Deconstruction: The Tomboy in Church

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Disclosure: I adore all things musical theater, ballet, monogrammed and Vera Bradley. Beyond those things, there is nothing girly about me.

If you have followed me on social media at all this summer, you know my faith is a struggle. I have more questions than answers. While there are some core theological ideologies I align with, I struggle many of the core beliefs of the SBC. I have been willing to acknowledge I am probably wrong in many things I’ve held true for so many years. This is causing waves, but I won’t pretend to be the “perfect little church girl” anymore.

The more I get into my struggle and walk through the hard questions, it boils down to this. I DON”T FIT! I am NOT who the SBC expects me to be as a woman, wife and mother. I DON’T fit the mold. If I am honest, I am a people pleaser and growing up, I desperately wanted to fit in and be accepted. Because I am not girly and don’t enjoy the girly things, I am not what is expected. I have “failed” as woman in our convention. This is only one aspect of my deconstruction piece. There are other pieces and they will be discussed in later blog posts.

Truth: I LOVE all things outdoors. I love camping, hiking, kayaking. I prefer sitting my Adirondack Chair, by my fire pit, with my dogs, a rum and Diet Coke, with a book in my hand, over shopping and getting my nails done. Because I love my kiddos, I am a cheer coach with our local football/ cheer league. Honestly, I would rather be the OC for the boys, than the cheer coach. I LOVE watching football. I am a die hard BAMA fan. RTR!!!! I yell at Coach Saban and the players on Saturdays and then at the Titan’s players on Sundays. I am a fantastic “Arm Chair Coach.” I joke one of the reasons my husband married me is my love of football. Not only do I love watching the game, I actually understand the game and what is happening on the field.

Yes, as a little girl I dreamed about getting married, having kids and owning a house. My husband and I celebrated 17 years of marriage this summer. We have 3 kids, 2 dogs, a mortgage and a minivan. To the average person, this is a great life, and it is. To those in the Conservative Evangelical Churches/ SBC, this is good, but I’m not who I need to be.

I worked full time until after my youngest was born, then I was a stay at home (SAHM) for a few years. Now, I am back working full time. While I love my hubby and kiddos, I didn’t love being a SAHM. I wasn’t cut out for it. I have a better relationship with my hubby and kiddos working full time, than I did when I was at home.

When you walk into my house, you know we actually live there. My house will not pass a white glove test. Even though we’ve moved beyond the toddler/ preschool toys, another set of stuff has taken over. We have 2 tweens and a teen. You will find electronic chords, tablets, Pokémon cards, backpacks, and dog toys for days. Our dining room table needs to be unearthed several times a month. It’s like school work, mail and other things just seem to grow up from under the table. Most meals are eaten at the kitchen peninsula. I will say my hubby is fantastic and doesn’t shy away from cleaning house. He is typically the one who cleans the kitchen and scrubs the toilets, among many other things. There are things he does that others would look at and say “that’s women’s work.” Right now, there is a pile of laundry on the bench at the end our bed. Thanks to the new puppy, our middle child is sleeping on a pallet on the floor to keep the new pup from crying all night. Our house is clean, not perfect, but what I am coming to realize is considered typical. In the CEC, women are taught to keep a home that looks like something from a “Good Housekeeping” magazine. If this is the house you are expecting, please don’t come over. If you want a comfortable and lived in home, then come on over. Well, only if invited, because let’s be honest, I’m an introvert and can only handle people for so long. I digress, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

My husband and I both cook. He is much better than I am. I don’t come home from work every night and cook my family a 3 course meal. There are nights when throwing frozen chicken patties in the microwave, putting them on buns and serving them with a side of chips is typical. When there are 3 kids, running in 3 different directions, meals have to be something that can be thrown together quickly. This coming weekend the weather is supposed to be beautiful and I’m looking forward to grilling brats and burgers. Yes, “I” am the one who will be grilling. I know, that “should” be the man’s domain. Guess what? Girls CAN grill too!!!

Clothes, hair and makeup is what really sets me apart from what’s expected of CEC women. I can count one hand the number of times I wear makeup every year. I am staring down the barrel of 45 and have only had my hair professionally colored twice. You read that right; twice. I “might” get my hair trimmed 2-3 times a year. I went from February of 2020 to March of 2022 without a haircut. Due to Covid, I wasn’t even coloring my hair at home. I lived in messy buns. When I finally made it to get a haircut at the beginning of this year, I had the lady cut it short, so I could wash it and go. I’m finally wearing my hair in it’s natural curls. My flat iron is currently collecting dust.

For clothes, I’m happier in my yoga capris, t-shirts and my Chacos. At work, I live in leggings and tunic tops. Even though I’m in the choir, I will either wear something like I wear to work, or wear jeans and a cotton top. I care more about comfort than fashion. I also wear the same jewelry every single day. I do have more pieces in my jewelry box, but rarely wear any of it. I will say I do see the value/ need to dress up when the occasion calls for it. That being said to keep up with all of that on a day to day basis seems exhausting to me.

Another thing is traditional women’s ministry. Once I was out of college and invited to join those events, I pretty well stopped going immediately. It was all fluff. I was always jealous when the guys went to ball games, hiking and canoeing. They really dug into the Bible on a deeper level. The women’s events were/ are about arts and crafts, making our homes look “perfect” The only reason I attended the last women’s ministry event was because a close friend and I were leading a breakout session on a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I also see a disconnect between the older generation and the younger generation, and I think some of my frustrations play into this.

I am OVER hearing lessons about Ruth, Mary, Martha, the woman at the well, as well as Proverbs 31, along with the words of Paul being used to shame us into quiet submission. We should be treated as people who have an education and are capable of teaching and leading. I will own I’m a Hebrew dropout. That being said, I love hearing a preacher state “In the Greek or Hebrew, _____ word means _____.” It puts things into context. Instead of chicken broth in women’s events, I’d love a good ribeye when discussing the Bible. Women are intelligent and capable of a deep dive into the scriptures. We are capable of talking about more than just a few women in the Bible. It would be nice to not have passages watered down. My views on women in the pulpit might be another blog post down the road. Yes, I am in full support.

All of this to say my line of thinking, who I am as a person and what I hold to be true about women don’t fit into the mold most CEC expect of women. I want to be accepted for who I am and not not what others think I should be. I want to know myself and other women like me have value in the church.

To those reading this and identifying with what is written here, I SEE you!!! I am standing WITH you.

2 thoughts on “Deconstruction: The Tomboy in Church

  1. Katherine

    My favorite “womens event” was one for wives. I had to go to a tea party when my husband and the ministers went to get barbecue. It was AWFUL. I feel you girl.
    Oh and what about my being a doctor? Talk about not being a “good SBEC” woman. But they want a woman to care for their wives…heaven help me.

    Like

    • YES!!!! WHY do are we expected to go to tea parties? I’d much rather have a good steak with a loaded baked potato. Also, I would NEVER turn down good ribs or BBQ chicken with all the fixins.

      Like

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