. . . With dazzling smiles and heart-felt wishes from family members, the newly wed couple parted from the gathering into the vehicle that would carry them away into the setting sun.
Does that not seem like a beautifully happy ending to what was hinted to be the commitment between a man and a woman to serve and care for each other in every way possible to the end of their days? It probably is to those who dream about weddings and dream about marriage. Interestingly enough, just a few months ago I would have shaken my head at such a sentence and called it absurd and a waste of words. Oh, how much the Lord has changed my heart in that area. But, perhaps, it might be best that some form of a story be developed so that all may understand.
Let's start with quite a few years ago. At that time, I was a die-hard feminist to the core. I did all things myself; and if it seemed to be an impossible feat for a woman to conquer, you can bet I was on the battle ground, in the front lines, testing that theory for myself. The young men never took those front lines with me. They preferred to stand in the background and let me do the work for them. I was a strong leader and could lead just about everything. My personality and my opinions, while often left unspoken unless asked, were seldom changed and were as pointed as that tip of a knife. I knew how to word things in just the perfect fashion to create a point that could not be argued by anyone but the few brave souls. My feminist attitude translated into my body language and my goals. While it seems silly now, it definitely was not silly to me then. I was defending myself, guarding myself, and proving myself to be able to fend off anything and everything just as well as a guy. I became the protector of my family and my friends. My emotions were buried to the point of no return. To put it lightly, I was a woman out to defy every and all odds while completely shielding myself from anyone and everyone's knowledge of having existed. And to be honest, it worked for many years and the many secrets still remain stashed somewhere in my being.
About five years ago, I finally became willing to give my life to the Lord. Honestly, it did not change my views very much. I was still the strong protector and feminist. I still clung to the beliefs I had always held sacred. About this time, I entered the realm of high school, public school style. The dating game was in high heat and the girls' biggest dreams floundered in the pond of hoping to meet that special someone. And me? I could care less. My crowd consisted mainly of guys, band geeks and jocks. I got along so much better with that crowd than I ever did the girl cliques. Sure, I met a few girls that were what many called tomboys as well that I managed to stand enough to be around. But, for the most part, I let myself be alone and when company was needed or required, the group of guys to my right became my venue of choice. I was happy being seldom invited to events or being rarely called to join in on something. All I wanted to do was go home anyway because school was anything but joy for me at this time.
However, about a year ago, God decided it was time to show me how real people can be and how much I was missing out on due to my prideful and feminist based attitude. A team of people came into my life that I will always be thankful for. Though I have yet to meet them in person, their words through chats and phone calls began to slowly reveal to me a whole new group of people I had never, not once, been in contact with at any point in my life. It took forever for a trust, a genuine trust, to occur with these people, but it did occur for the first time in about eight years of my life. I learned to count on them and I learned that there may just be other people in the world that do not spend their lives finding the next person to use or back-stab. But, their attitudes did not just open the door to trust that had seemed to have long rusted shut, but they opened my heart to being willing to start listening with an non-choosing type of attitude towards God's still, small voice. See, even with God, there were tons of walls, ideals that were not going to be touched or altered because I deemed them my protective gear for living life. Some may find that rather childish of me, but guess what; I was a child simply learning the ropes of true life, His child. And breaking down those walls was something that He was going to do, should I actually choose to listen to His gentle probing.
Oh, but it all gets better. Trusting Him became a desire for Him. A desire for Him became an un-containable thirst for His knowledge. The thirst for His knowledge became a hunger for His ways. A hunger for His ways finally became the openness and implication of His truth that I had long pushed away. My head knew a lot of knowledge about Christianity and knew the scripture incredibly well, but my heart was starving. I thought I had my relationship with Him on the ground and rolling, but I sure did not; I did not even have the power to accomplish such a feat. This last year and a few months has been a treacherous journey of willingly letting Him turn head knowledge into heart knowledge. This last year has been one of letting Him create living and breathing practices from that heart knowledge. And one of those things He changed was my feminist approach to life and my desire to have absolutely nothing to do with the male species other than shallow conversations that said nothing about who I was.
You see, in the past few months, I have realized something about the feminist movement that few may realize. It is not a movement of women striving for equality with men. It is not a movement of women seeking man's leadership responsibilities. It is a movement of broken-hearted souls striving to find something satisfying in life. It is a movement of women striving to rid of their hearts that are interfering with what they think to be their dream of an absolute solution to abandonment, hurt, worldly expectations, popularity, satisfaction and accomplishment. Truth is. . . that movement is draining, hurtful, prison-like, and a slow, painful death to a woman's heart. Trust me; I would know. There is something unique, precious, and just totally freeing about living out God's intentions for women. Sure, this world demands more of women today than it has in the past. Yes, there are more opportunities for women than there were in the past. Correct, women are treated with more equality and held to a higher set of expectations by the world than they have been in the past. But, I am here to ask you: What demands are you succumbing to? What opportunities are you seeking? What equality and expectations are you letting yourself be chained by? Because, God's standards are not prison cells; God's standards are not forcing you to neglect your hearts; God's standards are not making you hunger for more and more of anything you can get your hands on; God's standards are liberty, freedom, and truth.
Some may say that my story stems more from past hurt than from a feminist viewpoint. If that is the argument against my conclusions, then you have just found the root. Feminism is nothing more than covered up scars and pride. A true woman is a delicate creature made to be more open and less able to always hide in shell. Men are there to protect and lead. Woman are special; men are special. Women and men are equal and totally valued by the Lord. When a woman seeks a godly womanhood with a passion, the chains and the limitations no longer exist. True freedom waits around the bend for those who have suffered what I call the abuse of the world's idea of womanhood. Life becomes life and a heart becomes a heart and the eyes truly become windows to the soul, a soul created, formed, shaped, and made vulnerable and beautiful by the Lord himself. Don't let hurt, pride, feminism, or the world chain your heart into a prison where that beauty is lost; don't let anything not of Him harden your heart to the glistening light of His design and purpose. Be the woman and person He has called you to become.