And I want to tell you, stop. Put the book down. Don’t watch the movie. You were made for more than this.
Daughter, you were woven together by the hand of God, uniquely crafted, individually made, specially designed. You are glorious, so glorious, can’t you see it? The brushstrokes of grace that perfectly coloured your skin, the handprint of love that shaped your face and your limbs and your hands and your hips.
Sister, your mind so full, so unique, you’re going to change the world with it, can’t you see that? You were made for books full of ideas, for stories that tug at the deepest part of you, the one that longs for redemption, the story that lifts you up and shows you a better way to a life of meaning, purpose and passion. The one where your hands create and build, the one where you repair the breach in the walls of your broken society. Where you stand firm at the gates and declare truth to the evil in the world, to the evil in yourself. Evil cannot stand in the face of truth. Sister, your voice will be heard on behalf of those who need it, but will you speak? Will you tell the truth?
Sister, will you turn your privilege into a voice for the abused and the oppressed? Put down the book. Don’t watch the movie. It’s only a privileged, bored woman who can hold to the notion that whips and beatings are desirable, but you, you are more than that. You know your innate worth, you shake when you see the glory inside of you, placed there by the hand of the divine, and you know – oh you know – that you were made for more than this.
Sister, what are we going to tell our daughters that we read? What are we going to tell them we watched? Will we chart a path for them among rich ideas and words and thoughts? Or do we lead them on a path of intellectual and emotional destruction?
She was made for more, your daughter, she deserves better.
Wife, you love him, I know you do, the man on the other side of the bed, the one who is snoring or gassy or boring, and he takes out the trash and sometimes doesn’t. He cleans the kitchen, rubs your back, tells you that you’re beautiful. Or maybe he doesn’t. You’re restless, I can see that, maybe the life you have is not what you expected, perhaps time takes its toll on communication and intimacy. Maybe your imagination provides a safer resting place. A pretend woman’s life seems more attractive, her man is wealthy, powerful and knows what he wants. It feels good to you as you turn page after page. Connection is what you long for, intimacy is what you need, but I see you there, you’re alone turning page after twisted page, each sentence pushing you further away from the one who shares your heart, your love, your bed.
Stop. Put down the book. Don’t watch the movie.
He didn’t manipulate or seduce you into a relationship. You’re an equal partner, not a naive work of fiction. Your life and your body isn’t for domination and control because you know you can choose and you’ve made your choice. Him. He is your choice. You have a covenant. A covenant made between equals, and his promises were made in public before God and before witnesses that he would love and cherish you until death, whatever would happen. And you make it work, don’t you? When it’s tough, when it’s low, when it’s good and when it’s great. You make it work. You keep telling him what you need, you say thank you, you listen, you cry, get angry, scream. This is what you were made for, this love that lasts because it gives and sacrifices and listens and lays down his life and works through the tough times and patiently puts one foot in front of the other one beautiful day at a time so that the only way to see the result is to wait until the quiet end when you can look back and see footprint after footprint of a covenant lived out over decades.
Mother, I get it, I really do. The life of yoga pants and sippy cups and hormones left you wanting more. Your children used your breasts and stretched out your midsection. You were a Venus once, rising, rising, and now all you see is a shell of the siren you once knew. Your trying to find your spark again, and the tawdry titillation takes you back to a place where you’re young, wanted, physically intact. But the way back isn’t through the imagination of a woman making millions off of your pain and boredom. Face your pain, Mother, count your costs, mourn the lost years, and then move on. Find your new groove – it’s out there waiting for you. There is yet beauty waiting for you, aching to inhabit your spirit, there is yet freedom and richness in life and experience at hand. It doesn’t come from a man who knows everything or demands everything, but it’s in the hands of a God who knows you, he will not take you back but he will move you forward, to a place where you know yourself and can love yourself again.
Sister, what will they say about our generation? We were the ones who heralded My Freedom, My Consent, My Liberation. But freedom doesn’t come in chains. A whole woman, a strong woman, a woman so confident in her innate worth and intelligence consents to what is good, to what is noble, to what is honorable for her but also for her society. She knows that her liberation cannot be found in the hands of subversive slavery. She will be controlled by no one because she belongs to the One who knows her, who loves her, who fought for her and rejoices over her.
Daughter, sister, wife, mother, my friend. You were made for more than this. You were designed to thrive and to flourish under the tender touch of love, the hand of grace, the bonds of covenant. You were made to run free, you mind enriched, your body protected, your whole person completely, totally accepted and loved just as it is. And your soul? Your soul prospers.
Stop. Throw away the book. Don’t watch the movie.