Happy…Big Brother’s Day?

So. It’s father’s day. And we are doing…nothing.

Why? My husband’s father is in Texas. So obviously, we’re not spending the day with him.

My biological father is, for reasons that should be obvious by now, not in the picture. So obviously, we’re not spending the day with him either.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not celebrating.

As the body of Christ, we’re all one big family. Because of this, I have many “fathers” in my life who have taught me, nurtured me, challenged me, and helped me to grow in my faith. They have greatly impacted me and many others, and they deserve honor today.

However, they’re not who I want to write about here. This post is for a man who I have never seen as a “father-figure” to me. This post is for my big brother, Rob.

Those of you who are following me on twitter have probably seen us banter back and forth. I call him my brother, he calls me his sister.

Truth is, we’re not even a little related.

Rob and I met in the fall of 2010. We were both in a pre-ministry training program at our school. Through a series of public humiliations, mostly him humiliating me, we became fast friends. Since we were in the same major, it was easy for us to remain friends throughout the next two years of school, and continue to be good friends today, despite the fact that I am about as annoying as you can imagine any little sister could be.

We have very similar, but at the same time very different, stories. We both come from less-than-normal families. We were both non-trad students. We both had a season of godlessness in our lives. I think this is part of why we’ve managed to keep a good friendship–to an extent that any “normal” student at our school could not, we could understand each other.

However, Rob is twenty-six; I am nineteen. He has a few very important years on me. He got married two and a half years before I did, and he and his wife just had their first child last November. He also graduated a semester before me. Because of this, he’s been able to impart wisdom to me and help me learn how to deal with life, based on his own similar experiences. This has also given him space to challenge me to do what is right, to best model Christ. In all of this, he has shown me more love than I could have ever expected to receive from a friend, and has helped me to grow as a person of faith.

In many ways, he is much like a father to me.

(He even walked me down the aisle at my wedding. Huh.)

And I couldn’t be more grateful to have him in my life.

Dear Rob, thank you for being my big brother/semi-father/friend. You are an amazing man, and much more wise than one might expect. I don’t know how you’ve continued to put up with me, but I plan on annoying you with my presence as long as you can stand it. You and Heather have provided me with a wonderful picture of marriage that I strive to model in my own marriage, and I only hope that I can be as good of a mother someday as you are a father to Brennan. You challenge me not only to work hard but to do so for the right reasons, and in everything, to be like Christ. You’ve kept me sane and you’ve brought me an incredible amount of joy. Happy father’s day. Love, Denika.

P.S. Yankees. Not Cubs. The end.

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Domesticated Feminist

We’re entering into a whole new phase of life, my husband and I.

I just graduated a week and a half ago. We moved five days ago. He started a new, much higher paying job yesterday. And I turn in my last timesheet for my old job (which ends with school) today.

His income is now more than enough to support us. And since I’m exhausted from school and don’t have a job lined up, I’m taking some time off.

I thought this time would be super relaxing. I was looking forward to catching up with friends I had neglected throughout the school year. I was excited to build a couple pieces of furniture and revamp some pieces we already have. I couldn’t wait to get all our stuff unpacked and try to make our new place feel even half as much like home as our old place.

I thought that I would enjoy a little time off.

But honestly? It’s really hard.

Because I feel like I’m not living up to my own standards. I have fought and continue to fight really hard for gender equality. I get excited with women who can’t wait to do something amazing in their careers. I love it when women aren’t afraid to be bold, aren’t afraid to take charge, and aren’t afraid that, if they make more money than their husbands, they’ll be doing something wrong.

I know it’s not for everyone, and that’s cool. But I still get excited when I encounter such women. And I want to be one of them. I want to do something radical in my career.

Yet, where do I find myself? Sitting at home, cleaning, without so much as a bike to get myself around (our bikes are still in a few different pieces, in our car, which my husband takes to work). I’m in a new city and I only know how to find Target and a coffeeshop (priorities), so even if I had a mode of transportation, I don’t know where I would go. I have nowhere to be anyway, so even if I had a mode of transportation and an idea of where things are, I don’t know why I would bother going to them.

Yesterday, I didn’t leave our apartment until 6:30 p.m.

I am, currently, the definition of what it means to be domestic.

And as a feminist, I’m having a really hard time being okay with that.

Now, I know this is temporary. I’ll find a job in a few weeks when I’ve had time to rejuvenate from the last 16 or so years of perpetual schooling. And eventually I’ll remember to drag my bike out of our car and find some places to go so I can at least travel a little during the day. I’ll make plans and do things and get involved in some sort of mischief, I’m sure.

But, right now, in this moment, I am doing exactly what I swore I would never do.

Now, I’m hesitant to think that God ordained this, because it seems like a minor detail in the grand fabric of existence and it’s easily explainable. But I have no doubt that God is using this time. If you’ve met me, you know that my ego rivals Jeff Winger’s. I am not a humble person. I’m not saying that’s okay, but it is the truth.

Yet I’m currently taking one of the greatest blows to my ego of all time.

God is constantly reminding me that, yes, egalitarianism is a biblical picture of marriage-love, that there’s a reason I want to do something with my life (and my career) and it’s a good thing, that I cannot stop fighting for the equal rights of my sisters, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a 60-hour-per-week breadwinner career woman.

Feminists can fight from the home, too.

And God reminds me of all my sisters who have fought and still fight for the same things, but are most content in the home, whether raising a garden or raising babies, cultivating life in its functional locus.

It’s really hard for me to accept. But, little by little, I’m learning that it takes all types–yes, even domestics–to fight for equality. If I don’t acknowledge their work, I pass judgment on them and I render their efforts useless.

So I thank you, stay-at-homes, work-at-homes, or for-some-other-reason-at-homes, because your work is important too. Don’t forget that it’s your choice, not your role, to be there, but keep fighting the good fight alongside your sisters who find their place elsewhere.

Because whether male or female, domestic or employed, we’re all one in Christ Jesus.