Weeds

My children love dandelions. They love them bright and yellow like tufts of sunlight. They love them gray white begging to be shaken or kicked, seed pods catching the air currents and drifting to re-populate our yard. Pure childhood joy.

As we walked to a neighbor’s house the other day, my daughter’s hand clung fast to one such yellow puff, and I noticed their pristine hard-won grass un-marred by tell-tale jagged leaves. I remembered that not everyone likes dandelions as much as we do. I stashed the wilting weed into my pocket before she could have the chance to drop it.

We live in a neighborhood of terrible red clay dirt, where getting anything to grow is quite a feat. We spent the first three years as home owners tilling, seeding, fertilizing, and removing rocks just to have something to mow. For some, landscaping is a passion. Money and time are invested to achieve that perfect green lawn. And I must admit, there is a certain beauty there.

I can’t help but think about the poor dandelion, though. I mean, it isn’t ugly. It spreads out, I know, and takes up big spaces. But, that’s just survival. And, did you know you can eat dandelion greens? It is kinda the rage with chefs now.

What about clover? The little ones also love clover for a soft seat in the yard. They love to hunt for four-leaved clovers. The white flowers make excellent chains for crowns and necklaces (Okay, maybe I like them, too.).

And those little purple-flecked wildflowers. I don’t even know what those are, but we have them!

Before you cast aspersion on me and my hippie yard, allow me to work out my metaphor with fear and trembling.

I know the God I serve is the creator of all things. I know that all He created is good. That even the spiders and the ticks and the piranhas have their design and purpose in His kingdom. It was us (just being real) who introduced sin. It was us who tookdandelion every good thing God created to a wrong extreme: we turned feasts into gluttony, intimacy into fornication, spirituality into religion. When God gave us His law, we worshiped it instead of Him. When He gave us a government of judges and priests, we demanded a human king. When He gave us manna from heaven, we complained for meat.

He gave us plants to enjoy and eat, and we called them weeds. We pull them and burn them and spray them with laboratory chemicals and replace them with cow food because we think it looks better.

(Seriously, stay with me. Metaphor. Sort of.)

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s dandelion? Okay, I’ll compare me. I know I have felt like a dandelion in a grassy yard. I have accepted the idea that God made me beautiful and useful in His sight, but I have not always been beautiful and useful by the world’s estimation. And though now I am strong enough to survive, I was not always. And I wonder how many people we classify and aim to remove because we do not yet see their beauty and usefulness. Because they do not fit in our scheme of the world. Because they do not look like the thousands of identical blades of grass surrounding them.

I am no fool – I recognize sin and evil and the fallen, infested ground. But that darkness on which we must set our sights is spiritual, not carnal. If there is ugliness, there is a dark spiritual root that must be removed. Often, though, I think we just have not learned to see beauty yet. We see in part. We know in part.

I resolve to look for the beauty today, even in things the world labels as weeds. I will look for the usefulness and celebrate it.

And if you happen to come to my home anytime soon, forgive my hippie yard. Focus on the joy on my children’s faces.

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Everything You Ever Wanted

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

I decided my sophomore year in college to change my major from Sociology to English. Admittedly, I wanted to study sociology because Zora Neale Hurston did, and she wrote characters that walked off the page and into your mind, flipping through the filing cabinets of memory and reading aloud long-forgotten accounts. I wanted to observe people, to study people from a safe distance. I did not know how much science was involved, and my research papers were cleverly written, but complete scientific bunk.

What else does one do with an English major, though, except teach? I had daydreams of scenes from Dead Poets’ Society, sitting on the big desk and philosophizing about Hamlet and Frost, molding young people, inspiring, high-five-ing in the halls. Steady, respectable, interesting employment.

God has the habit (perhaps, His character) of giving us exactly what we want, and what we need, but in completely different packaging.

After five years of teaching seventh grade English (no philosophizing or even inspiring, although lots of high-fives), I felt an undeniable urging from the Lord to leave my job and raise my child, later children, at home. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. I left the thing which had made up so much of my identity for so long in exchange for full-time occupation in something that I was never truly pursuant of or prepared.

I took that in which I knew I was successful and left it on the altar. I grieved for it and looked back many times, quite frankly. I took up the position for which I was ill-equipped because God said.

