From my driver’s seat, I could see every face in the car—my mom to my right, nana in the back passenger seat, my sister-in-law Katelynn directly behind me, and my sister Jess in the very back, centered in my rearview mirror. Our womenfolk weekend in Tahlequah was full of laughter, reflection and amazing food! From long drives down roads on the brink of autumn to dining on rooftops overlooking small town charm, our time together was both encouraging and refreshing.

On our trip, I began to look at these amazing women around me and think of their high caliber of faith and courage. What separates the women from the girls when it comes to living out their faith? I concluded there are at least two key things.

First, humility separates the women from the girls. Any girl can pout, throw a fit, manipulate or grow bitter when she doesn’t get her way. It takes a true woman of God to allow herself to submit to truth and sacrifice (James 4:7). This form of womanly humility derives from a confidence and value found in God alone—from this foundation builds an unshakeable identity (Gen. 1:27).

Womanly humility adopts the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a servant (Phil. 2:5-8).

A girl will reveal her pride through her 1) inability to trust God’s plan; 2) absorption in building her own kingdom; and 3) blindness to her entitlement. Humility in a woman of God looks like 1) trust in God’s sovereignty (1 Chron. 29:11-12); 2) hope in the eternal Kingdom (Phil. 3:20); and 3) confidence in her identity (Eph. 3:12). Humility is what separates the women from the girls.

Second, compassion too separates the women from the girls. Compassion is more than simple concern or fleeting sympathy. This level of womanly compassion is knelt low enough to hear and see others’ struggles, pursue healing on their behalf and draw them to a deeper hope.

Womanly compassion is aware of the needs around her. She courageously and intentionally pursues the well-being of her home, church, city, country and the nations (Jer. 29:7).

Strangers are welcome at her table. The lonely are treated like family. The lost are brought home. The hopeless are met with a caring hug. The abused are safe to heal near her.

A girl will reveal her flawed sense of compassion through her 1) idolization for praise and recognition; 2) formation of excuses not to love others well; and 3) pursuit of helping others apart from God’s strength.

Compassion in a woman of God looks like 1) a bold pursuit of the healing for all God’s children (1 Pet. 2:24); 2) thoughtful use of her gifts and resources (Prov. 31:10-31); and 3) wisdom founded in her understanding of God’s perfect love for her (1 John 4:7-8).

I have known many amazing women in my short 25 years—grandmas, aunts, sisters, my mom, bosses, coworkers, friends and mentors. Their humility and compassion have always set them apart. To them, I want to say thank you.

Thank you for sharing your personal sacrifices, hurts and burdens that have rounded you into the warrior you are today. Thank you for speaking life into this foolish girl’s flawed, yet fervent pursuit of holiness. Thank you for knowing theology and for wielding the Word of God powerfully. Thank you for buying me coffee on a hard day. Thank you for showing me and other girls what a real woman looks like.