ten weeks of tuesdays: where I bend the rules and write about Jesus Feminist

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.

Jesus-Feminist-Cover-copy

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.

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Ten Weeks of Tuesdays: Hope Not Wasted.

It was inevitable, really. If you’ve been anywhere near me, or even if you’re my friend on Facebook (which most of you are), you’ve  gotten an earful about Derek Webb since I went to his concert last weekend.  Sorry about that. Except not really. His was one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a while.  But that’s what I expect from D-dubs.  So, obviously, I’ve had his stuff on repeat for the last week-ish.

“It’s hard to keep from giving up

It’s easier to just close up your heart.” 

Last week, I wrote this post about not running away.  I was a little dissatisfied with myself, because one of my biggest struggles these last few months has been what now?  How do I go back to being a part of Christian culture without buying into the stuff that just. isn’t. true? How can I integrate what I’ve learned into my life?  It’s hard.  It seems a lot easier to just try to go back to the way things were or to walk away entirely.

It’s hard to trust in anyone

It’s easier to just fold up your arms. 

Preach, Derek.  I think this has been my response of choice.  You know what I’m talking about?  I’ll be here, but I won’t like it. I’ll participate, but I won’t really.  I’ll show up, but I won’t volunteer any details about myself. I’ll protest with my indifference. I’ll withhold myself from you and you won’t even know what you’re missing. It’s hard to open yourself up again, especially if it was Christians that hurt you the most. I get it. I really do.

It’s hard to keep on showing up

It’s easier to run away from home.

I love extreme reactions. You don’t have to know me very well to know this.  I love things. I hate things. And I decide pretty quickly which it’s going to be.  When I was right in the midst of getting my world shaken up, I tried to have discussions with other Christians, and about 1% of them turned out well.  The rest ended up being complete disasters. (Lindsey, what was that you were saying about extreme reactions?)  People didn’t know what to DO with me, so it was just easier to run away.

Even now, chances are, I’m going to be the one with the unpopular opinion, and for whatever reason, we really, really don’t like it when other Christians disagree with us.

Is the church broken? Yes. Do Christians make hhhhuuugggeee deals out of things that don’t matter? Yes. Are there things about church that annoy me? Yes.

Is this body of believers, this broken place filled with broken people my home? Yes. Yes. Yes.

I belong there.

And it’s my pride that wants to close my heart, fold my arms, and run away.  It’s my pride that wants to tell my own story rather than God’s story. It’s my pride that tells me that “going it alone” and perpetual dissatisfaction is the only way to honor the growth that God has brought in my life.  It’s my pride that says that the church is beyond the kind of restoration and insight that God, in his grace, gave to me through suffering and crisis.  It’s my pride that forgets that all of this– the last 3 years of struggling and crying and learning and growing– is grace.  I didn’t arrive here (where exactly?) because I’m super smart.  It is what God has done.  It’s all grace.

And like Derek said at his show, you can’t tell both stories.  You can’t tell the story of your own indifference, hopelessness, and pride while telling the story of God’s redemption and ultimate shalom.  You have to choose one. You have to choose what story you’re going to tell with your life. You have to choose what story you’re going to tell yourself. Especially on the days when it’s easier to close your heart, fold your arms, and run away.  Telling this story is harder, I know that.  I’m feeling it every. single day.  But it’s true.

Everything is going to change 

And nothing’s going to stay the way it is

One day you’ll wake and the curse will break

And even you won’t be the same

Your hope is not wasted on the day

When everything will change.*

*Everything Will Change, Derek Webb

P.S. Check back tomorrow for my first giveaway! 

Ten Weeks of Tuesdays: Instrument of Peace

I have to start by saying that I found out today that I’m a part of the launch team for a Jenny & Tyler covers EP that’s coming out in November. I’m super excited because a) I LOVE J&T (but you knew that already) and b) because 100% of the money they make on this album goes straight to fight human trafficking and c) because it means that I got early access to the album.  So, check back for more info on the album in the next few weeks.

Anyway, Ellie and I were dancing around to a certain U2 song included on the album and she kept grabbing my face and kissing me.  It was awesome.  Not only because baby kisses are the greatest, but also because I usually have to beg, beg, beg for them….and that really has nothing to do with the short post that follows. I just couldn’t help myself.

I repeatedly notice this tendency in myself to run away from things that make me feel uncomfortable. Just human nature, I guess, but when I don’t like a situation, I usually just leave… That’s not entirely true. I usually mock on my way out.