The last three years have been a trial by fire, one of learning and correcting, the practice of grace.

My son is four and will begin Kindergarten next fall. I have been counting down the days, making plans for focusing on one child again, and eventually returning to some type of work. But through a series of events and realizations too lengthy to detail here, I am beginning to see that home school for the first few years may be our best option.

I am not a home-schooler. I was not even an elementary teacher. I was never a mommy-ing woman, even as a mother. I believe in public education.

Yet here I sit, flipped on my rear again, asking God why and how and “Seriously?”

In these three years I’ve also published one book, nearly finished another, and I whip out an occasional haiku for kicks. And I remember Zora Neale Hurston and that I wanted to observe people and write. I want to write transporting truth and beauty and something so familiar it makes you check your rear-view mirrors.

I have realized that my desire to work is not about my identity; it is about a deeply buried notion that my ability to add economic value is what makes me valuable.

God asked me one time in a desperate place if I would be willing to give up the vain accessories that decked my heart’s desire. Would I lay down the visible extras to do the thing for which I prayed? And as I answered, and the external vanities were cut away, I felt peace and direction which had been clouded.

God is allowing me to have the opportunity to pursue the occupations I always wanted while doing what is best for my family, even if I never earn an income or notoriety as a writer. My faith must rise to the uncertainty of finances and to the strength to face the tasks given. I must trust my fragile soul in the hands of my Creator, who gives me the true desires of my heart.

 

Book available now – Sparrow: Devotions in Prose and Verse

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In a Library Garage

imageThe cream Seville rotates clockwise, the steady secondhand, in the corner of my eye,

cutting inches from my passenger side door and the oblivious boy in the booster eating Goldfish.

Another full three minutes to adjust her things, thirty seconds to open the wing of a door.

A cropped white head, wire frames, a faintly discernable smile unable to lift the pleats of skin.

 

The boy unbuckles, pounces my arm rest, begs water, a toy, attention.

His sister squirms in her harness, cries for release.

 

She has begun the trek across two rows of cars to the elevator.

She is yellow and gray and pressed like a woman who has time to iron, who cares to.

The bags of routine hang from her elbow, unmoved by her steps.

 

The phone bings. The sister throws her cup.

I collect the trappings of snack, brief the boy on library protocol,

fumble for my Chapstick, brush my hair with my fingers.

 

She pulls the massive glass door to the elevator with every fluid ounce

of graceful determination, waits, then steps silently into the lift and out of my sight.

And I wonder if, when she was thirty, she ever wanted just one moment of

Solitude.

30 Days to 30, Day 7

Day 7 – I Will Seek to Honor

While this resolution might seem to piggy-back on yesterday’s, I cannot avoid the themes I see stretching across the landscape of each day.  Today is Veterans’ Day, a day on which we honor those who have served in the military.  I spent my morning with my mother, who served her time in the U.S. Army, hoping to honor her not only as a veteran, but as a mother and a grandmother as she spent time with my kids.

I want to honor my husband as he tells me stories about his day and as he struggles with the difficulties and injustices that sometimes accompany college classes.

I want to honor my children by training them up in the way they should go, whether it means telling them stories or calming their fears or sending them to time-out.

I want to honor my Creator my making sure that every word, action, and thought is worshipful.

Honor does not always require a parade or a salute, but instead it demands that the little things of our lives have an intent to lift up and to respect.  That is my goal for today.

Judah, Jazz, and the Apologetic of Aesthetics

“What kind of music is that?” my three year old son, Judah, asked from the back seat of the car as the sun set over Nashville, his baby sister sleeping in the seat next to him.

“Jazz,” I told him, and we both sat quietly listening to the university radio station.

“What is jazz?” he asked after a few seconds. I tried to think of a way to define ‘jazz’ in a way that would make sense to him, finally settling for, “When you hear that kind of bass beat,” now imagine me thumping a jazzy rhythm, “it’s usually jazz.”

“I like jazz,” Judah added, listening with all the intent of a musician, his hazel eyes watching the horizon while he mentally analyzed the music.  

