Father’s Day Memories

Father’s Day Memories

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and the first day of our beach vacation. Father’s Day is such a special time for our family. It’s bittersweet, as we will be celebrating your 9th year as a dad, but it will also be the 6th Father’s Day without my own dad. It will be a day of remembering. You will honor that time. You will let me remember, listening as I think about Daddy. I will remember strength wrapped in gentleness. I’ll remember junking trips and flea markets. I’ll remember basketball and go-cart racing. I’ll remember the smallness of my hand in his larger one. I’ll remember his eyes, his smile, his laugh, and his arms, outstretched and ever ready to welcome me in. I’ll remember, “Well hey girl” and “I sure do love you.” I’ll remember hugs and kisses goodbye, and looking back in my rear view mirror, seeing him wave until I turned the corner, out of sight. I’ll remember blackberry cobbler and banana pudding, pinto beans and cornbread. I’ll remember uncomplicated faith and unwavering trust in Jesus. I’ll remember pick-up trucks and gospel music, roller-coasters and log-rides. I’ll remember flicking ears and practical jokes. I’ll remember being rescued in the broad daylight, the sound of his feet running to me, shot-gun ready, and knowing in that moment everything would be ok. I’ll remember being rescued in the night, picked up in Raleigh and driven home to the mountains, and knowing in that moment everything would be ok. I’ll remember being by his side as he took his last breath, telling him everything’s going to be ok. I’ll remember courage and humility and integrity and love. Yes, love, always love. It will be a day of remembering Paw for Matthew and Mason. We’ll remember rides in the back of the truck. We’ll remember big breakfasts and J&S. We’ll remember yard sales and auctions. We’ll remember Rascal. We’ll remember sled rides on the trash can lid and trips to the park. We’ll remember, “what a fine boy” and “that’s good sugar.” We’ll remember visits and birthday parties and camping trips. We’ll remember love. Yes, love, always love. After the memories, we’ll return to the present. The kids will take off towards the water with you, and I’ll watch. I’ll watch and I’ll remember. I’ll remember you holding first Matthew, then Mason, their tiny newborn bodies swaddled and smelling so sweet. I’ll remember how both their cries stopped as they heard you talking to them. I’ll remember to tell them it was your voice which first calmed them, which first assured them, which comforted them in the way they have come to expect from their Daddy. I’ll remember those first nights at home. I’ll remember you helping with every single part of it, the feedings, the diaper changes, the pure exhaustion and exhilaration of it all. As I remember Daddy-daughter dances, Y-Guides, and Daddy date nights, I see some of the very traits of my dad in you now with our children. As I watch you play football, basketball, and soccer only to turn around and play hide-and-seek, chase, and Peter Rabbit,. I see you in it, doing this dad-thing with your whole heart. As I see you lead them in devotion and prayer, I see an uncomplicated faith, as pure and simple as my Dad’s. As I listen from the kitchen as you read books and pray and tuck them in, I see strength wrapped in gentleness. As I watch tears form in your eyes when you watch them sleep, peaceful and bigger somehow each time we check in on them, I see love. Yes, love, always love. One day, our children will remember their Daddy, just as I remember mine each Father’s Day. One day they’ll remember “Buddy” and “Girlie.” They’ll remember bowling and Noodles and Company and putt-putt. They’ll remember shows and movies. They’ll remember Pirate Anna and ET. They’ll remember Space Mountain and Seven Dwarfs mine train, digging holes and sand castles on the beach, and Yogi Bear campgrounds. They’ll remember being tossed high into the air and splashing into the pool. They’ll remember hugs and kisses, fist-bumps and high fives. They’ll remember “I love you sweet girl,” and “I love you little buddy.” Yes, they’ll remember your love. Always your love. Happy Father’s Day to the two most important men in my...

