If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

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I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fighting For Womanhood

Last Monday morning, I was sitting in a Dallas hotel room with Ruthie (my 10-year old) watching TV.  She chose an OLD Christmas cartoon that I let stay on about 45 seconds after the moment where the cartoon man up the mountain looked down on the village to spot the prettiest girl and determine (based solely on her appearance) that she was worthy of being wooed.   The scene then switched to the cartoon maiden who sat and hoped of being chosen by such a man.  I flipped it off and had an immediate conversation with Ruthie about how we have - thankfully - evolved as a culture and thus she will never have to exist in that world.

I can’t help but think of Ruthie and Maggie when I flip on shallow old cartoons or take a moment to catch up on the headlines.   I know what the women who have gone before me have given me through their sacrifice.  When I reflect on that, I think about my daughters.  They too will find their purpose and define themselves with the tools that have been earned and given to them by generations of women.  So I decided to process it out loud and make a list of what I want them to know about this journey to define womanhood. 


            1.  You stand on the shoulders of generations of women who have fought for you.  What you see as womanhood was earned with hard work and great sacrifice.

Your Great Grandmother’s generation - fought to claim your rights.  Women have neither always had the right to vote nor were they encouraged to go to school.  Your great grandmother only had an 8th grade education, but because of the sacrifices and hard work of the women of her generation, her daughter earned a master’s degree and became one of the first women executives of a major corporation.  That didn’t just happen by chance.  That opportunity was earned by a generation of brave women.

Your Grandmother’s generation - fought to prove your worth.   The women of her generation excelled at jobs in male-dominated industries while continuing to take care of their homes, husbands, and families.    When we look back on that generation, we think of women who proved their worth and were left exhausted.  They worked to raise sons who desired to play a more involved role in the family and at home.  Your dad is a product of that paradigm shift and we are a better family because of it. 

Your Mother’s generation - is fighting for your voice and to redefine your value – This is really divided up into two arenas.
            The first arena is one that we are witnessing in the media today.  Women are using their voices to declare their inherent value in opposition to years of objectification.  These brave women are stepping out of their trauma to speak up for themselves and eventually for you so that you don’t have to endure what they have experienced.  They are perhaps the boldest group in this multi-generation journey.
            The second arena is the one I am most familiar with.  Like a lot of women in my generation, I observed how my mother and her peers were exhausted from trying to measure up at home and at work.  They were constantly trying to prove that they were good enough moms, wives, and employees in a world of performance and comparison that left no time for self-care.  I have seen a shift from this pattern as the women of my generation are finding that they don’t have to prove their value by their achievements.  They are free to live from the value that is found in their identity (hopefully as called followers of Christ) instead of their performance.   They are walking through the doors their mothers opened for them but doing so on their own terms and with balance.
            2.  Not everyone progresses at the same rate.  You will most likely still encounter men who will attempt to objectify you or won’t see your worth.   The temptation is to draw the conclusion that if a few are like that then they must all be.  If we don’t want them to generalize us then we cannot generalize them.   The key is to look for a man (like your father) who respects and honors women, keep the ones who don’t in safe circles, and please don’t settle for one who is inconsistent in his behavior.  In other words, a man can’t objectify women at lunch and then come home and respect them at dinner.  You need to look for a man who respects and honors women in all settings.   That will be a true reflection of his heart.

            3. Your generation has a responsibility to honor the battles of previous women and then take on battles of your own.  It is important that you conduct yourself in a manner that is worthy of the respect that was earned for you.  Then, as you walk out your calling, be sure to preserve the gift of womanhood as a strength and not a weakness.  Don’t let the perversion and ignorance of a few take away all that you bring to the table.  Show them that your womanhood is not something to be devalued or objectified but is, in reality, a greater contribution to your culture.  The world needs the strengths of a woman.  Don’t conform to its expectations in order to fit in, but instead be strong in who you are and faithful to all that has been gained on your behalf.  

My sweet daughters, the world awaits you, and all that God has gifted you with, to make it a better place.  May you find peace and purpose as you walk in a manner that honors the sacrifices of generations of women who fought for your right, your worth, your voice, and your value as a woman.

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