I don’t think college helped this tendency at all.  Every semester, things changed. I loved that. I loved that if I hated something, an escape was just a few months away. At all times. During the last few months that we were at Trinity, I started to ache for consistency. The temporary-ness of life was wearing on me. I had gotten to the point where every 3-4 months, I was experiencing significant life changes, and it was exhausting.  I dreamed of the day when I would know, with reasonable certainty, where we’d be living, working, etc. for longer than a few moths.

And now we’re getting there.  And it’s terrifying. It feels like suffocation.

And I realized why. It’s because I’m not going to be able to push the eject button. I’m not going to be able to just run away from a situation if I don’t like it. I’m going to have to stick it out. pray it out. live it out.

And if I can be honest, my attitude is going to have to change. A lot. I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit while I was listening to this song on the way home from church the other day.

“All that we do without love
It means nothing
Grant us the courage to give
As You’re calling

Make me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light and
May Your love cause us to open up
Cause us to open up our hearts
May Your light cause us to shine so bright
That we bring hope into the dark”*

The first half of the chorus of that song is from the Prayer of St. Francis.  His prayer continues:

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Oh, friends. I don’t think this is something I can do in my own strength. I don’t think this is something that can come from a heart of pride.  Friends, I think only a broken person can live like this.  Only a broken person living in the strength of the one who was broken first.

*Open Up, The Brilliance

Mourning into Dancing: a late night reflection

I used to think sleeping through the night was most important. And my body’s tired and the floor is cold and my space in bed is empty and I would love a full night’s sleep. But I have already forgotten my feet and my arms are full.
And it’s longer tonight because she’s not just hungry, she can’t sleep. And I know how that is. I know what it is to have thoughts swirling and days replaying and I know all about please-just-stay-a-little-longer.

So I bend my head over hers and I close my eyes and pray for peace while her wide eyes search corners of the room, fighting sleep. I stand up again and start to sway and her thumb finds her mouth and those blue eyes look up at me.
From beneath heavy lids, those eyes look up at someone who almost bought the lie that babies are something you get after a diploma and a wedding and a job and a mortgage. And those eyes belong to a person. Not to an item on a checklist. And this person sees me. And it’s good enough, so she sighs and lays her head on my chest. My arms are full of her.

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And her eyes close and mine wander. And I see pictures of the days when I could measure head to toe on the length of my arm. When downy fuzz still coated chubby cheeks and when naptime meant an hour of couch cuddling bookended by more cuddling. And now she moves too fast and there’s so much to explore that these late night  minutes are the stillest we have.
And her breaths are deep and warm and her free hand pats my side. And I don’t care about jobs or degrees or titles. I don’t care what people think stay-at-home-mom means. I am living what it means. And it is full and it is rich and it is hard and it is beautiful. And gratitude rises in my heart and the tears fill my eyes.
The Lord has given me what I didn’t know I wanted. What I couldn’t have thought to ask for. He tenderly tore me from my dreams to give me his. He turned my wailing into dancing; he removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing his praise and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forevermore. (Ps. 30:11-12)

Broken and Grateful

This post is the first in a ten week series called Ten Weeks of Tuesdays If you’re participating, share a link to your post in the comments. 

I recently bought one of those mirror things you mount in your backseat so that you can see your sweet baby’s face in your rearview mirror while you’re driving.  And today, I was driving and thinking. And obviously listening to music.  At a stoplight, my eyes wandered to that rearview mirror and misted over.

“I can’t help but reflect on what it was I almost lost
What it was I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and grateful”*

I almost feel like I don’t even need to add any more to this post.  Anyone who has read more than one of my blog posts probably knows what happened to me after I finished college. What happened to my dreams and my plans for myself. And I bet some of you are ready to shut off your computer and say, “just get over it.”

But I tried to.

I can’t.

And I don’t want to.

I don’t ever want to forget how I made what was supposed to be service and obedience and mission an idol to my pride.

I don’t want to forget how it hurt to have that deep love for and devotion to something other than Jesus ripped from my heart.

I don’t want to forget how dark it was when my eyes were focused on my pride, and how bright Jesus was when he finally, finally revealed himself.

I always want to remember how, right there, in the middle of my pride and confusion and sadness. Right while I was struggling and crying and praying, Jesus finally answered. When the time was ripe. Just how he wanted to.

