In Her Shadow

Two sisters – Leah and Rachel. One is described as beautiful with a lovely figure. The other, well, she had "weak eyes." No one knows what that means for certain, but I’m sure it wasn’t a complement. Some suggest that her vision was so bad that she squinted to see. Others think she was cross-eyed. In either case, Leah was perceived as the “lesser” sister. One day, Jacob enters the lives of Leah and Rachel. He quickly falls in love with Rachel, and he vows to work seven years for Laban, their father, to earn her hand in marriage. The wedding day and honeymoon night come and go. With the morning light peaking into the tent, Jacob discovers that he had been deceived. He actually married Leah.

This was an intentional plot to marry off the oldest daughter first. Apparently, Laban thought the only way someone would marry Leah was by tricking him. Now, that’s a confidence builder!

Still determined, Jacob pledges to work an additional seven years for Laban to earn the right to marry Rachel. After all, she was the one he actually loved.

[H]is love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. – Genesis 29:30

Today, I want to speak to the “Leahs” of the world. The women who are not appreciated for the value that they bring. The women who spend their lives living in the shadow of another because they are perceived as lesser. Maybe you’ve been compared to your sister like Leah was. Or maybe, you have been overshadowed by your mother, aunt, friend or even a co-worker because they are more attractive, talented, or successful.

Ladies, you need to hear me. God wants to pull you out of the shadows. He wants you to see the greatness that He has deposited inside of you, yes you! It is time to break free from the stigma that has been placed upon you, and walk boldly into the light – His light.

Sadly, I’m not sure if Leah ever realized that, although she did not have Jacob’s favor, she had God’s favor. In fact, Rachel spent most of her life envying her sister, because unlike Leah, she wasn’t able to have children. It wasn’t until the end of Rachel’s life that she was able to conceive. And with that, she died giving birth to her second son. With God’s favor upon Leah, she bore six sons and one daughter for Jacob. One son, Judah, is part of the ancestry of Jesus. What a wonderful legacy!

God saw Leah’s value. But, she missed it. She spent her entire life feeling inferior to her sister.

“Leahs," your lives have significance! You need to stop feeling second-rate to the “Rachels” of the world. God has a purpose for your life. Boldly step out of the shadows, and into your destiny.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. – Psalm 139:13-15

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The Green-Eyed Monster

Today, I would like to talk about the infamous Green-Eyed Monster. Please don’t confuse this with The Green Monster, the thirty-seven foot high, left field wall at Fenway Park. I want to talk about that evil emotion that rears it ugly head when we see other people’s successes or advantages. I want to talk about JEALOUSY. Jealousy seems to target women at all stages of life. It starts at adolescence, when one child sees another child with a toy she doesn’t have, and although she already has plenty, she feels saddened that she doesn’t have that particular one.

Jealousy later continues into the teen years and into womanhood. Women, young and old alike, can be resentful of another’s physique, appearance, talents, clothes, economic status, and yes, even spiritual gifting. This list can go on and on.

Although this is a common emotion, it is an emotion that God does not approve of. The Bible speaks numerous times about having an attitude of contentment, being happy with what you have and not coveting what someone else has. The Word of God unmistakably teaches us in James 3:16 that,

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” 

Jealousy leads us to do things that we normally wouldn’t do – things that we shouldn’t do. In an effort to feel better about ourselves, we tear down the person we are jealous of. We focus on all their shortcomings, just to rationalize, in our own head, why we aren’t as good in that particular area.

Or, we choose to chase after things that God didn’t intend for us. We place unrealistic goals and expectations on ourselves that we clearly can’t meet. Wanting to better yourself is admirable. Wanting to better yourself in order to measure up to someone else’s standards is dangerous territory. God’s standard is the only standard we should pursue.

Ladies, I want each of you to know that God has designed you uniquely. He has deposited a combination of qualities in you that no one on the planet has except you. There is a purpose for each of us, but we need to stop coveting and striving to be someone we are not.

Look at God's creations. Are the mountains any more beautiful than the sand covered beaches? Each creation is beautiful in its own way. Embrace your uniqueness. Stop trying to be the beach when you’re supposed to be the mountain.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.” – Psalm 139:13-14