My son is already a musical aficionado.  He will confidently tell you he likes bluegrass (banjos are fun), classical (thanks to Little Einsteins), and now, jazz.  Sociologists or psychologists may say that his attention to music is simply an extension of what he sees in his parents, or perhaps early signs of his particular type of intelligence.  What I see instead (or perhaps, as a forerunner of those things) is evidence of a creator.

C.S. Lewis explains that one of the clearest signs of intelligent design is the fact that humans have an innate moral compass, or even the concept of morality at all.  Rice Broocks points out that our human ability to reason is further evidence of the same.  Both of these concepts are uniquely human, yet also completely unnecessary when viewed from an evolutionary perspective.  There is nothing that would have spawned these aspects of our being based on evolutionary principals – they are not derived from survival or adaptation needs.  I believe that a sense of the aesthetic is, likewise, proof that we are created by the design of Someone who is the very definition of beauty.

How do I get that from jazz music and a preschooler?  Have you ever watched a toddler react to music?  Have you ever seen an infant fascinated by light?  Have you ever seen something so beautiful it made you cry?

Here’s my point: We are built with a sense of aesthetics.  When we experience something beautiful, we have a response.   Some might argue that our response to a person’s physical beauty is born of our need to reproduce.  Yet, that explanation cannot contain the many varied forms of beauty that we can recognize in the people around us.  As for created beauty, such as visual art, music, dance, or performance, one could say that what we experience has an emotional connection which causes our reactions.  That is true, to some extent, but how does it explain my son’s pure enjoyment of a genre of music to which there is no way he has an emotional connection?  Or, a toddler’s reckless abandon of dance in response to music?  Better still, can it explain Judah’s sister’s adoration of color and light when she cannot yet even vocalize the words to identify those elements?

Perhaps I am overrun with my worldview, but it is the only one I’ve found that makes sense. The fact that we have, across nations and tribes and religions, the same basic understandings of morality, the same ability to use reason and logic, the same recognition and appreciation for beauty; these are testaments to a Creator who is defined by these same concepts in their most perfect forms.  Evolution leaves no room for their existence. No amount of psychology or sociology can explain them away, especially when they appear in those most unassuming and unaffected.

You can call it cliche, but sometimes cliches are born of truth:  I see God through the eyes of a child.  I’m going to keep on watching for little glimpses, especially when my son listens to music, dances like it’s as natural as breathing, stares at the angles of a city skyline, uses every crayon color in the box, tells me I am, “pretty like a bug.” He gets it.  Maybe I can learn a thing or two about the One who makes beautiful things.

An Open Letter to My Daughter

To Anna June, full of grace,

I talked to you tonight in that way we parents often do that is more like a prayer or a wish than a conversation.  I rejoiced over your sweet and gentle nature and begged you to always keep it.  It is true; you are, I am sure, the sweetest child to grace this planet, or at least our bathtub.  And I told you as we talked that the best trait you can ever obtain or maintain is sweetness of temper.  You can trust me in this, as I have made all the mistakes of well-intended personality and lived to learn from you that which is best.

Solomon implored us to get wisdom above all else, and while I do not wish to disagree with the Word of God, I think that sweetness of temper is more valuable and desirable than any other characteristic known to man.

Intelligence is nice, but it is a trait which often brings with it prejudices from outsiders and the temptation to arrogance from those who wield it.  Too often, it is squandered by folly, misplaced in self-ambition, or misunderstood by those who fail to see its value.

Humor is often lauded by the masses, but it is a trait which cannot help but offend, even when unintended.  No matter the joke, it is always at someone’s expense.  Even still, the desire to entertain becomes a consuming force and renders humor’s bearer driven by man’s approval.

Strength is a trait which is rarely defined in the proper light and often abused when interpreted as power or force.  Real strength is humility, and humility is rooted in kindness and a gentle spirit, which brings me back to my point.

Even wisdom, a rare and valuable trait, is one that comes only through time and experience.  While you wait on wisdom, a kind and sweet temper will guide you and endear you to the world.

There are some who will tell you that kindness makes one vulnerable to all kinds of evil.  But if one is to err, erring on the side of kindness is always excusable and even commendable because it is born of a nature to hope for the best in others.  And if you suffer from it, you will suffer only in worldly ways and gain wisdom which surpasses all value.

