Identity Crisis

October 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living, Submission) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

Identity crisisI knew that coming home from Nathaniel and Lauren’s house might be difficult. I’d been away for two weeks, basically managing another home while poor Lauren struggled to survive gestational pemphigoid. So I’d steeled myself. The truth is that God created people to leave and cleave—not to leave and come back and leave and come back. But sometimes we must stretch ourselves to serve others. Mentally I’d reminded myself that my home ran on a different schedule—not just whatever schedule I wanted to create. Like an expert pilot, I glided into the landing without a bump.

But what I hadn’t prepared for was my Mom’s homecoming. See, we’d traded places, and while she took care of my sister-in-law and nephew for a week, I ascended to the throne of Scottsburrow as Queen by proxy. When she returned a week later, it was as if Richard the Lionhearted had come home and I, the pretender, was back to the millstone. Or so it felt. Suddenly tasks I’d been successfully completing for the past three weeks were being scrutinized and redesigned. One morning, two days after her return, I broke down and started crying. “Seriously, can’t you even trust me to make a salad? I’ve been running this house for a week and you come home and act like…” Like what? Like you own the place?

I felt like a newlywed daughter when her Mom comes to visit and takes over the kitchen. Except for one problem: it was Mom’s kitchen. Not mine.

It’s a sad fact that, the older I grow, the more difficult it seems to share working space with my Mom. People who quiz me about being a grown daughter in the home or press me about being single ask all the wrong questions. Actually, I have plenty to keep me busy. And I’m not in a hurry to find a man. But sometimes, I sure would like some elbow room. And I’d like to put things where I would put them to find them, instead of having to think like someone else to find them. When my biological clock starts ticking, it almost invariably sounds like an egg-timer.

The truth is, ladies, I don’t believe it was God’s perfect intention for adult daughters to be at home. Judging from the science of the matter, I suspect His original intent was for us to marry much earlier than is the current mode. However, I know for certain that He works through our circumstances and in my case, I am quite sure that I am exactly where I should be, in obedience to Him, when I’m standing in the middle of my mother’s kitchen.

The difficulty facing me is actually not that I need my own kitchen, but that I need to be reminded of the laws of ownership.

Throughout my entire life I have struggled against the “bonds”, trying to snatch the pen to rewrite both the story and the byline. In my early teens this identity crisis took a different form as I wrestled with God over an unalterable fact: I am a woman. That might seem obvious to you, but to me it seemed an obvious mistake. What in the world was I supposed to do as a woman? Have my own cutesy little kitchen with gingham curtains? If I’d simply been given that elusive Y chromosome, I’d have been a man, able to decide my own destiny, chart a path for my own life and serve God! In fact, I knew exactly what I wanted to be! I’d have gone to the dirtiest, lowest, poorest, most violent streets and neighborhoods and poured out God’s love and truth. I would be able to give myself entirely to God!

Then one day I had the rare enlightenment that scripture and the Holy Spirit conspire to bring. “Shall the clay say to the Potter, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” In that misty, moisty morning, staring into the cool, blue sky I had an epiphany. I rephrased my wish to express the true tones behind my sentiments. “If only God had made me a man, I could really be what He wants me to be!” Actually, I could do what I want to do. A simple truth arrived home on the whisper of a fall breeze. Serving God means submission to His will.

He made me a woman. I must be the most obedient woman I can be. For now, at least, that doesn’t include street-preaching in the ghetto.

That was my identity crisis. Well, my first one. My most recent one came when my Mom arrived home to invade the cozy little nest I’d been maintaining. I’d been enjoying managing “my” home and suddenly I felt as if I’d been cast out on my ear. I didn’t fit into my own house. And just as suddenly I wanted to get out and have my own kitchen. My own laundry room. To do things my own way. And then came the despairing reminder that marriage simply transferred my allegiance. Instead of being stuck in my Mom’s kitchen, I would still be subject to some man telling me what to do and when to do it. I’d almost thought the old thought of complaint, the “I’ll never get to do things my way” thought, when the horror of my attitude bombarded me like a stampede of overweight elephants.

