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In which I am a biblical woman

This morning, I made banana bread. We’re having a slow morning breakfast of hot oatmeal with a platter of fruit. I made a pot of french press and I spent time reading my Bible and meditating, praying and waiting on God.  Then I gave them hour-long baths from which they emerged with pruny, wrinkled, soft skin. We will make a hot lunch here at home. We’ll read books, homeschool, and be creative, if the rain holds off we’ll play outside. My husband will call a few times from work to check on us and say hello. I’m knitting a baby sweater for my newest little niece. Tonight, I’ll make supper. I handle almost all of the housework (except vacuuming – I loathe vacuuming with a deadly loathing).

These are days when my daily life looks like I believe in biblical womanhood as defined by fundamentalists.

Then there are other days. The Monday and Friday of our week when we wake up and I dash for the shower. The mornings of cold cereal and backpacks stocked with diapers and Blankies and changes of clothing. The mornings when the tinies are strapped in their carseats by 7:30 to be whisked away to the babysitter’s house for the day. The days when I wear my dress pants and sit at a computer or make phone calls all day, design and code, advocate and climb the mountain of funding a non-profit, step by painful step, unashamedly asking for help for those that can’t ask for themselves. These are the days when I come home late in the day, when Brian makes grilled cheese sandwiches or oatmeal for supper and I come in when the tinies are already in their jammies for bed.

Those are the days when my life looks like a thoroughly modern career woman’s life, typical of most in our society.

I used to feel like I didn’t fit in church. I loved learning and reading, I liked to ask questions. Then, when I became a wife, I also had a career that I quite enjoyed. I have also felt like I, too, have a deep calling and vocation as a writer and artist. My husband has a calling as a pastor but he has never belittled or devalued mine as being unequal with his and we learned to be mutually supportive. We are unapologetically egalitarian in our views on roles in marriage, deeply believing in mutual submission and leadership as opposed to male headship.  Then I had my tinies and sometimes, as someone pursuing a more gentle form of Christian parenting, I can feel another difference.

We have walked through seasons in our marriage when I was a full-time stay-at-home-mum, seasons when I was a full-time working mother, a season when my husband was the primary caregiver and homemaker for us and now, a hybrid mish-mash of all of the above.

At no time, in all of those seasons, did I feel more “biblical” than any other. 

I know that I felt happier or more sane or settled or more at peace in certain seasons or with certain decisions, but more Christian? No.



I can say that because I don’t believe that you can define being biblical by a list of chores or opinions which you decide to believe, a schedule or a to-do list. I don’t believe that being a Christian wife (or, more broadly, a disciple of God) is defined exclusively by how well we adhere to rules or a new law.

That’s why I feel confident in saying this: I am a biblical woman.

Not because my life resembles the latter half of Proverbs 31 with such stunning accuracy.  Or because my husband is the “head of our home.” Nor is it because I manage our household and the raising of our children. Nor is it because I work with my hands or homeschool or fulfill a long list of chores and ideals born of a sitcom society that never truly existed.

I am a biblical woman because I live and move and have my being in the daily reality of being a follower of Jesus, living in the reality of being loved.

Biblical womanhood isn’t so different that biblical personhood.

Biblical personhood becomes a dead list of rules when it becomes a law to keep. If we have a long list of rules – put others first! be generous! give money! believe this! do that! – it’s a dead religion from a glorified rule book.

But when your heart, mind and soul is deep within the reality of living loved, we discover that those “rules” are really just characteristics, the natural fruit to be borne out of a meaningful life changing relationship. And there are many expressions and ways to live out love, joy, kindness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, peace and goodness – as men, as women, as mothers, as fathers, as friends.

After all, if we one believes that Jesus is a relationship then there must be room for each of us having a unique relationship, vocation, season or calling.


So I work outside the home. I am an advocate and I am a writer.


And I am a woman that loves God deeply and loves her family wildly.


Those things are not in opposition for me, so I wish that some would stop trying to make them so. 

A slightly edited repost from the archives.

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faith, women, work

In which I am a biblical woman

This morning, I made banana bread. We’re having a slow morning breakfast of hot cream-of-wheat with a platter of fruit. I made a pot of french press and I spent time reading my Bible and meditating, praying and waiting on God.  Then I gave them hour-long baths from which they emerged with pruny, wrinkled, soft skin. We will make a hot lunch here at home. We’ll read books and be creative, if the rain holds off we’ll play outside. My husband will call a few times from work to check on us and say hello. I’m knitting a baby sweater for my newest little niece. Tonight, I’ll make supper. I handle almost all of the housework (except vacuuming – I loathe vacuuming with a deadly loathing). After the tinies are tucked into bed, Brian and I will talk or read.

