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.

Advertisements

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.