Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’

Everything about this is yes, yes, yes. We need Feminism. Would you like to argue that God is patriarchal? Well, this is what patriarchy really looks like, and no, my loving God will not stand for it.

iwantedwings

Imagine this:

The year is 2014. You are a white Western woman. You wake up in the morning in a comfortably sized house or flat. You have a full or part-time job that enables you to pay your rent or mortgage. You have been to school and maybe even college or university as well. You can read and write and count. You own a car or have a driver’s licence. You have enough money in your own bank account to feed and clothe yourself. You have access to the Internet. You can vote. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing, who you can also marry if you want to, and raise a family with. You walk down the street wearing whatever you feel like wearing. You can go to bars and clubs and sleep with whomever you want.

Your world is full of freedom and possibility.

Then you…

View original post 1,400 more words

Advertisements

Jesus Loves Me, This I Sorta Always Forget

I want to start over. I want to stop, breathe. Be still. And know.
Or stop knowing, actually.
I wish I could burn every Huffington Post article that gets posted to our walls. I wish I could throw out every opinion Buzzfeed list on “24 Reasons Why I’m A Feminist” that prods, urks, annoys, and fires us up. I wish I could scrap all of my own opinions and promise that I’d never have a strong one again.

I wish, above all else, that I had a strong sense that I am loved, am approved of, and accepted. Regardless of my opinions, regardless of where I am right, where I am wrong, that I am totally and completely Beloved.

I wish I could just cry more, and feel the real pain of how it is when my world is upside down. I wish I could accept that I just don’t know all the time, but still, I am so loved. Love is here for me to experience now, no matter how upside down everything else is. I wish I could stop trying to turn everything right-side-up all the time, and just see the sky from this different vantage point, and experience how beautiful and terrifying it is when you can’t tell if you’re swimming up or down. Toward the sky or toward the rocks. It’s still all blue.

What if I could actually know that God loves me? What if that were it?
Could that be the end of justifying, defending, opinionating?

Could that be the end of isolation, fear, and separation?

If I could only know that I was truly loved by He who made me and made everything good, good, good, then would I stop hiding away from those who I don’t feel approve of me? Would I stop fighting so hard in the comment section? Would I stop begging my fellow man to please, just understand me. Love me. Accept me. Approve of me.
Would I be gentler with those who don’t agree?
Would I be closer to those who don’t understand?

Could I understand better that they, too, are loved beyond understanding?

I believe the Good News is that yes, I could and would do all of these things so much better if I could just begin to understand that God loves me, and that’s that.

I’d throw out all of the doctrine I hold out as a shield. I’d climb down off of the hills I’m willing to die on. I’d release myself from the trapeze I’m hanging on, and just experience the great fun in floating in the in-between.

No more anti- this or pro- that. No more, how could you not see it my way?

I’d be left with the truth that is beauty, and pain, and this chaos that is the human existence.

I’d be left with Oneness, and camaraderie, and empathy, and jointness, and the Body. Whole.

Just God. And love. And that’s it.

But instead I build my walls around myself. Unable to believe that anyone, especially not The Perfect One, could possibly accept, understand, and love all of the ugly, wrong, sinful parts of me.

So, I tell myself I’m right. I tell the world I’m right. And I stand in my walled-in isolation of rightness, and let nothing in, nothing out. And when some walk by and start banging the bricks in, they say I should just grow up, rebuild. Build higher, build stronger. Get ahold of yourself and strengthen that which you believe. You shouldn’t be crushed by brick every time someone comes through and tries to knock you over. Grow up.

What if I could grow down? What if I could grow so small that I could fit in the Hands of my Maker? What if He were my defense? What if I could believe that?

Peace. Joy. Purity.

I believe, if my walls were knocked down, if I were shrunk down, the Spirit would come and make His promise true that these are truly His gifts.

Open up your heart. Let down your walls. Let me in.