These are days when my daily life looks like I believe in biblical womanhood as defined by fundamentalists.

Then there are other days. The Monday and Friday of our week when we wake up and I dash for the shower. The mornings of cold cereal and backpacks stocked with diapers and Blankies and changes of clothing. The mornings when the tinies are strapped in their carseats by 7:30 to be whisked away to the babysitter’s house for the day. The days when I wear my dress pants and sit at a computer or make phone calls all day, design and code, advocate and climb the mountain of funding a non-profit, step by painful step unashamedly asking for help for those that can’t ask for themselves. These are the days when I come home late in the day, when Brian makes grilled cheese sandwiches or oatmeal for supper and I come in when the tinies are already in their jammies for bed. I’m home just in time for a few conversations, a few snuggles and stories before they are in bed and I am washing my make up off, aching for my own bed, too tired to read anything more intellectual than a magazine.

Those are the days when my life looks like a thoroughly modern career woman’s life, typical of most in our society.

I used to feel like I didn’t fit in church. I loved learning and reading, I liked to ask questions. Then, when I became a wife, I also had a career that I quite enjoyed. I have also felt like I, too, have a deep calling and vocation as a writer and artist. My husband has a calling as a pastor but he has never belittled or devalued mine as being unequal with his and we learned to be mutually supportive. We are unapologetically egalitarian in our views on roles in marriage, deeply believing in mutual submission and leadership as opposed to male headship.  Then I had my tinies and now, I felt like I didn’t fit because of how I chose to parent.

We have walked through seasons when I was a full-time stay-at-home-mum, seasons when I was a full-time working mother, a season when my husband was the primary caregiver and homemaker for us and now, a hybrid of all of the above.

At no time, in all of those seasons, did I feel more “biblical” than any other. I know that I felt happier or more sane or settled or more at peace in certain seasons but more “Christian?” No.



I can say that because I don’t believe that you can define being biblical by a list of chores or opinions which you decide to believe, a schedule or a to-do list. I don’t believe that being a Christian wife (or, more broadly, a disciple of God) is defined exclusively by how well we adhere to rules or a new law.

That’s why I feel confident in saying this: I am a biblical woman.

Not because my life resembles the latter half of Proverbs 31 with such stunning accuracy.  Or because my husband is the “head of our home.” Nor is it because I manage our household and the raising of our children. Nor is it because I work with my hands or homeschool or fulfill a long list of chores and ideals born of a sitcom society that never truly existed.

I am a biblical woman because I live and move and have my being in the daily reality of being a follower of Jesus, living in the reality of being loved.

Biblical womanhood isn’t so different that biblical personhood.

Biblical personhood becomes a dead list of rules when it becomes a law to keep. If we have a long list of rules – put others first! be generous! give money! believe this! do that! – it’s a dead religion from a glorified rule book.

But when your heart, mind and soul is deep within the reality of living loved, we discover that those “rules” are really just characteristics, the natural fruit to be borne out of a meaningful life changing relationship. And there are many expressions and ways to live out love, joy, kindness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, peace and goodness – as men, as women, as mothers, as fathers, as friends.

That is why, if we believe that Christianity is about a relationship, not a religion, we have to give credence to people hearing the voice of God and, perhaps, coming to a different conclusion than we did. 

Some of my most-read posts are about women. If you want some more background on why I keep writing about this, you can read them.

In which I am the keeper of my home
In which I am a working mother – and proud of it
In which the Nines is indicative of a larger gender issue in the church

And for other reading, one of my favourite bloggers, Rachel Held Evans (if you have not read her book “Evolving in Monkey Town” yet, be warned – I stayed up far too late reading because I couldn’t put it down) wrote a post called “What happened when I tried to love God with my mind” that is a must-read.  Money quote right here: It seems that {the Christian establishment} is fine with Christians loving God with their minds so long as they reach the same conclusions that {they} have.


And Sarah-Mae over at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee, who is very different from me in her beliefs about womanhood, has truly inspired me with her lovely post “Less Than a Christian Wife” about cutting up our “club cards” and crashing down the barriers between us as women and mothers. I am thankful for social media for many reasons but one of them is that it has helped me to truly get to know and develop respect, friendship and love for many women that used to scare the living crap out of me.

