Kneelers

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“Mom, what were those dresses made of, again?” Even when it’s not near our anniversary, I often find my girls huddled around our wedding album. They laugh
at the big hair, dyed-to-match pumps, and shrub-sized flower arrangements.

“It was the style back then,” I explain.

They love to turn the pages of our story: church ceremony, roast beef dinner, touching toasts, cake-cutting, then late-night dancing. One day, I looked over my girls’ shoulders at my nearly twenty-six year-old memories, and it struck me…

The most vivid memory I have of our wedding wasn’t captured, and I never realized it before. Continue reading

To the Husbands of Our Youth

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One hot September evening…

Dear Husbands of Our Youth,

We know it’s been a rough go sometimes. And we know marriage can be really hard work. We also know you love us, but honestly, we don’t understand why you say women are so complicated, unpredictable, and hard to please. It’s just not true.

Let us explain.

First, we are NOT complicated. We are a simple straightforward gender. You just need to remember these basic things:

If your wife is quiet, it means she is sad. Unless the silence has lasted for more than twenty-four hours. If that’s the case, it means she is angry. If she’s sad, you must gently pursue her. If she’s angry, you must give her some space. And when we say “pursue”, we know you heard “SEX”. For the record, this quiet sad/angry time is not a signal that we want you. Yes, seriously.  Continue reading

True Blue Romance

It’s called Five Minute Friday. Each week, we write freely on a one-word prompt. Then we link up at the amazing Kate Motaung’s site. It’s a flash mob of writers- having fun and sharing their take on one word. This week’s prompt is BLUE.

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“You have the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen.”

He was trying to be slick- trying get my attention and be romantic.

But it didn’t work. Not that day, anyway. Not with that line. Continue reading

The Answer to Over-Correction

f19f0-steering2bwheelWe’re halfway there. Two of our four children have a driver’s license. I’m bolstering myself for when we have to start lessons with the next two.

Very few things are more nerve-wracking than teaching someone how to drive.

The worst part is when new drivers “over correct”. Our car starts to drift into the wrong lane, and I’ll say, calmly, “You’re drifting a bit, sweetie,” (my blog, my version) but just as my words start to register, an angry honk startles the driver.

Inevitably, the steering wheel gets jerked a bit too suddenly, we swerve into oncoming traffic, then back into the honker’s lane, and my life flashes before my eyes.

It’s scary. They realize that they’re headed in the wrong direction, panic, and turn too far the other way. It’s instinct, I guess.

And girlfriends, isn’t it a perfect picture of how we react as women?

But the answer to being too far right is not in going too far left.

It’s like in Grease when Sandra Dee traded her cloned, goodie-goodie poodle-skirt for skin-tight 5a6f7-sandra2bdeeleather pants and a cigarette. The former was to fit in, the latter was for attention. I like to imagine that Sandy eventually landed somewhere in the middle, where she could be her best self without selling herself short.

The answer to a lack of attention is not in getting the wrong kind of attention.

As women, we tend to correct one dangerous extreme by heading toward another. Either place rarely offers stability or peace.

Let me give you a couple of examples from my own timeline: In college, another girl called me “fat-ass”. So I stopped eating enough, started exercising too much, and began a habit of criticizing what that I saw in the mirror. Both voices, audible and silent, were mean.

The answer to one abuse is not another.

And as a young bride, I was convicted that I was in the habit of nagging my husband. I made a vow to stop, and took a giant turn towards silent brooding for a season. Or a decade. Neither was effective or respectful.

The answer to nagging is not silence.

See what I mean? In both cases, I rightly identified a wrong, but reacted impulsively and foolishly. And when I look back over the history of our complicated gender, I see that I’m not alone…

In one era, women felt trapped and restricted, and responded with a pursuit to “have it all”.  Shortly after, we suffered a generation of women who had everything, but were doing nothing well.

The answer to not having enough is not in having everything.

The women’s movement gave us the the courage to respond to the horn’s blare of inequality.Our long silence turned into a demanding roar, but most of us are still trying to figure out how to be heard.The answer to oppression is not aggression.

Our grandmothers raised their children in homes of high-truth. There were no excuses, no hand-outs, and little supervision. Generally, those kids grew to be hard-working and highly resourceful, but lacked compassion and open-mindedness.

