Asking questions about sticky issues: is the man more responsible for the family?

One task I want to (continue) do this year is help us grapple with some of these issues and questions surrounding women and the Bible. I know, technically, it’s what we believe about women and men, but practically, it turns into rules for women. The burdens these decisions place on men are more invisible.

One of the best ways to approach these topics is to ask a lot of questions. Often we repeat statements we’ve heard and the statements become so familiar we don’t how to analyze them. This won’t be me telling you what to believe (though that will probably be obvious; I’m not pretending to be a blank slate), but instead providing questions to help you evaluate the story of Scripture.

It may make some of you uncomfortable to even question these statements. Sit in the discomfort. Truth is not challenged by questions. Your faith and your ability to interact with people who don’t share your positions is strengthened when you don’t run from discomfort.

Waiting for words, logging off, living well

There is no one in the house but me and the pets. I’m drinking coffee, eating a scone, and rapping along with the Hamilton soundtrack. This morning my husband went to the office (and I don’t mean the one in the basement) and I biked the three older boys to school and then biked the four-year-old to his first day of preschool. This is a new era for me and I’m hoping to settle into a rhythm for these hours while I’m looking for a job. I always want that rhythm to involve writing.

I’ve had no words lately. I’ve wanted to write. My blog dances around the corners of my mind all day, begging for time and attention. For some reason that makes little sense in our social media age, I’ve always loved a blog. I love my own. I love to read others. It seems too much to ask for everyone to stop dumping their thoughts on Instagram and write some old-fashioned blog posts, but I’d still like to make it. Yes, I’m talking to you.

And yet, when my hands hover above my keyboard, I find myself ignorant, empty of words, without anything of use to say. Part of this essay is signing my own permission slip to let this space be what I want: pictures of food and bike rides to school, links to things I love, and free-flowing essays about life alongside theological ideas and book reviews. Part of this is acknowledging that life has shifted substantially this summer.

A move to a new state + a glimpse of a ghost

I met my ghost a few weeks ago. She walked down the road opposite me pushing a blue tricycle with a strapped-in toddler. Stunned, I stopped. Like the ghost of Christmas past she came with murmurs of my own history which resurfaced as she rounded the corner.

I started walking the road to the cemetery the first summer we lived here. We moved in November of 2011 and by summer I was pregnant with our second child and convinced that walking would be healthy. I was right. It became a habit. Summers kept passing and we had more children and we were still out walking up and down the road as long as the weather was tolerable.

The me of ten years ago would be secretly horrified by the me of today. Then we belonged to a fundamental baptist church and I walked in long skirts and fussed with my long hair. I was uncomfortable with myself which of course made me awkward around others. I don’t say any of that to scorn my younger self-I wouldn’t be myself without her-but it is an accurate reflection.

The Stories I Tell Myself

February is Rare Disease month. I don’t currently have any big plans to write about rare disease this year (although that could change) but it’s part of our lives. Our oldest son has a rare disease called Isovaleric Acidemia. It almost killed him when he was born and we were unaware that IVA existed. He carries those repercussions in his body to this day and he will his entire life.

{The short version of IVA is that your body has a defective, though present, enzyme that should function when breaking down protein, specifically the essential amino acid leucine (essential means it’s in all protein). Because the enzyme doesn’t function, instead of leucine being broken down and continuing to be metabolized, it gets stuck and produces isovaleric acid and ammonia. IVA is managed by a low-protein diet and a medical formula, among other differing things.}

This pandemic has been especially trying for him. He is not more likely to get sick but being sick is more complicated for him. We have ended up in the emergency room to get fluids over a stomach bug more than a few times. A fever of 100.4 slashes his daily protein intake because your body breaks down your own protein when you have a fever. We pay for AirEvac because our local hospital won’t admit him and/also because he needs more specialized care at a children’s hospital when he is sick.

Since being sick is much more complicated for him, we have taken extensive quarantine measures during the pandemic. We’re homeschooling. We see only a small handful of people. My husband has been working from home. We’ve done it outside, or masked, or on zoom, or not at all. While I’m grateful for all the good our family has still been experiencing, it’s been a long year.

Rare Disease Day 2019: when you’re reminded it’s rare

In January, we got phone call from Micah’s nutritionist. She announced that the company that makes Micah’s medical formula was discontinuing the product, but she would send us some samples of another option. (There are only a few formula options for Micah’s disorder.) These samples would be similar to the old powder formula that he used as a baby.

It felt like the air was sucked out of the room. I was back in our apartment kitchen, looking at an immersion blender and a collection of small bottles as I mixed formula and measured each feeding into separate bottles. This was my nightly routine once we had tucked Micah in bed. Then I snuck away for a little bit of sleep before the alarm went off, waking me up to feed him again. Occasionally I would wake unexpectedly and panic for a few moments. Was it time to feed him? Had I already fed him? Had I overslept the alarm?

Tracing Marriage Through the Bible

If you start talking about marriage in the Bible, most people are going to pull out Ephesians 5. The Ephesians 5 passage is beautiful and applicable; but it is not the first time marriage is discussed, nor is it the only passage that talks about marriage.

Let’s start at the beginning and work our way through the story. It is the same story that Paul is actually retelling in Ephesians 5- because God is always telling a cohesive story throughout Scripture- but I think we miss that because we rarely look at marriage anywhere else.

Right after God makes woman as man’s “ezer,” He proclaims the story of marriage. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This is fascinating to me because Adam didn’t have a mother or a father. But Moses wrote this hundreds of years after it happened in a context where all men getting married did have a mother and father. (Do a little digging into patriarchal cultures. Women were just absorbed into their husband’s family.) Instead of a woman losing all that she could be, the man was supposed to leave what he had and hold fast to her.

How Marriage Works for Us

Monday night was date night. Our babysitter came over and the boys practically shoved us out the door. We jumped in the truck and headed to a restaurant that we reserve for date nights. It is not conducive for four small children; at least, not in our opinion. We talked about a little of everything over our Japanese food: dissertations, podcast interviews, homeschooling. Then we went to Lowe’s. Because every good date night ends at Lowe’s.

(Honestly, I haven’t figured out if that’s because we’re getting old or because we live in a small town. Either way, I usually come home with another houseplant so I don’t question the decision too much.)

When we were almost home, Justin mentioned that he really liked me. (Gag alert: we often have these conversations about being each other’s favorite person.) Of course, I started thinking about why our marriage works.

Short answer- Jesus, duh.