We Believe…

We Believe…

Since posting a letter I wrote to a local men’s ministry, “Men of Armor,” I have received many requests to post it here, as well. This is my response to an email we received from a local men’s ministry. The last line of their message reads, “Men, please lead the way by registering to attend with your wife…” Good morning. While I appreciate the outreach your ministry is providing, the consistent devaluing of women and our roles in marriage and ministry is sad to me and contradicts the life and teachings of Jesus. (I wrote to you previously about my concern over the use of a ministry which included Mark Driscoll) The last line of an otherwise positive email marginalizes wives and completely ostracizes single moms. Directing husbands to lead by signing up for the seminar for both themselves and their wives implies 1. Wives are not permitted to register for a class without her husband’s covering/permission and 2. Only male lead families need sign up. Our family believes Jesus is the only leader and high priest of the home. We believe women are God’s image bearers. He calls us daughter. We believe women are gifted and equipped to lead in all areas of church life and home life. We do not believe the teachings of male spiritual leaders is biblical as spiritual leader is not a title that appears in the gospels. We believe God is working to free all of the oppressed and marginalized so we may work as the complete body of Christ to share His good news. We believe patriarchal hierarchy ended with the new covenant. We believe we are all free in Christ, and complete freedom can never exist for women in homes and churches when they are taught to follow a man’s leadership instead of the voice of God to which she acquired direct access when the veil was torn. We believe Jesus put women in a position to lead and teach multiple times in the Bible. Jesus, God incarnate, was born to a woman, thus setting her up to disciple others for the rest of her life. Jesus admonished his disciples when they tried to intervene and prevent Mary from doing a good work in His name. Jesus ignored many religious and cultural laws when he spoke directly to the woman at the well, giving her the best witness in all of the Bible by allowing her, a woman, to be the first person to whom he revealed himself as the messiah. Jesus showed grace to the adulterous woman, speaking to her alone and directly. He allowed the hemorrhaging woman to touch His garment, and instead of reprimanding her for not coming to him under the covering of her husband, He heals her. The people to discover the empty tomb were women. The first person Jesus appears to post resurrection…women. God calls for His daughters to be brought to Him, not pushed further away from Him. Elevating men above women who are equal creations of the same God is dangerous. We will not support a ministry that attempts to reconstruct a veil of male authority, thus separating God’s daughters once again from their father. I’m happy to have constructive dialogue with you about this topic. I feel as passionate about the dangers of patriarchal ministries as you feel about the importance of men armoring up. I feel I’m directed by the Holy Spirit to speak out against teachings which place anyone other than Jesus is places of leadership/authority in women’s lives. Humbly His, Carrie...

Armoring Men to Lead: My Response to “Men of Armor”

Armoring Men to Lead:  My Response to “Men of Armor”

A few years ago, the leader of a local church’s sports program, which we participated in, left to begin his own ministry.  As a result of having participated in the sports program, our emails were obtained, and we began to receive messages and invitations from this new ministry “Men of Armor.” Recently, an invitation appeared in my inbox from “Men of Armor.”  This one described a Biblical-based sex education seminar for parents.  In reading the background on the presenters and the program, my interest peaked, and I was considering discussing registration with my husband when I reached the final line of the email, Men, please lead the way by registering to attend with your wife… After feeling engaged in the body of the email, I immediately felt marginalized and pushed back into the shadows. After a day of prayer, I reached out to the leadership team of “Men of Armor” and wrote a letter detailing my concerns and our family’s beliefs. Click here to see that message: https://www.facebook.com/girlgonejunking/posts/252680125080381 The president of the company, Jimmy Stopper, returned my email with an invitation to call him and discuss my message.  I made the call on Friday and spoke with Jimmy for over an hour. It was a gracious, healthy conversation between a brother and sister in Christ.  I am thankful to have had the opportunity to dialogue with him about these issues. What follows are my responses to three of the statements of faith he and his organization have about women and women’s roles in marriage. As Christian Evangelicals, the word of God is the word of God and we are to read it as so. Directives are directives, and the explanation of marriage roles in Ephesians is God’s design directive for a Biblical marriage. There are problematic things about this response.  First, it assumes interpretations of scripture which differ from his are less Biblical and less inspired by God.  Second, it erroneously characterizes Evangelical Christians as being literal doers of the word in all circumstances, which is simply not true. Christian Evangelicals DO decide what verses will and will not be practiced literally.  When asked if women in his church follow the directive to remain silent, he conceded women do not remain silent in the church. There are many Christians (noted theologians and pastors) who study Paul’s epistles through the lens of historical and cultural context.  His letters are words of direction and edification for specific churches experiencing specific problems within a specific culture and time period (for a short list of prominent Egalitarian voices, click here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/189gbAb0yDYeXwv1iad47W-URKb87R86fyyrNC9jYkbg/edit?usp=sharing) This does not mean the epistles lack value and application today; it simply means a literal application of all directives from those epistles is not something any church does today and for good reason, otherwise slaves would still be graciously submitting to their masters and women would still wear head coverings during prayer. Additionally, to place the epistles within the appropriate context, to read and study Paul’s words as a unified message for a specific audience does not render the scriptures as any less inspired by God. Paul’s directives on marriage to the Ephesians and Colossians in his epistles are actually quite novel and progressive for the intended readers of his letters.  Men during this time treated women/wives as property, which is why Paul includes references to wives and slaves consecutively multiple times in his letters.  Commanding husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church was a radical notion for the time/culture. Directing wives to submit unto their OWN husbands frees them from the cultural expectation of subservience to any male as per the patriarchal codes of law.  This, too, was a novel practice for women. Including the notion of mutual submission probably had heads spinning, as Roman husbands never submitted to their wives just as slave masters never submitted to their slaves. (for more on Greco-Roman household codes, please click here http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/mutuality-household-codes) Paul, in his letters to the Ephesians, Corinthians, Colossians, and to Philemon, works to move away from hierarchy to a more linear functioning of oneness and mutuality.  In his plea to Philemon, he longs for Onesimus to be restored, not as a lowly slave, but as an equal, a brother in Christ, joined together with Philemon through the flesh of Christ. On the other hand, directing husbands to lead their wives when they already held roles of extreme leadership would have been redundant and pointless.  This precipitates the need to explore other connotative and metaphorical meanings of the word “head” in scripture (which I will address in my response to point 2 below). The fact that Paul works within the cultural design...