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faith, journey, marriage, parenting, women, work
  • http://www.thealmons.com/ccblog C.C. @ I’m On My Way

    Thank you Sarah for so eloquently saying the words of my heart! What a blessing you are!!! And by the by, that yarn you are knitting with is amazing!!!!!!! I’m a knitter myself (just started a new project last night) and I have yarn envy looking at that photo. :)

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com Ed_Cyzewski

    Another thing I’d add is that these lists we keep are culturally determined. Must a biblical wife knead her own bread and biblical husbands herd goats? Though I have no qualms with either of them, the cultural weight of the Bible is important to release before we crush ourselves under its weight. 

    At the risk of sounding too simplistic or creating a false dichotomy, I’m not even sure I want to be biblical. I want to be holy, changed into God’s likeness. If I resemble a book, what does that even look like? I understand that the Bible is our guide in many ways, but the Bible points us to Jesus so that we can become… Jesus-ical? 

  • http://www.travismamone.net/ Travis Mamone

    The way I see it “biblical marriage/manhood/womanhood/childhood/etc” all boils down to one thing:  love others the way Jesus did. That’s it. 

    • mkrabill

      Yes. That.

  • Kirsten

    That was so good to read. I can’t really describe it. I’m just now beginning to find my place in this world in terms of who I am as a wife, mother, and someone who also loves God. Reading your blog gives me a wonderful perspective in this journey and this post warmed my heart.

  • http://www.kimvanbrunt.com/honestly-adoption-the-blog/ Kim Van Brunt

    Loved this, Sarah. I, too, have been finding the simple and profound truth of relationship with Jesus: it all comes down to just that. Following Jesus. Learning him, being close to him, loving him better and more fully and tearing down my walls of mistrust and boxing God in.

    They aren’t rules or commands on a checklist: they’re characteristics. This rings so true and right. In the end, it’s all — all! — about love. Astounding, really.

  • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

    You’re a good writer.

    Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  • Jada

    :-)

  • Emily Wierenga

    yes. amen. amen. and i want to come over and eat some of that banana bread.

  • http://logicandimagination.wordpress.com/ Melody Harrison Hanson

    hear hear!

  • Kelley

    I needed to read that this morning.  I am a wife, mom of 3, and youth minister and I sometimes feel so guilty for working.  But I know that I am called to both family and ministry by God and that they have to be able to work in communion with one another.  But the guilt still settles down in my heart where it doesn’t belong…thanks for the message this morning!

  • Rachel

    This is so lovely and spot-on.  I am going to tuck it away to encourage other women who are feeling unbiblical about the unconventional roles in their lives.  Thank you so much for writing this and for this wonderful reminder.

  • pastordt

    Yes, MA’AM. THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about. Thanks for this one, Sarah – it was new to me. Reposting is a grand idea, just grand.

  • Stephanie

    Are you back at work after maternity leave now? If not, when and how will you make that transition? I’d like to hear your thoughts on that – especially since I know your littlest is still nursing.

  • Katy-Anne

    I love this! :)

  • http://www.thesuburbanmommy.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    I love everything about this post.

     

  • http://www.livelaughlearntogether.blogspot.com/ Clara

    Well said Sarah…the balance of mom, wife and woman is so hard at times…it’s nice to know that we all go through different “seasons” of life.

  • Jane

    Man-oh-man-oh-man, do I love this post!  I’m not a mother — well, unless you count 2 dogs, I am a wife, and work full time in a job I love.  YOU GO!!  :)  

  • http://PinEatReview.com/ Denise

    This was so, so wonderful. My heartfelt thanks.

  • Summer Groenendal

    Thank you for writing this, Sarah! Your voice, refreshing and fervent, glorifies God and accurately reflects His heart for this hurting and damaged world.

  • Derek Grant

    I could have wrote this post word for word- you know, if I could actually write! :) Thank you!!! ~Lynsey

  • Melody Young

    so true- my heart exactly!

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    Sarah, I love this post! (It happens to have the name of my blog in its best sentence too.

  • http://osheta.blogspot.com/ Osheta Moore

    This is such a great post! Beautifully written and totally engaging. I can relate completely. I’m actually processing this on my blog, so thanks for the encouragement that “biblical” womanhood has many expressions.