Noteworthy & Quoteworthy for February

#1- This successful, hard-working feminist says feminism has sold her a disappointing lie. Of her years pursuing career success, she writes, "What a waste of time.":
I made a conscious decision not to have serious relationships because I thought I had all the time in the world. Many of my friends did the same. It's about understanding what is important in life, and from what I see and feel, loving relationships and children bring more happiness than work ever can.

...
I am a failure in my own eyes. Somewhere inside lurks a woman I cannot control and she is in the kitchen with a baby on her hip and dough in her hand, staring me down. She is saying: “This is happiness, this is what it's all about.” It's an instinct that makes me a woman, an instinct that I can't ignore even if I wanted to.

...
As I write this I feel sad, as if the feminist principles that my mother brought me up on are being trashed. Am I betraying womanhood? No, I am revealing a shameful truth. Read the whole article here.
I've written about this here at Making Home several times (most plainly here), and each time I do, feminist commenters accuse me of misrepresenting the message of feminism. Stories like this, told by a woman brave enough to speak the truth even when it hurts, bolster the case that feminists have (intentionally or unintentionally) set up young American women for failure, discouragement, and heartbreak.


#2- Found in a sermon entitled "Joy & Suffering" by Dr. Michael Lawrence:

Keep your eyes on Christ and so patiently endure the suffering... so that all will see that you have your eyes set on that which is most valuable to you: Jesus Christ. Friends, all Christians are called to suffer. But not every age and not every place is called to suffer in the same way. ...Our lot here in North America is different. At least right now. It hasn't always been this way, and it may not be this way in the future.

But our lot here in North America is different. For a Christian in North America, to suffer may mean to endure ridicule at work... it might mean enduring rejection at home from family members who do not value Christ as you do.
...In our culture, to endure suffering might mean enduring financial loss for the sake of integrity, or I think even more likely, forgoing financial gain for the sake of obedience. Now, in a culture that revolves around money, this may be precisely the kind of suffering we are asked to endure in order to hold up the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ.

In order for people to understand when we say, "what is the world to me? If I have Christ, then I have more than the world can ever give me, and I have nothing that the world will be able to take away from me." This is a gospel perspective that allows us to show the worth of the gospel of Jesus.
Listen to the whole thing here.

#3- A virtual "friend" takes a long, hard look at abortion:
I've really been thinking more about pro-life, and what it means. Is saying that I voted Pro-Life enough? This might be a tough analogy, but was it enough for a German who could smell the smoke of burning bodies to say, "my vote was for the other guy?"

No. It's not enough, not for me.

Pro-Life to me is about more than being against abortion. It's about advocating life. New life, Old life and everything in between.

If children are a blessing, I won't scoff at the family with six kids under age 7. If old folks are valuable I won't huff if I'm behind someone shuffling their feet. I should encourage single moms and rejoice at every conception.

Tommy and I have been discussing what more practical ways we can have a positive influence with our limited time and even more limited budget. [Jess and her husbands' ideas for acting and giving in pro-life ways can be found HERE. And Randy Alcorn's list of "50 Ways to Help Unborn Babies and Their Mothers" is always a good resource on this subject.]
Hope this little noteworthy & quoteworthy gives you something to think about, pray about, and perhaps even some ways to live differently... let's make the best use of the time we've been given!

18 comments:

Kristy T. said...

I recently joined Facebook and as I've connected with former classmates and other friends along the way, I've been shocked at how many are still single. And I've wondered why. Too picky? Just not an opportunity? Too career driven (even subconsciously)?

It is interesting to think about. And I've wondered if society will begin shifting back into earlier marriage and child bearing again. According to that first article, maybe so.

Catherine R. said...

Oh, how I love when words truly express a concept. Rare these days with all our LOL speak and "Like, OMG" talk.

"Forgoing financial gain for the sake of obedience" is spot on, the best way for me to explain myself. Since I made the decision to become a "burden" to my husband by staying home I am always searching for the right words to get people to possibly understand or at least arm myself with the right words so I can feel that I made my case as best as possible.

I just met a woman at church who recently had her first baby and told me the other day; "I wish I could stay home but..." and I was thinking "But what?" These words are a good way for me to explain myself when I'm trying and failing to be a good witness.

Thanks, Jes.

