Saturday, January 8, 2011

Freedom in a stereotype

Today I was a stereotype. in a good way that made me laugh. When I got dressed today I had to wear a dress since I needed to do laundry and my "regular" clothes we all dirty. So, I chose a dress that I know my husband likes. Its a bit form fitting and the girls show more than they usually do, although it is very comfortable.

I am pregnant and I never wear shoes at home, I hate them. So, there I was in my sexy dress, barefoot and pregnant while doing housework. It made me laugh when I realized it. It felt good to fit into one of the stereotypes for a day. My husband loved it and I got a bit more affection than normal. It was a winning situation for both of us.

I think as women we are afraid to put ourselves out there like that sometimes. Even for our husbands. What is it we are afraid of? A neighbor seeing us? Who cares if they do, its your business what you do in your house, not theirs. Are we afraid of looking too good and making our husbands expect it all the time? I doubt he would but what's wrong with looking good for the man you love? Or are we just afraid of coming out of our shell? What would happen if we felt good about how we look all the time or if our husband always enjoyed what he saw?

Maybe we just need to treasure ourselves a bit more and be willing to sex it up a bit now and then. What would happen if every woman suddenly loved herself? If every woman suddenly stopped caring what other women thought and dressed for her and her husband? I think there would be a lot more happy women, happy husbands and as a result a lot happier marriages.

Why are we so afraid to love ourselves? I think it goes back to the heart of my last post. Too many of us are told as children that there is something wrong with being feminine. We are told to cover our breasts even when they are hard to hide like mine are. "Wear a vest with that shirt so your breasts don't stick out too much." Yes, I heard that one. I wore vests throughout much of my teen years trying to hide my Cs. I'm sorry but at 14 its hard to hide the fact that your breasts are size C. Our legs are to be covered above the knee or more just so we don't "Cause a brother to stumble." Too much neck, too much arm, too much, too much!

While I believe that the world we live in far undervalues modesty, I also believe that the church overvalues it. There is nothing wrong with being beautiful, nothing wrong with wanting to look beautiful. I also believe there is nothing wrong with hoping a good guy will notice when you do look good. God created that desire in us and the desire in men to see us. In a healthy way. In a well dressed, not so covered as to be a nun but not so uncovered as to be a hooker, way.

If a man is looking at me in a way the is not appropriate that is his heart issue not mine. It is not up to me to be sure that every man that looks at me isn't sinning. It is, however, up to me to make sure my husband has something enjoyable to look at when we go out. I am preaching to myself here as much as I am to anyone else. I don't dress nice enough much of the time. Because I am afraid to look good. I was taught to hide under clothes not to use them to enhance my natural beauty.

My husband loves me and loves to look. My God made me and made me beautiful to my husband. Why would I hide under clothes that neither one of us like just to keep him from seeing me? Maybe I need to have more stereotype days; more barefoot, pregnant and sexy days. (Minus the pregnant in a few months)

I want to teach my daughters how to dress in a way that enhances their looks, not downplays them but doesn't overplay them either. No hookers in this house but no nuns either.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The shame of hidden shame

On a blog I frequent I saw this comment, on a post about what age women started their periods, that broke my heart. I'll let you read it and then I'll explain why. (I am not editing it for spelling or anything. These are her words.)

"It was two and a half weeks before my 11th birthday. It happened at school in the middle of gym class. I went to a strict Christian school (it was co-ed, but there were a lot of rules to separate guys and girls). We hadn’t had “the talk” yet and I had no idea what was happening to me. There were no tampon or pad dispensors though I wouldn’t have known what to do with one if it had been around. I thought that I had hurt my insides, but I felt strangely embarrassed to reveal what had happened to me, so I cut my arm, and asked for some gauze from the medbasket (the nurse wasn’t always around, so there was a medical basket in the office supplied with gauze, bandaids, aspirin and the like) then I hid in the washroom trying to decide how to stem the bleeding. I never told my mother what happened and she never explained to me that these changes were natural or what other changes to expect. I am the oldest girl in my family, but I have several older brothers who always seemed embarrassed by a woman’s body. To this day, the female body and the fact that I have one, makes me uncomfortable."

