I didn’t go to college so I’m not sure if I would be able to even get a job. And honestly, if people really knew my past…” her voice trailed off.
Unknowingly, Melissa had let the false words that she had an inconsequential life infiltrate her heart. At best she was a good mom and wife, and at her worst, well she had dark secrets that kept her paralyzed in fear of someone finding out.
I did my best that day to encourage her about how much she means to God and how loved she is by many. She feigned a smile as we parted that day. When I walked away I felt grieved for her, and disappointed in myself that I couldn’t better support her. As I prayed for her, God reminded me that Melissa was not the only woman I knew with a similar story: feelings of being inconsequential in a success driven world with too much “ugly” in her past to truly be used by God. I finally was able to admit that’s me too. Sure, I worked in positions of leadership and had success in several different vocations but I felt ill-equipped and, well, like a charlatan – if people really knew me, they would turn away.
This confession was the inspiration for my book Hope-Markers and stirred a passion for women to see themselves as God sees them:
I was on a quest to know God’s true purpose for us and what I found rocked my world. The strange part, at this point I had been a believer for several decades and even mentored others in their walk with God. But He showed me that I had not truly embraced this truth for myself and it was time. Why? Because He loves me and wants me to share this message with others. I went to conferences, I talked with friends, women I had mentored, and those who had mentored me and found this feeling of being inconsequential, (and there are endless reasons why women feel this way) was deeply hidden in many women’s hearts and they were too fearful to tell anyone.
Hope-Markers is the culmination of all that God has taught me over the last few years. I’m still walking the journey with Him, and that’s okay. He loves me and my story matters to Him, and so does yours.
What are Hope-Markers? They are people and events that have an impact in our lives. They either inspire us to be all that God has called us to be or they serve as warnings to what God doesn’t want for his beloved daughters. One of the greatest gifts God gives us is each other. He desires to have us journey with each other in expectation of all He has for us.
Below are a few quotes that give you an idea of all you will find in Hope-Markers. My prayer is that it will help you embrace your story to live out the celebrated life God has for you so you can then be a part of the journey of another fellow journey-woman. The book includes a study guide so grab a few friends, some good coffee and dig in. The book will be available on Amazon on December 1. Please visit my website: www.joangallagher.net I would love to know your story, I know it is beautiful.