Dear Christian women,
I owe you an apology, but first I need to explain what it is that I need to apologise for. You see, there have been times in the past when I’ve looked at a particular kind of Christian woman and sworn I did not want to be like that. I did not want to be a floral wearing, house wifing, ‘husband supporting’, meek and mild woman. This feeling came from being told in both word and example that unless I could be this, I would forever be both alone and be a defective Christian woman.
But I was wrong and the past few years have taught me that in a big way.
I mean, I wasn’t wrong to feel horrible about being taught that it wasn’t enough for me to not fit that mold, but I was wrong to think badly of those women who do. Ladies, you’re amazing and I’m sorry I ever thought that you weren’t enough. I’m so sorry.
We’re living in a culture that tells us that we compete as women. Our task is to be more beautiful and more productive and more successful than the other women we see. That isn’t true. It isn’t true. We’re not competitors, we’re all on the same side and it’s our job to walk together, as women who follow Jesus, and to build each other up in faith and in love and to challenge each other to be bold disciples in whatever context we’re in.
Several of my friends are stay at home mums, and I’ve had the honour of walking with them as they navigate what it looks like to care for their family well – to minister to their family well – so that they’re all loved and nurtured and safe. That task of homemaking is not an easy one and yet, my friends do it so faithfully and love with such tenacity. It’s beautiful how they serve their God as they love their families. That task is not a less-than task, it’s a beautiful undertaking that demands so much of them and it deserves so much more honour than my assumptions gave it. I’m sorry for that.
Some of my friends are delicate and dainty and their lives are marked with the meekness that Jesus says will lead to inheriting the Earth. These are the women who serve without demanding glory and speak words carefully because they want their words to reflect love. These women, delicate and dainty, have a deep and fierce love of God that is reflected by their meekness. Yes, ferocity of love and meekness of life go hand in hand and might I say, that I’d rather the meek inherit the earth than the overbearing. I once assumed your personality reflected a lack of conviction and strength. I’m sorry for that.
Some of my friends work hard in secular workplaces and don’t fit into the mold that I was once presented, and those women are those with whom I often feel an affinity. But women like me, who feel unwelcome and ill-fitted in the church sometimes, need to remember that we all fit and that it isn’t an us vs. them. The women like you to whom I must apologise are not the enemy. You’re not. The Enemy is the enemy and he loves that we bicker and snicker and sneer at other Christians. He loves it because it creates division. I’m sorry I let him sink those thoughts into my heart.
Let’s, as women, love and nurture one another where we’re at. Let’s challenge each other to follow Jesus even closer, no matter our personality. Let’s value each other’s good works – the ones God prepared for us – even if they’re not what our good works are. Let’s stop with the division and begin with building bridges so that Christian women would be marked by unity in Christ and not division over whether or not we’re fans of floral prints. I’m sorry I ever made fun of florals – they’re actually quite wonderful, now that I’ve stopped being afraid of being one of ‘those women’.
‘Those women’ are exactly what I want to be like – because they love Jesus! And if that’s my concern and my priority, then I won’t be worried about the externals. It’s about so much more than these silly divisions. I’m not saying that it’s okay that there’s a perceived “good Christian woman” image, and I want to continue to fight to see women of all passions and presentations exist and be edified and encouraged in the church. But I am sorry that as one of those women who didn’t fit, I denigrated those who I felt do.
Your sister in Christ,