I want to remember that it wasn’t in line with my plan.

It didn’t make financial sense, success-oriented life sense, human sense. But it was just what Jesus wanted.

I don’t ever want to forget the joy of living in the good of God’s great gifts. How he heals, protects, provides, and strengthens, even when we have no. idea. where we are going.

I don’t ever want to forget how he turned my wailing into dancing.

I don’t ever want to forget the way that He taught me. So gently, so patiently, so faithfully. That he is good and he is holy and he is enough.

I’m not talking about living in the past. I’m talking about living in the fullness of the faithfulness of God. Every time I look at my daughter, I’m reminded of God’s grace, his faithful discipline, and his great love.  I don’t ever want to slip into thinking that this is commonplace, that I somehow deserved this.

We talk a lot about how God can heal our brokenness. But there are at least a few places in the Bible where things were broken for good. Jesus’ body, for one example.

I don’t want to be afraid of living broken.

“I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful”*

*what I thought I wanted, Sara Groves

FYI (if you’re the Hall boys’ mom)

Dear Kim,

I have some information that might interest you.  Your post (FYI: If You’re a Teenage Girl) broke my heart. Because I can’t help but imagine the way that the shaming words you wrote pierced the hearts of the girls you wrote them to.  And I know how they felt because I felt that, too. I grew up in a church that used shame to get girls to dress, act, and think the way that girls are supposed to. And so, I feel like I have to tell you something that I wish as a woman you already knew: Shame doesn’t make women whole.

I also feel like I have to let you know that I think I agree with you on a lot of things: I don’t want my daughter posting pictures like that of herself on social media one day.  I think it’s wonderful that you encourage an open dialogue with your sons about their use of social media and that you encourage them to be wise.

I just think your post could have been so much better.  I think that instead of shaming these women (because if you’re going to call your boys men, let’s call these girls women) in hopes of changing their behavior, you could have talked to them about their value.  Instead of warning them that they won’t be “good enough” for your sons,  you could have helped them think about the kind of women they want to be.  Instead of threatening to block them from being your son’s friends, you could ask them to coffee.  And instead of writing your post with an air of condescension, you could have been careful to ensure that you communicated love and concern.

I love that you asked questions, but your post doesn’t offer these women a safe place to answer them, all it offers is shame. Shame that they posted the pictures, shame that your whole family saw them, shame that you have decided they are no longer worthy to be your children’s friends. If you want to block them from your sons’ social media, that’s definitely your prerogative as a parent (and possibly wisdom), but it’s not the reason that what they’re doing is not what’s best for them.

And I guess that’s what I wanted to say to you the most.  The primary offense here is not against you. Or your sons. Or your family social media surfing time. It’s against God and against his image in another person.  Your words are so clouded by your offense that they don’t offer much healing, even though it seems like you honestly meant them to at the end of your post.

Kim, I don’t mean to attack you– I just see this as evidence of a bigger problem in the Church. We want immediate results and we want good behavior, so we do whatever we can to get those things as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, we all suffer because we are more concerned with good behavior than what a person believes.  Let’s be mothers that raise children who think carefully, honestly, and biblically about what they do and say and who see and value the image of God in themselves and other people.

the best future and abundant life

The moment we saw our sweet baby’s profile on the ultrasound, we just couldn’t wait any longer.  We’d kind of been telling people along the way anyway.  The last several weeks had been a mess of joy and worry, anxiety and exultation.  I had surprised my dearest friend over (virgin) cocktails, given a Father’s Day card to a new grandpa, blurted it out at a family gathering, and my smile had spoken the truth for me when we met some soon-to-be parents at church.  If there was one thing David and I were learning, it was that we were horrible at keeping secrets. Especially secrets that seem too good to be true.  Every time I told someone, though, my joy was tinged by a little bit of fear, a little bit of worry. A rule follower for as long as I can remember, a sneaky, tiny voice whispered in the back of my mind. You’re not supposed to tell people yet. You’ll regret this. You should wait as long as possible.

Because if there’s one thing the devil would like, it’s for us to sit quietly in a closet and hide our joy away where no one else can see what awesome things God is doing in our lives. If there’s one thing that will make us just like the rest of everyone else, it’s that we are afraid to share our joy because it might not last forever. If he could have his wish, we’d be spending what should be exultant days of thanksgiving and celebration with our community crying behind our locked office doors wondering if this baby “counts” yet.  We’d be fighting to learn to trust alone because we’re isolated in our joy so that we’ll be insulated in our sorrow.

