Okay, stay with me this is a long one. I've been re-reading the book "Let Me Be A Woman" by Elisabeth Elliot. She writes to women about understanding their identity as a woman in Christ. It's a provocative book, tackling many issues and questions incredibly pertinent for today's Christian woman. It's not necessarily an easy book, but important. She speaks to my heart and provides refreshing wisdom as I continue to understand my identity in Christ. Here's an excerpt from the book that I found incredibly profound.
"All creatures, with the two exceptions that we know of, have willingly taken the places appointed to them. The Bible speaks of angels who rebelled and therefore were cast down out of heaven, and of the fall of man. Adam and Eve were not satisfied with the place assigned. They refused the single limitation set them in the Garden of Eden and thus brought sin and death to the whole world. It was, in fact, the woman, Eve, who saw the opportunity to be something other than she was meant to be - the Serpent convinced her that she could easily be "like God" - and she took the initiative... What sort of world might it have been if Eve had refused the Serpent's offer and had said to him instead, "Let me not be like God. Let me be what I was made to be - let me be a woman?" But the sin was fatal beyond their worst imaginings. It was hubris, a lifting up of the soul in defiance of God, the kind of pride that usurps another's place."
When Eve defiantly refused God's place for her in creation death entered the picture. Isn't that still true today. Our society has offered women a lie about their role and many of us at one time or another have embraced it. Every time a woman refuses her God given place and competes with men for their role it produces death. It leaves a gap needing to be filled. Children and husbands suffer, church communities feel the loss, society is certainly no better off.
Wanting to be something other than what we were made to be is so ungrateful to our loving Creator. I struggled with being a woman so much in my late teens, early twenties. I even remember saying to my mom one day, "I wish I was a man." I felt frustrated by my limitations, options, expectations, power; even in this day and age of equality. My frustrations, I now know, came ultimately from not embracing who I had been created to be; wanting to be something else. I went to college for a degree, not a husband, and then I was heading off on my own for adventure. I wanted to serve God as a missionary, and I didn't need a man to get me there. There's certainly nothing wrong with being a single missionary, but my motivation was wrong. Before long I realized I wasn't supposed to be a missionary. For a time I was attracted to careers like journalist/writer, lobbyist, political office and even lawyer. I was drawn to power and influence. It always astonishes me when people say things to me like; you're so sweet and quiet, I can't imagine you having a temper, you're soft spoken. Either they don't know me well or God really has refined me. On campus I was outspoken and feisty. I had one dean tell me, "You're a firecracker, I didn't expect that." Anyhow, I obviously hadn't learned what I needed to about myself yet. Then I met Chris and everything changed. I left college with an associates degree not a bachelors, engaged and certainly not headed for oversees. The lessons were still to be learned but I was on my way.
The first year or so of marriage was a constant battle. I wanted to be in control. I understood with new meaning the verse in Genesis 3 that says 'your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.' I wanted to be in charge, I wanted his job, submission was for sissies. I don't remember what exactly caused the change, but I remember it happening. One day I realized that I was free to submit without losing my identity (I would actually gain it) if I believed I had married a trustworthy man and I have a trustworthy God. After that everything changed. Sparks sometimes still fly in the Gambill household, I'm a redhead in disguise, but it's nothing like it had been. Not that it hasn't been a hard road, it has. Some days after changing yet another diaper, reading one more book, cooking dinner again I ask myself is this really my life. I never was a girl that longed only to be a wife and mother. Some days I still long for adventure and excitement. Then God reminds me I have a great task ahead of me. Learning to serve selflessly, giving my talents to raising two precious children, submitting not only to Chris but most importantly to God as he transforms my nature. I'm not afraid anymore of embracing my role as a woman in Christ; made for service, partnership, nurture and submission. In living with understanding as to my original purpose, and embracing it, there is amazing freedom. I don't need to be liberated by feminists or men when I live to bring glory to God according to the purpose he created me for.