I despised God’s order of authority, forgetting that even Jesus was under authority. He’d praised the centurion for understanding this elusive truth. Jesus didn’t please Himself. He pleased the Father. And with that realization came the reminder of God’s authority, laid out by the pen of Paul. “Children, obey your parents.” And then, “I want you to understand that the head of every woman is a man, and the head of the man is Christ and the head of Christ is God.” Children are subject to their God-ordained authority. Women are subject to their God-ordained authority. Men are subject to their God-ordained authority. Even Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered. All things are subject to God.

I shame-facedly admit that, but for the grace of God, I’d have been a feminist. Thank You, Lord, for Your great mercy. But the fact of the matter is that when we reject any tiny part of God’s authority system or God’s creation or what God has done, we reject God’s authority over us. We deny God’s ownership of us and of all creation. Because it’s not my life that could have been so wonderful if I’d been a man—it’s God’s life that He created in a way far different than I would have. Wonderfully different. With a divine purpose that will likely keep me forever wondering. And it’s not my Mom’s kitchen—or my kitchen. It’s His. And He has put my Mom in charge of it, for now, and He has placed me under her. And someday when I have “my own” kitchen, it will still belong to Him. I will still be under His authority structure. I will still be His creation.

And in the same ponderous truth of nature that proves that life is not a totem pole but a circle, I will belong to God. And He will belong to me. In a personal way, God has promised to be my God. He will be my Creator, my Master, my King—and my authority. In my longing to have something to call “my own”, He is the only thing I can claim, and all creation belongs to Him. I just need to understand where my identity lies.

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The Absent Hen

September 14, 2009 at 1:43 am (Godly Living, Homemaking, stories) (, , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

ist2_3179230-mother-hen

Once upon a time there was a very beautiful hen, the pride and joy of the farmyard. Always she had an encouraging word for everyone, a smile, a pat on the back. Watching her from the farmhouse window one spring morning, the farmer thought to himself, “How wonderful it would be to have a whole brood of chicks just like my little hen!” This goal in mind, he set her on a soft feather-lined nest.

The little hen was so excited when the first egg appeared, warm and brown beneath her. It was so smooth and round and perfect. She vowed she would raise it to be a perfect chicken, to scratch and cluck and lay eggs for the farmer.

Soon her nest was filled with eight beautiful eggs, each one seeming more special than the last. Clucking delightedly to herself, the hen would settle in at night to think about all the things she must do the next day. And always, always she had an encouraging word for everyone around the farm-yard.

Then tragedy struck. Not the little hen, but Old Mrs. Goose woke up one morning to find all of her eggs broken, their jagged edges pricking up out of the hay. As she wept, the little hen was right there to comfort her. She scratched up corn to bring Old Mrs. Goose and sent her sympathetic notes.

Not long later an old duck came down sick and the little hen rushed to her side and stayed by her night and day for three days until she was well.

When she returned to her nest she discovered a terrible thing: one perfect, round brown egg was missing. Where could it have gone? How could it have been taken? She had loved those eggs and cared for them and sought the best for them. And she had left them warm and comfortable and well-provided for, hadn’t she? What more could eggs need? Sadly she shook her head and settled back onto her nest of seven.

The little hen visited all the other hens. Some of them had nests, some did not. All of them were delighted to see her. But one old hen, glad as she was to see the little hen, dared not even get off her nest to visit. “Pardon me, Little Hen,” she said gently, “but I’m afraid my eggs might grow cold.”

“What a pity,” clucked the little hen. “She is such a capable hen and she could be doing so much good for others. Her eggs will keep.”

When she settled back onto her nest that night, there was a frightening crash. One of the perfect round, brown eggs had gone bad and exploded underneath her! All that remained was an empty, shattered shell and a nauseating, lingering stench.

