Every year for the past couple of years, I’ve picked a word to be my main focus. This comes through in my journaling, my creative writing, and my conversations. For 2018, my word is Present. In the midst of a lot of planning for the future and looking ahead, I felt like I really needed to remind myself to stay in the moment and be aware of the goodness that is happening around me.
This has meant some very real changes in my life. I’ve stepped back from certain leadership positions, leaving room for others to step up. I’ve taken projects (creative and otherwise) off of my plate in order to make space for the things that truly bring me joy. And I have found incredible pleasure in this. (It also helps that it has allowed me to get more sleep!) It’s allowed me to remember how much I used to love blogging exactly like this.
Of course, just like in years past, God has expanded this word choice of mine into encapsulate something larger than I ever could have imagined.
Practicing this kind of presence has, unexpectedly, led me to embrace many of the more traditional feminine roles which have been passed down to me. I find joy in preparing meals, in a cup of tea, in knitting, and in cleaning (anyone who has witnessed one of my Saturday morning “clean all the things” rampages is not surprised by this).
I call myself a Feminist. I believe that these traditional roles should not be the only ones that women are allowed to partake in, that women should be respected no matter what, that we are equally valuable, and we don’t have to prove that for it to be true. I stand by many of the tenants of Feminism. However, I also believe that Feminism should honor those traditionally feminine roles. I believe that one of the ways modern Feminism fails is when it shames the women who embrace the roles of mother and wife and homemaker. Isn’t the point to have the autonomy to make those choices yourself? I believe that there is powerful wisdom in the lives of our grand and great grandmothers, and their mothers and grandmothers, and the legacy of women throughout the centuries.
All I know is this: For myself, I have found deep satisfaction in creating within these feminine spaces.
Along this journey, God has brought to my life resources, stories, and teachers who are feeding into this passion, who are exploring many of the same rituals I’m so drawn to. (I’ve included the links to some of these at the bottom of this post.) For months now, I’ve been gathering them all up and they’ve been rattling around in my brain ever since, knocking into each other like pinballs without ever amalgamating.
Femininity. Feminism. Minimalism. Home. Presence. Creativity. Millennials. Food. Clothes. Liturgy. Beauty in the Common. Permanence. Legacy. Enough.
It wasn’t until the other night when this handful of seeds finally bloomed, and the phrase that God brought to me lit up every corner of my brain. (Nearly made me drop my toothbrush!) It was utterly undeniable and it has taken root inside me.
In a culture of abundance, it is so easy to replace. In a life of privilege it is so simple to slip through without noticing. But to make little be enough in a season of drought takes great care. In a world without the instant connection and endless choices of the internet, one must take great care with their relationships. Savoring moments, slowing down, taking great care in every area of life creates space. It opens my senses to appreciate beauty in tiny doses. Taking great care forces me to shorten my chaotic to do list, because I can’t do both of those lifestyles at once.
I suppose you could call it a form of mindfulness. But, for me, it goes beyond that because to care has a implied action behind it.
“A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds […] She senses the worth of her work, and is in no hurry to call it quits for the day […] When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly […] Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.” Proverbs 31 excerpts, The Message Version
Some people may shrink at my pulling out Proverbs 31. And I don’t blame you. This particular part of scripture has been used to force women into highly specific categories for far too long. Personally, I find it completely unacceptable to abuse this Biblical celebration of all of the diverse ways women express womanhood and use it as some sort of standard for women to meet before they are deemed acceptable. For me as I work to reclaim womanhood and Proverbs 31, it once again boils down to this same idea:
No matter what your field. No matter what your occupation. No matter what your relationship status. Whatever you feel called to.
Take great care in everything you do, sister. It is enough.
Netflix Show: Call The Midwife
Podcast: How to Fix a Broken Record with Amena Brown and her Grandma