Dear Juliet and Priscilla,
There are people who will tell you that you are not as valuable as your brothers. They will tell you that the church, the family, your God, were designed to be experienced chiefly through a man’s experience, and only through a woman’s as a sidekick (they will likely use the word helper, or mate, or help-mate.)
When this happens I pray that you will think of me, of your aunts, of your grandmothers. I pray that you will have seen the love that I have for my Lord, the love that he has for me. I hope that the women in your life who love the Lord with abandon will be a protection against the lie that you need anyone elses help to experience God. He loves you desperately.
Think about your dad and your grandfathers too. There are so many in your life who think you are incredible. They think you are wise and have something to say. They feel very very lucky that you are girls, that you are their girls. They want to know what God is teaching you. They believe it might teach them too. It is your dad, the rhetorician I think, that will make you read the words of men like this. You will roll your eyes, but also store those words in your heart.
My loves, when you hear those lies, the ones that are meant to keep you quiet and safe with you hands in your lap, I pray that your heart is protected. I pray that those things sound so strange to you that you will think them silly. I pray that you laugh and go about your day, being the woman God created you to be.
But I know that your reaction will more likely be anger. You come by that righteous anger honestly. Your mother’s temper is famous in the family lore, and your dad has a similar story. When we have something to say, we like to be heard (we met on a speech team after all.) May you not be consumed by your anger, may the desire of your heart be Jesus, and not that the people around you say all the right things about him.
I am learning just now, why Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek. May you learn that lesson earlier. It was as much for us as it was for the people who are saying things against us. My dear sweet girls, I pray that you would not insist on having the last word, but instead go on about your life, proving every moment that God has amazing things for you.
There is a chance that you are the one who is called to vocally confront these beliefs, and if that is the case I will pack your lunch with things that will soothe your throat, and kiss your head as you go to your work every day. If God calls you to be that voice in that wilderness I will be your biggest fan. But make sure that is what God called you to do.
It is more likely that He will call you to simply live the equality in the gospel everyday. It may seem like this is not enough, but it is. Your job is to do every day what the Lord has for you that day. If it is to speak up then do so, if not then keep moving. Trust that God will multiply that offering. You living the truth challenges those lies better than anything you could say.
Remember that the people who are saying these things are your brothers and sisters in Christ, and as I once told your grandmother at girl scout day camp “sister means even if you don’t like them, you are stuck with them and you have to be nice.” The Bible is clear sweet girls, you need to be kind to your brothers and sisters the ones who live in your house and the ones who do not. It is not kind to let lies go unchallenged. Lies about women hurt men too. But make sure it is done with a gentle spirit. You and I don’t have everything right. We wouldn’t want someone identifying us purely by the things we get wrong. We hope that people identify us by the things that point to our savior. We must give others the grace that Christ so freely gave us. Especially when they don’t deserve it. That is what makes it grace.
It is sometimes hard being a woman in this church, but it is always worth it. Sometimes when we hear hurtful words we turn our backs to the church, we reject the whole thing as hopeless. God loves his church, he calls us his bride. He wants to love you through the church, imperfect things can love you well too. I hope I have shown you that as your imperfect mom. Don’t let your pride cheat you out of the love God wants to show you.
I love you my loves, my lovelies, my girls. I am so very blessed to be your mom. I pray that you will never need this letter. But I put it here, just in case you do.