 

The One Thing Missing From The #LikeAGirl Campaign

The feminine product company, Always, put out a heartwarming commercial in June, explaining why and how to break down the “like a girl” stereotype. We see young women asked to perpetuate and explain the stereotype of running, hitting and throwing “like a girl.” Then some young girls, maybe unaware of the stereotype, show off their version of doing things “like a girl.” We see the discrepancy, and can all agree that putting girls down by categorizing femininity with weakness and physical inability is a disappointing part of growing up. We, of course, should encourage young girls and women to be themselves, run however they want, be strong, and make up their own minds about what it means to embrace femininity for themselves. I don’t disagree with this commercial, and I don’t think it’s bad or wrong in any way. Yes! Let’s empower women! I’m with you, Always!

maxresdefaultAt least on this commercial, I’m with you. (And after some research, I think Always is actually advertising to women quite well. They are selling period starter kits for young girls to get prepared for their cycle and releasing some charming ads to boot.) Always is, as you know, a feminine product company. Companies offering menstrual “clean-up”, not excluding Always, have not always advertised well to women. Always is not exempt from the list of advertisers that tend to misrepresent the monthly cycle; although, they are producing better ads than most other companies. In some of their other ads, like in most feminine product ads, Always is still representing menstrual bleeding with blue liquid. As every woman can attest, uterine lining isn’t blue. It’s bloody, for Pete’s sake! It ranges from bright red to dark brown throughout the 3-8 days of bleeding. It also doesn’t spill smoothly onto a flattened pad from a clear glass. Every single woman has a pair (or a few) of stained undies from the effects of the heavy day that no tampon or pad on the market could defend. Most commercials for feminine products is still telling a big lie that with the right product, periods can be masked and secret. Always goes by the name of Whisper in Southeast Asia. There is still a message sent to women that your period should be a secret.

Harry Finley, the curator of the Museum of Menstruation, claims feminine product advertising started as early as the 1800s. The ads, since then, have sung the same tune. “The companies (usually run by men) take advantage of the secrecy surrounding menstruation. They’ve always been about covering up any sign of menstruation, sight or odor. The worse women feel about menstruation the more vulnerable they are and companies make money from that.” he explains.

The marketing executives of Always are on the right track with their campaigning.They are well aware there is a movement of feminist advertising they can’t ignore. There is a growing market of well-educated women, looking to take care of their bodies and choosing wisely where to spend their money. We are growing less and less ignorant of the subliminal sexism and hyper-sexual material in most advertising, thanks to projects like Miss Representation. Always knows they won’t make money producing advertisements that claim your husband won’t want to spend time with you if you have your period. Other companies aren’t necessarily behind this trend yet, and are unfortunately still banking on the lie that your menstrual bleeding and natural functioning should be something to be ashamed of. There are still commercials for tampons that can be discreetly hidden, ads showing confident women wearing all white and proudly walking up to their man, proud that he’ll never know their big secret. Advertisers are still feeding into the idea that women should be ashamed of their bodies, and selling products with perfume and harmful chemicals that we all know we aren’t supposed to be putting in our vaginas.

At least advertisers don't claim Lysol is a helpful tool for saving your marriage anymore!
At least advertisers don’t claim Lysol is a helpful tool for saving your marriage anymore!

So, Always, a company dealing with our periods head-on, is asking us to embrace doing life “like a girl.” Then let me finish the ad with my own twist. Hey, Always! I want to get my period “like a girl”!!

Periods are not super fun, but they are just part of doing life like a girl, and I think we should all think a little bit about how we can open up to that fact. “Yes, I kick like a girl, and I swim like a girl, and I walk like a girl, and I wake up in the morning like a girl,” says a young woman toward the end of the commercial. Let me add, I also get my period like a girl. Because I am a girl.

My Introduction to Charting & the Fertility Awareness Method

In the big debacle over the Supreme Court’s recent decision on providing birth control health coverage (which, I’ve discovered I can’t really start talking about without entering a frantic “but I just…. but…. I…. AHHHHH!!!!-hair-pulling-esque hysteria), I was in the process of writing up this post. I’m on my own interesting journey with contraception, so I wanted to chime in.

