» Vessel. Voice. Visionary.

Because, its my time.

Teach Her To Be A Woman, Not A Wife

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As a young woman, you're constantly thrown messages of abstinence and purity. All of the older women talk about saving yourself for marriage and making sure you're not giving your goodies to anyone that doesn't give you a ring. But then, they also teach you to cook, to clean, do laundry, citing the primary reason not that you're a woman (that's second), but because you need to know how to do it for when you're married. Herein lies the issue. I don't think that we shouldn't learn these things, but I think we're growing up in training, being taught how to be a wife, not a woman

I was having a conversation about the reason why I don't go out much, and why it was hard for me to just get up, go out, and stay out late. Part of it is because I just don't do the "going out" life, but moreover the reason was because I was thinking as a "wife", not a "woman". I have a boyfriend, and a younger female friend that also doubles as one of my roommates. I joke around and call them my little "family". So if and when I go out, they're the first ones on my mind. I want to have fun, but I also want to come home in time to be able to talk to my friend before she goes to sleep or to be there if something's wrong. I want to come home in time to call my boyfriend and relay the day's events before he goes to sleep or be there if something's wrong. My "family" is first on my mind. But the thing is, I'm not a wife or a mother. I'm a twenty one year old girl with no kids and no ring. Yet, I think as if I do and that's the issue. Of course everyone isn't like me, but I feel like the messages we send to young women cause them to think in similar patterns. We create a mindset that trains girls to grow up waiting to be married, waiting to find the one that will honor them, and love God more than he loves them. They grow up waiting for their Boaz, but what if he never comes? What if everyone doesn't get married? What if everyone doesn't even have a boyfriend? What then? Then we wonder why girls get caught up in these foolish relationships or consumed in lust. It's because we're not teaching them to be women. We're not teaching them skills to be self-sustainable. We're not teaching them to love themselves regardless of whether a man loves them or not. We're not teaching them to be pure because they're valuable and mean something. We say "boyfriends don't get husband privileges", which refers to sex, but if all they know how to do is be a wife, sex isn't really what we should be focused on. If a young woman is cooking for her boyfriend when he comes over, or helps with him with his laundry when they go the laundromat but doesn't have sex with him, is she really still saving herself? By no means do I approve of sex before marriage, but it shouldn't be the focus of what we teach our girls. The privileges should extend to more than just sex.

Maybe I'm dreaming but why can't a young woman find herself INmarriage? Why can't she explore cooking, cleaning, and pleasing with her husband? Why does she have to be a complete package prior to her ring? Maybe you might say because that's the woman's place or what will she offer the man if she doesn't know how to do those things or no man will want to marry her but I don't think that's true. I think if we taught our girls how to just BE, just BE a woman, a man would still want to marry her with no experience in those things. In all honesty, maybe that's one of the reasons so many marriages are failing. We prepare our girls to meet a man's physical and sexual needs--the tangible, but don't teach her how to stimulate his mind or how to support his visions. We don't teach her how to have visions of her own, outside of his, so that he can see that she has the intellectual capacity to aspire to something. We don't teach her to constantly evolve into her womanhood or to make sure she takes care of herself, getting things like her hair and nails done regularly. We don't teach her how to take of the woman she is, without having to feel guilty that she's neglecting her family. Look around. As much as things glorify sex, they glorify marriage as well. Take a look at these commercials for example. Take notice at how many times you see a ring on their fingers, even if the commercial is about laundry detergent. Take a look at those that supposedly write books or blogs for "single women" and constantly refer to "when you're married" or "when you find the one" or "him this, him that". We can train our girls to be women, without talking about them being wives. Some women that had no woman to teach them or any self-help books to read when they had their first child still did fantastic jobs in raising their kids, drawing on their maternal instinct and what they felt their child needed. I believe the same can happen in being a wife. I believe a woman can be a great wife without teaching or books because they realize who they need to be in relation to who they're with.I am not dismissing the advice of women who have done it before, because I do think it can be valuable; I just don't believe that's all we should rely on.

I wholeheartedly agree with the Bible's stance on women being in submission to their husbands, but I do not think that God intended for them to not to stand in and of their own as well. He created each one of us with a special purpose and when we do not teach our women to first fulfill their God-given purpose instead of seeking after a marriage, we deter them from stepping into all that God has for them. I have every intention on being married in the future, and I believe that I'll make a great wife, but I'm not there yet. I'm still at a place where I'm learning who I am and I want to keep it that way. I love my boyfriend but I don't want to turn our relationship into a proving ground for marriage instead of a time where we can enjoy one another. Of course, seeing a future with him is necessary, but I also need to see and experience a present. I want to enjoy hanging out without looking at the clock cause my "family" is waiting. I want to invest everything into building myself and following God's purpose for me, and I wholeheartedly believe that as and once I do that, I'll be able to truly enjoy and build a successful covenant. 

Women, love God and love yourself. Allow Him to prepare you by His standards for Himself, not for a man. <3

**This is a general thought and not meant to be representative of all women.**

The Ultimate Paradox

Death must be the most paradoxical thing I know. With few other things does a dichotomy exist. How does one both rejoice and mourn over death at the same time? How is one supposed to be grateful that their loved one no longer has to feel the sting of life on earth while simultaneously acknowledging the void that they have left? This week should be one of the happiest weeks of my life and for the most part, it is. I am graduating from college after four years with a bachelor's degree. I did the major I wanted and I have nothing but brightness in my future. But, one piece of the puzzle is missing, and pieces of other puzzles are making their way into mine.

My father died when I was eighteen years old, three years ago on July 30th. It still seems like a foreign concept to me. People have said that they've seen me grow with dealing with it and that is true to a degree, but the other truth is that I've done a great job of covering how I really feel. As a newly elected minister in training, I never really got a chance to do the whole mad at God, lock myself away from civilization and refuse to get out of the bed thing. I had to immediately display grace and strength and be joyous that my father was in the bosom of the Lord as a believer. But looking back, that stifled my grieving process. I didn't realize that I could still love God with the all of me and love the all of who my father was to me as well; after all, God gave him to me. Now, three years later, I struggle with crying and mourning because I don't even know what it truly looks like or feels like. In one of the happiest weeks of my life, facing one of my biggest accomplishments, one of my biggest motivators and supports isn't here to celebrate with me. Yea, I get the "he's looking down on me" but I want him to be looking face to face WITH me. How do I both celebrate the joy of walking across the stage while realizing that it's happening without my dad in the audience? To be honest, there's a little twinge of guilt because I want to be beaming with pride but.....

Then, there's the other pieces of puzzle. My boyfriend experienced a loss in his family. He is fresh in a grieving process, as is his family and naturally, he's sad. But herein lies the dichotomy that is death, even past just the concept of it. The effects of death are far-reaching. Here, I want and should be there for my boyfriend but I want and should be there for me and my special day too. How do I balance? I feel awkward and even a tad guilty being happy around him as he mourns, but I then feel guilty not being happy because I deserve to; all because of death.

For me, death has just been a thief. I'm sure over time, I'll see it as a blessing in all parts of me, but for now, everything in me doesn't have that viewpoint. I want to cry but I don't want to cry, I want to lock myself away but then I want to be around others. I want to heal but then it hurts too bad. Deep down inside I know I'll get it one day; until then, I'll deal as it comes. One day, I'll be able to tell my story and be okay with how it all turned out.

Dad, this week is for you.