About a year ago I started receiving a magazine “for women of style and substance.” I think that might be code for women over 40. Although I’m over 40 and my name and address are on each edition I receive, for quite some time I’ve felt it must be a mistake. I might be considered a woman of substance, but I’m most certainly not a woman of style. I’m more of a style wannabe. I’d like to be stylish – I just can’t figure out what style is me – feminine, sporty, trendy, classic, hippie, etc…pretty much depends on the day and the weather. Maybe I should take the time to read the magazine more diligently and I’ll figure it out.
I bring up this magazine because I’ve been surprisingly blessed by it. It seems there are a lot of women my age doing new things whether by choice or necessity – or a little bit of both. And, as is often the case, their true substance is revealed through adversity, which made me think that I might indeed be a woman of substance. Dictionary.com defines it as “the actual matter of a thing, as opposed to the appearance or shadow.” I think that means you are what you appear to be – no more faking it. Another definition was “substantial or solid character or quality.” I might define substance as depth of character.
Character – that’s a word we use a lot today. We look for it in others and hope for it in ourselves. Our character is definitely revealed by the grace we exhibit when faced with challenges. I think I have a pretty good measure of grace when it comes to the huge disappointments and disasters of life, but believe me, grace does not always appear when I’m faced with my daily doses of drama.
These inspiring stories were referred to as second acts. I’m definitely living my second act. Intermission was a nightmare but I’m thinking this second act might indeed have a good ending. Because I’m a Christian, I know ultimately my story has a happy ending.
My story has all the characteristics of a good read – although I would have preferred a little less drama. Maybe the latter chapters can be fluffier in content; a bit romantic and lighthearted! Definitely lighthearted! We all have stories that define us – that show our substance, who we are and why we are.
As I read the stories of women who had faced challenges and succeeded, I was inspired. I thought about all of us who have watched God work mightily in the midst of adversity and how our stories offer not only inspiration but a source of strength and a true hope for the future – not reliant upon our ability. My hope rest solely on Jesus – His sacrifice, His peace, His strength and His story!
We all have stories to share that reveal our substance. Our challenge is to step out and share how God is using us, rescuing us, loving on us. We might inspire someone, but even better, we might just offer someone true hope!
Share your story with us in the comments? We’d love to hear how God is working in your life!
Sue Birdseye is an author and communicator who shares the adventures she has on her unexpected journey of single parenting. She went from the typical “picket fence” kind of life to being a single mom to five beautiful children. She has learned what it means to be totally dependent upon the Lord and how beautiful that dependence is. Her change of life circumstances has led to a passionate desire to encourage and bless other moms no matter their life circumstances. She has been active in her community as a foster/adoptive mom and public school teacher. She has also been part of her church’s worship, discipleship, women’s, and children’s ministries. She is an avid book reader, a game night hoster, and an early morning writer. Her book “When Happily Ever After Shatters” is the story of how God stepped into her life and the lives of her children just when everything seemed to be falling apart. She hopes that her writing will encourage, bless, and maybe even make someone smile.