So, my dear, in this life, you will be many things, but above all and through all, be of a sweet temper, as you already are.  Do not exchange the hope and joy of your demeanor for any characteristic which might seem to carry you through in a better way – none can serve you more than kindness.

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photo credit latest-hd-wallpaperz.blogspot.com

Your devoted mother

A Busy Progression of Nothings

My husband and I were engaged in our daily, “So, what are you doing today?” phone conversation, and I rattled off my list of the usual chores before summarizing, “You know, a dozen other things that will take up my entire day, which no one will ever notice.”  The words escaped faster than I could consciously compile them.  As mothers, we know what that list looks like: organizing cabinets whose doors no longer close, changing printer cartridges, laundry, mail, diapers, dusting, the meal preparation, good golly, the meal preparation!  An endless busy progression of nothings.

The day continued, with the addition of phone calls and texts and an impromptu play date.  Three diaper changes and two time-outs later, both children sleeping for a few moments, it was 1:30 and I had neither eaten lunch nor accomplished most of my original to-do list. 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

Go back and read that again.  My guess is that familiarity led you to scan right over it.  Meditate on it for a few minutes before proceeding.  Humor me.

Mothering can be a thankless job, mainly because the ones we work with either cannot talk yet, or we are teaching them how to be thankful.  It doesn’t mean as much when you are instructing your child to say thank you.  Gummy grins and sticky-fingered hugs are nice, but they don’t always come at the right time.  More than that, though, it often feels like mothering is a fruitless job, more sowing, watering, and pruning than reaping.  We see other women out conquering the world, but have a hard time seeing our own effectiveness past the laundry pile.

Our perspectives must change to break out of the cycle: our definition of “doing good” must change.  What had I really done that day, from a Kingdom viewpoint?  I’d played Bo Peep to my son’s Cowboy Judah and let him find my sheep, giving my strong-willed son the attention he thrives on; I’d comforted my daughter through teething pain, giving her the sense of being nurtured that infants cannot do without; I’d encouraged one friend and helped another get a break to take care of herself; I’d planned a meeting for other women to facilitate growth in their own spiritual journeys.  Perhaps from God’s perspective, I had conquered a little piece of the world.

Mothering is not fruitless, it’s just that the fruit takes proper time to fully ripen.  In our busy progression of nothings, it is easy to miss that all of those little things we do create an environment of growth for our families and our neighbors.  So, carry on, my good woman.  I will mount my horse and prance before you like William Wallace, cheering on your march to matronly victory with the war paint of spit-up and peanut butter.  We may not now see the full extent of the spoils of our warring, but we will go forth as women warriors, trusting God that we will in proper time.

As for me, the baby awakes, so I’m going to hunker down and get ready for round two. 

The Extravagant Praise of King David, or, Why Can’t My Life Imitate Art?

I’ve been thinking about musicals a lot lately.  My husband and I re-visit the same discussion about musicals every time a movie comes out in that particular genre that I want to see.  This time, it was Les Miserables.  He always says musicals are ridiculous.  Silly. Over-the-top.  Most of all, they are unrealistic.  And I get it: many of them are silly, and it’s not like we randomly burst into song in our daily lives, lifting up operettas in cubicles, or waltzing with potatoes up and down the produce aisle (well, unless you are the parent of a preschooler, but I digress…).  If something like a scene from a musical actually transpired in front of us in real life, most of us would take a few steps backward, look around awkwardly, and make for the nearest exit.

But then, I found an argument for the musical way of life in Scripture.  There are moments throughout both the Old and New Testaments in which godly people, overcome with love for God, cannot help but stop what they are doing to lift up a song of praise to Him.  Moses and Miriam both did it; so did Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the Apostle Paul.  And, of course, there is the most prolific songwriter of them all, King David.  I get the feeling that his life was much like musical theater: there was an underdog story, followed by a little romance, betrayal, a chase scene, a bromance, and yes, some adultery and murder (shield your ears, kids).  All the while, David sings songs, plays the harp, and dances in the streets.  In fact, why isn’t there a Broadway show about the life of David? (Mental note: write a manuscript.)

