This journey has been long and broken but I am finally here. Not the destination, but I’m on the right track. That counts for something.
I have always wondered what being a woman meant for me. Was it being a wife and a mother? Somehow gender identity has always been closely linked to the roles that are played by that particular gender so that when those roles are taken away and replaced by the question who and why there is a resounding silence. Being a millennial hasn’t made it easier. You have choices; two of them. You either become a feminist or a traditionalist (which depends on the culture you’re from).
I come from a very “conventional” family. Everything has always been done as it should. Amazing Godly parents. Lots of stability. Yet, somehow, that didn’t shield me from all the dysfunction going on in the world. The voice of dysfunction seems to be everywhere; in the news, on social media, with your neighbours, pretty much everywhere.
Also, one very common narrative that informed my own story was that “she stayed because of the kids.” “She didn’t have a job.” “She needed her kids to be taken care of.” This, it seemed to me, that money was the problem. So at a very young I decided I was going to work hard, have a very successful career. I was never going to allow anyone to bully me (read anyone to mean husband). It seemed to me as though money brought with it respect. So I decided I too I was going to bring a fat cheque home and if push came to shove my big fat cheque could find me accommodation and school fees for my children.
In short, I decided I was going to be a strong independent woman.
I tried for a while to fight for equality. Quite exhausting I must confess. In my mind marriage was a fight for equality where everyone was supposed to come with their 50:50. When I look at feminism all I see is a woman who is seeking to protect herself by filling up a void that should be filled by Godly male leadership and as good as that may sound it is actually very broken and toxic.
Early this year I realized I had taken in too many worldly notions about who I was supposed to be. By all means, I had become the strong and independent woman I had always wanted to be and yet I found it to be very disturbing. I didn’t like it especially because I didn’t know how to trust and rely on God. I realized I had been treating God exactly how I had been treating the world, always fearing that one day God would feel that I was too dependent on Him. I can laugh at myself now.
So I went to God, the creator, and asked what does it mean being a woman?
So on this particular day I had taken time to deny the flesh and seek God concerning life matters and as I was praying I felt this rigidness in my heart. I wondered, “What could that be?” I did a heart check specifically checking if there was any bitterness taking root in my heart. That was not it.
Anyway, I felt that the problem was not un-forgiveness, it must have been something else. So I decided to ask, “Lord what is it?” I felt the Lord saying that there are parts of me even He could not access. I allowed Him to bring those walls down. Almost immediately I felt what I can only describe as a great light suddenly gash into my heart. Alas! Freedom!
When I prayed to the Lord to teach me what it meant being a woman, I didn’t get an overnight answer. But, I noticed over time that my mindset had changed. Here’s how:
1. I would never have thought that one day I would relate with the Samaritan woman. I found her to be broken and severely insecure. I didn’t think I fit the bill, Jesus thought otherwise. I read and re-read the profound mystery that is John 4 in tandem with 1st John 4:18. God can love your insecurities away.
2. I am learning not to fight the structures that God has put in place.
3. That vulnerability is a gift, strength even. You don’t expose it, the world will abuse it. You don’t build walls around it, that makes you numb. It takes wisdom to wear it as a crown.
4. Submission is a kingdom concept. An insecure and a broken person cannot submit. It takes Jesus.