Hannah. said...

I read the entire article on feminism and motherhood (#1) and it was one of the most interesting and compelling confessions I've ever read on the subject. In a word: wow. In three other words: I knew it!

Kate said...

"Women are often the worst enemies of feminism because of our genetic make-up." (from the article)

That really hits the nail on the head. There *is* a difference between the genders, no matter how hard feminists try to convince themselves otherwise.

~Kate
"Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?"
http://proverbs14-1.blogspot.com

Bethany Hudson said...

I really like this third part of your post: about being pro-life. This is a viewpoint the Catholic Church (of which I am a member) has long held and proclaimed: being anti-abortion is NOT being pro-life, it's just one element of being pro-life. Being pro-life means valuing the dignity and sanctity of human life from conception to death, disdaining all that interferes with it, including contraception, euthanasia, the death penalty, and certainly abortion, among other attrocities.
~Bethany

Anonymous said...

Jess, there are plenty of women raised in traditional Christian families who made the choices you have made and ended up disillusioned and disappointed later in life.

Just as you call yourself a "recovering feminist" sometimes, I have met "recovering Christians" or "recovering Catholics." They feel they were misled by the worldview you find so comforting, and they feel that they wasted years of their lives. One woman wrote a whole book about her experience of growing out of the conservative evangelical mindset.

If I post a link to her book, will that prove that Christians like you are selling women a lie about how they will find true happiness and contentment? Of course not.

Laurie B

Anonymous said...

I'll believe anti-abortion advocates are serious when they start trying to shut down fertility clinics.

As you may know, most couples who go through in-vitro fertilization produce many more embryos than are ever implanted. Virtually no one is interested in "adopting" someone else's embryos. These fertilized eggs are discarded on a daily basis at fertility clinics all over the country.

I have a friend who went through this process and ended up with seven extra embryos after she and her husband were done having kids. These clinics charge more than a thousand dollars a year to keep the embryos in storage. I encouraged her to keep paying to store the embryos in case they decided to have more kids down the line, but that's a lot of money--more than many families have to spare.

If you are serious about believing that every fertilized egg is a baby, why aren't you trying to end IVF fertilization or require that couples implant all the embryos created through this process?

I have yet to hear any anti-abortion advocate tell a woman who's done IVF that she has in effect had the equivalent of several abortions. Nor do they portray doctors who work in the fertility field as monsters.

Sure, advocates are against stem-cell research on these embryos, but throwing them away seems to be fine by them. If they believed every fertilized egg was equivalent to a living person, they would not tolerate this state of affairs.

Laurie B

Jess said...

Sure, Laurie. You're right. But those women can go on. They can go on and be an atheist, a scientologist, a New Ager, whatever, and life goes on. Their "mistake" is remedied.

But feminism leads you down a path that takes away what is irrecoverable. If you get to age 38 and realize, "wow, I've really botched it, and now I would like to have a healthy marriage and find someone who's emotionally mature and share a meaningful life, it's a difficult (and some would say impossible) thing to achieve. If you get to age 46 and are disillusioned by career, and wish you'd had babies first, you can't go back and "undo" that.

But if you get to age 37, 43, or 111 and think, "huh, I've really been a fool to follow God"... then you can turn away and do something different. Or if you decide, "wow, I wish I'd gone on to get my Masters, you can. At any point you want to. You haven't made an irreversible choice. But the choices of feminism are often irreversible.

That's the critical difference.

Jess said...

Laurie--
Perhaps you'd be interested to read this post on IVF:

http://mommylife.net/archives/2009/02/octuplet_mom_na.html

My comments are over there as well... oddly enough, both Barbara & I said exactly what you said you've never heard.

Additionally, probably about a year ago, I wrote about snowflake adoption (or at least linked to it). It was something Doug & I seriously discussed... and if it ever became available to couples that are *not* infertile, we'd likely be looking into it. I really am brokenhearted over these lost lives... and they are just as precious as those that are aborted.

Well, you can see my comments over there. Left, timewise, before you wrote here, just so you can know for certain that my intentions and comments were pure and not meant in response to your comments here in any way.
~Jess

Jess said...

