Liberation – 'a state of freedom' according to the Oxford Dictionary. Liberation – my goal as a modern, intelligent woman. Liberation – an ambition that I continually sought after, but never quite achieved, despite my continual attempts to attain it. Liberation – my birthright, a concept worth fighting for, getting angry over, and for which I was bound into a strict code of conduct.
Bound? Yes, bound. Bound, yet wanting desperately to be free.
Quite a contradiction, wouldn't you agree? And so the lie is revealed. I, the staunch women's liberationist, was hopelessly bound in my quest for freedom. I was bound by a set of rigid self-imposed rules that were designed to prove me to be equal to men on all counts. To this end I engaged in endless struggles with armloads of heavy parcels that would wobble precariously as I shoved elbows and knees at unbudging doors; spent long hours stamping furiously on my poor tyre lever, which would dangle limply from the unmoving wheel nuts that held my flat tyres so firmly in place; and many similar activities.
I was free, or so I thought, but not free to accept help from men, not free to accept my own limitations. I also spent many years ardently refusing to make tea or coffee for any of my male employers and was thus denied the joy of a generous spirit, and was also unable to reciprocate the caring and concern employers often have for their secretaries, by being able to offer a nice hot cuppa after a trying day.
Satan's insidious deception had a stranglehold on my mind and on my life, but I was unable to see this evil plot for what it was.
In fact, I probably would have turned green and purple respectively at the mere suggestion of such a notion, so completely convinced was I of my cause. I couldn't understand any woman not taking up the fight, for we were most certainly equal to men.
Why did men think that the single biological difference between the sexes made them exempt from the doldrums of domesticity, whilst making them perfectly suited for the exciting world of career? Never did I consider that domesticity (husband, children and home) might be the most important of all careers, or that men faced a lifetime of responsibility in the form of working day in, day out at jobs that were often monotonous and unrewarding. No, I only saw that women had been shortchanged for far too long. But not me, I was liberated. Free to be anything I wanted to be. Or was I?
I had been brought up in a Christian home and genuinely believed in God, but I could not be a Christian woman for I was all too aware of the many Biblical references to our subservient lot.
“Don't put yourself in a box by branding yourself forever a feminist” a well meaning Bible Study leader advised me one evening. I respected his opinion and his motives, but his advice couldn't help me. I was in a box, for I was committed to feminism. I could not let it go. It was a part of me. What I couldn't see was that that little box had me imprisoned, fairly and squarely.
My wedding day was a wonderful day and my husband was the man I loved dearly. I had agonized long and hard over the decision to get married. I had reasoned to myself that marriage was okay if it was on equal terms, that to share one's life was fine if it was as equal partners. But secretly I knew this to be all a lie.
To marry was to compromise everything I believed in. To marry was to give in. Thankfully I went through with my marriage plans, although I now regret that I was unable to fully experience the joy and excitement one should feel at the prospect of a forthcoming wedding. Instead, I felt a deep shame at having sold myself out.
The birth of my beautiful son followed some 12 months later and was one of the most wonderful moments of my life. I cradled that small, soft life to my breast and felt truly fulfilled. I felt as if I had finally discovered the reason for my existence. I was a mother. I would never have admitted to these sentiments though, as weren't they contrary to everything I believed in? Hence I could not totally appreciate one of the most moving experiences of my life.
Feminism is a cheating, lying thief. It is a cleverly contrived doctrine that leads you to believe yourself free, while all the time it is binding you and keeping you from life's greatest treasures. Make no mistake. It is a destroyer.
God's rescue operation on my life began 3 years ago when I began attending a Ladies Christian Fellowship. I was disgusted at first by the ladies' subservient attitude to their husbands and their openness about it, although I did admire their honesty and the uncomplicated way they saw things. They had no need for pretence and were free from any shame regarding their feelings. Bitterness and resentment had no place in their relationships with men.
What amazed me was the way that these women were treated by their partners. Instead of being treated like doormats they were being treated like precious gems, “far above rubies.” They were loved and respected; uplifted, not oppressed. “Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile”, was the adage I had always believed in.
These women gave more than an inch. They gave everything and their husbands gave right back. No warfare here. No need to prove a thing. Just love and honour and respect. But still I didn't catch on.
When we moved to the Sunshine Coast I began to attend a church regularly and was baptized. A gradual softening took place in me and it was becoming easier to compromise my feminist beliefs. I had also become content with my role as a wife and mother. After all the years of striving and searching I was now happy. I had drifted into this blissful state without ever having confronted the issue of my stance on feminism. God soon made me face it – head on.
I became pregnant with child number 2. I also became angry. Angry at my pregnant body that became thick and lazy, at my insensitive husband, at Adam and Eve for their sins and most of all at myself for being foolish enough to let this happen. One child was alright, easy. Two was a whole different story. Two meant that I would be hopelessly embroiled in the dreaded world of domesticity, of brimming nappy buckets and last night's dishes. I was trapped.
After much prayer about the injustice of it all and about everyone's shortcomings, God revealed to me that the shortcomings were on my side, that my attitudes were wrong, my viewpoint was distorted. Hurting deeply, I sought my pastor and let it all out.
He prayed for me then, a specific prayer for the destruction of those chains that had bound me and inhibited me for all those years, that had cheated me from my womanhood. Most significantly, he prayed with my full consent. I had finally agreed to let it all go, and God in His endless mercy took it all from me. As the pastor prayed for me I felt an instant release. I knew this was right.
I was finally being let out of my prison. I had served my time. Through God's infinite grace I was free.
I am now able to pursue my role as a woman – a wife and a mother. I can reach my full potential. The Lord has taken the blinkers from my eyes, the lies from my mind and the chains from my body.
I am free to be a woman of God. The Lord has worked a miracle in my life for I have finally achieved my lifelong desire. I am liberated. Liberated at last!