Today My Daughter’s World Changed and It Broke My Heart

This morning I was reading the news and  my daughter walked in and asked me why this woman was crying. My first reaction was to say, “It is complicated” and just sweep it under the rug and hide it from her. She is 9 after all. But then my son came downstairs…
And then I remembered that Kent and I have never shied away from talking to our kids about sex, about pornography, about politics, about death.
And then I remembered that it is women’s history month.
And then I remembered what Rachel Held Evans taught me about honoring and remembering those who have been unjustly killed or harmed.
And then I remembered that nothing changes if I don’t teach my children.
And then I remembered that my son and my daughter must hear from me how wrong this is and how tragic.
And then I remembered that I have to teach them that we must stand up for those without power.
And then I remembered that they have to be told over and over and over…

that women are not less than
that women are not the cause of men’s sin
that women are not to be covered up
that women are not to be silenced
that women are not subhuman
that women are made in God‘s image
that women are equal to men
that women should be able to drive
that women should be able to go out alone
that women should be able to talk to men
that women should be able to have an education
that women should not have to live in fear of their husbands
that women should not have to live in fear of their sons
that women should not have to live in fear of their parents
that women should not have to live in fear of their brothers

I told them why this woman was crying. I told them about Fakhra Younus. I told them about acid attacks and honor killings. I told them there were cultures where women don’t get to go to school, or drive, or go out without a male family member, or speak to a man who was not a family member.

My daughter sat silent and motionless and then she looked up at me and said, “Why?” Why women? Why girls? Why would they do this? Afterall, she has been taught that she is equal. She has been taught that she is valued. She has grown up where she can choose her clothes and go to school and someday learn to drive and have a job. But as I looked at her I could see that she realized that there are people in the world who will always look at her and see less than. There are people who if they had their way would clip her wings and cover her beauty and squelch the fire that makes her an amazing reflection of the image of God. It broke my heart.

We had to leave for school. But we will talk about it again, and again and again. Because my son needs to know. Because my daughter needs to know. And so do yours. Or nothing will change.

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Why I Love Being a Woman

I love being a woman. Why? In honor of Women’s History Month I will share with you some of the reasons I love being a woman.

Because God calls me the same thing he calls himself: ezer kenegdo.

The Hebrew words used here to describe woman as a helper are ‘ezer kenegdo. The word ‘ezer means “helper” and is never used in the Old Testament to refer to an inferior or to a subordinate. In fact, the word is used in reference to God as our helper (Psalm 10:14; 30:10; 54:4; 70:5; 72:12; 121:2). Clearly God is not our subordinate. ‘Ezer is a sign of strength and power. Kenegdo is a Hebrew preposition and adverb meaning “corresponding to” or “face to face,” so it is best understood as meaning that Eve was a fitting partner for Adam, for she was like him. Eve was created as an equal to Adam. She was given equal authority and dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:28).

Because God has made me and Kent to be a team.
Carolyn Custis James in her book, Half the Church writes: the ezer was designed to be a warrior.

Descriptions of the woman as dependent, needy, vulnerable, deferential, helpless, leaderless, or weak are – to put it simply – wrong. Such definitions betray cultural biases and I fear a deep-seated misogyny. The ezer is a warrior. Like the man, she is also God’s creative masterpiece – a work of genius and a marvel to behold – for she is fearfully and wonderfully made. The ezer never sheds her image-bearer identity. Not here. Not ever. God defines who she is and how she is to live in His world. That never changes. The image-bearer responsibilities to reflect God to the world and to rule and subdue on His behalf still rest on her shoulders too.

Because on my own, with or without Kent I bear God’s image.

So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Gen 1:27-28, TNIV).

Because I love being married to Kent. I love being part of a greater whole. We are better together. He is my other self.

 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  (Gen. 2:23-24, ESV)

Because I love being a mother.

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  ~Washington Irving

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.  ~Linda Wooten

Because there are as many ways to be a “biblical” woman as there are women. We are all different. We defy pidgeon-holeing. We are complex. We are mysterious. We are creative. We are powerful. We are sexual. We are nurturing. We are warriors. We are defenders of the weak. We are lovers. We are smart.

Because there are so many reasons to love being a woman. I didn’t always. There were times in my life I wished God made me a man because I thought they had more autonomy, more freedom, more power. Now that I am older, I know better. In spite of the challenges and the occasional dismissal because of my gender, I treasure being a woman. It is an amazing privilege. Just as is being a man. It is not that it is better to be a woman, but that it is better to embrace all you were made to become. For me, it is my great honor to reflect God’s glory in all that it means to be me. I must embrace my womanhood in order to do that in order to truly love God and my neighbor with all that I am.

 

Here is a list of the other people participating in today’s synchroblog:
Marta Layton – The War on Terror and the War on Women
Ellen Haroutounian – March Synchroblog – All About Eve
Jeremy Myers – Women Must Lead the Church
Carol Kuniholm – Rethinking Hupotasso
Wendy McCaig – Fear Letting Junia Fly
Tammy Carter – Pat Summit: Changing the Game & Changing the World
Jeanette Altes – On Being Female
kathy escobar – replacing the f-word with the d-word (no not those ones)
Melody Hanson – Call Me Crazy, But I Talk To Jesus Too
Glenn Hager – Walked Into A Bar
Steve Hayes – St. Christina of Persi
Leah Sophia – March Syncroblog-All About Eve
Liz Dyer – The Problem Is Not That I See Sexism Everywhere…
Sonja Andrews – International Women’s Day
Sonnie Swenston-Forbes – The Women