I don’t own any – on purpose

Before you read this blog please remember I am no expert nor I am speaking to anyone who suffers seriously with anything mentioned in this.  I speak from my experience, my heart and my want to be part of the solution for what girls can go through. I also talk from a place of learning, getting it wrong and trying again.

It started at the school gate, well when I mean ‘started’; this is when I began to formulate this blog in my head.  This has been an issue for a long time.  A mum at the school who I don’t know particularly well commented on the weight she had noticed I had lost.  She was animated, pleased and wanted to know exactly what I had done to lose the pounds.  She was taken aback when I explained I had no idea, in fact I have no idea what weight I am because I actually don’t own a set of scales.  I never have.  The midwives always asked me ‘what weight where you before you fell pregnant’ and the answer was always the same, all 5 times.  I have no idea.  I think truly the last time I weighed myself was 9yrs ago! Of course, I am not that stupid and can monitor it slightly by my clothes, but I tend to not focus on it. I eat sensibly (not all of the time), I exercise (not all of time) and I am very much a food lover with a good appetite!  The mum went on to say that ‘the other mums had been commenting on the weight loss’. It was of course all done very nicely and lovely but as I got in the car and drove away it suddenly hit me, what will they talk about when my weight goes back up again? – Which by the way it will because it does, it doesn’t worry me it just as always been that way.  I will be talked about again and what will they be saying then? Will it be the same comment ‘doesn’t she look well?’  What pressure!

What pressure does that put anyone under if the only comments they get are when they lose weight? This makes me cross, sad and determined all at once.  Sad because our weight loss is not who we are, our looks are never who we are, it doesn’t make us.  Sad because the pressure if the comments come thick and fast, how does it feel when they stop?  Cross because I truly believe that we are better than that, we are better than what weight we are, what labels we are wearing.  I made a decision some time ago that I would never comment on someone’s weight loss.  You will always hear me comment on how well someone is looking – dressed up or in their trackies, I will comment on how lovely they are, their character, the way they did something, spoke to someone, treated someone, how strong they are being.  I am not shy at doing that.  I love to tell my friends (male and female) all the time how well they are looking, how beautiful they are inside and out.  Compliments are good and needed and dare I say necessary.  Sometimes I compliment people to the point of awkwardness and I don’t mind the awkwardness.  Lord, I never want to stop telling people the goodness I see.  I never want to stop doing that, but never about their weight or their bodies. It’s just too much pressure! That is never what defines them.

I never want to be part of a conversation where people discuss looks, weight, clothes about someone.  People are more than that – let’s talk about their goodness, their kindness, the good things about them that we see in their character – and if that’s hard or impossible let me not open my mouth.  This has taken me a while to get here and I am sure I will not get this right, no way but I am determined to be different in how and what I say about people I know (or don’t know)

I want my daughters to grow up oblivious of how people look, what size they are, what their friends are wearing.  I know this will be so hard, this will entail hard conversations, much prayer and telling them all the time what matters until it becomes habit.  We have banned words already in our house like diet, skinny and fat, ugly they are right up there with other words like shut up or dick (this word was discussed at great length one dinner time!)  It’s a non-negotiable we aren’t allowed and don’t say these words.  I want my daughters and my sons to tell me the good and amazing things they see in each other, in us and in their friends.  The way we bring courage, goodness, kindness, love to one another.  I want my daughters to sit with their friends and bring and pull out all of the good stuff they see, and to then go into the world and do the same.  Is this an impossible dream? Maybe. But I am passionate about this.  Let’s be people who forget and don’t even see the outward but focus on the heart, the good stuff. I want to be a generation and raise a generation who does this.

That day ended with my friend Sarah sending me this timely and very challenging video.  I watched it and felt empowered that how I felt about this was so important and how this woman breaks it down is superb.

                                                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMS4VJKekW8

 I believe we can change this in our world; we need to unlearn a few bad habits and help each other to unlearn a few bad habits. We can part of the solution both male and female, we can bring all that good stuff that God has placed in us and fight for a different way of being.  I don’t think it is impossible, do you?