Quick disclaimer, just by the by. I don’t, personally, have any religious opinion about the Pill, or any birth control for that matter. Everything in this post is altogether personal, it was just semi-relevant timing with the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Supreme Court ruling happening recently. I’m never really of the stance that we should tell anyone how to live life in the name of God, but I especially have no spiritual stance on this issue. I do, however, have a pretty strong personal stance.

I was on the Pill for years to combat terrible cramps, heavy flows, and an altogether bitterness toward the monthly “joys” of womanhood. For the time I was on the Pill, I really didn’t experience cycles of any sort. The cramps were gone, and pretty much any sign of life inside my womb was gone. Numb, and unknowing. Fine, just fine. Floating through life with 2 day spotting that I’d call a “period.” Life was good.

However, in an ongoing rebellion to many mindless choices that I made in the name of it’s-just-what-you-do-ness, one morning I decided to not take the next pill. And I never went back to the pharmacy for the next pack. And truthfully, I didn’t exactly know why.

It was in part thanks to Netflix. I’d been watching documentaries on natural birth. I’d seen documentaries on the shittiness of advertising, the farming industries, fast food, GMOs, you name it. All that hippie-dippie crap most of us wish we’d just skipped past and kept on bingeing Breaking Bad episodes. Unfortunately, the reality of what chemicals and hormones and it’s-just-what-you-do-ness of our society was all starting to seep into my subconscious. And suddenly, I decided pretty sporadically that I didn’t want to put a dose of hormones into my system every morning.

Another disclaimer: Randomly deciding to stop taking the Pill is not necessarily something I’d recommend to someone who’s sexually active and not looking for an unwanted pregnancy. I happened to not be active at the time, but if I was, I think I would’ve done a lot more research before simply stepping away so quickly from a highly successful form of birth control.

In the nine months to follow, I embraced nine full cycles of mood-swings, terrible cramps, and heavy flows. The joys. All of ‘em. I crumpled up on the bathroom floor, screamed, “I’M GOING BACK ON THE PILL!,” spent full days in bed, tried a menstrual cup, found a good pain-killer regimen, ate more bananas, got more exercise and ultimately, survived womanhood. In fact, I even began to enjoy it. I can’t necessarily explain why, but something about feeling the life of a healthy, working uterus was thrilling.

And then this March, Eric proposed. It was time to start talking about what to do if, in fact, I wanted to prevent pregnancy in September, once I’m sexually active and not at all interested in having a baby anytime remotely soon. [Personal note: We are waiting until marriage to have sex, so we won’t be actively using this method as birth control until then. The topic of “abstinence” is one I’ll write more on later.] My fiancee is a man of high value. Particular, holistic, and not afraid to do things that take a lot of work if it means getting the best possible outcome. And to him, getting to keep his wife all to himself for the first few years of marriage is absolutely the best possible outcome. No babies.

“I hate the idea of your hormones being affected so unnaturally.”
“Yeah. I think that’s why I stopped initially. I don’t want to go back on the Pill.”
We agreed.
So, no Pill, either.

So, where did that leave us? Condoms work. But what about when they don’t? The pull-out method works. But what about when it doesn’t? Latex and self-control seem to be fallible things. I’d heard some rumors that if you simply don’t have sex exactly two weeks after the first day of your period, then you’ll never get pregnant. Seemed good enough for me. But what about the fact that my period never actually seems to come on the same day every month? What’s up with the spotting that happens seemingly at random? What about the day before the two weeks exactly after the first day of my period? What about the day after? What about all this weird stuff that comes out of me kinda heavily 3 weeks after my period? Does that have anything to do with this?

In talking to more au-natural friends, wives, moms, and one Eric, I thought maybe some research would do. I heard about Natural Family Planning and the Fertility Awareness Method through a friend who has used a form of one effectively and happily throughout her marriage. No hormones. No (unplanned) babies. And an added bonus: You get to have unprotected sex sometimes. No pull-out method. No condoms. Au-natural, bay-bay.

