It’s been a long season of revelation in our culture, one where everywhere you turn someone is being outed for behaving badly. Even within a matter of days, this post will be old news. And since I write most of my posts/articles over the course of months, this post is already dated. But sadly, new revelations are always coming to the surface about sin, abuse of power, and women being hurt. So in many ways, talking about how women are treated in our culture is an evergreen topic—from the Bible until today.
The Galatian Christians were tempted to go back to bondage. They wanted the comforts of the law, not the nuances of grace. They wanted the structure that the law afforded them, not the freedom that grace afforded them. Grace took away their own ability to do anything to save themselves. What they missed is that the law did the very same thing.
People say “time flies when you are having fun,”—so we must have had the most fun of all these last ten years. In one sense, it seems like yesterday. But in another sense, it’s hard to remember my life before Daniel was in it (and I lived 25 years before he was in it!). But if I could think of one verse to capture our life these last ten years it would be Isaiah 55:8:
A year ago a friend looked me in the eye and said: “Make that appointment I’ll watch your kids.”
I had been referred to counseling months prior by my OB/GYN, but had cancelled two appointments already, once out of fear and once because I didn’t have childcare. She knew my struggle since bringing Ben home from the hospital. I knew my struggle. I have had post-partum depression after all of my births, but it took me until after Seth turned one for me to realize it. But this was another level of darkness.
Every year, as Mother’s Day rolls around, we are met with a number of posts ranging from honoring mothers to exhorting mothers to manage their expectations of the day. There are posts that acknowledge that the day is hard for many women. There are posts that work to be inclusive. I’ve even written a number of these types of posts over the years.
Mother’s Day can be a tricky one for Christians. On the one hand, we want to honor the blessing of motherhood, both as mothers and as children of mothers. Every person was brought into the world by a mother, so we all have some stake in this day. But it also can be an incredibly painful day for many women, so for the Christian, the call to “weep with those who weep” rings truer than ever.
We are working through John in our women’s bible study this year and this verse struck me a few weeks ago when I studied John 13. I taught on John 15-16 last Thursday, and it stayed with me even as I looked at those chapters to prepare to teach. Sometimes we can forget that Jesus was human. He had friends. He loved people. And he felt betrayal.
I’ve struggled for a long time with fear over death. I now realize it all started when we lost our first child to miscarriage and death felt personal. For months after the loss I never wanted Daniel to leave our house. If God can take my baby, he can surely take my husband, I thought to myself. Of course, that is true, but I know now that grief makes you think irrational thoughts. Those were irrational thoughts. Those irrational thoughts have stayed with me through every other loss and every other threatened loss.
“Your uterus is no longer a safe place for these babies,” he said to me.
And with that statement, we were quickly sent to the hospital. It was February 4, 2013. I had a round of steroids, settled in for a few day stay in ante-partum, and waited and prayed that all would be well when we delivered a few days later.
A little after midnight (on February 5) my nurse came in and said “is today your birthday?”
I’ve heard it said that behind every good man stands a good woman. I get the sentiment. Marriage is a partnership. You don’t do anything in isolation of the other person you have joined to in covenant marriage. Your decisions, your work, your interests—everything—impacts your spouse. When people make that statement, they are usually complementing both the husband and the wife. The husband is successful, but only because his wife stands by him and supports him. She is a help to him.
I pray people say that about me.
But I also think you can flip that statement and it is still equally true. Behind every good woman is a good man.
In a moment that is sure to force any parent to eat humble pie, my son (unaware of my desire to keep up parenting appearances) threw his cup on the floor and stared me in the face. “I want more juice,” he said defiantly.
“Well, you definitely aren’t having juice now,” I said.
After a conversation about the behavior, my friend looked at me with a sense of relief. “It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one whose kids act like that sometimes.”