At the beginning I found myself with mixed emotions, stumbling to throw up and struggling to communicate my feelings. I couldn’t explain why I wasn’t full of happy anticipation about this new life, but yet had deep gratitude held loosely in light of an uncertain future.
I often feel like a fish out of water among women. I’m the woman who cringes when she gets an invite to a women’s retreat, especially if it has teacups on the cover. I was never the girl who daily dreamed of marriage or motherhood. And even now as a wife and mother, I’d rather do push-ups than craft at your kitchen table. I used to feel ashamed in the church because I didn’t fit the mold of the Christian woman I often felt was modeled and taught.
But here I am, a women’s ministry leader.
My miscarriages matter, but God’s goodness still reigns. And how do those things coincide? That’s really where I set out to understand – how is it that I feel like a walking coffin now but God is still perfect in His goodness. How do those two things work out? And that’s really what I had to figure out in my own heart.
The problem is, these deepest desires of our hearts as parents are not in line with the reality of life God’s Word tells us about . . . that in this fallen world this child will hurt; this child will suffer; this child will eventually die.
If we want both men and women to respond in the freedom of Christ and to live using our gifts to His glory, we need a space in our churches where men are specifically taught by men, and women specifically taught by women (not exclusively by the same gender but alongside of the regular preaching of God's Word of the pastor) . If we continue in the pattern of not having solid sound teaching for women by women then women will either start leading as men or will go outside of the church. Neither of these is good.
As women we have long passed the 50’s housewife image, for better or for worse we have progressed. But the image of a woman who is ladylike has not progressed. We still see ladylikeness as a woman who is very proper, elegant, quiet in well-pressed clothes. This woman’s house is never a mess, she always has dinner ready on time and her children never cry in public.
Having a husband and being a mother has certainly changed me. Not because that’s the only thing in life that can change a person, but because God has chosen this specifically to bring about change in my life.... while being a wife and mom has changed me, it hasn’t budged my identity. If anything, it’s made me more certain of it; and I don’t mean I feel "made for" or am a natural at motherhood or holy matrimony. I'm not more sure in my identity as a Mom (that's just a fact), but I'm more sure of my identity as a Christ-Follower (also a fact, but my heart often wanes).
There has been some wonderful teaching and encouragement by outstanding theologians and pastors of our day on the subject of the role of women in the home and in the church and the practical out workings of Biblical Womanhood. Among other truths, the equal worth and standing before God of women and men, despite obvious physical and role differences, have been explained and defended biblically in theology textbooks, in seminary classrooms and from pulpits. Male headship and female submission in the context of marriage and male leadership in the church is not a popular platform to defend, but it is a biblical one and as a Christian woman, I’m extremely grateful to those who have done so.