The catch? This method actually takes some work.

Kindara is a free app developed by husband & wife team, William Sacks and Katherine Bicknell.
Kindara is a free app developed by husband & wife team, William Sacks and Katherine Bicknell.

The short of it: you observe and record (Every. Single. Day.) your temperature first thing in the morning, and your cervical fluid throughout your cycle. At first, it’s confusing, time-consuming and totally weird. But for those of us who don’t want to get pregnant, and who actually enjoy learning about our bodies and functions in a way we never thought possible, it’s totally 100% worth it. For those of you who do want to get pregnant, it’s also 100% worth it. No ovulation tests, no invasive doctor’s appointments necessary. If you try this method, your knowledge about fertility increases and so do your chances of conception. And if you do have a fertility problem, you’ll notice quickly and will be more informed when you visit a specialist.

This blog post is really just an intro to my journey with the Fertility Awareness Method. So far, it’s been a lovely ride. I’m incredibly aware (amazing, the name actually suggests it does what it says) of my body, my cycle, my health, myself. FAM is called a “cooperative method”. You and your partner have to communicate thoroughly. For birth control, this method is truly for monogamous, long-term, committed relationships. However, as a means of understanding and deepening your relationship with your natural functions, it is wonderful for absolutely everyone.

For resources and ways you can learn more about charting & FAM, click here!

10 Pieces of Life Advice I Definitely Don’t Need

These tidbits are all for you guys. I’m actually immune to them and don’t need them at all. Readers, you really need to get your shit together. And let me tell you how. Follow my advice closely and learn everything I already know. Okay? Okay! Here we go.

1. Get less addicted to Facebook. For the love of all that is Good and Evil, enough is enough. Aren’t you tired of pretending there isn’t a giant void in your soul that gets filled with all this mindless information? Scroll after scroll, all you’re getting from this deal is depression and self-loathing. No number of “likes” will ever make your post feel as cool as that rad feminist mom who is homeschooling like a champ with her perfect cute kids. No number of little red notifications will actually make you less dissatisfied with the lack of real, authentic social interaction in your life. You’re “talking” at a screen (typing into a box) and you’re still sitting there completely alone. And does it actually make you feel better to click through her photos and keep whispering, “I wish I was there… I wish I was doing…” and not making any headway to be or do or see any of what you really want to see? Get off the computer, and go freaking do it.

2. Stop rebounding. Love is fun in the first six months. Soon, he’ll get mad at you for genuinely forgetting to turn off the kitchen lights and you’ll stare at him, stunned, and think, “You’re not the man I thought you were!!!” OF COURSE he’s not. You thought he was everything you needed him to be. Consistently patient, always full of words of affirmation and fun date ideas. To keep you interested, entertained, fulfilled. Well. He’s not. He can’t. No one can actually be your “everything”. If you still think that your addiction to passion can be sustained for longer than 6 months, I think you need to reevaluate your delusions. If you still think love is about another person making you happy, I think you’ll be pretty disappointed with the new guy you date when you find out he’s basically the same as the last: totally imperfect and not able to make you happy all the time. This goes for friends, too. They’ll make you laugh for a year and then they’ll have a different opinion on gay marriage than you and it’ll really grind your gears. Stop trading them in for State of the Art Human Robot machines, programmed to believe everything you say is awesome.

3. Start actually loving your body. Yeah, I know you love spewing off Facebook posts about how destructive advertising is to women’s self-image and posting Instagram #selfieloves, but you still respond “ugh” when he tells you he loves your frame. Spend some time in front of the mirror naked. Exercise more, eat better. Treat your body like it’s a really living human thing and treat it with some respect and real love. It doesn’t help to just talk about it like you love it. What if your boyfriend only told you he loved you on Instagram? You’d be pissed. Your body is pissed.