I’m not just talking about having babies, people.

I’m talking about everything in our lives that we don’t tell because we’re afraid. Afraid that our joy might cause someone else sorrow, afraid that letting other people in might make life a little bit messier. We do this with joys and with sorrows.  When we have the chance to come to our communities with blessing and brokenness, why do we choose to keep to ourselves?  Why do we choose to hide from the people in our lives when we could share with them?  Do we really love neatness more than we love togetherness?  Would we really rather carry our heads high than carry one another’s hearts?

The tail end of a verse in Romans has stuck with me since I read it over 2 years ago, riding a Metra train home from a job interview. Paul is talking about food sacrificed to idols, warning his readers about sin, and he says “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” That means if my decisions about what I share and what I keep close come from my fear that things won’t turn out how I want, from the desire to have a tidy life, from the anxiety that other Christians will accuse me of “over-sharing,” I’m sinning.  In a sermon about this passage, John Piper says,

“Faith rests in God to shape the best future for us.”

Maybe your decision to keep your pregnancy, illness, job situation, marital discord, new ambition, exciting news comes from a belief that as God shapes the best future for you, he asks you to be quiet.  That’s between you and the Lord, and I’m not suggesting that this is always the way it has to be.  What I am suggesting is that we are missing out on so much of what Jesus intended for us to experience as Christians because our fear that God isn’t really shaping the best future for us–or for the people we care about– cripples us into silence.

But trusting…

Trusting that God is at work now and will be at work tomorrow and next week and six months from now, inviting people into our lives to rejoice with us in each gift he gives on the day that he gives it,  to mourn with us each sorrow we bear on the days he asks us to bear them, choosing the messy life, the I-can’t-promise-this-will-be-a-happy-story life– I think this might be the kind of life Jesus intended for us when he talked about the “abundant life.”

I think he might have been thinking of a sister who starts a blog so that she doesn’t miss a millimeter of spiritual growth, so that she can give glory to God in the midst of cancer, so she can learn how to suffer, so she can teach people how to suffer.  Of people who honestly answer the question “How are you?” instead of offering platitudes.  I think he might have had in mind parents who carry their sweet baby girl to her delivery day and immediately release her into the arms of Jesus, then give him glory by praising him for his care of their little girl, by telling people how he cares for them, heals them.  I think he rejoices every time someone is honest about their doubts, every time another one of his children chooses to enter into the suffering and celebration of another wholeheartedly. I think he might smile when a husband and wife are so eager to share his goodness with their community that they announce their pregnancy 3 weeks in, not because they’re careless, but because they’re careful, because they have chosen to celebrate and mourn in community.

These people change our lives because they believe that God is shaping the best future, even though they cannot yet see it, and because they believe that he has given us community for blessing and for burden.  They rejoice where we can see, they suffer where we can see, and their lives invite us to join them in  a life that’s not afraid of what might come tomorrow.  A life where joys aren’t tainted by fears of future sorrows, but where hope grows from the soil of God’s promise that he is doing what is best for us. Today. Now. In the blessing and the burden.

Lovely Because He Loves Us.

The air conditioner hums and I kiss my daughter on the cheek, the sour scratch of lemonade still fresh at the back of my throat. A fleeting memory blows through my mind like the breeze does on hot, humid summer days and I reach for my daughter’s story Bible, chasing it.  I open pages to bright pictures of mountains and of birds, of smiling Adam and Eve, of curly blue-green ocean waves.  I read the words out loud, but I’m really reading to myself.

“God saw all that he had made and he loved them. And they were lovely because he loved them.”

Oh, how those words quench my thirsty soul like that sour lemonade. I read on.

“And when God saw them he was like a new dad. ‘You look like me,’ he said. ‘You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made!”    God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because he loved them.”

And my voice breaks and a tear slips down my cheek. Lovely. Lovely because he loves us.

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Today I have looked at my sweet daughter and I have thought about the stab of harsh words and mean looks. I have remembered the cold sweaty feeling you get from overhearing mean girls whisper and stare. I have thought about how to prepare my daughter for this ugly part of being a woman. 

Today I have talked with my mother about why people argue and fight so much about little things like wearing bikinis, pretending like Jesus cared about things that don’t really matter and ignoring things that do.  About why we choose to hold onto our soapboxes instead of holding onto one another’s hearts.

