Pseudo Personhood

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“I do not say that they always ignore sexual differentiation itself, but that the significance of it escapes them entirely. And the woman who ignores that fundamental truth ironically misses the very thing she has set out to find. By refusing to fulfill the whole vocation of womanhood she settles for a caricature, a pseudo-personhood.”

~Elisabeth Elliot (Let Me Be a Woman)

What does it mean to be a woman? I have spent much of my life in search of it. It once seemed that being a woman meant being a man in high heels. In response to the 1950s housewife era, we were told to do whatever a man tends to do, but be sure to attract him while doing it. Pssh.

If you can look cute while climbing the corporate ladder, being pregnant, or working out, you will be plastered on a magazine as an icon for females everywhere. Be successful and be sexy. But now, in this age of deconstruction and so-called redefining that is more akin to undefining, it seems that the search for womanhood (or manhood) is murkier than ever. We play with semantics and we play with God’s plan. We pretend that the sexes were our idea, our choice. But who are we actually?

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What does gender mean? What does it mean to be male; what does it mean to be female? Has our societal structure completely molded our perception of how the sexes are supposed to function on a daily basis, or is there something deeper, something more? We know that a little girl does not have to wear pink or play with dolls to be considered feminine, but then again, what does feminine mean, anyway?

Words like boyish or girly seem to draw out daggers from certain crowds. They would prefer us to completely neuter our children—that is, they would prefer us to let our children decide to act however they want with no restraints, no guidelines, other than perhaps, ‘don’t hurt people.’

While the overarching stance of this group makes me cringe, there is a bit of merit. Children are bound to have different gifts and preferences, and there are certain things our culture deems appropriate for one gender rather than another, and it is just not so. My husband does not enjoy sports, but he does enjoy the arts (everything from painting to ballet). He is not less of a man because of it.

Here’s the thing, I want my daughter to know how to fix certain problems on her car, and I want my son to know how to help care for a baby. These are good things to know. These are people things to know. And so, with a hesitant sigh of surrender, I give the ‘genderless camp’ this admittance.

But ultimately, they look at the world in way that does not allow for God’s plan, His plan for the family, His plan for individuals. In giving us equality, He also gave us different roles so that the family, and the world at large could run smoothly, and could be a picture of who He is to us as both our Father and Groom.

And yet, as I look around, I see womanhood, actual womanhood playing out before me—single women who serve God with grace and gusto, married women who love their husbands, supporting them with determination and wit (whether or not they primarily work outside or inside the home). There are mamas who love their children and smile through the fatigue on their faces, and widows who bear loss and learn to live again.

These women are rarely heralded as noble by anyone outside of their immediate acquaintances. But they do not live for accolades or spots on the cover of People magazine. Many of these women would, perhaps, enjoy a taste of validation, but are not completely dependent upon it.

I have not fully figured out what it means to be a woman (you can probably tell). But I do know that it should be first be based on my conviction that God made me and He made me a woman. And the more I seek Him, the more He will lead me into the freeing and beautiful realilty that is living for Him.

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Elisabeth Elliot said, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”

If you are a woman, discover God and then discover womanhood. If you are a man, discover God and then discover manhood. Do not settle for a pseudo personhood. Be complete.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

 

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The Serendipity of Grace

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It is the surprising nature of grace that I forget. Quick to correctly define grace as being God’s gift, a blessing, undeserved, I look past other aspects. Grace is amazing and it is sobering, but it is also surprising.

Last week Eric and I went on a little excursion to downtown Charleston. We realized that we needed a day out and that we had not taken many pictures since moving here. While I am thankful that my husband enjoys looking at me from behind a camera lens, most days I am a reluctant model. This day was different. We pranced around the “Holy City” full of alluring charm. Reluctant to yet call it ours, we enjoyed being hopeful strangers.

 

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After sharing biscuits at HLB (Hot Little Biscuits) and nearly dying from deliciousness, we walked to the corner of Ann and King Street where Eric hesitated and asked if I wanted to pose again. As I attempted to ‘work it’ without feeling like a weirdo, out of nowhere, I mean nowhere, this woman appeared and charged towards me. I thought she was angry. And then the most amazing thing happened. She popped her hip, looked at the camera, and taught me how to ‘do diva’ Charleston-style.

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It was a surprise, and it made me laugh the laugh of letting go. That burst of something within, something unknown that extends to joy–it was like grace. Usually we view the upshot of grace as tears of thanksgiving, as knees bowed in humility. But some days, grace is the catalyst of laughter. Some days, grace is an explosion of your presuppositions, and it throws you into tremendous, tremendous joy. Throw your head back, grab your stomach, and feel the tremors of His love. Let them move you.

Our Father is a steady one, but He is also full of surprise parties.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad. (Psalm 126:1-3)