4. Stop moving. Seriously, if you’re not happy in the part of the country where people will drive 8 hours to just to see colorful leaves, then I have a feeling you probably won’t be happy anywhere. If you’re bitter and angry here, you’ll get bitter and angry there. Just like love, excitement about a new places lasts 6 months to a year at most. Then you have to pay taxes.

5. Stop saying, “I’ll just be happy when {fill in the blank}” When I get married… when I go back to school… when I get a different job… when I have kids. No matter what phase of life you’re in, it’s probably the best one. Can’t you look back on everything and say, “Man, those days were the best.” Now that you’re married, don’t you wish all the time that you could be single and in college again? That’s because the present moment is the best moment. Right now, you have everything you need. You are right where you need to be. Yes, it’s so cliche, but it’s so very true. Every day, you have a decision to be as happy or as unhappy as you want to be. If you choose today to be looking toward tomorrow and promise to be happy when {fill in the blank}… then you will choose tomorrow to look even further down the road and promise to be happy some other time. You will live your whole life this way and only be really, truly happy when you’re dead.

6. On that note, just please. Quit your bitchin’. Stop complaining about everything. Especially the weather. God, I swear if I hear “it’s too hot” one more time this summer, I’m gonna lose my mind. I wish I could slap you into last winter and show you what “too hot” can feel like in the middle of a damn Nor’easter.

7. Get more grateful. You’ve got food, water, and shelter, right? Listen, that’s a whole lot more than a whole lot of people get. But on top of that, you have so much stuff that you were never promised and never needed in the first place. Make a list of 20 things you’re grateful for, and quickly realize how abundant your life is. If you have a car and a computer, you’re actually very wealthy in comparison to the rest of the world.

8. Stop being bored. You’re not actually bored. You’re just tired of the same old crap on the same old screens that keeps numbing your brain and destroying your eyeballs. Put the phone down, read a book, go for a walk, sit still for Pete’s sake!

9. Stop pretending all the advice you’re giving to other people on your Blog isn’t just you talking at yourself.

The real reason you’re willing to spend 3 hours drafting up a rant about how stupid “people” can be? You’re entirely fed up with how stupid you can be. I think you like to pretend your Facebook habit isn’t out of control, so you tell others theirs is. Because you definitely don’t check your Newsfeed every time you grab your phone. You are definitely not looking for more articles, more advice, more screens, more numbness. You are always grateful, all the time, right? It’s not your problem, it’s theirs. Rant, rant, rant… blah, blah, blah.

In the words of Jon Foreman, a mirror is so much harder to hold.

This post is my mirror. My judgment on those around me is certainly the log in my own eye. It is easier and far more satisfying to turn the mirror around on others so that the non-reflective plastic stares back at me, saying, “There’s nothing there.” It’s rare that I realize, while I’m busy throwing stones, the shrapnel is ricocheting off of my friends and little bits of stone are destroying my face. How would I know if I’m never willing to look? I’ve created a two-foot barrier between myself and those around me. The glass reflects a cold, harsh light into the eyes of my loved ones and they back away. I hold the mirror out as a shield, when it could be my great remedy. I mean, I know the log is there. I can feel it digging into my eye. If I could only just get a good look, I bet I could get it right out. If I could sit with myself and read the pieces of “advice” I love dishing out to everyone else, I’d notice I was talking to myself the whole time.

10. So, my last piece of advice is kind of for you. But it’s really for me. Hey, Ash? Turn the mirror back around, pull that dirty log out of your eye, and let yourself get healed.

Revolutionary Love (Or Even Like?)

I came upon an interesting idea today. Please ignore the simplicity of the thought; if you let it, it may be revolutionary. It is this:

What if God actually likes me.

I get that God loves me, you know? I think we all sorta get that. Even if we don’t go to church, even if we don’t really have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Most people (and it’s cool if you’re not one of them, I guess I’m just generalizing) have at least heard it somewhere that God the Father loves us.

