January 2013


scream

Sitting on the couch, sick for almost two weeks, has definitely given me a lot of time to think. Though I have distracted myself with a lot of reading on how to make the perfect whole wheat bread and with the happenings of Downton Abbey, there has been one thing that I haven’t been able to fully distract myself from.

On one of our first nights home, after spending the Holidays with family, I woke up in the middle of the night, ANGRY. I had had a dream that I was back in one of the unhealthy places of my past, and unable to get out. Then, as I looked around our dark bedroom, I sensed God say something to me, to the effect of:

You have moved away from that old way of living, that is no longer your story.

I put my head back onto the pillow, and fell into a very peaceful sleep. His beautiful, life-giving words stuck with me over the next few days. However, rather than continuing to give me peace as they initially did, they began to uncover something else.

Inside, I am ANGRY.

There are parts of my story, my life, that I wish weren’t a part of my story. Things that have been said to me, ways that I have been made to feel small, and people who I respected who treated me poorly. There are systems that have let me down. And ways that my voice has either been silenced or ignored.

As God said, it is no longer my story, I am not in those places anymore. But I think what gets me the most, is that for so long I thought I wasn’t allowed to be angry. I wasn’t allowed to question. I wasn’t allowed to disagree. So, I kept swallowing my thoughts and my pain. I kept allowing myself to be treated unfairly.

We live in a culture where “common knowledge” says that we as females are better at communication than men, because we have been encouraged since birth to express our feelings. Yet I would disagree. Yes, we have been encouraged to express many feelings, but we haven’t been taught how to express Anger.

In fact, as women, we have been taught that being angry, isn’t attractive. I know many women, myself included, who are afraid to be categorized as feminists for the very reason that they don’t want to be seen as angry, bitter, or divisive. Sure, it is socially acceptable for a mother to get all “Momma-Bear” angry on behalf of her child, but ask that same woman to get angry when she has been mistreated, and it won’t be as easy.

Very few of us have been told that can be good, and even right at times, for us to get upset. And I would guess even fewer of us have been taught how to speak on our own behalf. We struggle with confrontation. We fear it, when it involves defending ourselves.

I look back at the things of my past that I wish weren’t mine, and I am angry that I couldn’t be angry. I am upset that so often I chose to maintain harmony in unhealthy relationships, rather than speak the truth–rather than speak on my own behalf. I am angry because I chose to stay in unhealthy situations longer than I should have. And yet:

That is no longer my story.

It is no longer my future. I have moved away from my old way of doing things, and I am learning new (and hopefully healthier) ways of living. But, what do I do with this anger?

It feels like an important piece of the journey towards Change. It is something I have to name, before I can learn how to express it and then move through it. Anger is not a place I want to stay, and yet dealing with it is new to me.

So, over the past few days, metaphorically, I have been picking up my anger in my hands, like one would do with mud. I have been picking it up, and holding it out to the One who is promising me more. I have been saying:

“What do I do with this anger? And what does it look like to forgive?”

As I have been sick the past few weeks and dealing with the uncovering of my anger, it has been difficult to blog. Please forgive my erratic posts, and know that I will return more regularly soon!

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Nothing rings in the New Year better than coming down with the flu…and then an awful chest cold.  Ok, there are a lot of better alternatives.

I had every good intention to come back to Redefining Female the day after New Years–that is until the day before we were to leave my in-laws (New Year’s Eve), I got the stomach flu. Thankfully, any nausea I had, subsided before the two hour car ride to the airport and the flight back home. Yet needless to say, I was absolutely wiped out when we got back. Then, a day or two later when I thought I was getting better, I came down with an awful cough which progressed to basically feeling weak and yucky this whole past week.

But, rather than wait another week to resume blogging, I thought I would share what I have been doing with my time on the couch.

What I have been watching:

DowntonAbbeyDownton Abbey

Now, I know I am a little bit behind as season 3 episode 1 just aired here in the US, but better late than never, right? One of my closest friends has been recommending this show to me for a while, and so for Christmas, I asked for seasons one and two on DVD. She was right–it is SO good! Beginning right after the sinking of the Titanic, the show follows the lives of a British, upper class family and their large staff of servants. The relationships, social dynamics, and well-developed characters make this show more than a little addictive. I am already done with season one, and into season two!

What I have been reading:

Unladylike

1. Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church, by Pam Hogeweide. In this book, Hogeweide talks about something that is often “hush-hush” in our churches–that is the attitude that women are somehow less in God’s eyes and incapable of ministering alongside their brothers. I am still in the middle of it, but will share my review here soon. Here is the trailer for the book, check it out:

2. Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads, by Peter Reinhart. This was one of my favorite Christmas presents this year (my husband definitely knows my heart and how much bread baking has become a part of it)! This bread cookbook however, is not for the faint of heart! It is more like taking a class from Reinhart who is a Johnson & Whales Bread Professor. I am learning about wheat, the chemistry of flour and dough, and so much more! Ok, I may be becoming a bread nerd, but I love it!

Whole Grain Breads

What I have been eating:

Southwestern Chicken Soup from Cooking Light

This is currently our favorite chicken soup, and as soon as we came home, I told my husband that I wanted us to make this! It has different flavors than traditional chicken soups, but it isn’t spicy. The simmering of cumin, garlic, and onion in chicken broth, makes the base of the soup so good!  Add in the creaminess of white beans and avocado, and you have comfort and yumminess in a bowl!

Finally, I just want to say a huge thank you to my husband. This past weekend he folded laundry, made dinner, straightened up the house, and for the greater part of Sunday–got me all my meals, and all the liquids I could drink! I am so thankful to be doing this journey–in sickness and in health–with him!

What do you do, when you are sick?