Moving Out1:43 PM
Maiden4Jesus. I chose that email address when I was eleven, and I cringe every time I write it down on an official form, scholarship application, or any other piece of paper where an adult can look over my shoulder and smirk. Humiliation.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with it, per se, except that "maiden" is such an antiquated word that made me feel set apart from the androgyny of the day; and that I was trying to make a spiritual statement which comes across so childlike now that I'm nineteen and know how to make spiritual statements in ways bigger than my email address. At least, I hope I do.
Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to beg my dad to change the address. He's offered in the past, knowing far better than my teenage self that I would one day regret such an unprofessional address.
In any case, I do know how to change a blog name. You notice the tab no longer says "Big House in the Little Woods"? Yes. I grew out of that house, big as it was, grew out of that creative space encapsulated in the name. I no longer spend most of my time at my real big house, anyway; I'm a college girl. And even though my family still defines me in certain ways and though I look forward to the exhilarating crunch of the gravel driveway as I pull up to my home, I am independent now.
Somewhere along the way, I grew up.
You can read about the name change in the pages tab underneath the header. Here I want to address something else: what about all those old posts?
Do you remember them? The ones where I blasted feminism and radiated joy about stay-at-home daughters? The ones where I tried so hard to be interested in crocheting as a life goal? The ones where I so wittily and powerfully denounced the egalitarianism of the time? The ones that showed brainwashing by ultra-conservative, patriarchal propaganda?
Those posts embarrass me. It humiliates me when people mention them, humiliates me even more when said people like them. "People," I want to beg, "how can you find those arguments convincing in the least? They were silly and uninformed. How naive do you have to be to see any profit in them?"
The whole stay-at-home daughter issue. . .friends, I wasted so much passion and time and brain cells over something which brings God no greater glory, which will not impact the world in a substantial way, which trapped me into so much fear, confusion, and misunderstanding about the sexes that I'm still unwinding the mess to this day. I stopped writing about it because I care that little about it -- so much so that I do not even see it as something worthy to be addressed, yea or nay.
Why then do I not delete those posts entirely? Why not take a proverbial Sharpie to the post archives and black out every single silly post -- as with the diary of mine in which I tore out and blackened every mention of my third grade crush and my mean-spirited observations about the people I love? When I did the twelve-year-old purge of my diary, I did not yet understand the concept of God's grace. I didn't understand His willingness and power at redeeming the years locusts eat. I didn't understand the storyline of life, how God works all things together and never fails to complete the sanctification of His saints.
I didn't understand any of that. I saw only shame, and I saw only my stark duty to eliminate my shame, so I paid penance for my past evils by blotting out every mention of my sin and stupidity.
With my blog archives, while the sting of embarrassment makes me cringe, the shame does not overwhelm me. I saw God redeem all my attempts at pleasing Him and making myself look good before Him through the man-made stay-at-home daughter paradigm. I can look back on my past and see only redemption. Because I believed much of what patriarchy taught, I was able to write for a large website and slip in the bits of Gospel grace and freedom from man-made rules as God taught them to me. Some of you, my readers, stuck around for the whole ride, beginning to end, and I saw God work the same grace and liberation in us together. I see the progression of thought in my ignorant blasting of feminism and my immovable stand on women at home to a more gracious understanding of the purpose of womanhood through the lens of the Gospel.
And I want people to see that redemption. To know that their past does not have to define them. To understand that they don't have to purge their sin and their shame but merely allow the Savior to redeem everything imperfect and unholy. To believe that no matter what sort of lies or sin they're stuck in, God delivers. Even if it takes a while.
This is my story. It's the story God wrote; it's the people God allowed me to interact with; it's the things He permitted me to write. He knew what He was doing, even when I had no clue. I cannot erase the hand of God from my life.
Maybe, maybe, girls struggling with the same things I did will read about where I am now and get a glimpse of hope that they too can change. That's what I pray. And as I move on to a new blog name and a new focus and a new season of my life, I want to celebrate where I've come from and where I'm going -- because redemption brings that kind of joy.