When I was growing up, one of the most popular tunes on the radio was a song called Stand By Your Man, co-written and recorded by Tammy Wynette. Though it contains only 128 words and was written in 15 minutes, it’s sparked debate and controversy for years.
No one predicted the surprising results this scant and quickly written song produced; Tammy catapulted to fame and it remains one of country music’s Top hits 50 years later.
I’ve been married to the same guy for 24 years and consider myself fortunate. He’s a business owner and we have a great life despite many ups and downs. Long ago, God told me he’d provide for me through my husband and I’ve accepted his promise gratefully.
But it’s difficult at times, especially in this day and age when we voraciously compare ourselves to others. Though I’ve worked off and on through the years and have my own online business, I’m not “self-supporting.” When I fill out paperwork, I put “Not Applicable” under the employment section. One time at a doctor’s office, the receptionist shouted across the room, “Are you still unemployed?”
These questions make me cringe — I hate labels. I’m independent and was the main breadwinner in our family for several years before I quit work to take care of my children. In my hometown near Washington D.C., women would ask, “What do you do for a living?” When I explained I was a stay-at-home mom, they often discreetly drifted off looking for someone more interesting to talk to.
The bulk of my work goes unseen and uncompensated. I’m not what the world considers “successful,” but I know I am. So does my family and most importantly, so does my God.
Still, sometimes I want the sacrifices I’ve made to be seen and dare I say, celebrated.
It reminds me of the Bible story known as the widow’s offering. One day, Jesus was teaching in the temple and he sat down across from where people were putting in their required offerings.
Mark 12:41-44 says: Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”
Sometimes women at any stage of life can feel like our offerings are meager. On low strength and energy days, the only fuel I have is knowing that Jesus sees me. He accepts my small offerings and he loves it.
He sees and loves you as well. No offering is too small to make a huge difference in the world and for his kingdom.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to the widow. I know God provided for her because it’s one of his promises. He’s close to the poor, the oppressed, those who feel small.
The lesson was so important that he called his disciples over to witness it. The story is told in the books of Mark and Luke; the nameless woman is still held up as an example over 2,000 years later.
That’s incredible . . . and so are you!