Sophie is a 3rd year theology student at Heythrop College, London
For me, being a woman of God doesn’t relate to being fashionable, how much you earn, or how popular you are etc, it’s all to do with your heart, faith and actions in life. Being full of love and compassion for others, being open-minded and non-judgemental, and keeping faith in God when times get tough, are all qualities I admire in a woman of God.
I have grown up in the Catholic faith, and have been going to Christian conferences ever since I was six years old. I am now in my third and final year at university, and it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve found it quite hard, but only recently something changed, allowing me to learn so much more about trusting in God and dealing with what the world throws at me.
In August 2013 I went to a Catholic Conference called New Dawn, and whereas the previous year I didn’t want to be there, this year I realised I couldn’t deal with the struggles of life by myself, and really needed God. During that week, something just clicked.
I’m not someone who likes going up for prayer ministry as I find it really daunting, but this year I was prayed with on a couple of different occasions, without asking for prayer about anything in particular, and WOW! The messages people gave me affected me so much! They were exactly what I needed to hear, and it just proved to me that there really was a God out there who cares for me and has a plan for me – something I really struggled in believing for years.
I know something in me changed that week, not quite sure what, but I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve realised and really taken on board in the past few months.
Firstly, being a woman of God does not mean being perfect, everyone makes mistakes! But I am learning not to beat myself up about them, but to know the grace of God. He is a God who forgives, and as someone said to me, the guilt you may feel is God calling you to reconcile with Him, although the enemy will try and use it to put up barriers between you and God.
I’ve always found there was a pressure on me to do well at school, go to uni, do well there, know what I want to do in life, and go and do it. Well, my grades in sixth form went down, and being in my last year at uni, I still don’t know what I want to do, but I now know that that’s okay. God DOES have a plan for me, and even if I don’t know what it is, I will trust in Him.
Originally I was really against going to uni in London, but everything kept telling me that it’s where I would end up, and looking back on it, I can see it’s what God wanted as it has been such a blessing, location-wise and through the people I’ve met.
I believe one of the struggles women face today is that of respecting themselves and not letting a man dictate their worth. Sex is everywhere in the media and is seen as the norm. This greatly influences young women in our society, especially those who have just turned 18 and are about to leave home to start their life at university. When young students head to uni, there is the temptation to ‘let loose’ and have fun, and whilst some don’t see the problem at the time, others end up regretting it in the long run, producing feelings of shame, emptiness and worthlessness.
Obviously both men and women have a part to play in this, but a woman deserves to recognize that, if a man makes you feel this way, they’re not worth it and they do not deserve you. As women of God we should also remember that our true worth lies in Him, and His unconditional love for us – for “Jesus Christ knows the worst about you. Nonetheless, He is the one who loves you most” (A.W. Tozer)
Lastly, something I’ve found to be very important is to have other women of God around you, even if it is just one, who can journey with you, share in your struggles, pray for and with you, and keep you accountable. This is something that I’ve felt has really helped me in my journey. Don’t get me wrong, even though I feel as though I’ve learned so much, I’m only human and still make many a mistake, and have my struggles and doubts. However, I am learning to deal with it differently, and become the woman God made me to be.