My daughter’s small voice swelled as it rose above those around her in worship last Sunday.

I watched as she poured her whole self into the effort, an experience that consumed all of her — mind, body, and spirit.

It wasn’t perfectly tuned, perfectly aligned to the beat, or perfectly pitched – and yet it was a joyful noise from her heart, and it was beautiful to behold.

The general state of womanhood has been weighing heavy on my heart of late, and my mind returned repeatedly to that memory of my daughter this week.

When did I, my friends, and most women I know first lose that uninhibited joy to simply spill out our hearts without fear that our song, our dance, our worship isn’t good enough to share?

When did we start refusing to participate, citing voices that can’t hold a tune, feet that can’t hold a beat, brains that can’t figure out the notes?

When did we start the quiet comparisons and decide that we can and should only share those things we claim as a gifting, those things that we are particularly good at?

And this isn’t just about raising our voice in song – this sweeps into every area of our lives. We demur to jump in pools, to speak before groups, to do those things that might reveal imperfection or weakness, whether physical, mental or simply imagined.

We hide those things we deem less than perfect.  

The question bouncing around inside my head this week is, “What would life look like if we stopped hiding?”

What would it look like if every woman stopped declining and, instead, jumped into the fray of life with fearlessness, laughter, and a sparkle in her eye?

What would happen if every woman set aside her insecurities, stopped hiding, and embraced opportunities and adventures with both hands – without concern about how her skills stack up against those around her?

What would it look like, feel like, and sound like if every woman raised her voice in worship as my daughter did, rather than faintly whispering in her pew?

I wonder what that joyful noise would feel like in the hearts participating, and I wonder what that joyful noise would look like to those passing by, and I wonder if that isn’t how God intended us to be – fearless, joyful, noise makers.

1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!

2 Serve the Lord with gladness;

Come before His presence with singing.

3 Know that the Lord, He is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

5 For the Lord is good;

His mercy is everlasting,

And His truth endures to all generations.

– Psalm 100

Lord, help us to be brave enough to be whole women. Help us to no longer hide those pieces of ourselves we deem to be imperfect, ugly, or unworthy. And, Lord, may our daughters grow into women who’ve never learned to hide in the first place. Amen.