So, I’m sitting here with my head in my hands, my desk covered in papers and books and pens and a random hair tie and probably a sock and the lost city of Atlantis, trying to focus on just one thing as millions of thoughts race through my brain.
Oh goodness, where do I even start?
First, I suppose I should clarify that almost all of the thoughts I’m experiencing point back to one thing: the absolute love God has for me and for those around me, for those in my life, both those who know Him and continue to learn about Him, and also those who doubt He exists at all.
In the past couple of days, God has answered what seemed like huge prayers in huge ways. He’s immensely blessed me through Jacob, Hannah, Taylor, Kat, oh my word, everyone it seems. Lately God has dug around and destroyed several doubts and fears lingering on the fringes of my mind, and He’s brought me into a place where I can trust Him even more.
Now it’s Tuesday, and the smell of football season is nearly fading out of the atmosphere, even though it’s still early October. The scent of Thanksgiving and Christmas soon after that are heralding themselves, preparing to relieve bare ground and green grass of their seasonal shift. The sunlight is clean and pure, and the leaves have all abandoned their posts. Oh what a great day God has made here.
And yet, the running line beneath all of this excitement, about myriad upcoming things, is a deep struggle that seems to be popping up everywhere I look.
News from back home brings up old struggles and fears, specifically concerning feminism and patriarchy. It used to be that I had no problem fighting off these lies, the lies that women are clearly superior to men or that there are no good men in the world, mostly because God has provided me with too many good men in my life and has shown me how both men and women play important roles in His Word, in this life, in His will, all of it, for me to put any stock in them. But this news is earth-shattering, or still feels like it, and the struggle to fight the lies is heavy. And it seems like whenever I’m struggling with something, cases of the struggle start showing up everywhere.
At basketball practice, the music played as we dribble, as we drill and so on, communicates both perversion of God’s design for sexual intimacy between men and women within marriage as well as independence and distance and self-empowerment in both genders. At Zumba, the same exists, and I find myself having to just stop and wonder what this is doing to my brain, to my heart, and I realize it’s not helping. In the books we have to read for class, it’s always about the power trip men take on women, or it’s about women rising to the top over men, or it’s about a desire for equality between both but completely missing the mark and just claiming to be equality when it’s not that at all. There are several couples on campus who are open in their intimacy while standing in line for coffee, while sitting and “studying” in the Pie Shop, where I tend to park myself, both homosexual and heterosexual couples. I can’t even go to the gym without seeing things like this plastered across the screen for the world to see.
All this pushes against God’s desire for men to be leaders, to be strong in Him, to have their identity so deeply rooted in who He is that they cannot be shaken, and against His desire for women to be helpmeets, to be Adam’s completing piece, to be the support that he needs in order to lead, as God designed it. Women emasculate men and then become upset when they don’t act like men. Women climb the corporate ladder and her family and marriage suffers. But hey, she’s successful and has proven her worth, that she can do just as much as a man. Men become passive in order to maybe have the support they desire, but they are berated for then being weak. This is so insanely messed up, and the world is buying it.
I tried to communicate a concept to Bree, about a book we had to read for class, that this was yet another story of a man trying to fill the void in himself through intimacy with women, and yet, at sixty-seven years old, he’s still wandering around in the place in which he so long sought for fulfillment. And she came back with this actually being about a man’s power trip over women and being superior to the women in his life. What? Isn’t it so much deeper than that? Isn’t it not actually about women at all?
I wrote a story last year that included two small lines of a wife having a question and going to her husband to ask him what he thought. I received several critiques where people asked why she couldn’t figure it out on her own, why did she have to ask him? Well, gosh, he’s her husband, why can’t she ask him? The logic doesn’t make sense. From God’s perspective it doesn’t make sense. The arguments don’t make sense. The system is chaotic.
And I’m not meaning to communicate gloom and doom here…I’m just trying to point back to the solution. Imagine a world where God’s Word was taken seriously by the majority of humanity, where women realized their roles as being supportive and challenging and encouraging as foundational to a man, where men were built up by their women and went on to be greater and stronger and gentler and patient and more effective leaders, thus building up other men, all within the realm of God’s design for them in the first place. What would that be like? Does it really sound all that oppressive? It sounds freeing to me…
And I’m also not meaning to place all the responsibility on women. There are men who, no matter how godly a woman may be, will never become a leader, will never take responsibility or rise to the challenge of living a life running after God. But, especially as women, we have a superpower of encouragement and support and empathy and love that is unique to us. We are the crown of God’s creation, the very last thing He made, the finishing touch, the completing piece for Adam. It’s about time we started living in that, accepting our identities as God’s chosen and precious ones, His daughters who are fierce in their tenderness, skillful in the way they discuss and protect and defend, powerful in their humility, all being drawn from having their relationship with Him be foundational, vital to their very existence. What would this world be like?
What would it be like…? What can I do to get it there….?
Oh, Lord, what can I do…
“He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” —Psalm 18:34-35, ESV