January 9, 2013

my great aunt lorraine and biblical womanhood


earlier this week i was asked to write a review of wild by cheryl strayed (and i get to hear her speak on monday!). i was going to also publish it here, but then i started another book, and even though i am only 7% through it (thank you, kindle), i think i'll write about that one instead. (i really enjoyed wild, by the way. could have done without so much backstory, but overall very well written and almost made me want to go camping)

not too far back in my family line on my dad's side you will find the conservative mennonites and the amish. i also grew up in the mennonite church, but it was decidedly not of a conservative bent. when i was younger, i was in an big little-house-on-the-prairie phase, so our conservative mennonite relatives just seemed like modern day pioneers, and i was pretty into that. 

my great aunt lorraine, conservative mennonite, was a godly woman with a wicked sense of humor and who never seemed to mind my questions about her lifestyle and practices. she never cut her hair, and every day she wound it into a bun on the top of her head and covered it. some of my clearest memories of her are from a weekend i spent at her house when i was a young girl. she stood in the kitchen before bedtime, backlit by soft lights and unwound her bun. her back was to me because i wanted to see how long the braid really was. it reached her feet. 

when i was a little older i asked her why she and her sister always covered their hair. she took me into the guest room at my grandparent's house and we sat on the bed while she opened her Bible to 1 corinthians 11: But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. A man dishonors his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head... And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering.

this is not a passage of scripture i understood well then, or frankly, understand well now. but i will tell you this: aunt lorraine spent her entire life obeying this command and her obedience turned her braided bun into a crown of glory. i cannot wait to see her dancing before Jesus with her hair unbound. can you imagine that beauty?

this post is about a book, i promise. you see, paul's command to women to cover their heads is just one of many, many commands in the Bible regarding women. some of them are great. some of them seem crazy. and everyone thinks they have the monopoly on how those scriptures should be interpreted. 

for myself, i've always felt like i stuck out a little in the "achieving biblical womanhood" department. head covering? no. super awesome homemaker? hahaha. you jest. i'm not even particularly good about being "submissive" (whatever that means). but i also love being a woman. i believe that God created me as a woman for a reason and i embrace that. femininity is definitely a part of my personality. so i've felt stuck. i never felt like there was a model for me to follow. can anyone else relate? 

and then rachel held evans came along and wrote a year of biblical womanhood. 

like i said before, i'm 7% of the way in, and i've wanted to high five her on every page. she gets it. she gets that becoming a woman of God is more about becoming a child of God than a super awesome lady. she gets that homemaking is about service to the people we love and about finding God in the every day rather than about achieving some standard of perfection. rachel has changed how i view the proverbs 31 woman. most of us growing up in evangelical circles have battled with the expectations set by that particular piece of scripture, and i have come away embracing rather than fearing it. and also, for good measure, rachel's hilarious. i can't wait to keep reading and growing and talking about this book over coffee with my girlfriends. i think you should read it too!

at the end of day, i know God is not finished with me yet, as a woman or as His child. and when i dance in heaven it will be with whatever crown of glory He gives me (although it won't be for homemaking). 


  1. To this I say, Eshet chayil! (I'm only 47% through with the book but enjoying it just as much as you are.)

    1. Wish we could have some coffee and chat about it! And I do mean coffee because my caffeine intake has not necessarily been lessened with this baby...

  2. I will have to read it! This is something I am frequently debating about with friends and family, because I never have their convictions or views on "Biblical womanhood", even when I try!

    And your line: submission (whatever that means)


    1. OMG, you will love this book. It's written for us.

  3. I'm definitely going to pick this up...thanks for the recommendation, Becca!

    Also, how I would loooooove to have a conversation about "submission (whatever that means)" with you! That phrase really caught my attention, and while I have no idea what that conversation would look like (form or function) I'm dying to talk about it with fellow married women.


comments make my day. xo.

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