I wanted to get this out a week ago, but the Lord has really let this word dig down deep into my heart, and I am ever so grateful. Plus, the schedule has been a little crazy this week and I have been in my car more than normal….giving me less time to write but more time to think and glean.
This is the second part to my coffee date with Cristie Penn where we continue to discuss her book, Keys of Truth: God’s Design for the Sexes.
We touch on the following questions in this gleaning:
- What is an evangelical feminist?
- What are some of the lies women believe?
- Reactions from other women and men that Cristie has been able to share these truths with.
Me: In the church, what is an evangelical feminist?
Cristie: It is a Christian who can even be very mature…there is a book written by Sarah Sumner, I believe…and I quoted her in the book and she describes it very clearly. I was like…I think I was one. It was like Jesus was all I could need. The Lord asked me, “Well, Cristie, what man can compete with that?” I was like…but He is all….and He said, “It is not good for man to be alone. Jesus is not all you need…I never expected you to be alone by choice. Unless you are pushed there like John was or Paul. If you are pushed there, I will be enough and I will sustain you.” In our world, we need people, and especially male and female to come together because only together are we a true picture of what God is like because of His feminine side and His masculine side. He is clearly a male and clearly a warrior but He has the nuturing heart that our culture has confused on both sides. What I mean by that is that evangelical Christian women don’t even know that they are doing it. I didn’t know that I was doing it. It’s because we are all products of our environment. They are women in the church that don’t really believe that they need a man, and sometimes it masks itself in this picture of what a Christian man is that is so perfect that no guy could ever come close to meeting that. I have spoken to a lot of women who have said, “They are just not. They are just not. They are just not…all these things.” I am just sitting there thinking to myself, “Well, you aren’t perfect either.” You know? You just need to look for a man who is chasing after God even in his imperfection. They are usually very independent women. Our generation raised them (points to herself) because we were. I also reference in the book James Dobson from Bringing Up Girls and Bringing Up Boys and he sites the 60’s. Which is interesting because my generation was in school in the 60’s, and Dobson quotes in there how the feminist movement went from pediatricians to attorneys….school counselors, elementary teachers…in our generation we were taught how to change a tire by ourselves….anything you can do…I can do better. Anne Get Your Gun…
Me: I do like that song.
Cristie: I started thinking about all the things that I heard growing up. So we were kind of in that…and there is nothing wrong with a woman knowing how to fix a tire. I talk about that in the book. I knew every tool in my dad’s garage, and that is beneficial. It is NOT beneficial when you throw men under the bus like I did. I would say to my mechanical engineering husband…I know what a wrench is…I know what a screwdriver is and I can do this myself.
Me: You don’t need to tell me.
Cristie: YES! I can move that sofa…I don’t need your help. And that’s in the church, and we don’t even know that we are doing it but we are doing it. I have heard people say that, “I don’t agree with you.” I say look, I don’t know it all…I’m telling you that I was the poster child…He picked me to give this message to for a reason. I had a lot of unlearning to do. That is another thing that I’ve learned with our church and with freedom and all of that…there is just so much room in our heart…if we think that we know something and we are unwilling to unpack that or release that…and let that out of what we think we know…if we continue with what we think we know we will never know anything else. So sometimes we have to unpack what we think we know, remove it, and make room for God to bring the real truth. There was a lot of that struggle in even my receiving these truths because I had learned a lot of things that were true but were not true. I learned many of them in church…many of them in Bible study. Wash his feet and be silent. Wash your husbands feet figuratively, pray for him, and just serve him and he will come to Christ. Well there is some truth in that but God also says speak the truth in love, and if you are not speaking the truth in love then you are eventually going to become angry, hateful, resentful, and bitter. That is exactly what I had done, so you need to speak the truth. You need to not cover yourself, protect yourself, because that is a way of wielding a sword.
Me: Wow. What are some of those lies? You had mentioned some earlier.
Cristie: The first one was that I didn’t need anyone but Jesus. The second one was you need to protect yourself because He is not going to protect you. You need to not just be a perfect woman on the outside but a perfect Christian woman. That’s like a double dose. Isn’t that big? It’s like….oh I can’t be angry because Christians aren’t angry. Well excuse me…Jesus got angry and cleared the temple, so righteous anger that is not personal. Jesus knew that they dishonored His father. Well, I can speak righteously in anger when something in my home dishonors my father. But that sit-quiet-and-wash-his feet thing was a big one. Pray hard enough and he will come to Christ. With regard to my family….just be Jesus to them, they will see Jesus in you and they will come to Christ. Well, it’s not about me. God showed me that I was on a tight rope and that it was long enough to span the Grand Canyon…I am walking in front of you Cristie backwards. Keep you eyes on my face. Do not look behind you to see if your kids are coming, your dad is coming, your mom is coming, your sister is coming, your husband…you keep your eyes on my face. I will draw them to myself through your life but it doesn’t have anything to do with you. So that was another lie. I need to perform so that they see Christ and they come.
