I have this little...quirk, of going to the Google page just to see what artwork or day or person Google is celebrating. A month-ish ago, they were honoring 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea-the first feature, silent film based on a novel (nerd), and you could actually move the viewfinder to see all sorts of fish and sharks and ocean plants. Needless to say, I really dig what Google does.
Today is International Women's Day. And I only know this because I checked Google. This got me to thinking how our society teaches us and urges us (women) to be independent; to go against the grain and make our voices be heard. Now, listen carefully; I believe that God created man and woman for great, specific, individual purposes. I also believe that the advances women have made are impressive and honorable. I also believe that women's oppression is wrong and that the world's view of women needed to be adjusted. Get my point yet?
On the other hand, I fear that world's idea of independent women might be detrimental to women's hearts.
I grew up very proud to be a Bruegger woman. I was proud knowing that my grandmother had single-handedly kept a ranch on it's feet; it's very successful feet. I was proud knowing that my mom had raised my brother and I, most times without the help from anyone. I was proud knowing that I had examples and leaders that went before me, and laid out a path of independent success and achievements. I, was altogether, a proud and independent woman.
For most of my life, this seemed to work out pretty well. I didn't run with the crowd, I didn't do things like most people my age, and I up and moved to a big city all by myself. In my eyes, I was on a fast-track to being a strong, independent, non-oppressed woman. And yet, my eyes were completely deceiving me.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of finally reuniting with one of my dearest, sweetest, and most knowledgeable friends. Her words are like little road maps in my life, and her encouragement is like a warm, inviting hug every time. God uses her in fascinating ways. And we sat there and talked. She asked questions and I answered like a 4-year old without any vocabulary. She asked the questions that no one else had and gave advice that no one else has. She, as always, was full of wisdom and kind words.
A large part of this conversation dealt with my mindset and idealism on submission. She, too, had to learn what it meant to say 'yes' to God and to a man. She learned that he was made to be her leader and she was made to be his helper, and that trusting God to make him a great leader was all part of the package. She, like me, had a tendency to think that her ideas were right...okay, maybe that's just me; I I am German, after all. But what she also learned, and passed on to me, is that a willingness to say 'yes' brought peace and happiness and enjoyment into her life and marriage.
I always aspired to be a woman like Mary. You know, the one who gave birth to Jesus; God in a bod! (Thanks, Andy Stanley) A woman who was given instruction and only asked questions about how and not why. A woman full of faith and trust in her God and Creator. But, obviously, I was working so very hard at a life on my own, directed and guided by society and my own personal pride. Sitting in that warm, cozy, perfectly decorated office, my heart did the "Grinch" thing. It grew and softened and transformed.
Our God loves us, as women, in romantic, unselfish ways. He delights in our happiness and His heart breaks in our sadness. He pursues us, sends us flowers each spring and sunsets each night, and fights enormous battles our hearts. He is jealous for our attention and love. As a woman, I am captivated and amazed by His love for me. Why, on His beautiful earth, would I want to be following MY direction, when I could be following His? Why would I want to be an independent, struggling, confused woman, when I could be dependent on Him alone? Why would I want to chase short-lived, unsatisfactory temptations when I could be chasing after His word and truth? And why would I want to be on my own when I could be following a man and leader that He created for me? If He made a man for me that loves me like God loves me, why wouldn't my immediate and natural response always be 'yes'?
I wouldn't and it would.
I am thankful for the women who have stood up, made their voices heard, and changed my world as I know it. I am beyond grateful for the right to vote, the right to speak and be heard, and the right to make my own decisions. But, I am even more grateful for the woman who reminded me that being submissive and obedient to God, my Father and Creator, is about love and peace. And that being obedient and submissive and helpful to the man He created for me, is about love and peace, and nothing less than a life of happiness.