Written by Holly Madden, LeadHer Local Director. Connect with Holly on Instagram.

As a woman, the struggle of our identity is not a new issue. For generations, our gender has fought for, cried over, prayed for, and questioned the status of our worth and value. It’s no accident we as women were created with a deep desire to feel valuable because we were designed to know and to be deeply loved by God.

Too often, worth is tied to titles, roles, and accomplishments. Without much thought, some of the first questions we get as adults revolve around if/when we plan to get married, how married life is treating us, what career path we’ve chosen and how long we will stay there, when we decide to have a child, or how motherhood is the best thing we will ever do with our lives. While these roles and life changes are radically important and become integral parts of who we are, they do not define our worth.

In a season of celebrating mothers, there are so many women that become forgotten in the absence or loss of that precious title. Whether it be the painful journey of infertility, the devastating heartbreak of losing a child, the grief of women mourning prodigal children, or the women who wear the title “foster mom,” but are painfully aware that the honor of “mom” belongs to another woman. This may be a day for celebrating, or a day for grieving, but this day does not have to belong only to those with a title.

I love the story of Hannah. Her story is a sweet reminder of how God answers prayers and how God cares for the deepest desires of our heart. Hannah was favored and loved by God, yet she remained barren for years. Hannah’s story is one of prayer. She literally poured out her heart to her heavenly Father, making a vow that the baby He entrusted her with she will give back to Him. In God’s divine timing, He gives Hannah a child, and this child grows up to serve God faithfully and becomes the man to anoint David King.

But Hannah’s story is more than that of an infertile woman who prayed and was given a baby. Hannah’s story is a beautiful representation of God’s heart for women. Elkanah, Hannah’s husband was a man who faithfully worshipped and sacrificed to the Lord. Despite Hannah’s barrenness, he treated her kindly and favored her over his second wife who had bore him several sons. In the patriarchal culture of Israel, a woman’s worth was directly tied to her ability to conceive sons. If Hannah’s worth was only in her fertility, this culture believed that Hannah should have a dozen sons. But God didn’t just want to give Hannah a son. God wanted a relationship with Hannah. A relationship that would become an example to billions of women around the world that a woman’s worth is not in her marital status, her role as a mother, or the career she has chosen; a woman’s worth is in her relationship with Her Heavenly Father.

We see in this first chapter of 1 Samuel that Hannah prayed continually (v12), that she poured out her heart and soul to God (v. 15), and that Hannah found joy in God before she found out she was pregnant (v. 18). God desired a relationship with Hannah, and Hannah desired a relationship with God more than a child. Her perseverance loudly demonstrates that she pursued God with everything she had because she loved Him. 

To be a woman is to be chosen, loved, and called by God. Whether you are married, single, engaged, divorced, employed, educated, a mother, or infertile, God wants to give you more than answers to your prayers. He wants to give you a beautiful intimate connection with Himself.

Dear sister, whatever titles you wear or wish you could wear, let this serve as a reminder of who you are:

Your worth is not..

In the wedding band you wear around your finger or the absence of the marriage you thought you’d have by now. Maybe your ring hangs around your neck serving as a reminder to the love you heartbreakingly had to bury, or maybe it sits in your jewelry box because the love you thought you had fell apart. Your worth is not in your marital status.

Your worth is not…

In the child you carry in your belly, or the child with your last name but not your genetics. Your worth is not in the tears for the child in your heart but no longer in your arms, or in the child in your dreams as you hang onto hope even when every pregnancy test reads “not pregnant.” Your worth is not in arms that are full and overwhelmed, or arms that are empty.

Your worth is not…

In the multiple degrees you have, the one degree you have worked so hard for, the degree you had to sacrifice, or the degree you will never have.

Your worth is not…

In the number of zeros in your bank account or the number 0 in your bank account. Your worth is not in the size of your closet or the size of your debt.

Your worth is not…

In the books you’ve read, the sermons you’ve preached, the medals you won, or the dreams of those very things.

Your worth is not…

In the size of your jeans, the number on a scale, the acne scars on your face, the stretch marks on your skin, or the words spoken over you.

Your worth is not in…

Your friends, your family, the people you’ve touched, or the people you’ve hurt.

Your worth is not in…

The accomplishments you’ve made, the title behind your name, or the mistakes that have followed you.

You are so much more than the titles you carry, the baggage you’re still learning to let go of, the people that surround you, or the resume on your laptop computer.

You are so much more than words, more than a statistic, more than just a number or just a face.

You are so much more than your struggles or your victories.

You are you. You are created with purpose and with attention to every detail. You are gifted, talented, and called. You are known by your Creator who longs for you to know Him. And dear sister, you are loved.

Your worth is in your status as a daughter of the King.

Your worth is in the truth of the Gospel that has saved you, redeemed you, and called you to be a light in the darkness.

Your worth is in your Heavenly Father who sees you, wants you, loves you, and can’t imagine heaven without you.

When you pray, don’t give up praying for the things God has placed on your heart to pray for. But when your prayers turn into years, I challenge you to take an alternate perspective to see how your prayers are transforming your relationship with your Heavenly Father.