Feminism or Faith?

The girls and I walked out of Pike’s market and up the sidewalk. Seattle was teeming with people, as always, and we were loving our girl’s day out.

One of the girls shrieked just a little, and I looked her way. A statue-like figure, deathly unreal, but for the eyes—oh, so real! Blood shot but friendly, defying the stark, unnatural state of the rest of her form.

She reached out a hand, and my blood chilled. Then, she went silent and dropped her delicate head in silent repose, hand held gracefully to the side of her long Victorian attire.

I wonder how ladies used to work in such an elaborate display of fabric. She keeps to herself shyly, quietly, then suddenly reaches out to a passer-by, moving swiftly before resuming her bashful, silent pose. 

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I was simultaneously fascinated and creeped out by the artificial, yet real state of her being, but I loved the display of femininity in a city teeming with gay and transgender people.  

Just that morning, on our way to Seattle, I’d been chatting with my daughter about men needing both honor and strength from women. And as I observe our culture, I wonder where the need for male strength has gone?

I wonder if men turn more wimpy when women seem to need them less. Perhaps our culture’s women needs to take back a bit of the femininity of this Victorian lass.

We may not wear multiple yards of fabric, but ladies, are we feminine? Can those around us see that we wear our womanhood well?

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We may wear jeans, but do we refuse help from the men who would love to offer us their strength? What happens to a society when women no longer need men?

Men are born to protect. They are also born to lead and know honor on a daily basis. When we remove those attractive elements from our womanhood, what is there to call to the deepest heart of a man?

Watch your styles, girls. Keep no one guessing if you are male or female; rather, celebrate your femininity!

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My daughter is troubled by the growing amount of lesbian girls in town. Girls turning to girls means they no longer need men. Men no longer needed turn to each other for the same depraved desires. When we remove the best parts of us we also refuse to give the opposite sex what they need—and this goes both ways.

Men need us to be women. We have nothing to prove except prove that womanhood is a glorious thing.

If we were meant to be as strong as they, we’d be born with as much muscle.

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If we were meant to do all things they do, we’d be heading for the coal mines and the hottest lines of battle.

Why do the loudest feministic cries usually not lead them to battle in the most dangerous places? Why aren’t feminists the ones offering to die on sinking ships while men and children step onto life boats? The ones willingly giving their lives are, most often, still………men. 

They’ll stand there with brave repose as waters ooze in. They’ll watch their wives and kids with love as they sink lower to a salty grave. And they’ll do it on purpose. 

Men die for us, women. They do it all the time.

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Even on that day driving to Seattle, I had passed my husband coming home from Seattle. I was on my way for a fun day there with the girls, and he was on his way home from a dangerous night doing what I couldn’t have done in a million years.

I still can’t wrap my mind around what he does. It’s hero’s work, really.

I’m sipping a latte in a safe cafe because men like him are holding shields the night before and busting doors open to who-knows-what.

I haven’t seen many feminists join him. I wonder why.

These men would love it if we just rallied around them enjoying who we are rather than turning coarse, hard, and bossy. What is there for them to be attracted to? 

And we’d love it if they kept their strength. Guys, keep opening doors for us and offering to lift that fifty pound sack of feed in the grocery isle. We appreciate it, and we honor you for your strength. We need it.

If we all celebrate who God created us to be, if we honor each other, and love in tangible ways, this universe will keep spinning on its axle, well. If we don’t, society will turn even messier and girls like my daughter will have to wonder where the real women are, and how many guys are manly enough for the task of being there for her. 

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Guys, cultivate your strength, whether it be physically or spiritually. Us ladies need your spiritual and character strengths more than your muscle–so don’t pressure yourselves fit some kind of mold at the gym! 

Girls, cultivate your femininity—and know you can do so and still be strong! Show honor to men and let them know you appreciate them. Thank them for bringing home a pay check even if you do so as well. 

God created Adam, then created Eve out of Adam’s rib, close to his heart. Strength and feminity go hand in hand. This powerful word for help meet, Ezer, is also translated for God when he was needed as a Savior and protector for his people. 

