Sunday, May 31, 2015

Happy Release Day!

Today is the day! I've already birthed one baby this month, now it is time to birth another. The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God's Good Design releases today (actually it released yesterday, but who is counting?). After a year and a half of writing, planning, editing, more writing, and more editing, it is finally time to release the book to the masses.

Unlike Seth's arrival, I've known this due date for a while now, and it is hard to believe it's actually here. My prayer throughout the entire process was that God would use it to encourage his people and make himself known in greater measure. The prayer is still the same and I pray it for you, dear reader.

So happy release day, The Accidental Feminist. I'm glad you are here, too!

And at some point I'll write about Seth's eventful birth on May 19, but until then here is a picture of my two babies born this month.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fear and Feminism: A better answer to our fears

Yesterday we looked at how feminism was in part a response to very real fears women faced. Today we will look at how the Bible speaks to those fears and gives us a better answer.

Sarah knew fear, right? She was taken from her homeland and family with no hope of seeing them again (Gen. 11:31). She was barren with no hope of a child (Gen. 11:30). Twice she was given over to a pagan king because her husband feared for his life (Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-18). And that’s just what the Scriptures tell us. You could say that fear was probably an ever present reality in her life.

What marked Sarah ultimately, and maybe not always in the moment, is her hope in God. Her unwavering belief that God would do what he said, that God would deliver on his promises to her, and that God would never disappoint her. This is why Peter, in 1 Peter 3:1-6 uses her as an example for us to follow, not because she did it perfectly, but because ultimately her hope rested in God alone. We know that she didn't actually do it perfectly. In fact, like us, she gave into her fears on more than one occasion that we know of (Gen. 16; Gen. 18:9-15).

But the context of 1 Peter 3 is a rather fearful one isn’t it? Peter starts by telling women who live with a disobedient or unbelieving husband how they should conduct themselves. He exhorts them to live their lives in such a way that their husbands see the conduct of their character and are won to Christ. A disobedient or unbelieving husband would make any woman feel a little fearful over the future, or even the moment by moment complexities of her day. That is why Peter provides us with an example to follow. He presents his hearers with a woman clearly understood what it meant to live with a husband who was not always obedient to the word, and his hearers would have known that. Then he gives us the punchline, the moment of truth for Christian women threatened by our fears:

And you are her [Sarah’s] children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (1 Pet. 3:6).

This can encourage us even today. We, too, live in a frightening world. Our sin alone can scare us to the core. But there are countless other earthly realities that threaten our faith daily. I have had two miscarriages, which I’ve talked about before on the blog. One happened while I was writing the book and it was more complicated than we anticipated. It was so difficult that it caused my husband and me to wonder if we would ever try for another baby again. It rocked us and terrified us. I’ve also never had a pregnancy without some type of complication. This one carried minimal risk for a while (it’s resolved now), but it’s still not a normal one. Pregnancy brings out all sorts of fears for me. Will I ever hold Seth? Even as we get everything ready for his arrival, I battle a lingering fear in the back of my mind, will this all be in vain? Will I be stricken with grief again? Maybe your fears are similar, maybe they are different. But the reality of living in a sin-cursed world means there is a lot to be afraid of.

I don’t know what brings out your fears. Maybe it is a husband who doesn’t lead you like he should. Maybe it is the prospect of a life of singleness. Maybe it’s infertility. Maybe it’s a move that is on the horizon. Maybe it is family member who doesn’t know Christ. Maybe you have a difficult child or a difficult job. Maybe your bank account never seems to have enough money in it. Does the thought of your children leaving for college or driving a car for the first time bring you to your knees in fear? Are you fearful over school loans you feel like you will have forever?

The list could go on.

The answer for us all is still the same: We are Sarah’s children, if we hope in God and do not fear anything that is frightening. Feminism can’t remove our fears anymore than it can give us the power and autonomy we crave. It’s all an illusion. What we really need, what stands the test of time, is hoping in the God who knows the end of our circumstances, who is over every detail of our painful, broken lives, and who has promised to always do what is good for us.

It can be frightening to submit to your husband. It can be frightening to give your life to raising children. It can be frightening to face a life of singleness or barrenness. It can be frightening to embrace your season and give up a beloved career, rather than trying to have it all. It can be frightening to go to your job every day when you are regularly left wondering if the job will be there tomorrow. It can be frightening to pour your life into your local church with the gifts God has given you. It can be frightening to love your neighbors and enter their lives. It can be frightening to open your life up to friends, roommates, and family members. Life in a broken world is fraught with risk and fear.

In all of these areas, we are giving ourselves over for the good of another, not us. That is always frightening.

Left to ourselves we should be afraid. Hedged in, protected by our loving creator, we have nothing to fear. Feminism is not the answer to our fears or our deepest longings. Hoping in the God who created us, loves us, and promises us a brighter future is.

We are Sarah's children if we trust in our all powerful, all loving, all wise, and always good God and do not fear anything that is frightening, even the fearful reality of living in a fallen world. 

*If you want more information about how feminism has influenced us as women, you can order The Accidental Feminist on Amazon. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Fear and Feminism: There is a lot to be afraid of

At the end of this month my first book, The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design, releases. As I anticipate its release, I want to spend some time talking about what we fear. It might seem a little strange to talk about fear in the context of feminism, but I think it has everything to do with feminism’s influence in our lives and the root of feminism itself.

Feminists are strong, right? Feminists are in control of their lives? Feminists believe in girl power?

But I also think feminists (and all women) can be quite fearful.

As I say in my book, God in his good providence has given us our identity as women. He has created us. But in his wisdom he has put us in positions and places in life that can give us cause to fear. In a lot of ways he has made us physically weaker than men. Who hasn’t walked to their car in a dark parking lot with their keys out ready to jump in their car as fast as possible? We live in a scary world. He has put us in positions of submission that are designed for our good, but also make us vulnerable. I’m not saying it’s easy to submit to your husband all of the time. It’s not. Sometimes husbands don’t lead like they should. Sometimes husbands sin against us. I’m also not saying it’s easy being a woman in a sin-cursed world. It’s not. Throughout much of the world women are in very difficult, and terrifying, positions of vulnerability—and often at the hands of men. This is not a new occurrence. Women have been in fearful situations since sin entered the world.

But what feminism tried to do was empower women to rise above their circumstances in their own strength, in many ways owing to these very fears of vulnerability. We are met with similar fears today, aren’t we? We all have something to fear, and God knows that. So did countless women who have gone before us.

And in a lot of ways, fear is the great leveler isn’t it? The early feminists, had a lot to fear didn’t they? They had no real ability to protect themselves from unfaithful husbands, a government that provided them with no safety net, or their children being sent into factories. They had no real voice in society. The second wave feminists had their own set of fears, right? Left to the boredom of their house, children, and husbands, they feared losing themselves and their identity. We all fear something and we all look for answers to our fears in a number of ways. Feminism answered the fears that women faced by putting women in control of their own destiny, by making women the final authority in their lives. And it’s easy to do isn’t it? We feel like if we have some semblance of control than we can’t be hurt, we can’t be disappointed, or we can’t be given over to our fears. But, friends, this is never the answer. The answer to our fears isn’t in women’s empowerment or even in good leadership. In our sinful self-reliance, we want to believe that we can protect ourselves from our fears. But there is a better answer to our fears than feminism, self-protection, or even a society that believes in the dignity and value of women (which is a good thing!). We will look at that in my next post.

*If you are interested in learning more about how feminism has influenced us, you can order my book on Amazon.