Women Enter Boldly: The Torn Veil and Direct Access to God

Women Enter Boldly: The Torn Veil and Direct Access to God

I am thankful to have my post hosted by Junia Project (www.juniaproject.com) today.  As we approach Good Friday and Easter Sunday, it’s a perfect time to reflect on what the tearing of the veil means for women and our roles in marriage, church, and life. “Starting from the top of the veil and tearing downward, the hierarchy of privilege was removed. Through the sacrifice of our Savior, we may now enter boldly into the presence of God without the covering of sacrifices and High Priests: “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ…But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2: 12-13)…” Women Enter Boldly: The Torn Veil & Direct Access to...

I Didn’t Choose to Become an Egalitarian

I Didn’t Choose to Become an Egalitarian

I’m happy to have my first published post appear in full at http://juniaproject.com/   “Was it then I became an Egalitarian?  Did falling in love with someone who values and respects the very character traits which fuel others’ perceptions of me as a failed example of Biblical womanhood reaffirm my equal value as a daughter of God?  Did marrying a man who fosters my freedom within our marriage further verify my complete freedom in Christ?” (2 Corinthians 3:17) I Didn’t Choose to Become an Egalitarian...

Partners

Partners

  Hello again my sweet husband, my partner, my best friend.  You know, we’ve been using the term “partner” for so long, I stopped thinking about its meaning.  Lately, though, it’s been on my mind more and more.  As I reflect on a term we’ve used countless times in our relationship, I’m struck by all the unique ways we’ve come to define “partner” in our marriage.  We’ve added layers of substance to a term with a pretty simplistic meaning.  We’ve changed it to fit our very own love language. Partner, the person by my side on those long runs we’ve always enjoyed taking together.  I remember our very first run on a trail near each of our apartments.  It was the same trail I used to see you on when I’d take my dogs for a walk.  The memory of you running always stayed with me because it’s not often one sees a big, muscular man like you running so effortlessly.  Later, when we started dating, I shared those memories with you.  I wasn’t on your radar then; you had no memories of me and my two dogs. You ran alone, focused on your destination.  I walked alone, focused on my past, still healing from a deep hurt.  God wasn’t ready to bring us together just yet, but He began the work of bringing your world into mine and my world into yours.  My future husband, your future wife, passing each other, going opposite directions, feet apart, unaware God’s plan had been set into motion. Yes, there was a nostalgic element to that first run, for sure.  I remember I started strong, being used to running three to three and a half miles pretty easily.  You were used to five, so we compromised and went for four miles on that first run as a pair, as partners.  Eventually, we worked our way up to six.  At some point during one of our runs, you reached over and took my hand in yours and said, “I love you partner.”  I said, “I love you, too, partner,” and I held on to your hand for a little while. After that, it became our thing.  You take my hand at some point during every run, and we repeat those same words.  As we run, our hands joined together, our steps synchronized, we are one.  We are partners. Partner, the person by my side during the ups and downs of life.  When we took our vows, we promised to love each other through better and through worse, through sickness and through health.  I believe the beauty of a true partnership exists in each person’s willingness to sometimes let the other person lead.  It’s like the tide.  It’s an ebb and flow.  It’s fluid and organic and free.  When I’m down, I relinquish the reigns for a while, with complete trust in where you’ll lead our family.  You step forward as I slow down and fall back a bit, taking refuge in your shadow. After Daddy’s cancer returned, you became both Mama and Daddy to our babies.  You gave me an invaluable gift:  time.  I didn’t have to think about anything; I didn’t have to do anything; you did it all.  While you kept our little family going, I was able to step away for a bit.  While you played outside with the kids, I sat by my Daddy’s bed and held his hand.  While you woke up in the middle of the night to feed our three month old baby, I kept the night vigil by my Daddy’s side.  While you made our little ones breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I kissed Daddy’s forehead and told him over and over how much I loved him.  While you bathed our babies and tucked them into bed, I watched my dad take his last breath on this side of Heaven.  When I returned to you, broken and weak, you held me up.  You supported me as I regained my strength.  And when I was ready, I stepped out of your shadow and back into the void by your side.  You put your arm around my shoulder, and we resumed our walk, side-by-side.  Partners again. Partner, the person kneeling by my side in prayer.  Partner, the person by my side raising our children. Partner, the person by my side cheering the loudest.  Partner, the person by my side helping to chase every dream. We are partners.  We share a path, a destination; we stride to the finish line together.  Hand-in-hand. Partners to the very end. ...

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