I was reading one of David’s psalms this week, Psalm 18, which is given the following introduction: For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.[1] First, I noticed that David sang, not wrote, this song initially.  While I do not know the entire context, I know David was not one to sit quietly and write a poem.  This is a man who faced lions and giants and bears.  My guess is that he sang this loudly, in front of many, and he probably danced while doing it.  The next thing I noticed was the sheer grandness and depth of the language:

4The cords of death entangled me;

the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

The cords of the grave coiled around me;

the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;

I cried to my God for help.

From his temple he heard my voice;

my cry came before him, into his ears.

The earth trembled and quaked,

and the foundations of the mountains shook;

they trembled because he was angry.

Smoke rose from his nostrils;

consuming fire came from his mouth,

burning coals blazed out of it. [2]

 

Forgive me, but this is no namby-pamby, Christian radio-friendly pop song.  This is a declaration of the power of our God.  He continues:

30 As for God, his way is perfect:

The Lord’s word is flawless;

he shields all who take refuge in him.

31 For who is God besides the Lord?

And who is the Rock except our God? [3]

 

The entire psalm reads this way.  It is a grand, over-the-top, epic of a song to glorify the one true King.  This is the kind of worship God desires.  David was called a man after God’s own heart not because he was the most well-behaved or most holy guy, but because he poured out his life in adoration and devotion to God.  Everything he did was done with a posture of praise, and not just any “Thank you Lord for this day” praise, but the kind of big, all-encompassing praise which scatters the enemy.  In victory, David praised God; in frustration, he praised God; in sorrow, he praised God.

Some might argue that this kind of praise is just emotionalism or attention-seeking, and maybe, for some, it is. But I believe that issue is between us and God.  Besides, I would hope that when I stop to worship Him who has given me all, my emotions would be touched as well.  After all, I never want to be accused of holding anything back from Him who holds nothing back from me.

So, I hope that I can aspire to praise God the way David did, in a way that gets as close as humanly possible to the way He deserves.  To the rest of the world, it may look silly, over-the-top, and unrealistic.  But I know, we know, that it is the most natural thing for those who have found Love of our lives.


[1] The New International Version. 2011 (Ps 18:title). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] The New International Version. 2011 (Ps 18:4–8). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] The New International Version. 2011 (Ps 18:30–31). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Ordained

“Ugh, Monday again. Just gotta make it through today.” I overheard yet another person make yet another comment about trudging through yet another Monday.  I felt a check in my spirit.  Recent comments and conversations began replaying through my head, all filled with the tones of personal anxiety, need, or general disdain for doing any of the ordinary, daily activities required by life.

“How are you?”

“Tired.” “Busy.” “I’m not feeling very good.” “If I could just get through.” “I need more time/better health/more money.”  “Wish it was summer/vacation/Friday/weekend/insert anything other than here here.”

I think the sad thing is that I hear these things from believers.  Born-again, Spirit-filled, walking free from their past sins believers.  I hear them from me, too.

John Lund/Riser/Getty Images

John Lund/Riser/Getty Images

I guess the question I began to ask myself is, Why are Christians sometimes the most defeated people?  That’s not what the Word says we are: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Have you acknowledged your ordination yet?  It is time we, as Christians, recognize that we are ordained by God to be His priests and ministers of the Gospel.  We are called to live as Jesus lived, which means everyday is an opportunity to heal the sick, set the captives free, and proclaim the year of jubilee.  We must break free from the mentality (or, more aptly, spiritual condition) that makes the only ministry we see that which we need.  We claim our Savior, yet live as ones destitute, hungry and naked from spiritual impoverishment.  “Pray for me,” we beg, yet we ignore the dying all around us, too distracted by our own needs to have the heart for another’s.

Every day is a gift.  And while that is a cliche, it doesn’t make it untrue.

Yes, we all have needs from time to time, and God wants to meet your needs.  But it is our faith that looks at those needs in our lives, declares, “His grace is sufficient,” and pushes through to live as a son of God, without hindrances, moving in the authority granted us in Him.  Satan would love to keep you too bound in your own impoverished state to do damage to the Kingdom.  But isn’t it time we awoke from our state of stupor, stepped beyond our immediate comforts, and looked at the Kingdom, with its fields ripe with harvest. Beloved, are you His?  Are you a new creation, with the DNA of Christ in your being?  If so, you are ordained into the priesthood.  Put on your habit, the clothing of Christ.  Walk in each moment with the intention of the Kingdom.

