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Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words

Month

June 2013

I had to

This is the second of my get it out, unedited, raw, vulnerable writing.

I am going to go t.h.e.r.e.

Where is there you say?

Bodily autonomy.

And yikes say the conservative women (and men) in the room.  But this isn’t for you, it’s for me.  For my thoughts and to give me the ability to process my journey out of darkness.

I read a post over the weekend that was written by a blogger that I formerly respected.  In it she states that women should have have sex with their husbands even if they do not want to.  Because men have a physical NEED for sex and if we as women do not meet that need then we “must be failing” (I’m paraphrasing) She equates it with chores, paying bills and other menial tasks that we ask women may not want to do but we do anyways because they are a part of life.  She goes on to state that the more she has had sex with her husband even when she doesn’t want to the more that God has blessed her marriage and her sex life.  Okay, if He has then He has and that’s cool.  I am not here to debate whether she has a rockin sex life or not, more the best to her and her husband.

I guess right now should be the time to state that I am not married and have not had sex in 7 1/2 years.  And yes, THAT IS A L.O.N.G.T.I.M.E. 🙂 However as I have grown in my faith, learned more about God, the Gospels, the love that Jesus has for us as women and His creations I cannot believe that He would A: want us to treat sex like a chore and do it because we “have to” and B: that He would want us to be in a position where our bodies are not our own and they become the property of someone else.  I know there is that verse in Corinthians that speaks of somehow or another the wives body no longer being hers 
(good golly correct me if I am wrong or help me out here because it was referenced in the comments of this post) but to me I see that so much more than “Gee honey I know that you really don’t want to have sex with me tonight but I NEED it so you have to do it because your body is really mine.”  God created our bodies, beautiful, unique, in such a creative way and each persons body is known to that person.  Yet when a man and a woman get married they become one, yet they are still their own body.  Sex is about so much more than demands, or being treated like property or a slave or a chore.  If I was a man and I knew that my wife was only having sex with me because she felt like she “had too” I would be hurt.  Sex, love, intimacy in all forms is about mutuality.  It’s about both partners being willing, being there in all forms.  I may have a long way to go before I get here but to hear a Christian woman, who in past blogs has spoken about her own sexual abuse past just makes me cringe.

I come from a background of sexual abuse, in many forms.  Abigail’s dad used to tell me all the time that I was his property.  That I was his and that basically he could have me, whatever he wanted of me, whenever.  I gave my life to Christ and heard all these things about being washed clean, made pure and holy, righteous in His sight and TOTALLY FREE.  Yet when you walk into a church culture straight out of that life and start hearing that your husband has domain over you, as a woman you are to stay home, raise the babies, homeschool, not be a leader, keep quiet, cover your body, be responsible for mens thoughts that sends very conflicting messages to a girl with a traumatized mind.

Then I was done.  Done listening to the shit. The modesty talk, the patriarchal talk, the idea that I cannot own my body and be responsible for it, make my own choices.  The ideas and messages from the church that I can’t stand up and teach and preach and say “NO this isn’t right.”  And NO that blog wasn’t right.  It is her belief yes and she can believe what she wants to, the way she has interpreted the bible.  What makes me sad is that there were so many women who read it and agreed and even said things like “yes, this is what I was looking for, thank you”

There are so many hurting and lost women in our churches that need healing and hope and to know that the freedom that they are desiring deep down, where that aching hole is, isn’t always going to come from inside those four walls.  Or from that next 8 week summer bible study.  Or from a play group.  It’s from the healing power of the words Jesus speaks in His gospels. 

My two favorite stories of how He notices women right down to their core are 

A: the women who had been bleeding for 12 years (Luke 8:43-48)

B: the woman at the well (John 4:1-26)

I don’t know why Christians are so afraid of talking about how Jesus interacted with women. Fear maybe?  For how it will break open their pretty, pink bow wrapped boxes…….

As Always,

Bethany

I am just going to write.

Write it out.  No editing.  No filtering.  No holding back.

This day is tough.  This time of year is tough.  This weekend is tough.  It’s all tough.  Why lie.  I promised to be real right?  Truthful?  It’s my blog address right, allthingstruthful.  So here I am.  I am going to be bare.

One year ago today I was on a plane headed for West Africa.  Burkina Faso to be exact.  On the drive to the airport I looked at my mission companions and said “pray for me because I do not know if I will have a job when I get back.”

Ha!

Funny how God works right.  One day I’ll write out the whole story here on this blog of what happened when I got back.  Or you can go here and sift through pictures and posts to read the story.  Needless to say it’s been a loooooooooooong year that included no job, moving, totally having to trust God for E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  having to make to hard decisions about my daughter and her schooling.  Oh yeah and brain surgery.

I forgot where I was going with this.  I guess what I wanted to say is that before I was leaving for Africa is that I thought my life, my job, my faith and my relationship with God A. OK.  But it wasn’t.  It sucked.  I mean all was well on the outside.  I could talk a good talk, make you think that it was good.  I had everything covered.  I managed well.  Put things on their proper shelves in my life, organized my external chaos so that the internal stuff stayed put.  Because the internal shit was deep, and ugly and brutally painful and I did everything I could to keep it down, down, DOWN.

Then my world fell apart and I kept talking the good talk about how God was good and was going to get me through this and never going to leave and was going to be faithful.  I wanted to believe it, I wanted the people around be to believe I believed it.  But I don’t think I did.  Slowly that deep stuff that I had tried to keep buried since I was a baby was coming up and nothing I could do would stop it.  And God, Oh MY GOD (and believe me I am not here to talk theology or doctrine or debate any of that stuff) He let it.  Not to watch me suffer like an idiot but because He knew that the only way for me to heal, to become undone from all the ugly, wounded, scarred, pained trauma that has been bound around my heart since infancy was to allow it to come out.  And it did, and it sucked.  And it still sucks.  It hurts.  I bleed painful memories into my brain that come out at the worst times.  Not only do I have my own pain and trauma that I am working through but I have a daughter, a beautiful, amazing, cherished, almost 7 year daughter that is working through her own trauma that is wound up in mine at the SAME time.

And FUCK.  I say FUCK it’s hard.  And ugly.  And brutal.  And painful.  Emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually.  Therapy for both of us is essential and a God send.  So is prayer from the amazing Twitter friends and people around us.  So is, and at the utmost God.  My God, My Jesus, My Holy Spirit without whom I would have died this year.  Maybe not literally but most certainly spiritually.  I lost relationships that I used to consider vital but realized were toxic.  I made some awesome friends, without whom I would have gone nuts .  Sara, My dear I love you.

So all this to say I guess that I am sad that this last year sucked, that it was hard, that I still have anger that I have to work through and that I am still wrecked.  Yet my heart is in such a different place.  I don’t feel the need to fake about my faith anymore.  The rigid legalism is gone, the uber conservative, right wing “you have to do this to be a Christian” ideal had left and now I see that Jesus was Jesus and Jesus loves.  Yes, Jesus is truth and RIghteous and Holy yet there is so much more.  SO.MUCH.MORE.

And my heart found that more over this last year.

As Always,

Bethany

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