I am currently working on finishing my bachelors (my 11th semester, 2 more to go) and am taking Introduction to Women's Studies and Sociology of the Family. I didn't expect to hear Biblical views legitimately offered, but I also didn't expect to hear such shamefully inaccurate descriptions of those truths either. I am often at a loss for words and ready to pull my hair out! At the same time my heart breaks for women that believe religion is about the suppression of women's sexuality and that patriarchy is about men dominating women. I've been trying to coherently put together my thoughts on what feminism has done to the culture and so many gals my age, but I feel so uninformed myself! Though my husband and I weren't exactly planning our son, we now look back and think "how selfish!" to have thought 'let's wait.' Feminism has its ugly fingers in everything it seems.
Thank-you also for considering me quote worthy! My post also encouraged my friend to have her church throw a baby shower in honor of a pregnancy center rather than her new baby!

Gina said...

Jess,
Thanks for the good post. I found the comments by Dr. Lawrence especially compelling. Sometimes I feel "guilty" for how good I have it in America, when I read how Christians live in other countries (via Voice of the Martyr's, etc.). The thought that all Christians are called to suffer, but every age and place is different; seems obvious when I read it, but I had never thought of it in that way before!
Gina

Anonymous said...

Jess, I appreciate your concern for these embryos, but face the facts: anti-abortion activists do not picket fertility clinics (the way they picket abortion clinics and even Planned Parenthood facilities where no abortions are performed).

They do not harass doctors who work at fertility clinics.

They do not introduce legislation to limit access to IVF treatment or require that all fertilized eggs be implanted, or even to regulate how much clinics can charge couples for keeping these embryos in storage.

Collectively, the anti-abortion movement does not take on the IVF issue. Perhaps its leaders are making a political calculation: they don't want to be seen attacking "good" married couples who want to have biological children, as opposed to "bad" women who fornicate and have abortions (even if IVF treatment results in more embryos being destroyed).

As for women who feel betrayed by feminism, isn't it interesting that conservatives talk about personal responsibility, but then when they regret their own choices, they blame big, bad feminists who supposedly misled them?

No matter what path you choose, you may or may not have regrets later in life. It is not accurate to say that if you get married and have children at a young age you can always pursue your other dreams later. The education I had and the jobs I did in my 20s would be impossible for me to do now or after my children are grown (I'll be in my 50s by then).

I'm glad my sister did not marry any of the jerks she dated when she was young. The man she met in her mid-30s is a perfect match for her.

I have a lot of friends who married and had children at a young age. Good for them. There are pluses and minuses to being a young mom or an older mom. We all make trade-offs in our lives. I take responsibility for my own choices.

Laurie B

Anonymous said...

Laurie, what an excellent point! I agree with you about the fact that early marriage and children are not for everyone. I rejoice in the fact that we have choices today: we can enjoy the workplace as respected professionals, be mothers, stay at home. And I believe that the feminist movement of the 60s and the 70s helped give women today their freedom. Were these first wave feminists over the top and sometimes ridiculous? Yes! But we cannot discard everything they have given to us. When you realize equal pay for women and men is still not secure in the US...

Janet

Jess said...

Except, Laurie, that feminists have set themselves up as the experts on everything about women. So you'd think they'd at least be keen on letting women know, "hey- if you put off a career and think you'll get married in your mid-30's, you may struggle to get pregnant... you'll have higher risks for problems with the pregnancy, birth, and health of your child, and it'll likely be very costly. Not to mention that you'll be more exhausted."

But they don't want women to make that choice. Many feminists have made the case that women shouldn't even be *allowed* to stay at home because "too many will make that choice".

And, by the way, this woman in the article was no conservative. She was a woman led, wooed, and reared in feminism... and found herself unable to do what she found her heart longed for. That's the problem here. If you get married at 18, have 4 children, stay home with them until they're all in school (or even fully grown), and then realize, "wow, I really wish I'd had a career"... guess what? You're still in your 30s (or 40s). You have plenty of time to go back, get your degree, and have decades in virtually the career of your choice. Maybe you can't be a lingerie model :), but other options are still plentiful. And because you're an older student, you'll likely find grants and other opportunities available to you.

But it doesn't work the other way around. If you want to become a mom at 45, it's an uphill battle, and only slightly possible, with significant costs and significant risks.