Me: Kind of making yourself Jesus?
Cristie: Another one was…find a scripture, claim it, pray it, and believe it’s already done. Well there is some truth in that, but it may not end up the way that you prayed it would. Your dad may disown you and your family and leave you because of your faith…but it doesn’t mean that God is not still God and that He is not on the throne and that He is not working in it. It may be a rescue and not you being rejected. Like finding a scripture and claiming it…it’s not over until its over. It’s over when He says it’s over. He knows that big picture. I was queen at finding a verse and claiming it and expecting it…but God is the one in charge. I am all about the Word of God but I am about the whole Word of God in its entirety and as the Holy Spirit speaks to you and prepares you. ‘Cause He will, as you know, Megan. He will prepare you. He will whisper things to your heart that may be really scary, but He will prepare you for the next thing if you will just stay in the Word and continue to press in on Him. It’s an amazing thing….how He speaks.
Me: That is awesome. So now how many years have you been walking in this?
Cristie: Probably…in its in entirety…..5.
Me: 5…the number of grace.
Cristie: That’s amazing!!
Me: 5 years. How are y’all now?
Cristie: We are sooo good. The thing is that we are friends and not just married. We are best friends and partners…we are on the same team.
Me: You are in one accord?
Cristie: Mmmhmm (yes)
Me: Like…it’s not just a fairy tale…it really can happen.
Cristie: When you least expect it when you just focus in on your place. We can’t pray someone in…against their will. You know I will say this….in every horrific thing…things that you think are going to kill you…like what happened with my family…the flip side is always there…meaning that even though we watched my dad’s rebellion cause so much pain…the best news is that we all say what rebellion does. We all saw what rebellion looks like when it gets older. I believe that our adult children are who they are in large part because of watching the destruction of rebellion in one person’s life. I think Keys of Truth came out of me when I finally knew who I was apart from the performance, apart from the expectation of anyone else in our life. When I got to go to Japan and share this on a Sunday morning from the pastor’s pulpit…and then in Japan because they work so much…they’ll stay longer in the afternoon for a whole other session and they stayed. I learned that this message…the pain and the answer…is global and universal. Every time I get to teach I ask the Lord to teach me something new in the process of the teaching so that I know that it is Him speaking and not me. When I was in Japan, I was standing on the platform and I had this picture in my mind of a man standing with a women here and her head was in his chest…buried in his chest…like there was something so frightening around her that she couldn’t even look. His left arm was around her shoulders and she had her face buried here (in his chest). He was not looking at her but he had his sword drawn in his right hand against the enemy. When I saw it I said it to these people in Tokyo…I said that I believe that every female was created for this position and every male was created for this position by God. Now whatever we have walked through in life may have changed our belief about our position but would you agree…ladies in the room…that this is your most comfortable position? And even in Japan where there is little to no emotion expressed outwardly…every woman’s head started going up and down and they started crying. I thought to myself…that is what I have now. That is what my heart longed for…that is what I was created to desire. Yes, I want to be a mom. Yes, I want to create beautiful things. But the truth is at the end of the day that is the safest place. That is the safest position for me. Then I began to realize that it’s because he is being the good Father to us…he is being the good Shepherd to us. That’s a picture of what God is. It’s also a picture of what God wants His boys to be. His men…to be. At the end of that message I realized too that the only way a man can take that position is if a man has first sat in the lap of the Father to understand that He is loved and has been given that power…given that authority because He is yielded to the Father. When Keys of Truth first started we were in worship in Bible study in our house and there were a lot of men in the room. I put this in the book too…but it goes back to that picture that I just talked about…I felt the Lord say open your eyes and look around the room. We had the lights down low. There were probably 45-50 people in this room upstairs…men and women. I opened my eyes…the women faded…and I saw each man’s face in worship. Although they are not worhipers as easily like we are they are standing there in that position…what I call the athletic position…feet apart hands down and the paper in their hands…and I just saw that regardless of what they were doing with their bodies they were in a position to receive because they wanted to be everything the women in that room needed them to be….but they didn’t all know how. So during that evening, God said that I needed to see them the way that He saw them…oh and by the way they are far more afraid of failure than any woman in this room knows. That was step one when this all got started when my heart and my spirit opened to what God was showing me. He also showed me at that time in that class most men do not give themselves permission to take off their dented dirty armor…lay down their sword and crawl up into the lap of the Father, and that they needed to be given permission to do just that. If women start seeing this position (sword drawn to the enemy) and then that position (in the lap of the Father) that he is no more than a little boy who needs to be held by the Father…nutured by the Father…spoken life into by the Father…that they need that. Again that tight rope thing for us as women. He is just a boy inside who still wants to prove that He is worthy of your affection, but He is also a warrior who was created to war for you and he has to understand both sides of that in order to be whole. So when we as females walk in that and understand that…we can look at him as a little boy who is trying to climb to the top of a mountain to prove it…we can speak to that. Like you are so strong and I know that this is hard right now but you will make the right decision for us. On the other hand…that you are a warrior and you will defend me and I have to submit myself to God in order for you to prove it. So when you start keys of truth the vulnerable part is not necessarily being able to trust that man who has maybe not yet been trustworthy but to trust God by taking your position and letting God work on him…in his. Let me just say…I wasn’t in mine for a long long time and God didn’t give up on me. So that’s what I see now in Don. It is so much better than I ever even thought it could be. It doesn’t mean like I was telling you earlier…it doesn’t mean that you aren’t gonna have traps set. You’re gonna have triggers that make you want to act like a fool like you did before…but we can be used as bait for one another because of the commitment we have and the love we have.
