Jesus Christ And The Transformation Of Women

A couple of friends asked me to write about my transformation.  At the outset, I must say it was not something I consciously set out to achieve, but it happened nevertheless.  Over the past month I have given this much thought.  And I must say that the transformation I experienced began with the day I committed myself to Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour.

At the age of 17, I was acutely aware of my need for a Saviour.  I was being tormented by an evil presence that terrified me.  I could see no way of escaping it.  I was involved in a manipulative and psychologically damaging association with a girl who was a pathological liar.  Breaking off this liason was the first step.

What was I like as a person in those days?  Well, I had a gigantic chip on my shoulder.  Girls in families like mine often do.  My family is very dear to me, I want to make that clear.  But in my youth, suffice it to say, I was profoundly let down by some of the significant males in my life.  May I also add that I love all of them sincerely, have forgiven them completely, just as I hope to be forgiven, and never stop hoping for the degree of closeness with them I always longed for.

I was intelligent and hypercritical.  I was resentful.  Although this was not a consciously thought out thing, I was especially resentful of men.  By 17, I had lost most of my pugilistic tendency but I was given to spiteful, vindictive, verbal diatribes, especially towards men, and especially towards men who were strong, decent, kind, gentle and altogether wonderful.  My Grade 10 Science teacher in particular was one of my victims.  He had gone out of his way to be kind to me and help me.  Another was a Catholic politician, now retired, who received an aggressive and vituperative letter from me.  I cringe to recall it, but am happy to say that in later years we held each other in high regard.

At 17, I was a mess.

Thankfully, a girlfriend, seeing the trouble I was in, spent some time with me and told me that Jesus Christ defeated evil on the Cross.

Of course!  Now I got it!  There was my answer!  I made the commitment to Jesus and claimed His victory and power over my life.

The first result was the evil presence left.  I was no longer troubled or tormented by it.

As a new Christian, at 17, I was eager to see what God would do for me.  I very quickly grew to love prayer and study of the Bible.

As for the transformation, it wasn't a sudden thing (although there were, at times, dramatic divine interventions) but rather, something that happened gradually over time.  Looking back, I can see that Jesus brought about my healing and transformation through significant men in my life.  That is hardly to be wondered at.  And yet, it has been wonderful.

Not long after my initial conversion I met my husband.  Yes, at 17!  I started treating myself with respect.  I started wanting to be pleasing to this man.  I changed the way I looked and dressed and began to be more aware of my speech patterns.

At 19, I met a Catholic priest, our university chaplain, who wasted no time getting me to read good spiritual books and become actively involved in apostolic works.  My intellect was being transormed; my energy was being used to help others.  

How does one stop being a hateful, spiteful person and become a sensitive, kind and loving person?  The Catechism gave me the answer:  Acts of love increase love in the soul.

At the age of 23, another man, an elderly genius, entered my life, the first of my best friends as an adult.  (He passed away in 2000.)  He saw through the rough exterior to the diamond underneath.  He gently but firmly rebuked me for some of my attitudes.  He encouraged me to channel my critical tendency to worthy causes.  He taught me to write well.  He gave me more excellent books to read.  He taught me to respond to the controversies of our time in the light of the gospel.  But I still had that self-righteous chip on my shoulder which was reflected in the tone of indignation that characterized much of my writing in those days.

At the age of 25, another elderly gent entered my life, a retired Principal, a widower. (He passed away in 1999.)   He too was a Catholic, a man of prayer and a controversialist.  He too supplied me with excellent books.  But he was lonely.  He needed the balm of friendship on a more personal level.  By now I was seeing and understanding in ways I never did before.  Love was calling me, challenging me, drawing from me and transforming me.

In my early 30s I met another Catholic priest who wasted no time in applying himself to the salvation of my soul.  By that time, I was proud to be a woman.  I was a woman who wanted to be a woman.  The chip was off my shoulder.  My attitude toward men was not longer there.

I thought I was feminine in my dress.  Well, in a pointed manner this gentleman conveyed his opinion that I looked like a ****.  I was mortified.  My clothes were clingy, my skirt had a slit.  I raised the standard of modesty in my attire as of that moment.

When I told him one day about my treatment at the hands of a certain prominent doctor he told me I had committed a mortal sin for disclosing someone else's seriously sinful behaviour.  To disclose another's serious sin is tantamount to social murder.  I was so full of thinking of myself as a victim that I was totally failing to see the evil of my own actions in the way I chose to respond.

That priest has been part of my journey now for 16 years and is my current employer.  Nowadays we hold each other in high esteem and have a happy working relationship.

Ten years ago when I was 39 going on 40 and nursing my third child he rolled up one day and asked me to teach Latin.  "Teach Latin?"  I exclaimed.  "I don't even know Latin!"  I wanted to be a stay at home mum.  I wanted a l;arge family.  But God was calling me to a different aspiration.  "What better way to learn Latin than to teach it?"  was his reply.  He promptly arranged childcare and I went back to teaching.

After my fourth child was born both my husband and Father expressed the wish that I take on a primary school class, at least part-time.  It all worked out just fine.  But my desperately homesick husband was wanting to move back to Australia but had received no job offers. 

One night, while we were marking work together an inspiration came to me like a gentle, gentle breeze that said my husband was not going to get an offer until I applied for full-time work as well.

So I wrote to the Principal in Australia expressing my thoughts about it from the heart, my misgivings about working full-time with young toddlers, and could he please advise me as to what I should do?  Six days later he phoned me and said, "There are full-time jobs here for both you and your husband.  When can you start?"

The reason I've gone into the employment history is as follows.  We teach in a traditional Catholic school.  We are very strict.  Our worship is largely in Latin.  Our standards are very high in every respect.  As a teacher in this school I have a moral responsibility to embody all these values.