Into all of this slip the sweet words of my daughter’s little story Bible. “They were lovely because he loved them.” Not because the mean girls accepted them. Not because they believed all the right things and refused to talk to anyone who didn’t. Not because they chose a hill to die on regardless of how many bodies fell around them.

Because. he. loved. them.

This is what I hope to share with my daughter. This is what I hope to learn myself. That I am lovely because he loves me. That they are lovely because he loves them. No meanness can take that away. No rejection. No inclusion. No stubborn stomping on a soapbox makes me more lovely or makes others less lovely. There’s no room for pride when my loveliness is a gift. No room for sulking because I haven’t been included.

This is grace. We don’t deserve it and we cannot earn it. It made us lovely when we were not. And it changes everything.

On Moving.

How do you prepare your heart for a move? When echoes bounce off bare walls and brown boxes take the place of table and chairs, when the packing tape roll runs thin and the long-settled dust gets caught up in the air like dandelion seeds on a summer afternoon.

How do you secure your heart against the rising doubts while you secure the four corners of each brown box? How do you roll off a length of tape and gently smooth your hand over it, not knowing where or when you will remove it?

What are you supposed to feel when you tuck that box of chamomile, 3 months from expiring, between the grinder and the coffee canister and breathe a prayer that it doesn’t go to waste? Not for the tea’s sake, but for yours.

How do you walk out those glass doors that once opened, now slowly closing on people and a place that you love? How do you remain faithful when your place is so changeable? How do you anticipate when your way is so darkened? How do you hope when disappointment has marked your heart the way you marked each brown box?

What do you do when the to do list seems so long and the laundry has piled, when every day the phone doesn’t ring is another day waiting? What do you believe when you can’t believe that everything will always be alright? How do you hope when you cannot see your way? How do you get excited when you know that you might be on the verge of the hardest thing you have ever done?

When the move is exciting, we can hope in the destination. When the destination is unknown, where do we hope? And how do we hope? When the searing memories from the last time still burn deep? When we know that he is always faithful, but sometimes life is still very painful?

I sit down and lean my head back slow. And the peace washes over me like the slow morning waves would. Be still. And know. And there in the quiet, those familiar words come join the questions swirling in my head. Not loudly but quiet. It is a whisper I hear as I sit.

Lord, you have always marked 
the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden,
today I believe. 
 
Lord, you have always spoken
when the time was ripe;
and though you be silent now, 
today I believe. 
 

And I breathe in and I breathe out. I close my eyes on boxes and tape and dust bunnies playing there on the floor. And I hope, not in the destination or in a promise of future happiness. Not in an occupation or in a new place to unload our belongings, paint walls, and hang curtains. I hope in the one who has always marked and has always spoken. And my mouth forms the words that my heart is still learning, “today I believe.”

…Girls will be Garbage

087She sits on my sofa, the tears running down her face.  “I don’t know if there’s a place for me.” and my heart breaks. As I look into the eyes of my sweet, crying sister, my heart breaks.   In the family of God, my sister doesn’t see a place for herself– because she is a woman.  An ache all too familiar rises up within me, crashes and spills over my heart as well.

My sister isn’t alone. The idea that her relationship with God is somehow less-than because she is a woman, the idea that she should sit down and shut up and just quietly observe– she didn’t come up with these ideas.  Someone taught them to her. Someone taught them to all of us.

Someone read the Bible and didn’t understand how to interpret what Paul meant and what Jesus was saying. Someone decided it was too much work to figure out how women can submit and not be subservient, to teach us how to honor and respect a woman’s thoughts as well as her body.  Someone took the easy way out, and when they did, they made womanhood a burden, not a joy. A pesky trait that means you can’t do this and you can’t do that and that you’d better watch how you dress so that you don’t make people stumble.

I have no words of wisdom, no comfort for my sister. I only have tears, and a hoarse, barely audible whisper, “I feel it, too.”

And then, one morning last week, along with my cup of coffee, I read these words:

 “When the prevailing thinking is boys will be boys — girls will be garbage.

And that is never the heart of God.

That’s what you have to get…the heart of God for the daughters of His heart.”

Because, for my sister and me, it’s not really about who gets to stand in pulpits, it’s about what the Church has taught us about the heart of God.  Ann Voskamp shares some much needed thoughts on this.  Please, please, please read the rest of her post here.