“This is terrible!” moaned the little hen, holding her nose as tears came to her eyes. “It must have been a bad egg to begin with! I did everything I knew to do!”

“What a tragedy!” said all the barn animals, sadly. “That hen is such a good hen, so kind to everyone, so eager to help and she has such a fine nest of beautiful eggs. And she STILL gets to much done!”

But the farmer said, “I wish that hen would stay on her eggs.”

When two sheep decided to take the plunge and get married, there was the hen overseeing the festivities. The cows complimented the lovely hay arrangements. The goats thanked her for the lovely things to eat. The barn fowl cheered her efforts and threw grain on the newlyweds as they rushed out to the pasture. The rejoicing continued late into the night.

During the reception a tiny chirp came from one of the round, brown eggs. The little hen could not hear it over the sound of music and dancing. A tiny crack appeared in the side of one of the eggs as a little chick began to peck its way out of the shell—too early! Soon it had shaken off the pieces of shell and began searching for its mother. No one was there to tell the little chick that a nesting box is too high for a little chick to climb out of. It tumbled from the nesting box and lay still. Tired but happy the little hen walked slowly back to her nest. In the hay below she discovered the tiny, stiff form of her dead baby chick.

Again the barnyard mourned. “How can this happen to such a good hen?”

Not one of the warm, brown eggs ever hatched.

A slithering black snake ate one while the little hen was attending a first-freshening cow at her calving. A raccoon stole another while she was chatting with Mr. Turkey over afternoon tea. During the late frost, one froze and cracked while the little hen was sitting on Mrs. Duck’s eggs for her. One cracked and broke late one night as she turned them after returning home from a visit. She was just too tired and was a bit rougher than she’d meant to be.

The last egg was picked up and placed in a basket by the farmer’s daughter who was collecting abandoned pullet eggs for a picnic.

When the hen began to lay again, the farmer quietly instructed his daughter to pick up the little hen’s eggs. He sighed as he spoke, “No use letting that little hen keep eggs she won’t stick around to hatch.”

The hen hardly seemed to notice that her nest was always empty. She was so busy ministering to the other barn animals that she even stopped laying eggs at all.

The other animals watched in admiration as she fluttered about here and there, doing this and that, always with an encouraging word and a smile or a pat on the back. “What an amazing hen! She’s the best of her kind!”

But the farmer said sadly to his daughter as they watched the little hen scratching in the dirt, “Not much worth in a hen that won’t hatch eggs. Pretty little thing, and so cheerful and full of energy, but doesn’t do what she’s made to do. Guess I won’t be getting any fine chickens from her. She means well, but her focus is all wrong. See, those other animals? They’ve got me. She does so many things that are nice—but don’t have to be done. Times are hard sometimes, but really, they can get along without her. In the grand scheme of things there are lots of other animals that could pitch in and do what she does to help. But not a creature in this barn can hatch her eggs.”

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One Man Against a Lion

June 21, 2009 at 7:20 am (Poetry, Submission) (, , , , , , , , )

man-against-a-lion

Between the spheres of heaven and hell,
Each man must climb the staircase.
And if he has a family
He must guide them in the right.
Prowling in the streets of time,
Seeking wand’ring little ones
There slinks the stealthy lion
Who’d devour in the night.

A wall between that fiend and they
The husband and the father stands
For his treasured family
He must wage a war and win.
And for the souls of every one
That’s given in his care
He’ll render an account to God
If they be lost to sin.

Ah, what a task for any man
To stand between a beast and prey
But if his precious family
Resists, what crushing blow
Might overthrow the very heart
That sought to keep them safe
And tried to teach their tender minds
The way which they should go.

Wives and children, let us gather
Round behind the man we love
As a faithful family
Submitting to his care.
That, when the raging beast attacks
And seeks to drive our guardian back
He’ll find we press him
Forward on the stair.

Copyright 2006 by Abigail

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