I get that God loves me. I get that He loves me just the same as I get that my parents had to love me through my crappy teenaged years. Yeah, they loved me. They put up with the monster that was disguised as me for those dreadful, hormonal years. They waited for all that attitude, all of those harsh “Ughhhhhh, you are RUINING MY LIFE”s to “PLEASE, OH GOD, JUST GO AWAY ALREADY.” I realized today that I’m pretty sure God loves me just the same as that. I’ve done a good job at convincing myself (and my own Dad tells me I have a creative imagination, capable of inventing the most elaborate worst-case-scenarios) that the moment I wake up, I have to answer God with a sigh of, “I’m sorry” as He shakes His sorrowful head. He is solemn and frustrated with me, yet not at all surprised, and says, “You didn’t get up when you said you would.”

So, here’s my revolutionary idea:

What if. What if God is more of an easily-amused, jubilant child on a sunny Saturday morning. What if He is oblivious to the flaw in the ringing of the snooze button for the 8th time and instead cracks up, laughs, “Ha!! Hit it again!! Hit it again!!” And what ifwhen I get up, finally, He is waiting for me in the kitchen trying to stifle his laughter, getting ready to yell “SURPRISE!” with a banner hanging over His head reading, “YOU DID IT!” And what if He sits with me in the bathroom as I shower and says thoughtfully, “I’m really glad you got that extra sleep.”

Well, if you consider your quiet morning time as sacred as I do, you won’t be as excited about the peppy Morning-God. But you catch my drift, right? I mean, can you even imagine it? What if God is actually nothing like a Disappointed Disciplinarian Dad, whom you can never please?

Honestly, the thought scares me. If Dad isn’t telling me how I’m doing everything wrong, then who will? If I always feel good about myself and everything I’m doing, then won’t I be naive, oblivious, ignorant? Won’t I look really bad? Won’t I be incredibly hurt when someone at work counter’s God’s “You’re doing everything so well!” with a “Why were you late today?” Won’t it feel like falling down a flight of stairs? Won’t I deserve it? What happens when peppy Morning-God’s hot air balloon of Love gets popped mid-flight?

So, I guess you’d say I’m afraid of heights. I’m afraid to be let down and to look dumb. But I think I might just try it. Because what if?What exactly could my life look like if I actually that God loved – no REALLY LOVED, even LIKED (imagine that!?) – me?

Would I actually enjoy spending time with Him if I believed He enjoys spending time with me? Would I be able to actually trust Him if I believed, maybe, He trusts me? Would I be able to stand confident in God’s love if I really believed He sees no flaw in me?

Maybe it’s revolutionary. Maybe not.

You Don’t Call Customer Service To Get Girls

Dear Customer,

Upon hearing your well-spoken English over the phone and discussing your basic understanding of the Performing Arts venue where I work, I imagine you’ve been a part of our consumerist society for some time. I’m surprised that I’d have to write this letter, but I believe you’ve misinterpreted what exactly your role as consumer entails. You called me so that you could buy an item. Physical tickets to an upcoming concert. That item will reward you with an experience for a certain amount of money. I am the individual who will take your payment information and, in turn, send you a few pieces of paper that will grant you admission to an entertainment experience. As a consumer, I will inform you (perhaps to your surprise), you do not have any right to consume me or my body in any way. I suppose we didn’t explain that clearly enough in our Frequently Asked Questions online.

With the confidence in which you chose to say what you said in the place of “Thank you, have a nice day,” I have a feeling you were never told that ending a conversation with, “You sound gorgeous, oh my god” over the phone while I’m here at work, trying to sell you tickets, isn’t actually the proper way to say goodbye to your sales associate. Since you obviously didn’t know this, I’m assuming neither do your sons, neither do your brothers. And it’s important for us as a society to become aware of, like I said, exactly what our role as Paying Customer actually involves.

