Feminism. It has to be said. When International Women's Day dawned on the 8th, I couldn't help but feel a sense of loss, "When is International Men's Day?" It may seem silly and counter-intuitive, but with a culture clamoring to subdue men at every turn, the Spirit within me churned in protest. Learning how the day was birthed in Communist Russian, backed by Socialists... and then brought to America, backed by Socialist... further repelled any desire to "celebrate".
I understand our long history of oppression. The right to vote, hold property or even be paid a fair wage are relatively recent privileges produced by dedicated fore-mothers with great vision... and I am appreciative. However, in the multiple epochs since the noble goals of suffragettes, "women's rights" have taken on a beastly form.
People laugh at me. They think I am crazy to be so counter-culture in my beliefs. Perhaps. But I delight in the chivalry of male door-holding and dinner paying. I find comfort in my husband's strong hand at the small of my back as I am being escorted. I feel treasured in his watchful care. But mostly, I feel that God is honored when we stand the ground in the roles he has created us for.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a helper fit for him.”
- Genesis 2:18
I will agree that mankind, as a whole, has a dark history of treating women as subordinates and abusing their role as "head of the household". However, I find it hard to believe this domineering stance has been universal. Rather, I believe the vast majority of situations have been more isolated. Fact is, Biblically speaking, woman was created as a helper... a walk-by-sider... not an underling. Yet, in submitting to Biblical roles, we have to recognize that all of society is ran by a hierarchy - no one in charge is called anarchy and usurping power not granted to you is called a coup!! So who is in charge in a couple or family? Well, scripture tells us man makes the final call.
This doesn't mean women can't or shouldn't speak up, have discussions, offer perspective and be part of the decision making process... they should. But ultimately they submit to their husband's final call. Problem is, "submit" is no longer a favorable word in our culture. Yet, it is one of the most beautiful in all of scripture. After all, Jesus submits to God and to death on the cross for our sins (Philippians 2:8)! Yet, we aren't being asked to DIE... we are being asked to LIVE, to Christ, in obedience to our husbands and the God-ordained roll of men and women in society... that HE might be glorified through us.
In the garden, Eve wasn't punished for disobeying... Adam was punished and, it could be said, he was punished for the role-reversal of submitting to Eve instead of standing his ground in submission to God. As a result, both were cast out of the garden. What if Adam had stood up and said, "NO, Eve, don't eat that" and she had listened? It is a hard hard truth few people consider.
Women, what are we doing to our men, our children, our husbands, our brothers, our friends... when we rob them of their God-given roles to BE MEN? To be a model of strength for the weak. To be our providers and good directors. To be the leaders sorely lacking in this current climate. They have been relegated to misogynists caring only about skirts, sports and beer. Yet, if men were to say the same of women: that they only care about pecks, shopping and wine... they would be considered sexist. We spend so much time thinking so little of the men in our lives, what's left for them to think of themselves? What if we began to encourage them more and cut them down less? What if our entire demeanour sought to serve and lift men up rather than to use and push them down?
Womanhood has been hi-jacked by an alternative agenda which seeks to leave God and His good plans for men AND woman on the way-side. Women: be strong in your womanhood and all of the marvelous abilities and gifts God has planted within you.... but be an encourager to the men in your life to be strong in their manhood and all of the marvelous abilities and gifts God has implanted in them as well. We need leaders in the home, the church, the workplace and beyond, who aren't wrapped up in gender identity, but rather, those which are wrapped up in their identity in Christ and beautiful heavenly submission to how God intends to work in and through how he has created us... men and women.
And for those reading this today who are housewives, lost in a sea of accomplishment-based culture who says "Oh, you're just a housewife?", remember: God has created you for such a time as this... you are needed, more than ever, to be strong in the role He has gifted you. You have purpose and there is great beauty in what you do... even if it feels like just cleaning floors and wiping noses. DON'T underestimate your role. Read and re-read Proverbs 31 if there is any doubt!
Also, a GREAT resource, whether or not you agree with this article today, is The Accidental Feminist: Restoring our delight in God's good design by Courtney Ressig. Easy read, wonderfully written, steeped with scripture and a gentle demeanour to help encourage all of us who have been taken captive by a culture which has robbed women everywhere of their true identity in Christ.
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I pray, as the second half of Women's History Month plays on, you can celebrate the wonderful contributions our gender has made to society while also honoring the beautiful role God has created us for by man's side.
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