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We are a team, him and me.

Recently there has been much to read about the changes that are happening with the Church of England and female bishops.  I have enjoyed reading, thinking, praying and discussing.  I understand in my limited knowledge that these changes are welcomed, needed and although really good, there is still a bit to go.  I would love to discuss this more and my lovely friend Claire Bent would really want me to know more so I could say more, but she loves me in my ignorance and will fill me in all with exactly what is going on when she is over and we are having a cuppa.

Back here in little Bangor in a little church called Kings we are grasping ‘team’.  When Glen and I were prayed into leadership last September we stood at the front of our church family, held each other’s hand (tightly) and took the authority of this calling in our hands and prayed that God in His mercy would help us to do this together, as a team.

We are a team, him and me.

Unfortunately the case has been that women have been suppressed for too long and for too long haven’t had a voice about many things that they could indeed speak into powerfully.  We realised this recently looking at our leadership team and although our theology hasn’t changed we did realise that the women weren’t included in the elders (leadership) meetings and how much the church missed out in the voices of women who were godly, wise and had a perspective that was different and new.  The old way didn’t seem to fit anymore.  We want our church to be ‘family’ and our meetings especially in leadership need to be ’family’.  In our family good leadership means we shoulder the burdens and decisions together, and so it should be in the church.

Some of my greatest chats are with really good friends of mine who are male and I know we both gain beautiful insight in these moments.  Don’t get me wrong I have never ever felt suppressed in ministry and actually I have always felt very free from the start to move in all that God called me to.  Prayer, cleaning, preaching, leading etc.

I get uncomfortable with the tongue in cheek jokes and how we can demean our men by stereotyping them and making fun of the little things that make us different.  Our words always need to build up, encourage and edify.  Making fun of the other gender never ever reaches this goal no matter what or how it is said.  Words are spoken and the enemy gets a foothold.  I never want this for my daughters or my sons. I want them to be proud of who God has made them and be respectable for how He has made everyone else.   I want them to see us actively pursue for each other all that God has called us to be. Glen and I are a team, yeah we argue and disagree (yes the pastor and his wife actually argue – sometimes very loud – shock horror!) but there is no one I pray for more or get more pleasure watching move in the gifting that God has placed in him.   I want to release him to do the things he loves – travelling, teaching, learning and being alone sometimes for more than five minutes.  I love him you see not for he does around the house or with the kids.   I want my kids to always know they should do what God has called them to do, I want my sons to clean the church if he is called to clean the church and I want my daughters to preach if she is called to preach.  I want my daughters to make the coffees if she is called to make the coffees and I want my son to lead if he is called to lead.  I want them to do whatever God has called and released in them to do.

We are a team, him and me.

We lead the church as team, we could not do this without each other.  Glen releases me everyday to do what I am called to do, he looks after the kids if I have to go and do whatever it is that day God has asked me to do.  That goes both ways I carry the load at home to release him to be what God has called him to do.  Every day is different but every day I wake up expecting God to use us both in ways that brings His kingdom to earth. Recently I read a blog ‘in which this was also about the men ‘by a favourite of mine Sarah Bessey and Glen read it too, we sat in the kitchen and discussed it and I shed a tear (he laughed – in a nice way) because it was beautiful, respectful to the men in her life and it spoke of team and honour the whole way through.  I loved it and took a lot of it as my own.  I couldn’t do this without the men in my life especially my male friends who are as much part of my life as my female friends are.

God is doing a new thing here on earth, He is sees an army of both men and women to bring His kingdom here on earth.  I am here on earth to make a difference to bring glory to His name.  I can do that by  looking after my 5 kids and my husband or praying and prophesying with someone on Sunday morning.  Its about my heart, my hearts cry to honour and serve the King of Kings.  We as a church want to see people released into their gifts and calling male or female, married or not, kids or no kids, the list goes on.  We want people to know they have a destiny, a purpose and God wants to release them into more and more.  We need to grasp truly how much God loves us.