Rachel Held Evans

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I am struggling to find the appropriate words I feel at the passing of Rachel Held Evans. She passed unexpectedly due to medical issues on Saturday, May 4th. I have felt big feelings. Tears have been shed. I have found myself asking “Why?” Now, before my super conservative friends attack me, I didn’t agree with everything she said and wrote. My heart aches for her husband and two small children, ages 1 and 3. My heart aches for her family, friends and her readers. My heart aches for those who could read her blog and books and shouted “Me too!”

Why you may ask? Why would her passing affect me at the level it has? Well, I’ll tell you. She understood. She understood what it was to question everything you believe. She understood what it meant to truly struggle with the conservative faith you grew up with. She understood what it meant to look at everything you’ve been taught and question the “Why” behind it all. She made it ok to ask questions. She made it ok to not to be ok with everything you’ve been taught. I felt like I had an ally when I read her stuff. “Searching for Sunday” and “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” let me know that I wasn’t alone in what I think and feel.

Y’all, it has been a season of stupid hard. It has been a season of questioning everyone and everything. It has been a season where I am certain of almost nothing. I know and still believe the basic tenants of my faith, but have questioned just about everything else. It was good and a relief to see I’m not alone in questioning all that I’ve been taught. I’ve had and still have friends who have walked a seasoning of questioning. There are things Rachel has posted over the years that have made me scream ” Yes” and “Amen.” When I read her blog and books I didn’t feel any guilt for questioning. She made it feel completely normal.

By society’s standards, I am very much a conservative. By Rachel’s standard’s I am completely normal and human. Again, while I may not agree with everything she wrote and said, she was a fighter for the underdog. She fought for social justice and those who were under-served or ignored. I don’t feel like a second class citizen simply because I am female. I don’t feel like I have to take a step back because I am female. I have a voice and I am worth voicing my opinions even though I am a woman. I am not stupid for asking questions. I am stronger because I will acknowledge I have those questions.

It sucks she is gone. A strong voice has been silenced. An incredible activist is gone. An ally is gone. She was one of a kind. I honestly don’t understand how she is gone. It’s weird to feel this way about the death of someone I have never heard or met in person. I’m grateful to have her books and her Facebook page to go back and read. I can only hope, we as women, continue to love and support each other. I hope we can look at each other and let each other know it’s ok to ask questions. It’s ok to struggle with our faith. It’s ok to look at another women and support each other through the stupid hard times. It’s ok to not land in the same place as those who taught us as children.

The loss of Rachel Held Evans was big. No, we don’t feel it in the same way her husband, children, family and close friends feel it, but we still feel it. I still don’t understand all the whys as to to why I feel the way I do, but I don’t apologize for feeling what I do. I hope in this time we can stick together as women and friends and allow for the big feelings, along with allowing the questions to come. Ask the questions. Say what you think. Say what you are feeling. You are not alone in any of it. We all hit times of questioning everything. As long as you don’t leave the basic tenants of you believe and the main things are still the main things, it’s going to be ok. Let the tears fall. Ask the stupid, hard questions. Grieve the loss of Rachel. The Lord will understand. He will bring us to the place we need to be. He will see us through. The Lord will eventually give us the answers to the questions we desperately need to ask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Princess is Not a Dirty Word

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Before I get into the post, please know this is coming from a self-proclaimed Tomboy. I am happier camping, hiking and swimming out at the lake than I am at a spa or the mall. I am a blue jeans, t-shirt, tennis shoes/ flip flops kind of girl. The only truly girly things about me are my love of dance and my slight obsession with all things Vera Bradley.

As I have read through social media here in the past couple of weeks, I have noticed a trend that’s a little disturbing to me. Many of the posts start with “Please don’t call my daughter a princess” or “Please don’t call my daughter beautiful or cute.” There was one article posted about why a mother didn’t want her daughter to be referred to as “Daddy’s Little Princess.” I don’t get it. Mama bear has come out. When did being a girly girl become something so un PC and something we deemed as bad or detrimental to our little girls?

