I really do think that I write better comments than posts sometimes. Something I read strikes a chord in me and the words start pouring out. And that's the trouble... they pour out. And it's really too much to leave as a comment on someone else's blog. Especially when I'm likely to be going off on a tangent they didn't intend. And I don't want to hijack their message, you know? So I think I should write about it here, but that's somehow more intimidating. As if when I write something it's somehow set in stone.
But it's not.
I've heard that it's common for women to process their thoughts by talking about them. You? Yes, me. Or, in this case, by writing about them. So my disclaimer is that when I put something out there, it's not necessarily my final conclusion. It's in process. The beta version, if you will.
With that long preamble out of the way...
I was reading my friend Jena's blog recently. She's leading a women's Bible study. I don't know if it's on a book of the Bible, or some kind of published study, or what. But the issue is that many of the women are having trouble believing that God loves women as much as men. You can read her posts HERE and HERE, along with the comments.
Her question was, "Does God, at His heart, think of women as any less than men?"
I'm inferring that that's exactly how these women feel - that they are somehow less than men in God's sight. And why do they think that?
1. Some women have been messed up (to put it mildly) by the men in their lives. At the least confused, and at the worst abused by their fathers and/or other men. We get that. We understand how that warps one's view of God. They need love and grace and restoration. They need to know God's love for them. And they deeply need to know the truth.
2. Some women are caught up in the world's perspective, and a good many of them are church women. But our culture is pervasive and we're like fish who don't know they're wet. We're more influenced by our culture than we begin to realize. The antidote is to saturate our minds with God's Word, yah? And there are also helpful books. I particularly like Nancy Leigh Demoss' Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free.
Those are probably the biggest and most common reasons for women to doubt God's love, in my opinion. But I think there's another more subtle problem.
(And Jena, don't think for a moment I'm implying you're guilty of this - my zany, clever, creative, hedge-hog friend!)
3. Some women are involved with churches (or other religious groups) that are fighting the culture so hard, they've reacted by swinging the pendulum way over to the other side. They're entangled in a bunch of extraneous restrictions and expectations. They're burdened with a role that has little or nothing to do with Biblical womanhood. And it's like an itchy suit that doesn't fit, and they want out of it.
Which I understand all too well.
I was in a church that was heading down that path, and had I stayed I don't know how my faith would have survived. There was always a not-so-subtle current floating around that said, "If you were really doing God's best, you would... "
Because really godly women sewed their own clothing (mostly jumpers), ground their own wheat for their own homemade bread, had soft wispy voices, long hair, and long skirts, read Jane Austen, liked tea parties, and harp music, and knitted or crocheted. And - of course - courted, married, and had a full quiver of children.
Other women need not apply.
Now, there's not a thing wrong with sewing clothes, grinding wheat, drinking tea, yadda yadda yadda. But that is NOT the definition of Biblical womanhood. And trying to squeeze all Christian women into that mold is wrong, wrong, WRONG.
Some wise, godly, Christian women are exuberant and outgoing. And (*gasp!*) even outdoorsy, or mechanically inclined. Some wise, godly, Christian women would rather make furniture than crochet. Would rather read P. J. O'Rourke than Bodie Thoene. And would actually rather go to a BBQ or go camping or to the dentist, than to a tea party.
I got an invitation recently to a Mother-Daughter Tea. (Someone didn't get the memo that I have three boys...) The invitation addressed the ladies first, and concluded with this:
And if you're a little lady, bring your doll and practice mothering in the doll corner, or color paper dolls and color sheets. Then join other girls around the harp and lift your silvery voices in song...
In your frilly dress, white tights, and patent Mary Janes, no doubt.
Now you may be thinking, "Oh, how lovely!" And good for you. Have at it.
But I can tell you, as a child I would have suffocated in that atmosphere. And quite possibly even now.
And I have to wonder if some of these women are struggling with being loved and accepted by God because they don't fit the mold.
I know Jena wasn't asking why women feel God loves them less than men, but I think it's worth asking that first. Because which ever (if any) of those categories we fit, we all need God's truth. But some women need more tenderness, some need their thinking challenged, and some just need to be set free.
Update from Jena, HERE.
FRIENDS: I appreciate all your comments. This morning there were 15 waiting and I realized that some were duplicates - or nearly duplicates. Because I have comment moderation on, you may not realize it will be posted eventually? Or sometimes it may tell you your comment is too long, but it actually is accepting it anyway. If I got multiple same/similar comments from the same person I have tried to publish the most representative one.
BUT, if I inadvertently deleted what you wanted to say, I'm sorry! Leave it again and I'll post it.
Thanks for your patience.