This may come as a surprise to no one- but I identify very strongly with Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet of the Christian Old Testament. I feel things- suffering specifically-so very deeply I am sometimes paralyzed. A simple conversation with my husband about gender roles and careers has had me sinking into a quick sand of thousands of years of patriarchy and “this is what we do to women” in a matter of minutes. And before he knows it I am sobbing for all the women of generations past with unrealized dreams because they were unfortunately born with the wrong sex organs. I can hear a sermon with only male gendered pronouns and find myself weeping for girls being sex trafficked in countries 1,000 of miles away- the connection so clear to me it pumps through my veins and leaves me exhausted from pain.
This week my hometown community lost someone very special-my childhood pastor, my only pastor, really. A man who was exceedingly loving and kind and passionate. He devoted his life to his church and to his faith. His family was a pillar in the faith community. He was the type of father a fatherless daughter couldn’t help but envy.
When I finally allowed myself to feel the loss it came in waves. My sadness and heartbreak turned into confusion- How? How could this happen to someone who was so faithful? If anyone deserved healing it was this man. If any family deserved a miracle it was this family.
This loss came on the heels of a rather rough few weeks for me. You may have noticed I’ve missed a few scheduled posts. Been a little absent. A little off the radar. I’ve brushed it off as “being in a funk” or “seasonal depression”- and that’s probably part of it. But underneath that is something more.
My dance of faith and feminism began when my mother-in-law suggested I read Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter. This book ripped my heart wide open and threw a freaking hand grenade in. My faith and my identity blew up. Everything I was so sure of was ripped from me. I was left with fragmented pieces of faith, sorting through what I wanted to keep and lighting on fire that which I no longer needed. At times, I longed for the security of ignorance.
This story is forcing me to be even more vulnerable and open. But here it goes. I have a deep and constant fear that something or everything will go wrong. Whenever life seems too good- just wait, because something bad will happen and mess it all up.
God is a man.
You’re causing men to stumble.
Women can’t/shouldn’t be pastors.
You’re not enough for your family.
The man is the head of the household.
You’re too emotional.
Whether we learn it in church, from our family, or in all the subtleties of society, we have our limiting beliefs about ourselves that repeat and repeat. They are personally tailored to hold us back. So much of what I want to do with this blog is Re-Image these inane platitudes in religion and faith practice. Along the way I have found that these defeatists thoughts extend beyond religion into our psychology as well. This post is a bit of personal growth and spiritual work as a result.