Wednesday, June 21, 2006
moment of despair
by Late Tuesday
I do … for a while
I promise you … at least for now
And I’ll love you forever … or until I say otherwise
But I do … for now …
Don’t these lyrics describe our culture today? We may not say these words when we vow our undying devotion but don’t our actions scream that these words are actually true?!! The world today is not the same as my mother’s or my grandmother’s. Women today are confused and lost. Where do we belong? So many of us do not fit into the traditional roles of the women who went before us.
Carolyn Cutris James, author of Lost Women of the Bible, is not afraid to ask the hard questions … questions my heart has sought answers for but out of fear has not vocalized them.
“Is there only one biblical track for women, or does God intend and take delight in our great diversity? Are women second-class citizens in God’s family, or does he value us as much as he does our husbands and brothers? Does God have large purposes for his daughters, or does his Word limit our options? Is the Bible relevant for women in the third millennium, or have we outgrown its message?”
Carolyn grew up with every intention of following the traditional steps of her foremothers.
“My life plan was clear. I would be the next in a long line of women devoted to husband, home, and hearth, volunteering countless hours of ministry in the church.”
But when ring still wasn’t on her finger after she graduated from college, she got lost.
Had God forgotten her?
“I played by the rules, dated only Christians, wasn’t wild or rebellious, read my Bible, prayed, and faithfully served the church. Yet, instead of building my life around a husband and children, I was on my own, protecting and providing for myself. Who was I as a woman and what was my purpose in life if I never married or had a family? Had I misread the Bible’s teaching about women or was something wrong with me?”
When I read these words, my heart rushed. I felt cold sweat beads form on my brow. Like Carolyn, I grew up hoping for a husband, marriage, children, ministry. Like her, I graduated from college with no prospects. Like her, I entered the workforce. Like her, I pursued a Master’s degree at seminary. Instead of caring for a home and husband, I face a life of caring only for myself.
After ten years of independence, Carolyn married. Yet, even then her ideas of traditional helpmeet were questioned.
“My husband appreciated a fine meal as much as any man. But he wanted more of me than cooking, cleaning house, and raising kids. He wanted (he says ‘needed’) the experience and knowledge I brought into our marriage. He sought and valued my interaction in his work, my counsel in decisions, and my collaboration in tackling the problems that came our way. He wanted a partner, not a dependent. Instead of rendering my career temporary, unnecessary, or possibly a threat, marriage gave my vocation, gifts, and contributions a new sense of mission.”
By this time, I was driven to my knees. Yes, Christ is sufficient … but in a moment of despair I yearned for what Carolyn had. Did I dare hope, pray for, such a man? A man who valued what I had to bring to the marriage. Or am I to continue on this journey alone?
Over the years I have invested much into the lives of others. I believed in them. Championed them. Friends, like my dearest little Dolly, were always there to return the devotion. Some, however, sucked me dry, leaving me cracked and broken.
As I contemplate this lonely road ahead of me, who will sustain me? Who will me MY ezer, my ally, my champion?
“When our lives turn out differently than we expect, when we believe we’ve missed our true calling as women or that our contributions aren’t important, it’s easy to get lost. The questions that trouble us when we’re lost in our own lives take us deeper in our relationship with God.”
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.