I feel like I should apologize for missing the last two “Ten Weeks of Tuesdays.” So, I’m sorry. I hope this monstrosity of a post that I’m scared to push “publish” on will make up for it. It’s based on a book, rather than a song, but I make the rules and I say that’s okay. I welcome your comments; I just ask that they be made in love, with humility, and prayer.
Apparently bringing Jesus Feminist with me to Starbucks for an hour or two of coffee and reading was a big mistake. When my dad offered to watch my sweet baby for the afternoon, I jumped at the chance to be alone and to read and to write. But now the lump at the back of my throat almost can’t be swallowed, and I’m sniffing so much people probably think I’m all kinds of sick. I’m just inches away from the mother of all ugly cries. This book is wrecking me, people.
Her stories of loving Jesus and loving people and what really matters are breaking my heart.
And then Jesus is making it whole again.
Because, you see, I grew up in a world where girls are princesses and life is an exciting adventure story and marriage is what rescues you from having to make hard choices and hang up shelves. Because you’re the woman and that’s how it is. Women do this and men do that. And it’s practical things and it’s spiritual things and it’s already been decided so just read your script and fall in line.
And then I got married. To a wonderful, godly man who doesn’t hang up shelves or change the oil and who wanted me to make decisions with him. And I didn’t know what to do.
And I went to a wonderful church and I wrote “Yay!” on a piece of paper to cast my vote for a woman pastor. And it was exciting.
And I decided that working would be the best use of my time and I tried to kill the dream I had to be a momma and spent my time frantically searching for a job.
And then I went to a wonderful church where a man was in charge of the women’s ministry. And where you were certain to be greeted by a “member of the leadership team and his wife” after the service. And I struggled with my place as a woman with no children and a job, but it was still exciting.
And I saw Jesus at work in both places.
And then… sweet Eliana. And all the sudden, those little obediences started to make sense. All those no’s when all I had wanted were yeses. And it was Jesus. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a woman and my place is in the home. It has everything to do with Jesus making me more like him.
And I still hear things like “It’s good you’re staying home; that’s the best thing for Eliana” and “You don’t want to go back to work, do you?” And I don’t, but it’s not because work isn’t the place for mommas. It’s because I’m obeying Jesus.
And when I hear Jesus calling me to the hard work of staying home, to the difficult obedience of laying down education and dreams and jobs, and when I hear him calling my friend to the hard work of placing her child in the care of someone else and to the difficult obedience of motherhood and a career, it doesn’t seem as simple as we would like to think it is.
And then I look at my baby and I think about what she will hear. All the lies she’ll be told about what it means to be a woman and what it means to follow Jesus.
And I think about how Jesus has given us the greatest gift of all and we still want a list of rules instead. We still read the Bible like it’s a catalog of formulaic lives we can choose from instead of a story about the one who made life worth living.
And we make the Gospel about ourselves when it has always been about Jesus.
And I think about how to be faithful to what I’m learning about loving Jesus. And I realize that I’m asking for more rules and more laws and some step-by-step suggestions and a how-to plan instead of leaning in to the one whose very name is Love.
And that’s why this book is wrecking me. Because it’s not one of those “I was just like you until I became enlightened,” angry books. But it’s not shy and it’s unapologetic. It’s a book that suggests that maybe the point isn’t who changes the tires or who gets to stand in pulpits. Jesus is the point. And the love that this author has for Jesus is in every line and on every page. Even if I don’t agree with everything she says, I see that she’s doing her best to follow Jesus, and I believe that we can agree to disagree on some things, because Jesus is bigger than all of that.
I got this book largely because I read reviews that praise Sarah Bessey for her humility and her attitude. I haven’t been disappointed. She doesn’t poke or prod or accuse. She doesn’t even try to make me believe she has it all figured out. She just challenges me to follow Jesus. And to trust that he will be there, leading in the right way.
This book is wrecking me because it doesn’t tell me what to believe. It doesn’t offer me a check list or a promise of what my life will look like. It invites me to fall in love with Jesus so that I will live, write, and think like him.
Yes, theology is important. It’s important to know truth and to spend time studying the Bible. I’m not at all suggesting that these things don’t matter. Nor am I suggesting that I’ve got this figured out, or that I’d be able to articulate my position on a lot of issues. I just feel like we spend an awful lot of time talking about checklists and facts and not much time talking about Jesus. But his name is all over this book. And that’s more renewing and refreshing than a peppermint mocha and an ugly cry on a Tuesday afternoon.
If you want to have your own ugly cry coffee fest, you can get Jesus Feminist on Amazon.