Now, years later, the wheel has turned.Today’s kids are full of entitlement, dependent on accommodations, and over-scheduled. To compensate for the shortcomings of generations past, we’ve mothered a bunch of very empathetic and solicitous, but fragile and unprincipled people.

The answer to high truth/low grace is not low truth/high grace.

When culture devalued the roles of wife and mother, we agreed and abandoned most of what makes us women. Then, we expected men to fill the void and bashed them when they fell short. Now, no one is sure how to be a woman or a man, much less a wife or a husband, and we’ve gotten no closer to  where both are simultaneously and individually esteemed.

The answer to gender depreciation is not gender resignation.

Even in church, we’ve over-corrected.For generations, we’ve fallen prey to distorted definitions of submission and we’ve discounted God’s value of women. In response, we shut the Book, banned the word “obey”, and turned to Oprah for guidance. It’s no wonder we’re lost.

The answer to legalism is not the absence of law.

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Our historical highway has the skid-marks to prove our swerving story, and it’s jolting to recount.

But when I look closely, I must admit that I’m over-correcting even today, on the smaller roads of my life…

I’m offended by a friend, so I pull away and hit “delete” on our relationship.

I feel overcommitted, so I quit everything.

I meet someone cool, so I abandon myself and try to become her.

When will I learn? When will we?

Ladies, let’s be honest. For years, we’ve been paying the price for panicky responses and trading one danger for another. We can’t redo those lost years, but we can get back on track.

It will take effort, focus, and the support of one another, but mostly it will take humility.

The answer to over-correction is humility.

Humility to listen to Someone else’s voice and to distrust, for once, our instincts.

Humility to slow down and learn from our mistakes.

Humility to resist the extremes and respect our boundaries.

Humility to learn the way in which we were uniquely designed to communicate, make changes, and do our part.

If we stay in the correct lane, we’ll get to where high-truth and high-grace cohabitate: where we can be our best selves.

It’s at the intersection of womanhood and the gospel… right between the lines that He painted with His own blood.

It’s the center of the cross, in the midst of “you are worse than you’ve ever feared” and “you are loved more than you’ve ever hoped”.

And the trick is not to jerk away from either.

It’s where you were meant to live. Not as a slave. Not as a queen.  As a woman. As His daughter.

Sisters, it’s where we will find everything that we’ve wanted all along. It’s where we’ll find our rightful place in this world. It’s where we’ll have peace.

I w2d80d-girl2bon2broadant my daughters to live there someday. Don’t you? Let’s teach them the way.

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”Genesis 3:13

Window Open or Closed?

This has been the year of decisions for me. Big ones about careers, schools, and health. Smaller ones about paint color, gym memberships, and cars. I hate making decisions. But, then again, I don’t know many people who love this unavoidable part of life.

Decisions, no matter the size, tend to make me exhausted and often afraid.

I’m afraid if I choose the wrong paint color, the room will look unattractive, and we’ll have to repaint, and money will be wasted which will eliminate the possibility of getting new couches which means we won’t be able to get the new rug in that different color scheme…

I’m afraid if I pay for the car repairs instead of selling the car, I’ll be faced with more repairs later and out more money, which means not being able to buy the car later, which means our family of six will have to make due with one fewer car…

I’m afraid that if I send my kids to that school, they won’t get a good education, make the right friends, or be encouraged in their faith, then they will become criminals and I’ll be visiting them in jail…

I don’t know about you, but these things are scary.

Continue reading

Warnings from the Champagne Flutes

Glass pitchers, dish sets, serving platters…

Recently, I watched a young bride-to-be open gifts at a shower. Beautiful, useful, and fun things. All appropriate for a young couple starting their new life together.

I’ve been to many showers. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the older women to share in a family’s excitement and show support for the newest pledge of the “Wife Club”. We happily bend over China patterns and run our fingers over new quilts. With genuine interest, we oooh and ahhh over wedding dress descriptions and flower choices. We encourage, share stories, and offer advice, then squeeze hands and shed tears of joy. I love it all. Truly.

However, another thing is true about every shower I’ve been to. At the point that chairs are arranged for present time, an invisible divider separates the knowing from the innocent.

Continue reading