How do we do that?  Wake up every morning with the prayer that God would show you your calling for that day.  Do you have errands to run?  Pray to meet someone who needs the Gospel.  Working in a cubicle?  Have a God conversation with your neighbor.  Cooped up in a house with three preschoolers?  Put on the worship music and let the Spirit of God invade your home and their little hearts.

Beloved, it is a choice we must make every morning to advance the Kingdom.  We must put on Christ daily and choose to find ways to turn each day into a mission. With mission comes joy, purpose, and the fulfilled promises of God in your own life.  I charge you, me, to embrace Monday, the grocery store, the cubicle, and even the illness that sends us to a doctor; it is in those places we take the Kingdom by force.

A New Feminist

“I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.” – Helen Reddy

I played the tomboy role well as a young girl.  It seemed to fit me: I had short hair (for my mother’s convenience, not my choice), many of my clothes were hand-me-downs from my brother, and boys were always much easier to get along with than the girls at school.  Some pretty flowers

As a teenager and college student, I embraced the principles of the feminist movement myself.  I was strong, independent, and I didn’t need a man to make me complete.  I could do anything, and I would, come what may.  No emotion.  No crying.  No pink.  I cussed like a barkeep and sneered at any male who dared look my way.

Even after I came to know Jesus, I fought for my fierce independence tooth and nail.  In pre-marital counseling, I argued with my pastor about a woman’s submission to her husband.  Thank God he understood my background and helped me see the context and meaning, but that’s for another blog.  I worked all through college to prove I could support myself, and I swore after graduation I would never be one of those stay-at-home moms.

The past few years, however, and particularly since having a child, I have realized that I have been fighting a battle against myself.  We all know that motherhood brings out a lot of emotion due to stress, hormones, and the overwhelming responsibility of it all.  In the back of my mind, every time I felt that emotion, I heard my drill sergeant father, “Quit crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about,” and my feminist mother preaching about women’s liberation and how women can do everything a man does better.  I felt like a failure.  I truly began to wonder if, somewhere in the name of women’s equal rights, we swung the pendulum too far, expecting women to be something we are not, nor should want to be.

I think many of my generation have been infected by a culture that gives us only a few options for our identities as women: we are either dowdy soccer moms, tough and ruthless working women, or women using out sexuality to gain power or attention.  I do not want to be any of these women.   To many still in our culture, breastfeeding is disgusting, showing emotion is a sign of weakness, and working in the home to raise and educate one’s children is a sign of either laziness or ignorance.  Frankly, I am sick of living in a culture that permits these perspectives, and I do not want my daughter growing up in that world.

While the feminist movement told us we were the same as men, biology tells us differently.  We have different hormones, different eyesight, and, of course, different anatomy.  To cast aside our natural feminine design for the sake of being considered independent or strong is not feminism at all.  In fact, I would argue that it promotes misogynistic attitudes because it maintains that the male way is the only right way.  Why did “girly” and “ladylike” become negative terms?  True feminism should embrace that which is feminine: those natural characteristics that make women strong, wise, and beautiful for who they are.

So just who are we created to be?  Ladies, we are the pinnacle of God’s creation, the final brushstrokes on the most beautiful masterpiece of all time.  Think about that: God’s created things in an increasingly complex and beautiful way, and the last thing He created was woman. We are designed to captivate, shine, and be a pleasing aroma to God and the world around us.  We are built to rear, nourish, and nurture human life, and if anyone tries to call those things easy, he is a buffoon.  We have the mind of Christ and hearts of mercy, compassion, and wisdom.

So, let’s remove the taboo from the word “feminism” and reclaim it for our own.  Beloved, embrace who you actually are, not who society says you should be.  It’s okay to cry and show emotion because it reveals your passion.  It is okay to submit because, “in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).  It is okay to be vulnerable because only those who are confident can withstand revealing their faults.  And, yes, it’s okay to be beautiful because our God designed us with such a purpose.

Yes, I believe women can do anything.  But the best thing we can do is be ourselves.

And, for goodness’ sake, it’s okay to look pretty, to wear skirts, and to enjoy being womanly.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you are overdressed, flighty, or an attention-seeker — just tell them you are a feminist.