Well I’ve got a few things to get off my chest on International Women's Day.
First of which is...
I used to think that this day was really stupid.
(Bear with me here.)
I think that a lot of that apathy came from the fact that I was blessed to be raised in a home where the women (along with our thoughts/giftings/status) who lived in and came through it, were just as valuable as the men. Our loud family table, filled with food and wine and belly laughs and heated debates, was always surrounded by an organic diversity of gender and color and culture. And frankly, it kind of ruined me a little.
Only in the sense that for a while it made me a little naive about the reality of sexism(and racism) and fueled a confusion and lack of understanding when it came to modern feminism.
I also noticed early on that a lot of behavior coming out of hollywood and political arenas done in the name of “equality” were (and often still are) actually just a fight for superiority. A fight for the tables to turn and to finally have the upper hand, the same hand that has been sadly wielded with abuse and neglect by men for so many generations before us. But I wasn’t angry at men, on the contrary, I’ve always treasured the male relationships in my life, and never wanted to be apart of furiously blaming them for misogyny they weren’t guilty of.
So it took a while for my heart to be softened enough to see past those wrongful responses of women to the brokenness and injustice done to them, and the pain that came with it. (Not that that excuses or justifies bad behavior.) Unfortunately I had to learn some of those lessons through my own experiences of being dismissed and undervalued, and watching the wonderful women next to me treated the same. But still, I can appreciate now how those painful mistreatments were used to shatter my sexism-free bubble and fuel a compassion and desire to walk in a healthy middle ground, without falling into the dysfunctional ditches of extremes.
So now on International Women’s Day, I no longer roll my eyes and grumble “if there was an International Men’s Day, everyone would lose their freaking minds...”.
While there is still a lot about modern feminism that I will always speak out against (because it's often sexist itself or just plainly objectifying), I don't make the mistake any more of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Today I feel the pure and wholesome and righteous celebration of womanhood and I’m here for it.
I’m thankful today to God for creating two genders, both different in design but equal in value.
I’m thankful for how special God made women, in the ways we relate to men and in the ways we are unique from them.
I’m thankful that in spite of our world history and current climate of oppression and mistreatment, that redemption is coming. That someday we will all see each other rightly, as people who all needed a savior. And in heaven, as co-heirs to His kingdom. Which neither gender earned more of a right to, but that was freely given because of the cross.
I’m thankful today for the men in my life.
For my dad and my husband, who continuously point out my giftings and cheer me on to ‘go for it’. To run, not walk, towards who I’m called to be, and put the insecurities and lies I believe in their rightful place.
I’m thankful for my brothers, who were one of the reasons I was so ignorant to sexism for so long, because even when we wouldn’t agree on things, we always respected and valued each other’s opinions, and I didn't know any other way.
I’m thankful for the male friends I have who love me like their sister. The ones who give me big bear hugs, without treating my personality or body as something ‘potentially problematic’ or something to be scared of.
I'm thankful for my pastors and my church, for honoring women and very visibly demonstrating that they believe what we bring to the table is important. For being intentional about making that belief a natural part of our community culture.
I’m thankful today for the women in my life.
The family and friends who all bring beautiful and unique colors to the painting of my world.
I’m thankful for the women who are fierce and brilliant fighters for what’s right and true and good, even at great cost.
I’m thankful for the women who are gloriously strong, because they are openly and vulnerably weak, finding their strength and freedom in Jesus.
I’m thankful for the women who encourage, uplift, and breathe life into every room they’re in, never stepping on other women to feel a little better about themselves.
I’m thankful for women who are creative and poetic, and the ones who are faithful and organized, both of whom I learn so much from.
I’m thankful for the women who are devastatingly funny, while still remaining classy and kind.
I’m thankful for the women who serve and sacrifice with ferocious love and gentleness, never stepping on the men and children in their life to get ahead or find narcissistic purpose.
These women are my heroes, and I make a point to be around them as often as I can, because we become what we behold.
And I'm thankful today that God gave me a daughter.
I look at her at 8 years old, and I already want to be like her.
She is sweet and caring and joyful in a way that's like the sun coming out on a cloudy day.
I love that she loves to learn and that she comes alive when she gets to teach.
I love that she loudly sings off-key with confidence and passion and is the first to volunteer to help out with just about anything. I love that she is typically found cheerfully playing with the quiet, awkward kids, but never seems to really notice that about them or that she has befriended the outcasts.
I'm inspired by how beautiful she is on the inside as much as she is on the outside,
and I feel a serious weight of responsibility I have to her, that makes me get on my knees to pray for both of us.
I pray that God would exemplify womanhood at it's truest and loveliest, to both of us.
That we will not only be able to flourish in our femininity, but also be humble and teachable.
That when it comes to our fears and heartaches and all of the things that make us feel out of control, that we wouldn't scramble to comfort ourselves in destructive ways or take matters into our own hands. But that we would find peace in trusting the One who is in control, and comfort in the fact that we are not.
I pray that we both see, in our minds and in our hearts, how God delights in His daughters.
So that on days like today, we can delight in each other too and in the beauty of our maker.