I have come to realize that I need help.
Who, me? o__O
Not just for one thing, but for everything in my life. I was at church Sunday standing and singing, “I called / You answered / And You came to my rescue…” Of course, I’m talking about Jesus, but in that moment, something so sweet and so profound hit me. He not only provided Himself for me – which is more than enough. He had the desire (and audacity!) to provide a husband for me!
Now, if anyone knows me, they know that I hadnt dated anyone in 11 yrs before I started dating Tom. After college, I was like, “That’s it! I’m done!” They know that I wasnt looking for a relationship, nor was anyone looking to me for one, and that I had no desire to marry. (Doesnt mean I wasnt interested in guys from time to time, but I rarely sought after a relationship b/c it wasnt on my list of top 25 things to accomplish before I die.) In addition, being completely independent and completely feminist in my views, the intimidation for church guys was obvious. (You guys really need to be more secure in your manhood.) Well, that and the fact that guys in general are pretty visually shallow. So, not being built like a model, most guys overlook me. And to that, I always said, “amen!” 😀
To clarify, when I say I’m feminist, I dont mean being a man-hater. (Something Tom had to clear up for himself one nite when he took me out. 😉 ) I mean holding to the view that women, esp in the church, should be on equal footing with the men in leadership ministry and in the home. Gender equality is my biggest heart’s cry when it comes to social justice. And if I’m not mistaken, by starting this relationship and moving so quickly towards marriage, some of you out there have this strange idea that I’ve sold out on my views.
o______O Nothing could be further from the truth!
Women – rest assured that if God can bring me a charismatic (yes, tongues-speaking and in some ways even more Pentecostal than I am!) and egalitarian man of God to complement me and be my life partner, He can do it for anyone! I’m so serious. If I never believed in miracles before (and of course, I have!), I certainly believe in them now. 😛
I want you to know that this relationship with Tom has not caused me to question, regress or retract any of my views on gender roles. Just b/c I’m in a place where now I’m called to voluntarily submit myself to my future husband, doesnt in any way diminish both of our calls to “mutually submit to one another out of reverance for Christ,” (Eph 5:21). In fact, the word SUBMISSION has so much baggage attached to it, I hardly ever use it. Tom and I never even bring it up in conversation. I prefer to say ‘I defer to you, hun,’ and Tom usually says, “whatever you want, dear.” 😀 (Love him!) Tom knows I consider him to be a co-regent with me: i.e. together partnering to take dominion over the earth and fulfill our individual and collective callings in Christ.
Co-regency means shared partnership, shared duties, shared ministry, shared everything! He’s Pastor Tom and I’m Pastor Jas. Period. There’s no C-mo or C-fu here. (Ha! Like the Chinese church would even call any pastor’s husband a C-fu. -__- There’s literally no term for a pastor’s husband in Chinese. So indicative of Confucianism and its blatant hierarchy.) And when we’re at home, we’re just Tom and Jas. I defer (or ‘submit,’ if you like) in the areas where he knows best — food, cars, rest, any counseling issue (since he’s a therapist) — and he defers (ooh, pls do use the word ‘submit’ here, since it’s rarely applied to guys!) to me on areas where I know best — teaching, youth, computers, comics, whatever. This is a GIFT-based relationship, not a GENDER-based one. We tend to defy the normal stereotypes. Not purposely, it’s just who we are. For example, he’s actually the more expressive one and I’m the more controlled Borg-like one when it comes to showing emotion. Not your typical gender generalization. And we’re ok with that.
So, why in the world would you think that just b/c I’m getting married that I have to recant my convictions? God is so good to me in bringing me Tom! He and I are learning to understand each other, compromise, check in with each other on decisions and overall learn to PARTNER together in everything. That’s what a marriage is intended for. There’s no hierarchy here, nor does there have to be. The HEAD of our relationship is JESUS CHRIST. And we’re His body. Does Tom strive to love, respect and honor me as Christ loved the church? Yes! Do I strive to respect, love and honor him as unto the Lord? Yes! Does any of this imply hierarchy? No! Tom knows he’s not Jesus; and I know I’m not just a headless body that needs leading as if I’m a complete invalid! I resent the fact that the Bible is misinterpreted to make wives (or sometimes women, in general) out to be somehow inherently spiritually, morally, mentally, or otherwise emotionally deficient on the basis of a devastating misinterpretation of Eve’s actions in the Garden. The Spirit of God speaks to both Tom and I just as powerfully now as He did before. (Actually, even MORE powerfully, amen!) Tom teaches me and I teach him. We share, we pray, we question, and we seek God together. We worship the same God of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Rachel: He who does not look at the outward appearance, but the heart and knows the minds of all. Why perpetuate a sinful state such as hierarchy (completely alien to God’s level-playing field of justice), when we can experience paradise in Eden? Just b/c we’re two different genders doesnt imply hierarchy, but unity. True complementarianism implies a mutual submission on the basis of gifting, talent, skill, schema and experience. That’s what Tom and I have – true complementarianism. (Love you, darling!)
Wow. All this is for me? Who, me? o__O Yes! I’m getting married! Feminist me? Strong, independent me? Yes! God is that good. I get to be me and enjoy the marriage I never expected to have. Tom is the man of my dreams. ^_^ In my deepest of heart desires, I couldnt have dared to hope it would be this good.
(This post is dedicated to my love, Tom, and CBE, for their remarkable ministry and resources to the church.)