As your sales representative, I do not work for a service in which I’m selling you the experience to imagine what I might look like. I am not answering this phone so that you can compliment me on the basis of anything beyond what I am answering the phone for. “You are so friendly!” would be an appropriate and respectable response to the service I just provided. My job here is to be kind and helpful, and to guide you toward having a nice consumer experience. If your idea of having a nice consumer experience includes the opportunity to purchase tickets and to purchase a woman, I think you’ve been mislead. I am not actually for sale. Again, I’ll make sure Human Resources knows that this was not included in our Terms and Regulations online. I’ll inform them of that mistake, and I’m sure they’ll get on it immediately.

As you said so eloquently, you do not have any actual knowledge of what I look like. In your head, a young, kind female voice conjures up images of something that is “gorgeous”. I wonder if you could even come close to imagining what I actually look like. Seeing as the 8 billion humans in this world all look slightly different, I’d say you have, at best, a 1 in 10 million chance to even guess my height. A lucky 1 in 7 billion of guessing how wide my nose is. My guesses are as good as yours when I wonder about what you were wondering. But. If you’re imagining something close to what our culture tells us, from 99% of billboards, advertisements, and magazine covers, is “gorgeous,” then I’m probably some collage of a 5’7”, 125 pound, leggy, sultry eyed, thin nosed, busty, single, straight, young female who is perfectly interested in you. If that’s what you were imagining, then let me be perfectly offended. Since I’m basically none of those things. Surprised?

Please save your “Oh my God”s for the great wonders of life, the ones worthy of God’s hallowed name. After spending hours in an empty restaurant getting to know your future wife, I hope you think about these words you threw to me, a voice with no body or soul attached to it. The soon-to-be wife of a man who whispers the same words with tears in his eyes, “You are so gorgeous,” after listening to my dreams, worries, hopes, and fears for days on end. When you hold your baby daughter for the first time, I pray you utter the exact words to her that you so lightly said to me, someone else’s daughter. The daughter of a man whose fought with and fought for the beauty of his two little girls. If you never get any of these chances, please stare at the Grand Canyon, listen to a perfect moment of silence, or experience the love of a friend, and pray, “Oh, God. Oh, my God. Your world, Your people, Your love. It is so gorgeous.”

You don’t call me, Dear Consumer, to waste your praise on a voice over the phone. I don’t want to waste my time listening to it. It is fake and shallow, and I know all you wanted was for me to fill your ego and respond, “Hehe! Oh thanks!” Please, in the future, call me (and all other sales associates) to waste your money something else that will fill your soul; a concert, a great night with that future wife or daughter, a meal with friends. I’ll be happy to sell you something that is worth the “Oh my God” your soul so desires. But you can’t have me.

No, not yours,

Ash.

What does God Have To Do With Cleaning The House?

I was sent this article today on how to be a “Biblical Wife”. Now, I’m trying my hardest to write my opinions with peace in my heart, and not fire in my veins. I am certainly a reactionary person, defensive and convicted in my “liberal”, “feminist” ways, if that’s what you want to call it. So, I’ll try to appear level-headed here. (It might be clear, though, that I’m not necessarily).

I won’t get into one of my biggest issues with this article, because it’s an entire post of its own (or non-fiction/opinion/memoir mega-book). But I’ll quickly state that I’m thoroughly fed up with Christian vernacular. I consider myself a “Christian” because I’m part of a “Jesus-centered community” since, unfortunately, my little human brain can’t handle the chaos of not being a part of something. I need to know where I fit in, and for some reason a small church in Worcester with a pastor who had dreadlocks seemed to be my place, and so I’ve been there for 5 years. Just because I’ve chosen to do life with a community of somewhat like-minded people, I don’t typically think that I fit in particularly well in the widespread Christian community. Without getting too deep into this issue, I’ll briefly just say; I don’t think Jesus came to Earth to start a fan club. All too often, Christians run around writing articles and waving signs explaining that there are obvious lines drawn between the group of us that can be considered “Godly people” and those of us who cannot. You fit in because you do A, and you do not because you do B. Jesus actually never condoned that behavior. Jesus didn’t actually found that Church.

Anyway.

This all loosely relates to my feelings on an article telling me how to be a “Godly” wife.

