If I could choose two words to describe the history and intended beauty of a woman, they would be: naked and unashamed. Transport yourself with me, back to the time the world was created. The birth of the heavens and the earth. Mist watered the face of the ground as the Lord planned the Garden of Eden. He caused trees to grow, rivers to run, and formed man to tend to it. God saw that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). But He didn’t make woman right away. Between verses 18 and 21 in the second chapter of Genesis, God made the animals and brought them to man. “But no suitable helper was found.” Then the Lord made woman. A suitable helper. “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). Few women today are able to live naked and without shame; a struggle I am all too familiar with. No, I’m not suggesting physical nudity; although there is a time and a place, a.k.a. with your husband. I’m talking about the freedom that comes from being known. Recognizing the beauty in our femininity—flaws and all—and growing, living, and thriving entirely free from fear or shame. Just as the enemy deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, he whispers lies to women today, causing us to question our value and provoking physical, emotional, and spiritual insecurities. The best combatant for a lie is the truth, so I’d like to share three simple truths I’ve realized for living naked and unashamed. 1. You are powerful. God created us with amazing capacities for good. As women, we are fashioned suitable for incredible works. To be helpmates, mothers, friends, leaders, professionals, trend-setters, and creators. Woman was crafted by the hand of God as suitable. She didn’t have to learn or change, revise, or beta test. Her suitability didn’t require a higher education, a plastic surgeon, a corner office, or home economics class. From construction, God endowed women with the power to do good. Just by being a woman, you have power. Strength to nurture. Complexity to relate and foster emotional connections, to share and understand. You are beautiful, strong, and courageous in your femininity—all according to God’s design. It’s a dangerous thing to devalue what God has created, and that includes you! 2. You have nothing to hide. The first consequence of the fall was shame. Embarrassed at her nakedness, Eve covered up and hid. Suddenly her level of exposure was uncomfortable not because God had changed, or her circumstances had changed, but because the awareness of her own sin changed. Eve looked at herself and thought, “Oh no, this will not do,” and her knowledge got in the way of her communion with God. Do you let knowledge of your sin prevent you from connecting with the Father? By the blood of Jesus we are washed clean. Forgiven. But still, that crafty serpent encourages shame. I can relate to Eve’s felt need to cover up. There are moments when I realize the depravity of my sin. How can I possibly lead? What do I have to contribute? I can’t go like this. And shame doesn’t stop with sin. It spreads to areas of weakness, flaws, or imperfections. Women everywhere shame themselves through comparison and unattainable ideals. No one’s life looks like Pinterest. We all experience moments of hardship when we need a shoulder to cry on or a trusted friend not to judge our messy home. 3. God’s redemption covers all of you. When God redeems our lives and calls us into salvation, the whole of who we are is redeemed. Our past, our present, and our future. My mistakes once testified of my guilt. And guilt leads to shame. Growing up in the church, I was terrified to admit to my sins. Prevented from receiving prayer out of the fear that someone might see me. And what would they think?! I couldn’t work out my salvation because I was too busy working on my salvation—tweaking a makeshift covering of fig leaves so no one could see the real me. Glory to God, I am no longer trapped in religious indignation. My flaws, faults, and shortcomings are powerful parts of my testimony. What the enemy intended for harm, God uses for good. For my good and for the good of those I share it with. Part of living naked and unashamed is allowing God to use our testimonies to bring others closer to Him. Testifying of His wonderful redemption for their encouragement, comfort, and repentance that others may receive the same. Have you allowed God’s redemption to vindicate all of you, or are there areas you keep from Him? Are you willing to share any area of your testimony for His glory? God created us to be naked and unashamed. Fully exposed and safe in His presence. I’m not suggesting that we play show and tell with our deepest secrets, but that we can live genuine, authentic lives. Without farce or put-ons. Owning our struggles and areas of growth just as much as we appreciate our strengths. Imagine what our world, our families, and our daily lives would look like if we boldly lived naked and without shame. Confident in who we are in Christ and in who He has called us to be. Powerful, glorious Woman, you are beautiful and you deserve to live unashamed.