To My Family When I Come Home

To My Family When I Come Home

I'm kind of an adult now, so I'm going to need you to be patient with me.
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About nine months ago, you left me in front of my dorm, tears in both of our eyes, all by myself. As my first year away from you comes to a close, I'm getting ready to return to the nest. And I can guess you're either feeling really excited to have your baby back, or you are wishing the semester would last a little longer. But whether you're ready or not, I'm coming home.

It's been quieter around the house. You haven't had to drive to games, activities, appointments, and events for me. One less person to clean for, one less person to cook for, and one less person to feel responsible for. It's OK to admit that you've enjoyed it.

I loved my first year away from home. I tasted freedom like I never have before, and I would like to think I was safe and smart about it. I figured out how to take care of myself in every way, shape and form -- I manage my own time, I feed myself, and I get myself from point A to point B. In just a few short months, I've learned so much about myself and the world outside of our little town. It has been an amazing experience.

I'm kind of an adult now, and as I adjust to life back home, I'm asking you to be patient with me. I have spent so much time getting used to a new lifestyle where I can make up my own rules and decide when I want to follow them; it may take me a while to remember how things used to be when I was here all the time.

Please remember that I just busted my butt academically in the two hardest semesters of my life and I'm exhausted. I don't want to think about classes or my grades or anything related to my major -- I just want to enjoy my summer.

Don't get angry with me if I forget to put my dish in the dishwasher or don't do my laundry for two weeks -- when I was living on my own, I could do whatever I wanted. I know I have to live by your rules when I'm home, but give me some time to adjust. I promise I'm not a slob when I'm at school -- I'm just a college student.

I've been away from home for so long and there is so much I missed when I was gone. So please, let me pick that local restaurant I love for dinner and allow me to hang out with friends every night if I want to. I've missed the things I left behind and I'm only home for four short months, so I have to enjoy it while I'm here. I promise to spend time with you before I go back to school.

But mostly, I want to say thank you. Thank you for supporting me and loving me through all the tough times this year brought. All the phone calls, worried texts about my taxes, FaceTime sessions with the dog, and surprise weekend visits helped me survive my first year away from home. No matter where I go and how long I'm gone, I'll always be your baby and I will always appreciate everything you've done for me.

No more exams, presentations, meetings, or lectures. For the first time in a long time, I'm all yours. And even though I'm coming home now, soon I will be leaving again -- so let me enjoy my time home with you.

Cover Image Credit: Mulpix

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Just For Clarification, It Is Possible To Be BOTH A Christian Woman And A Feminist

A clarification of God's intention for men, women, and their value.

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I read an article recently about a young Christian woman who said that she didn't believe that God intended women to be equals. Here was the Title, "I'm A Christian Girl, And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals."

I read the article, mostly because the title was a little unsettling, and understood where she was coming from. It held a great intention and standing in Scripture coupled with a passionate affection for Jesus, which I adore. However, the language and word choice could be used to reinforce the notion that Christians and God view women as lesser than men.

And so, I wanted to clarify a few things to ensure clarity. The idea that God views women as less valuable than men is truly and wholeheartedly not true. There is so much significance, value, intention, meaning, and need for women. And men, equally are as vital, so valuable, full of meaning, and so uniformly needed. And to put both of them on a scale to weigh out our equality in significance and value almost feels... completely unnecessary and out of place. Both men and women hold an equal degree of worth as persons, as they have both been made in God's image and are heirs together of eternal life.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1: 27
There is neither Jew nor Greek, thee is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:38

We cannot reproduce one without the other. We depend on each other for the very carrying on of our beings. And we depend on each other in a lot of other contexts too.

I'd like to open this up to a little bit more of a dialogue because I think there's some disconnect between how feminism and equality are understood and defined as in today's context. So just to be clear on exactly what we're talking about, here are some definitions from dictionary.com of the key terms that this topic revolves around:

The definition of equal: being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.

The definition of equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.

The definition of feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

The definition of a feminist: A person who supports feminism.

Just a quick disclaimer, people have adopted various definitions of these terms in today's culture. For my purposes, I will be referring to the definitions listed above.

So, essentially a feminist is someone who supports the state of equality in status, rights, and opportunities relative to men. Under that definition I, a Christian woman, would define myself as a feminist. In a general view, I support and encourage the state of being provided the same opportunities, rights, and status as a woman, and essentially as a human being.

With that being said, however, I also believe that men and women are different, and have been given roles within the family setting to fit those differences. Here is one passage that describes a woman's particular role in a marriage.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." Ephesians 5: 22-24

I think the word submit immediately scares us as women. It scares me a bit, to be 100% honest. But after being married and realizing that leadership is so important, and us working as a team together is hugely vital to our marriage, the roots of this message are being realized and understood further in my own life and as a wife.

The type of submission described here is not the obedience children owe to their parents. Nor is it stating that all women should submit to all men. This submission is in a specific marital context for the work of a harmonious and healthy marriage. It goes on to command the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. The husband is to be a leader that loves, cherishes, listens to, and protects his wife. We have both been given a responsibility and a role to ensure that our marriage is working toward one common goal. That we are on the same page because ultimately we are on the same team.

So although men have been granted a role of leadership within a marriage, this should in no means imply that we are not equal to them. Equal in quantity, quality, degree, or value. There are millions of angles and coatings to this subject, so please forgive me for the gaps that I haven't addressed in this small fragment of writing.

I feel like there are millions of layers to how God sees us as people, too. He has created us, putting pieces of Himself of infinite worth and value into our the heart of hearts knitted in each of us, both male and female.

I hope you know that we are valuable.

You are valuable.

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