Dare to Love Your Husband Well

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Keeping your femininity implies that you keep your strength. There is nothing feminine about a door mat or voiceless woman. But learn to use your voice WELL! 

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How to Process the Hurts in Your Life

She looked at me and expressed it, “I don’t know what to do with the anger I feel.”

I bit into the stalk of celery and wished it was cake, instead. Just like I listen to painful stories and wish they were happy ones, instead.

But life is real. And I can tell she’s sincere when she says, “I don’t feel mean; I just feel angry.”

Rightly so,” I respond. “There’s a big difference in feeling angry or simply being mean. There’s also a huge difference in forgiveness or being able to trust.”

Christians often deny their humanity in a misguided effort for spirituality. And I can give some hurting woman a clique “christian” quote of forgiveness or I can walk with her through the toughest place of her life and own her pain.

Get this—I can allow her to throw rocks, vent it out in the car, cry buckets of tears as she owns her anger. Only then can I invite her to healing grace. Because Jesus never asked us to deny our anger; he asked us to give our anger to him.

How can we bring him something we’re too ashamed to admit we own? And why, when Christ himself was angry enough to turn tables over in the temple and tell everyone to GET OUT, do we feel inner pressure to glibly pass through the greatest wrongs with a smile on our faces and no “negative” emotion?

Seriously?

Christian friends, we’re hurting people in the name of healing people. In the name of loving God, we are hurting those he loves.

When we cause others to feel as if it’s too sinful to own their anger in the face of dreadful wrong, what we do, instead, is lead them to superficiality. Somehow, a shell begins to form—and this is exactly where you find rows of bench warming people with placid smiles on their faces filling up the church.

People shouldn’t have to go to a bar in order to be real.

We are human, and therefore, must come to grips with our human emotions.

I look at her sweet face and I know she’s not a mean-spirited person. Quite the opposite, actually. But, she’s been deeply hurt, and it’s painful. She’s been wronged, and it’s unfair. She’s been wounded, and she needs healing.

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I want to own it for these women. I want to be at their side and say, “Wow, of course you feel anger. You should.”

Then, I want to walk with them to forgiveness without pressuring them to trust. Because forgiveness can be granted in a moment, but trust needs to be earned—and hear this, friends—if someone’s demanding trust before he or she earns it, that someone is proven even more untrustworthy. Only an unrepentant person demands what he or she doesn’t deserve.

But did you know you can forgive without placing yourself in harm’s way again? No one owes us anything, because we owe Christ everything.

We can release a person without requiring them to pay a debt they owe. Christ did that for us, and wow, aren’t we grateful? I’d be in a terrible place were it not for undeserved grace.

Can you look at someone and own your feelings about what they’ve done, then look to Christ and own your gratitude for what he’s done—and then, move on to grant your offender exactly what you’ve been granted?

Forgiveness.

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Owning your anger is no excuse for lashing out, ripping into anyone with words hurtful enough to slice even a hard heart wide open.

Kinda like my daughter did yesterday when she was antagonized repeatedly by a brother who smirked annoyingly when she got mad. She’d had enough, and yelled out some pretty hurtful things that entirely demeaned his manhood.

He brushed it off, but I found him in tears later. And she needed to apologize, as did he. Two wrongs never make one wrong right.

We hear that repeatedly. But somehow, we still justify ripping each other up with words when we own our anger. We say things we don’t want recorded, replayed, or repeated to another soul.

How about saying instead, “You really wronged me, and I feel very hurt/angry about it. Is there a way we can work through this?”

How about even saying that to the Lord before you say it to the person who hurt you? Being honest with God allows release so that you can process healthily with another. 

The world is all about owning and expressing feelings. If it feels good, do it; if it hurts, push it away; if it wrongs you, yell at it. If this is the best way of relating, why is the divorce rate going up, and many friendships broken rather than restored?

And, the church is all about silencing “negative” emotion in the name of only promoting love. If this is the best way, why are so many Christians superficially “happy” but not truly joyful?

Isn’t there a better way? A way for our humanity to be real, bare enough for those around us to see?