I have experienced the pain in this woman's words to a degree but not this severely. This woman is uncomfortable simply being who she was made to be. She was created by God as a woman. As a treasure and one of His crowning achievements. And yet she is embarrassed to be a woman. Her family and the Christian community around her completely failed her. That may sound harsh but its true.

She was not told what to expect from her body, EVER! She was young when she began her period but she was never told what was going on. Who knows how long it took her to figure out that what was happening was normal and healthy. Did she think she was dying for that entire week as a child? Did she think she had some awful disease when it began again the next month? She had to navigate a minefield of emotions alone. Alone. No advice on what kinds of products to use, no reassurances that she was ok and that every woman deals with this, nothing. Totally alone. At ten years old.

As an adult she is still uncomfortable with being a woman and having a body that God gave her to gift to her husband. To enjoy along with her husband in ecstasy. Instead she is ashamed. Ashamed to be something that reflects part of God. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

She is like so many women who believe, thanks to the church, that its evil to be a woman, to be beautiful. She feels that its wrong to feel beautiful. Girls growing up in the church are taught, directly or by impression, to be  "good little church girls." To do so means to be a prude, overly modest (even when married and in private), have no desire for a man and that sex is wrong in all contexts. I dealt with this on a much smaller scale than she did and still is. It hurt me! I struggled the first several years of my marriage to shed the wrong belief that to be sexual with my husband was wrong. I still feel it crop up now and then but for the most part I know that I am free to love my husband and be loved by him. Free to be desired and feel beautiful and even sexy.

But this poor woman still hasn't felt that relief. I am betting that there are thousands of other women out there that feel the way she does. Her brothers! They were also embarrassed by women. I feel so sorry for any women they were ever interested in that actually had a healthy view of who they were in God.

This kind of abuse to women must stop! The church and those claiming to represent God have to stop telling women and girls that they are something to be hidden. If you have a daughter please let her know she is beautiful and never tell her she has to hide her body. Yes, teach her healthy modesty but stay away from shame. Women are beautiful. Every single one. We were made to be. We were made to be loved by God and a good man. Made to be treated with respect, not with disdain or embarrassment.

You are beautiful. You are loved by the God who made you, were created last. Not as an afterthought but as a magnum opus. Creation was not fully good until he made you. Man was alone and it was not good. "The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18

Please remember that you are loved and treasured and you need to allow yourself to be; by God and by your husband if you have one. If you don't yet have a husband then begin to learn this now so that when the time comes you can be free to be loved the way God intended you to be.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Who treasures me?

With a blog name like He Treasures Me, people are going to wonder who the "he" is I'm talking about. In this case its twofold. First and foremost I mean God. God my creator and sustainer.

Yes, this is a blog where I will be getting "religious" a lot. But not in the bash you over the head with the Bible God hates you kind of way. More of a, I believe God made me and loves me and wants me to have the best life I can, kind of thing.

Second I mean my husband. He treasures me in a way that I wish every woman could experience. He loves me like crazy even when I am crazy and in his words he, Just wants me to be ok.

But there is one small problem, one I believe every woman out there has. I have a hard time remembering. Remembering how my God and my husband feel about me. I get lost in the pressures our world throws at me and the lies that say only skinny women get love. I forget that I am a perfect creation of God and a woman chosen for life by a wonderful man.

This is the story of my journey to me and my struggles to remember that I am a treasure. I am sharing it because I believe that every woman out there struggles with these same feeling. Our world is very hard on women. We are abused by simply walking out our doors. Every sign with a "perfect" airbrushed, overly made up, too skinny woman on it says we aren't enough. If you don't fit the "perfect profile" you are glared at just for walking through the store and not being perfect.

But, if you are blessed enough to find that man who will treasure you and to remember how much your Creator treasures you; you can ignore those looks and walk proud. I am working on remembering that and I will share my discoveries with you. I am hoping that the inside journey will one day make it to the outside. I'm not happy with what I see in or out. But first I have to fix my heart and get ok with who I am. Then I can fix the outside and make that as beautiful as it was meant to be and as beautiful as I am on the inside.