I am the proud mother of a little girl who is 100% girly. She loves all things pink, shiny and sparkly. More than that, she is 100% Daddy’s Little Princess. You know what? I LOVE IT!!! Growing up I was not close to my father. I was never Daddy’s Little Princess or a daddy’s girl. I was often referred to as “The Major’s Daughter.” My siblings and I were more of Daddy’s Little Soldiers than anything else. This isn’t to say he didn’t love us in his own way, but he was never overly affectionate toward us. I LOVE that my husband and my daughter have that special relationship. My heart melts when I watch the two of them together. I pray it continues throughout their lives.

I don’t see this as a negative where my daughter is concerned. Her room is painted pink. Her bedspread is white with Eiffel Towers, pink hearts and little puppies all over it. She has posters and pictures of Paris all over her walls. If you open her closet and dresser, you will find the whole spectrum of pinks. You will find sequins, ruffles, glitter and all sorts of sparkles on her clothes. Her shoes have a pinkish rainbow on them. She has a bow board overflowing with bows. In the the bathroom, you will find a collection of colorful barrettes, hair ties and headbands. Her backpack is pink, with unicorns and rainbows. She is not a fan of sweat, but will slightly tolerate it in gymnastics.

My daughter and I are the same in some areas and then polar opposites in others. When she looks at me and asks to go get a mani or pedi, I don’t always know how to react. I’ve had 2 manis in my life. The first was for my wedding. The 2nd was for one of my best friend’s 40th birthday. It’s not something even close to being on my radar. My daughter is just shy of 9 and has been into fashion design since she was the ripe old age of 5. She has several fashion design books and is constantly drawing dresses and outfits on blank paper she finds. My daughter also has a love of baking. While my husband and I have yet to turn her loose in the kitchen without supervision, she is learning her way around and I love the confidence I see when see gets to help cook and bake. Depending on what day you catch her, she will tell you she either wants to be a fashion designer or open her own bakery when she grows up. Again, I absolutely LOVE this about my daughter.

I don’t see any of the things I have listed above about my daughter things that need to change. I don’t see how, by allowing to nurture these things in her, that we are raising a terrible human being. You see, on top of all of this my daughter is an honor roll student. Did I mention she is a straight A student in math? Yep, another trait she did not inherit from me. I wish my grandfather would have lived to meet her because he would be thrilled to see a grandchild who can crunch numbers like he did. He was CFO of Butler Paper before he retired. My husband also excels in the area of math and business.

My daughter is also kind and generous. I have had several parents tell me how much they appreciate the way my daughter has welcomed their child into the classroom and befriended them to help them feel comfortable in a new setting. My daughter is a child who other children trust. They know my daughter is a loyal friend. My daughter is also generous. When we go shopping for Operation Christmas Child and Gifting Tree, she would buy out Wal-Mart and Target if we would let her. If she knows of other needs, she desires to meet them. You see you can be a princess who loves all things pink and sparkly AND be kind, generous and intelligent. It’s a both/ and, not either/ or.

While this has been a post about little girls, I will throw in that I am a boymom as well. I have 2 little boys who we are training to be true, southern gentleman. My boys are 100% boy. They are rough and tumble and are happier outside playing with their basketballs, footballs and trucks, in the dirt than they are inside coloring. They are the total opposite of my daughter. My boys are being raised to hold doors open for ladies. They are being taught if a gentleman is present, a lady should never have to open her own door. Is the lady capable of opening her own door? Yes. Does that mean she should? No, it doesn’t. I love having sons who love being boys, just as I love having a daughter who embraces being a  girly girl with all her heart.

The other part of this is that we have taught my daughter and my sons once they accept Christ as their savior, they not only have an earthly father, but they will have a heavenly Father who also happens to be The King of Kings. This means they will have an eternal, Royal inheritance. My daughter is coming close to making the personal decision to follow Christ. I pray she embraces being a child of The One True King with every fiber of her being and know that she will always and forever be a princess in the eyes of our Lord.

I think we as women have pushed for equality for so long that we have unintentionally sent the message to our daughters, nieces and little girls in our lives that being a girl is something to be ashamed of. By being a girl, especially one who embraces it, that they can’t and/or won’t be respected. Society says “Put your daughters in gender neutral clothes.” “Give your daughter toys that would be traditionally meant for boys.” “Put away the pink, the sparkles and the bling because only then can you earn a place in society.” I will give you an emphatic “NO” to all of this. As long as my daughter wants her pink and her sparkles and I will continue to let her have them. I will not teach her to “tone the girly girl.” I love her the way she is and the way the Lord created her. So please, do tell my daughter she is beautiful. Please tell her she is a princess. Definitely please remind her that she not only has an earthly father who loves her to pieces, she has a Heavenly Father who thought she was to die for.