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When we pretend we have no feelings, we actually enable the one who is doing us wrong. There are no negative side effects for them to face. And ourselves, well, we turn into some smiling robot who’s dying inside because denying pain allows pain to take over and slowly lead us to emotional death.

Christ owned our sin. He owned our pain. And hear this—he also owned his own anger. He’s actually not smiling down on sin as this grace-thirsty culture wants to believe.

Christ is angry with sin. He’s coming to judge it and proclaim himself victor over it. And long before he does so, he allows us to be victor over the very things that would destroy us and lead us into our own sinful responses.

No matter how spiritual you want to be, you will most certainly feel the affects of another’s sin. You will feel hurt, perhaps angry. And you should. If God is angry with something, why should you not be? And I can assure you, God is angry with sin.

His heart breaks for you, sister. Will you allow your own heart to break so it can also be mended? Because if you force yourself not to be broken, you also harden yourself to healing. 

Please don’t deny yourself the right to be human in a vain attempt to be holy. Instead, own your humanity so you can respond in holiness. Christ never died for some perfect looking creation who would pretend not to feel the affects of wrong.

He came to set you free from the affects of wrong because he knew you would feel them keenly, and you’d need to own the truth, and you’d realize that you can’t lie about anything.

Owning our hurt or anger never means we rip another open with it, or because of it. We simply own it first, so we can also own grace. It’s part of the redemption story, sisters. We own our pain just as we own our sin, and only then can we be free from it.

Be honest with a Savior who pities those who fear him just as a father pities his child. Then, allow him to help you through it even as he allowed you to come to it.

From that place, you will be free to love, speak honestly but productively, and allow the world to see heaven’s grace written all over your life.

Because God is love, and love always wins.

Book Launch!

Hi friends,

This is the month of planning………..there are honest-to-goodness books sitting in my closet waiting for the event.

And I’m honest-to-goodness just a little frightened. You see, so much of that book was written without knowing it would certainly be turned into a book.

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I’m flipping the pages, and freaking out just a little. It’s vulnerable. It’s real. But I’m convinced the world doesn’t need another poetic author as much as we all need to pull together, rally around, and live life with each other and for each other. Women of Purpose is written with a purpose just to be real about my own humanity, then rejoice in the realness of Christ.

Because He’s absolutely, flat-out GOOD. And He has good things to say to my heart, things I write down and know they are meant for more than just myself. 

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That marriage book never would have happened had not God reached down from the sky and guided someone’s fingers to type me a request to write it. I’m so far from perfect I had vowed not to write it. But God gave me a nod (and perhaps a wink), so I gave in.

Go figure, I’m seriously thrilled over this book. Did you know we ladies can have a voice and use it well? 

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Here they both are. Check them out and share them with your friends! I’m grateful to every inch of heaven for the push to turn my finite person into a channel for truth.

Love to each girl this side of eternity,

Sara Daigle

Feeding the Body and Soul

 “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

-Virginia Woolf

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As I sit here typing and drinking a delicious green smoothie, I want
you to feel a portion of my passion for healthy, yet beautiful,
food!

What we put into our bodies truly transforms us, becoming the building
blocks for each and every cell.  The photo above is Garlic Butter Beef
Tips over green beans, Creamy Mushroom Soup, and a Peppermint Collagen
Tea.  So very delicious and decadent!  But nutrient dense too!  These
are the types of meals that I nourish my body with each and every day.

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Six years ago I found myself a very out-of-shape 210 lbs and
fighting stage 3c aggressive breast cancer.  Throughout the last 6
years I have been so thankful to experience greater health than I have
since high school through beautiful food and exercise.  As a bonus I
am the smallest I’ve been in 20 years, too!

One easy way to boost our health is through hydration, clean water and
yummy, nutrient rich drinks like this dairy-free, yet creamy Rooibos
Collagen Tea.  I sweeten all my drinks with organic, pure stevia to
keep blood sugar levels stable.  Balanced blood sugar is one of the
key aspects to keeping inflammation low in the body and keeping energy
high.  So drink, keep hydrated, and enjoy!  As a side benefit, being well hydrated helps the skin stay youthful too, something we all want!

