First, the quilt page has been updated (I posted the final, quilted version of my third quilt of valour).
This last week I read the book Growing Up bin Laden by Osama bin Laden's first wife and fourth son. It was heart-wrenching, sad, and enlightening, all at the same time. But so far, every book I've ever read about the middle east that involve women in the book, except one, have left me feeling overwhelmed and a little flabbergasted that God chose me to be born to American parents.
I do not consider myself a feminist, though the older I get the more I see many Christian males as male chauvinists. For example, a Christian group I know recently posted that they need assistance moving things. They specifically requested men to come move furniture and dismantle desk units, and for women to come pack up the office supplies. I do understand that most women do not enjoy lifting heavy objects and that men are typically stronger. But it also made me laugh. a little. My roommate and I actually took one of those desk units apart and put it back together (Okay...I took it apart and she helped me put it back together and then cleaned up the mess I made on her side of the room...and never complained). I know women who move furniture and paint their own houses while their husbands are away on business trips or at work, women who till their own gardens (GO, go, GO! Barbara Ann (she has a pink tractor) and Charlotte (who used a small hand tiller), women who repair the washing machine and refrigerator and toilet because there's no money to call the plumber and hubby is working his tail off at work (thank you YouTube!), and women who build their own stone steps and patios and driveways. I also know men who want to help out but have injured backs or severe health issues that limit their movement, but gladly will sort paperwork or make phone calls. When we (and I use the church/Christian groups here as an example because those are the groups I work with the most) limit certain activities to male/female roles, we alienate potential workers...for no reason. I understand there are very clear God-given roles for men and women in the Bible...but these things do not fall in those categories.
Yet every time I read a book about women in the middle east, I am SO thankful to have grown up in a country with parents who encouraged me to use my mind, who allowed me to work and learn to drive, who saw me as more than "just a girl". I am thankful for their Biblical teachings: that God made me and loved me, that I am not incomplete because I am a female, and that God clearly teaches every thing we do should be for His glory and honor - not mine. That, when the apostle Paul wrote Timothy to "study to show yourself approved as a workman to God", it's a good principle for every believer, and not just males who are becoming preachers.
There's a lot to be said for respecting your husband and being a keeper of the home, but I would never want to see that taken to the extreme where a wife can never question her husband or leave the home without his permission or an escort. I cannot imagine my only duties in life to be that of cooking food, cleaning house, and reproducing. I am so thankful that God gave me a godly example in my father, who has never seen it as a threat to his manhood to lovingly help around the house. As he used to inform us if we ever asked for an allowance for doing our chores "You live here. You're a part of the team. You don't get paid for teamwork."
But I was also reminded of why we should reach out to the downtrodden and those on the fringes of society...they're the ones desperate for acceptance and meaning to their life.
For me, reading about another culture and from a different viewpoint is a great reminder of why I believe as I do, and how important it is to truly listen and understand where a person is coming from before we make snap judgments about who they are and what they will do. Things are not always as they seem.