Let's at least be honest about it. *I'm not* saying every woman needs to get married at 18, 25, or 35. What I'm saying is that feminists aren't honest about the options out there. They are doing a disservice to women by acting as though they are experts and keepers of the sanctity of women's rights to be anything, but then keeping quiet about the honor of motherhood and the realistic possibilities of happy marriages & pregnancy as you age. PARTICULARLY in light of the fact that about 95% of young adults want to be married and upwards of 80% want children. If 95% of women wanted to be lawyers, wouldn't it be bizarre for feminists to encourage women to do things that will negatively effect their ability to be lawyers? Simply put, I think the feminist message as it currently exists is unnecessary and directly works against the happiness and lifelong fulfillment of women as a whole and as individuals, as in the case of the article mentioned here.
~Jess

Kate said...

I'm certainly not speaking for everyone, but my experiences have certainly shaped my views.

My mom dropped out of college to get married, and she had four kids (I'm the eldest.). She stayed home with us and did all those Martha Stewart-type things, like making jam and sewing our Halloween costumes. It was great to have her be able to drop us off and pick us up from school. I didn't ride on a school bus until high school.

Once my youngest brother was in middle school, and I could help with the driving, my mom went back to school and became a teacher. Now, she's the principal of an elementary school. I don't think she regrets for a second the time she spent with us. =)

As for myself, I married very young (barely 19) and also dropped out of college to do so. I was majoring in computer engineering because I really thought that's what I wanted to do. Now I realize that I'd hate a career in engineering. If I ever go back to school I'd major in something completely different. Even just from the standpoint of career choice, I'm glad I didn't go right from high school to college to a career. It would have put me on a life path I'd hate.

As for feminism in general, I take offense to the fact that feminists say we can do anything but look down on women who choose to raise a family. To quote G.K. Chesterton: "How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute."

~Kate
"Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?"
http://proverbs14-1.blogspot.com

Jess said...

Janet,
The pay discrepancy between men and women is fairly easily understood once you account for time off, job risk (fireman vs. secretary; construction worker vs. teacher) and stress levels: (anesthetic nurse-- largely males-- vs. avg nursing jobs), etc. Yes, women make less... but we also require more flexibility, take more time off, and make choices that are different. Even still, there are jobs that are almost entirely men (welders), and jobs that are almost entirely women (elementary school teachers). The pay discrepancies between the genders reflect those different choices, that no one has made but the people themselves.

When you compare the same job with the same title and same responsibilities and same experience levels, there is no pay discrepancy. And when you look at college graduation levels, 60% are female. Perhaps we should be talking about equal opportunity for young men! :)

I'm not saying there has never been a pay gap (although when you account for variables, I don't think it's ever been as pronounced as feminists would have us believe), but to still be talking about it in this day and age is intellectually dishonest.
~Jess

Jess said...

Kristy T.,
I *SO* hear you on that point... our culture has driven into people's hearts and minds that the only success and value worth talking about is monetary and career "success". I, too, am saddened by the status updates of many friends I've re-encountered. On the other hand, I've reconnected with a few that really seem to have matured and grown... it's strange and neat to have the ability to check back in with people after a decade away.


Catherine R.,
It's so difficult to see people buying into the "you can't afford to stay home even if you want to" mentality.


Bethany,
The Catholic church has been consistent on this point, in a way that Protestants abandoned in 1930. It's discouraging to see how ill-informed Protestants are about the long-term effect of their "choices"... and how it (like Alcorn points out in his birth control dialogue) looks more like Margaret Sanger's views than Susannah Wesley's.


Jess,
I like the idea of the shower for the crisis pregnancy center! Great idea!


Gina,
I hear you... it can feel so lame to hear the VOM stuff and then even use the word "suffering" in an American context.


And Kate,
Thanks for your contributions to the discussion. I really appreciated hearing your perspective.

~Jess

Babetta said...

Jess,

I find many of your thoughts very interesting. I'm a working mother of two young children. I love them and my husband very dearly, and they are my top priority. I got a college degree, got married, started working, had children and continued working. I think we all make choices. We seek God's will for our lives and follow it via many different avenues. Regarding one of the other comments, my personal opinion on why many women are not getting married early any more: the acceptance of premarital sex and living together. It has nothing to do with careers. Good topic.

Babetta