Above all, at our school, we are concerned with forming Jesus christ in the souls of the children.  We are conscious of the virtues.  We pray often.  We show respect and we respect ourselves.  In my first story in this group I wrote about what I think it means to be a lady.  In this story, I want to say that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, loves each one of us personally and wants to enter our souls and transform them into the image of God so that we can enjoy Him for all eternity.

The Gospels have several amazing stories of encounters of women with Jesus Christ.  My favourite is the encounter of Jesus with the woman at the well in Sychar.  This woman had come to draw water at a different time to the other women.  She was an outcast.  Her problem was men.  Who knows why?  Suffice it to say that up until her meeting with Jesus she had not yet found the intimacy she was longing for.

Jesus knew that.  He knew everything about her.  He was not wanting to judge or criticize her.  He was on her side, loving her.  He just wanted to fill her heart.

He began His conversation with where she was at.  With water.  "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you 'living' water."  She knew exactly what He was offering.  Not demanding or imposing, but offering, the perfect Gentleman, the Poet.  He was offering to heal her heart.  To heal it with the truth that liberates, with grace, with doctrine, with divine fellowship.

This Samaritan woman spoke to Jesus with respect, addressing Him as "Sir."  She knew she was a sinner.  She knew that He knew that.  She knew that she was a victim.  She knew she needed a Saviour.  She was humble, and God loves a humble heart.

In the whole of the Gospels there are only two unlovely, unladylike women.  They are the ones who asked for the head of John the Baptist on a plate.  They were obstinate in sin, callous, vain wretches.  Jesus knew them and loved them too.  But their hearts were not humble and needy like that of the woman at the well.  Jesus refrained from direct communication with them.  Instead, He sent them a prophet.  They did not like what the prophet was saying and had him murdered.

If God had  not sent into my life a series of excellent men I might have ended up like those two women - a man murderer.

 I thank God for all  the wonderful, Christian men God has sent me, including the latest one, my new best friend.  Little did I realize, at the age of 49, how much healing was yet to be done in my heart.  My life has undergone a wonderful transformation up until now, and is still in the process of being transformed.  Such is the continuing power of love.  Ad majorem Dei gloriam.
perseverer perseverer
56-60, F
7 Responses May 26, 2010

Thank you for this revealing story."Acts of love increase love in the soul." I really like that. Very good spiritual and practical advice. Reminds me of your countrywoman Bettina Arndt's controversial advice : "Just do it" for the wives who withhold themselves from their husbands because they're not "feeling it" beforehand. Are you familiar with all that?<br />
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"he told me I had committed a mortal sin for disclosing someone else's seriously sinful behaviour." I'm not familiar with this idea. I don't think it's a viable rule for conduct at all, and I don't see it as Biblical. We do well to pass over other people's less serious shortcomings, but there has to be accountability for grievous wrongs, and people have to be able to talk to others about the wounds they have suffered rather than bottling it all up.<br />
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"Detraction or backbiting is a sin which consists in making known another's sins and defects without sufficient reason" seems like a good formulation to me. Part of my burden is opposing evils of the day, including anti-Christian political leftism, misandristic feminism, radical Islam,and false teaching within church circles. You simply can't do that without talking about other people's transgressions, and I don't feel guilty about so doing. It is good to remember one must guard against excesses, however.<br />
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I have also had good completely platonic relationships with Christians of the opposite sex. Right now it's mostly with women a lot older than me, really not anything anybody in their right mind should regard with suspicion.

Thank you for your careful reading of this story and your thoughtful comment.

One of the times I went to Confession, and confessed a sin of detraction, the priest asked me whether the common good had required the divulging of the information. In other words, it is not a sin per se, but only if done without sufficient cause. Obviously some people are dangerous and potential victims have the right to be warned about them.

What IS sinful, though, is to destroy someone's reputation irreparably when they might be sorry for their actions and trying to make amends. It is wrong to be unforgiving and to brand someone in such a way that they can never recover from their mistakes. This is a concept largely lost in today's society. It is discussed between the sisters Jane and Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice in relation to their finding out about the true character of Mr Wickham. Lizzie consults Jane about whether or not they should let their general acquaintance know, and Jane's error of judgment was to advise against it on the grounds that perhaps he is trying to recover from his fault and it would be cruel to expose him. It is their own sister, Lidia, who is Wickham's next victim.

Here are some Biblical quotes about the evils of the tongue:

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless. (Romans 1:29-32)

"... and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. (1 Timothy 5:12-13)

"Whoever belittles his neighbour lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered." (Proverbs 11:12-13)

"A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends." (Proverbs 16:28)

"A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body." (Proverbs 18:7-8)

Thank you for reading this, newman1941, and for sharing your own testimony. He is the potter and we are the clay. He moulds us and fashions us into the image of Jesus His Son. And may His holy name be praised!

Thank you for your kind interest.

Amazing story,well written and so full of information.<br />
I had had to read it twice to to take in everything you have written. Thank you for sharing.

AS per usual another lovely comment from you, dear friend. Thank you for discerning such an important theme in this piece. But it is not so much that I allowed these men into my life as that God put them there and challenged me to see His goodness in it.

I love the way you are so honest in accounting everything in your stories. It's often easier for folks to make light of their shortcomings. I admire you for that. I also admire you for having a heart large enough to continue to growing. It is impressive that you could trust men at all, let alone allow one to be a personal teacher. In fact, I think it says something that you allowed many teachers into your life. Also had to laugh when you wrote that teaching something is the best way to learn something. Very true.

Thankyou Southern Plains and Crafted both for your comments. Crafted, I appreciate your closing thought, "What can be better than anticipating more goodness to come." In times of tragedy and stress that can be difficult to see, and yet God loves us and cares for us beyond description, I am convinced of that. He truly is our best Friend.