Okay, I have to narrow in on the whole “Evangelical Feminist” issue. I was one. Still to this day I have to expose lies and break them down so I do not stay in that pattern of thinking anymore.
I mentioned in the first part of this gleaning with Cristie that the Lord had been asking me to take steps of faith in my marriage to Kyle and submit to him. Sometimes that was just me keeping quiet on certain things and not nagging him. I believed some core lies in my life like Cristie mentioned. He isn’t going to be able to do this so I need to take the burden of this family. You will be considered a weak woman if you show your pain or let a man do everything. I can do anything a man does if not better. There was a LIST. There was even a prominent woman in my life growing up who said “Megan, never trust men all they want to do is get in your pants.” So…I didn’t.
Now don’t get me wrong. I craved their attention. I had crazy, mad crushes on boys and desperately wanted them to be my knight in shining armor. Remembering back on my junior high days I remember having a huge crush on the boy who lived across the street and doing anything possible to get his attention. I would invite him over to play basketball…beat him at a game or two….and then he would leave. After a while he stopped hanging out with me. I was confused…and crushed. Now I have a clue why…I kept emasculating him….plus a slew of other reasons.
So fast forward my life to entering into my marriage with my husband, Kyle. I had…actually we both had core lies that we believed about ourselves, our roles as a male or female, the positions we had in marriage, and many…many unhealed wounds to boot. SO…it was toxic at times. I can tell you from my part that I emasculated him countless times just by nagging him and not letting him take the lead in our household. Cristie defines this word in her book:
- To castrate.
- To deprive of strength or vigor; weaken
- Deprived of or lacking strength or vigor; effeminate
To deprive my husband the opportunity to show his strength and vigor emasculates him. When I say “Honey, why are you doing it that way? Let me do it.” It emasculates him. When I say “No, I got this. I don’t need you to do it. I’m strong enough.” It emasculates him. Sometimes I have been known to lovingly suggest a direction we may need to take the family and it is received well, but if I have to wait too long for Kyle to move on it I would do it myself, or I would nag him until he did it. It emasculated him.
Cristie goes on in her book to say:
Since the 1960’s and the birth of feminism, the line of distinction between men and women continues to be blurred. Many are confused about what manhood and womanhood are; therefore, many parents don’t know how to develop it in their children. Unfortunately, it was the misunderstanding that manhood is ‘to be above’ womanhood that caused so much pain and pushed women to fight for feminism in the first place. Now we may have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction. Freedom comes when we realize the truth and accept that men and women are different by design and complement one another.
“Complement one another.”…I heard the other day from one of the pastors at Gateway, who works with couples that are in the midst of marriage difficulties, speak on the beautiful picture of a marriage and how it is a reflection of our oneness with Christ. In the class I attended she explained how when Adam was created He had the full reflection of God’s image in Him, both the feminine and masculine side of God. When the Lord made woman and pulled us from man’s rib there was now a piece of Himself missing. He awoke and felt a void, and when the marriage union is at its purest form, it reflects our oneness with God and the unity of His image.
Male and female are equal in the context that we are God’s children, temples of the Holy Spirit, disciples, prayer warriors, teachers, and light bearers of the Kingdom; However, we are different and have different roles to play. I choose to look at my femininity as a super power.
Did you know that nothing on this planet would be born unless a woman birthed it? We speak life. A few weeks ago I heard my daughter introduce herself on the playground to a few other kids. She said, “Hi…my name is Zoë….I speak life into people.” IT’S HER SUPER POWER. We always try and remind her why we named her Zoë and that she speaks life into others. That goes for all of us and especially women. We speak life…should we so choose.
Cristie explains the design of women by God in her book as the following:
WOMEN ARE DESIGNED BY GOD TO BE COLLECTORS (BEAUTIFIERS), CONNECTORS (NURTURERS), AND SUPPORTERS (QUEENS)
I choose to GLEAN and WALK in the fact that these are my super powers. I am not ashamed of them and I will no longer compare them to the super powers, role, and design of men.
Now….I must work on my superhero costume.