Can I be frank and maybe, to some, a little controversial?

I’ve never actually felt that my primary role as a wife is to clean the house. (This is taken from a direct quote in the article that, indeed, our primary [see: number one] role as wife is in the home).

Believe it or not.

You don’t have to believe it.

You can if you want.

But hear me out. (Or don’t if you don’t want to.)

I feel like my primary role as “wife” is a little less clear-cut than that. (Just as my role as Christian is far more complex [in some ways, actually simpler] than to follow all the rules just so).

Listen, ladies (well. Men, too), marriage isn’t what it once was. We are no longer legally covered by our husbands like we were in Medieval days. We actually do have the right to be a partner in this arrangement. We actually do have the right to decide what our role is in this partnership. Believe it or not. (And again, you certainly don’t have to believe me. Make up your own mind. You can ‘x’ out of this post now if you feel like it. I won’t be offended, I promise.)

When I get married in September, I will agree to be a partner in a lifetime arrangement. I will have a say in how I want to lead our life. No, I will not be selfish, and I will no longer be able to live life on my terms alone. I’ll never argue for that. That is a poor formula for marriage as well. When I get married this summer, I will agree to see my husband with God’s eyes to the best of my ability, to lead him into a relationship with his Maker as often as I can, to discover with him what God had in mind for each of our lives, and how to join forces and get the best God has for us together. I believe firmly that our efforts are much better together than alone (see: Genesis 2:18 & Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 for my personal idea of what God is pitching as “Biblical partnership”). When we get married in September, we will decide together exactly what it will look like to create a home, as partners. I will certainly not always clean, he will certainly not always work. I would like to become a better cook, but he makes a darn good curry. In certain areas of life, I will serve him better than he can serve me, and the opposite will be true. I will learn the ways in which he’d love me to serve him, I will find (quickly) the parts of me that are selfish and unwilling to sacrifice, and I will die to them and give more than I thought I could. I believe Jesus will give me the strength to do this, but I also believe that feeling lazy and selfish and ugly and mean and not cleaning the house is not enough to make me “un-Godly.”

In fact, I don’t think any my failures as a wife, woman or human being is enough to make me “un-Godly” or “un-Biblical”. Why do we make God so small? Why do we think, again and again, that He loves us the way we love each other, with a list of conditions we must adhere to?

My bottom line? God will not leave you (or your marriage) if you don’t clean the house.

index

Who I AM

I am so many things I don’t want to be.

I am broke.

I am stuck.

I am dead-end.

I am bored.

I am doing

absolutely

nothing.

And I don’t think I have what I need to escape this version of myself. I don’t know who I am right now.

I don’t know anymore what excites me.

I don’t know anymore what stops me.

I am paralyzed by the fear that if I don’t find it right now, then I will slowly fade. Whatever makes me who I am will get locked up, and the key will be thrown away.

I am immensely jealous of the people going after what they know to be who they are.

I always said I’d always be on the right track, at least.

But I’m not.

I am lost.

And for the first time in my life, I feel I am without hope.

No, not that my life is without hope.

Not that all is lost.

But that I don’t know exactly what’s supposed to come anymore.

I don’t know where I’m going. Or if I’m going. Or if I’m supposed to be going somewhere. Or if I am even looking in the right direction.

I am wandering the wilderness in total darkness.

But a light shines still. And the darkness cannot understand it. The darkness cannot be overcome by it. The darkness can never extinguish it.

Oh, North Star, the Son of the night. The everlasting Light.

Oh, Light that shines above and within me, please guide me.

(I am Light.

I am All.

I am Enough.)

And I am Yours. And You are mine.

Oh, Light that shines above and within me, please live in me. Shine through me. Please see me.

And please show me.

Darkness is not dark to You. Lostness is not lost to You. Broke-ness is not broke to You. Hopelessness is not hopeless to You.

I am not these things I don’t want to be to You.

I am light to You.

I am all to You.

I am enough to You.