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As we all know, eating loads of veggies is one of the best
things we can do for our health.  There are so very many wonderful
recipes out there, so explore and enjoy trying new things!  Try to
vary the colors and type of veggies as much as you can.  God made each
piece of produce to have different kinds and amount of vitamins,
minerals, and properties to bless our bodies.

So eat the RAINBOW!

Every single cell in your body will thank you and flourish with those
veggie nutrients.  I eat low carb or keto almost exclusively, so I
choose salads and side dishes that fit my preferred way of eating.
But choose what works for you.

Here is a scrumptious cauliflower salad I threw together the other day:

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I tossed some raw, chopped cauliflower into a bowl and added sliced red onion, chopped chicken, kalamata olives, a small amount of shredded raw cheddar, diced sweet
pepper, drizzles of red wine vinegar, a few pinches of Celtic sea
salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and a spoon of mayo.  I stirred it
all together well to marry the flavors and then finished with a
sprinkling of chopped cilantro.  It was SO good and I ate every last
morsel!

Sometimes food has to be quick and grabbed on the run, but as
often as you can feed yourself and your loved ones beautiful food that
not only nourishes the body, but warms and feeds the soul.

Food made with love and joy are unseen ingredients that help each of us to
flourish.   One thing that I have learned from cancer is to be
grateful for each bit of health and vitality.  It is such a blessing!
I’ve come a long way in the last six years and am not finished yet!

Grab life and make the MOST of it as you are here for a purpose and
your life is valuable.  Don’t waste it!

~By Andrea Stagg

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Peace-Makers, or Peace Fakers?

 

I love peace. Rather, I adore peace and I hate conflict so much I’d love to just run when it happens. You know the fight or flight thing? Well, I’m definitely in the flight category.

But sometimes you can’t run and that unpeaceful thing stands tall in your life no matter what you do. For those mamas who hate conflict, this can be debilitating. And, guess what, we can join those who cry “Peace, Peace” when there is no peace.

Jesus asks us to be peace makers; He never approved peace fakers. 

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I’m going to just say it—even a peace maker at heart needs to learn not to fake peace. Jesus didn’t put the burden of creating peace in every situation on our shoulders, but He did say we are blessed when we can do so. This means there are times when we can’t, and times when we can.

“If it be possible, as much as lies within you, be at peace with all men.”

Peace makers dissolve fights willingly when they’re able to do so righteously; peace fakers pretend nothing is wrong when another needs to see a drastic, harmful sin.

Peace makers are humble enough to say “I’m sorry” first; peace fakers say “I’m sorry” just to cover up the problem and move on with the problem still staring her in the face.

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Peace makers take the low road of acknowledging personal sin; peace fakers take all the blame, all the time, and pretend another has no sin even when they do.

Peace making leads to life; peace faking leads to an artificial, superficial existence where your soul is stripped of more and more of its joy.

Blessed are the peace makers who create peace when possible, but never shoulder the impossible.

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Mothers, teach your kids, by example, to walk in truth, because only the truth brings ultimate freedom!

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Mathew 5:9)

 

Love Defies Being Quantified

“Love defies measurement in words, in flowers or cards, and love defies being quantified by a holiday, or a good day, or a bad day.

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Love is immeasurable and incomparable and incalculable. Because God is love and He is infinite and cannot be compared or measured or boxed — then how could we ever compare, measure or box up love?

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Trying to measure love is like trying to determine inches of the universe and comparing one love to another is like pitting stars against each other instead of letting each simply blaze through the dark.”  ~Ann Voskamp

Perfect Mom, or Perfect Love?

I so badly want to be the perfect mom, but I’m far from it. Yesterday proved it—and it also proved another thing—I don’t have to be perfect in order for the kids to know they are perfectly loved.

They fought during school, and I had to keep giving consequences like “For your disrespect, I want you to go clean two bathrooms.”