Again, Princess is NOT a dirty word!!!!!

To Be or Not To Be a Lady?

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Before anyone decides to lynch me for this post, let me tell you a little bit about myself. People who have known me my entire life will tell you it’s all true. I am a Tomboy. I am a bluejeans, t-shirt and tennis shoes/ flip flop kind of girl. I’d rather be camping, hiking, or out on the water than in a mall shopping. I can’t stand wearing make-up, but will wear it only when the situation absolutely calls for it, maybe. I don’t enjoy wearing dresses and there is not a single pair of heels to be found in my closet.

I also support and encourage girls and ladies to excel in all areas. The valedictorian and co-valedictorian of my high school graduating class were females. My undergrad degree is from a Southern Baptist all women’s college, where I spent four years surrounded by intelligent and driven ladies. Several of them have gone on to excel in their areas of expertise. At SWBTS I had the privilege of serving as secretary, vice-president and president of the largest student organization on campus. I believe it’s possible for ladies to lead and be the top in their fields.

Now that I have cleared that part up, let’s explore my frustration with a growing trend I have seen on social media and on television. When did we decide that being treated and acting like a lady was degrading to our gender? When did we decide that men holding doors open for us, picking up the tab, leading on the dance floor, or even fixing things for us was bad? When did we as a society decide that men were another mountain to  be conquered?

Yes I have a strong personality and am extremely independent, BUT, and this is a huge but, I LOVE it when my husband does certain things for me. I love it when he opens doors for me. I love it when he kisses me on top of the forehead. I love it when there is an issue with our home, or one of our cars and he takes care of it. He doesn’t do these things because I am incapable of doing them. He does it out of respect for me. He doesn’t view me as weak, or dumb. He does it because he loves me and wants me to feel every bit a lady.

While I think we have come a long way in women’s rights, I think we have tried to overstep what that really means. We should have the right to vote. We should have the right to an education. We should have the right to excel at work. Granted, pay equality still needs some work. I don’t think we should push until we have turned men into the weaker sex. I don’t think we should push men out of their Biblical roles.

Eve was created out of the rib of Adam to be his helpmate. Adam was still created to lead. We are wired differently than men and I fail to see where that is a bad thing. In spite of my independent personality, I LOVE it when my husband takes the lead. I love knowing that I have a husband who isn’t afraid to lead and to wear the pants in our marriage.

I will raise my daughter to be strong and independent. I will encourage her to do her best in whatever field of study she lands. I will also encourage her to find a man much like her daddy. I will raise my daughter to know how to take care of certain things, but at the same time teach her that it’s ok if her future husband takes care of it for her. I want her to know what it means to be a helpmate for her husband and what working along side him means. I by no means expect my daughter to be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

My boys already hear me say “be a gentleman.” My boys are being taught to open doors for ladies and to to watch our for and protect the girls around them. I will also teach them that it’s ok for girls to be smart and independent. I pray the girls they marry are strong and independent. I also pray those girls will allow my boys to lead their homes.

My husband and I function as a team. I have a voice in what happens inside of our home, including finances. Most of the time we will come to an agreement on how to handle things. This doesn’t mean that I will get my way, or that he will get his. Many times it’s a compromise of what we both want. There have been a handful of times in our almost 11 year marriage that we have disagreed and he has done what he felt was best for our family. Most of the time, that’s worked out well. There have been a couple of times where he has come back and said he wished he had listened to me. Regardless of what happens, my husband is still the head of our home. By allowing him to be the head, we are following the Lord’s guidelines for marriage and it means that I am the lady of the house, rather than the one wearing the metaphorical pants.

Being a lady doesn’t mean being dumb or being unable to do anything for ourselves. It means allowing the men in our lives to fulfill the roles they were given. By my husband taking care of certain things, it allows me to focus on our kids and our home. It even frees me up to write and to pursue my dreams.