When I was just a little girl, I loved lying on the floor next to the piano as my sister practiced. Beautiful moments gifted by God. My big sis Jackie’s long dark hair falling over her shoulders, her freckled face seriously in tune with the beautiful melody of one of her favorites by Edward MacDowell, “To A Wild Rose” singing out from the keys. There was something about his simple tune that has always connected with me, and even the name itself for some reason reminds me of how I see the precious women around me. A little about me you may or may not know, I grew up with four sisters…tons of Jane Austen, bobby pins, and estrogen. Ironically, I now have five sons, and the tables have turned. 😉 So, I grew up with girls, work with girls, and also serve girls as I work at a pregnancy help center. I guess that makes me think I have a little to say about girls, and to girls. Ha. And, I guess that’s why I decided to title this new series as such. A wild rose, beautifully wrapped up each one individually with different layers of petals… variants of sizes, hues, and even scents.
Recently, there’s been much discussion about views on women, “locker room talk,” abuse, value, respect, etc. But, this is a topic that’s been on my heart, in my life, and in my circle for quite awhile longer than the recent news posts and Facebook brawls. It’s also a topic a lot older than me and my struggles… Actually, it’s been around and is as “old as the hills”– and, the beauty is we have continued to grow together on this topic! But, more discussion is so needed, and we have the opportunity to listen, learn, and love.
Quite recently I overheard a conversation in which a man was calling a lady not present a “Ho.” She apparently had been sexually active with several different people in the recent past, and the latest of which was a man who also had a recent reputation of being sexually active with many different partners, as well. I “butted” in and queried as to if the couple discussing would call the man the same label, and with laughter was told, “No, that’s just the way it is. Always has been. It’s just different for women.”
He brushes past us too closely, grazing our curves “accidentally.” We feel our boundaries infringed on, and we are made to feel uncomfortable. We hesitate to speak up knowing the response might be met with laughter, or “don’t take it so serious – it’s really not that big of a deal.” We are ogled in the grocery store, or approached in a disrespectful way, and maybe we look down at the ground awkwardly. We are honked at while standing at the gas pump. We are yelled at with crude words while sitting at a red light. Feeling like an object meant for others pleasure, rather than a living thing to be cherished. We don’t know where “yes” begins and “no” stops sometimes, because we’re just not sure.
We dismiss it.
It’s just the way it is. Always has been. Always will be? Hmmm.
We struggle internally as we always feel the need to compare ourselves to others. I’m too fat, I’m too thin. I wish I had longer legs, or shorter legs. Why am I freckled? Why am I so dark? I’ll do anything to get his love and his attention. I must be worthless, he rejected me. Why am I not good enough for him? How can I win his affection or attention, that’s the only time I feel real value.
And, we either are saying in our very core that possibly we are sub-human as women, or men or super-human as we strive so hard internally to gain favor or equality… We struggle to see our worth that is already determined whether others recognize it or not. Maybe we feel deeply flawed without that approval, or treat the desperate need for a man’s favor as if they are god-like and we are less than.
All the while, God has specifically made us just as He created the wild rose… And we are beautiful, free, individual, and overflowing with potential. Not determined by what man says, but with specific, amazing, individual gifts and talents to give the world around us. Gifts not given by or dependent on another human.
A social worker.
Never an object.
Equal? YES! Diverse? YES! Unique? YES! Each and every one of us!
I don’t know about you, but I’m not the gal I was twenty years ago, or even five, or heck, even one! God constantly has me on a path of growth. My journey has me often walking away from things that aren’t best as I learn by trial and error, and enlightening me with new ways of looking at things, new perspective. Honestly, growth hurts sometimes! But, what a gift that rewards not only me, but those I love with a newness for my ways to live and love! So, that’s what you will find here; fresh perspective, straight from the heart of many women who walk this walk every day who will be sharing the next few weeks as a gift to you! What am I saying? We need to re-think the way that many of us view women.. and both sexes need to search our hearts on this matter. We aren’t personally healthy when we aren’t growing in wisdom, truth, experience and perspective. We need to remember that as a culture the same growth is needed..
The way it is, doesn’t mean it’s the way it should be.
Domestic and sexual abuse.
Desperation and co-dependency.
The way it is, doesn’t mean it’s the way it should be. We need to talk.
For the next few weeks, I’ll be hosting a blog-series here, and I’m proud and pleased to say that many contributors who will share with us are among the most strong, kind, brave, precious, lovely ladies you’ll meet. I’m so excited to start this conversation.
I want to leave you with a quote from one my recent reads that challenged me and reminded me of the most important love and definition that I’ll find.
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.”
Are Women Human? ~Dorothy Sayers