Later, after checking his work and noticing he did a swift, unsatisfactory wipe-down, “I want you to scrub these bathrooms well, and for not doing a good job, I want you to clean the third bathroom.”

Another child called a friend in the middle of a chore I asked her to do (which was also a consequence, by the way), and when it was time to go I called (and called and called and called). 

Definitely one of those days where I wondered where the training had disappeared to.

Three of the kids had dental work lined up, and I accidentally double booked one child for sealants and orthodontist work, in two separate offices miles apart. Cancel one, keep the other, drop her off in one office while I head to the next one with the other kids, hopefully on time.

The youngest boy has two cavities (which makes me feel horrible, of course). Why didn’t I floss those back teeth? But who can floss a child’s molars??

He’s happy, grinning from ear to ear as the assistant puts head phones on his ears for a movie and tells him he’s the boss today. Twenty-first century work vibes, for sure.

He doesn’t get all the movies he wants at home, and is never told he’s the boss. I soon discovered why they gave him all the props, as they put laughing gas tubes on his nose and covered his mouth in green plastic while the work began.

He cried out in pain periodically, and I winced, prayed, held his hands, and even plugged my ears. I’m that mom. Not brave at all when the kids are in pain and I can’t stop it.

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By now the oldest child is waiting at her orthodontist’s office, ready to come home. The second child gets called in for sealants, and when he’s through we head for sister, who sighs and lets me know how long she’s been waiting. I head to the desk to book a consultation for the third child whose teeth are also needing attention.

I promise brave youngest child a milk shake, and also get one for oldest child whose mouth is throbbing from tightened braces. Good mom, or bad mom? Sugar, or no sugar? For now, I choose to block cavity concerns and create sweet memories instead.

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The day goes on, and I spend time with the girls after dinner. We’re knee-deep in our favorite show, and Daddy comes home to join us. It’s a cozy time and we’re all laughing, relaxing together after a very full day.

I’m leaning against him on the couch when it hits me. The second child is at youth group, and I FORGOT TO PICK HIM UP.

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Moms, have you ever done that? You know that feeling?

I’m panicking, running for my purse and the door at lightening speed. I bolt out the driveway and resist the urge to honk loudly at the very slow car ahead of me. In my distress, I miss the closest exit and have to move slowly through town, willing that gigantic truck ahead of me to move off the road.

The thought of my boy wondering where his mom is has me in near tears. 

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Sure enough, he’s standing outside waiting while the youth leader waits in his car. I scroll down the window and apologize profusely, giving lame explanations like “I was spending time with my daughters, and my husband came home……..”

He smiles and makes light of it. Good man. I know that he knows just how badly a mama feels in such a moment.

Ack. Just Ack.

My boy is gracious and accepts my apology. “Will you buy me a milk shake to make up for it?”

Of course I will! Do you want a burger, too?”

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He could ask me for about anything right now, and he knows it. I order a large chocolate shake piled high with whipped cream and hand it over. Never mind it’s bed time and kids shouldn’t have sugar before bed.

We nestle down on the couch and I wrap him up. He’s loved, and he knows it.

The dog poops on the carpet in the middle of the night, and again in the morning. I wake to piles of brown all over the living room and my office floor. We got the dog for this child when he was very small because we found him huddled under the trampoline praying for a dog.

Who wouldn’t buy a dog at that moment, even if large dogs were on the top of her dislike list?

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The child who got left behind is still squeezing favors from last night’s mistake. I know I’ll keep hearing this, “Because you didn’t come on time last night, can you—–?”

He’s half joking, of course.

I’m grateful that with all of life, we can make big mistakes but still be covered by an even bigger God. That love wins and we get to accept the fact that we will fail, and those we love will fail, and God wraps all of us up in His Love that never fails.

Sister, you don’t have to be perfect. Allow Perfect Love to cover your weakness and wash your soul in grace. Allow your kids (and your man) to see you fail and get back up again. Allow yourself to breathe when you mess up.

Because God never does, and your kids will see Him cover you, and cover them, and His love to permeate all of your lives, together.

When you mess up big, love even bigger!

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