Note: If you want to read more about gender roles, be sure to check out the link over there on the right labeled "Gender Roles". Understanding gender and the roles we take because of them has and will continue to be a major portion of what I explore on this blog for it has completely defined me for far too long. Here is a more recent series that has led me to even more clarity and freedom: The Feminine Awakening.
1) Read a letter written to the believers in Antioch to help encourage them to follow what was important and disregard false teachings others have put on them to discourage them.
2) Write a Christmas card or letter to someone that has been a blessing to you this year - a note of encouragement.
My thoughts last night when I read this: Hmm...I can think of a few close people I could write to - mostly females - the few friends that have stuck by me in this time of my life.
My thoughts this morning after reading a post about the title of this blog: Potentially I need to write a letter to the men I have met along this journey that have been used by God to help set me free from some "false teachings" of both this world and the Church. These false teachings have sought to discourage me from being all that God created me to be.
This 2nd idea for letter - not so easy for Real Mama. Especially after everything that stirred up in my heart this weekend. Looking back over my life, it seems I've had very few examples of boys/men that didn't want to take an opportunity to "put me in my place" by exerting their power over me in some way, shape or form.
Yet, as I sift through the layers unleashed on me these past few months, weeks and days - I realize that while I did the best I could do with the knowledge I had before the last 6 months or so - I am now healing. I am now realizing that God is giving me the ability to take that power - that was wrongly taken from me by others or given by me to others - back, into my own hands. This process of healing, of growing up into adulthood is so painful and not easy by any means. Facing my demons and those of others that were imposed on me - not so easy.
However, I promised myself a while ago that I wouldn't allow myself to put myself in the victim role again. That I wouldn't only be a survivor of my life - but a thriver. I know seeking out to understand my true identity in Christ in relation to men is part of this journey. So as painful as it is to even begin to trust men, to trust that they aren't all out to get me...I am here to try.
The following post from Matt over at Theoprudence has sparked the hope that came to me today. You see, as I lay in bed this morning, I realized that God has seemed so distant from me lately. I cried out in my heart, asking Him to show me something - anything that I could cling on to during this time. Just to hear Him some where in the midst of all the darkness that is surrounding me. Then a friend shared this link and just "by chance" I actually had a moment to read it.
On Femininity, Sexism, and Sensuality in the Bible
God didn't just stop there though in answering my prayers. He provided a new musical artist for me to listen to as well - Katie Rice. Her first song I listened to "Ready Now" talks about a coming out of hiding. Are you serious? Wow...then another one entitled "Love" talking about not giving up on love. God, is that you?
Oh, yeah - that wasn't the all of it. In reading back over some writings this afternoon, I had actually asked God to lead me to men that have a different perspective on women and the whole gender role thing. I like to think that today was one small step in this direction...but one large leap to answering my prayers.
So, without further ado - my letter to these men. I apologize that I am not taking the time to name all of you here...and who knows if you will ever read this...but hopefully if you are a man of these thoughts and opinions, this letter is for you!
To the brothers among the Gentiles in all of the world
to the brothers who speak out against the conformity of the world and the Church
to those who seek to set women free to be individuals and not pigeon holed into some stereotype
Thank you! Words are not enough to express my gratitude to the work that you have done and are doing. To know that there are men out there who see God's creation in the light of true equality in the sexes - it gives this one individual woman hope beyond measure. It almost seems too good to be true that a man would see me as a real person, uniquely created in the image of God...but I am hearing from you. I wish to just ask you to continue to speak up, speak out and speak into people's lives about what you believe and have seen in your own life. I know it must not always be easy to do this - even in this "reformed" age of women's rights. The world wants you to just see us as a piece of meat. The church, probably even the bigger battle ground, wants you to denounce that any good came from the women's liberation movement...that it has done more harm than good and confused the roles beyond recognition. Yet know that this woman sees the true bravery and courage you exhibit in voicing your opinion and thoughts. I have and am being set free from a lifetime of oppression because of you. I am eternally grateful that you see me as a team player in God's kingdom with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Your sister in Christ,
~ Real Mama