Not too long ago, I finished reading Rachel Held Evans "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." I've been wanting to write a post about it here as it was so earth-shifting for me. As a Christian woman, I have struggled for so long with exactly what that means. Coming from a mainline denomination, all of the discussions about women seemed to have happened before I came along and as I grew up in the church, we had embraced women in ministry and the discussion of gender roles seemed to have finished. The older women were the only ones working in the kitchen and they ran the church sales but who did what and what women were supposed to do was never discussed. The only materials I came across about what the role of women should be in life, in family and in the church only came my way when I discovered the blog world and was primarily very, very conservative. It was hard to believe that for me to be living out my calling, I needed to be June Cleaver or to follow the teachings of John Piper (who probably has wonderful things to say on other topics but reading this post just cemented for me that he is not a kindred spirit of mine). I saw a reference to "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" on Sarah Bessey's blog and it sounded interesting. I was a bit hesitant but Sarah's perspective has always felt a bit like going home so if Sarah liked Rachel, I decided to give her a try.
I've been reluctant to discuss the book here too much because I have worried that I would say something that might misrepresent what Ms. Evans was trying to say. In this time of constant mom-addled brain, I don't know that I can put into an articulate discussion what I was thinking. What I can say, though, is that all I kept thinking as I read was, "Where was this book 20 years ago for me?" I would have left so much guilt behind and I would have felt so much more liberation had I seen this perspective. I'd like to give this book to every Christian woman I know and I am pleased to say that everyone I have convinced to read it has loved it as much as I have.
Her chapter on Proverbs 31 was one of the most exciting for me. She had been corresponding with an Orthodox Rabbi's wife in Israel to get the Jewish perspective on some things and Proverbs 31 was one such area. She learned that for Orthodox Jewish women, this was a way to offer praise to a woman who had done something special, "Eshet Chayil!" I haven't been brave enough to say this to a friend but I definitely am surrounded by women who deserve it.
On Sarah Bessey's blog the other day, she coined a new term, "Gibor Chayil", man of valour. I am definitely surrounded by a few of those, too. I think one in particular would roll his eyes and mutter something about me getting weirder like my mother, but who really deserves it.
Dh. He's the life of our party, the one who can always make me laugh, no matter how grim life is looking. He's the one who can remind me of what matters when I get totally off track. He's the life of the party, the after-the-meal dish do-er (I never had to do a dish after the meal when we entertain). He's done more uncomplaining late night drives to walk-in clinics, after hours pharmacies and watched endless hours of mindless middle-of-the-night children's t.v. when someone won't sleep. He shovels, mows, fixes and calls the accountant and bank (jobs that paralyze me with fear). He teaches Sunday school, is always the first person to help at church and coaches the kids' soccer. He models love and compassion to everyone and the only people he doesn't have time for are the high and mighty. He drinks coffee by the jug and now that his gall bladder is gone, he eats more than his fair share of bacon. His motto is that all he can worry about is whether his yard is tidy and that other people have to worry about their own. He's the joy in my life, the laugh that I need most and the hero of our home.
Thanks, Love. Gibor Chayil! And thank you, Sarah, for reminding me that it needed to be said.