I am listening to old school pedro the lion which reminds me of the old days going to church shows.
...Which reminds me of the old days going to a complementarian church. (as opposed to egalitarian)
...Which reminds me of the old days of being told that who my mom was as a woman - because she worked outside of the home (teaching children for Christ's [literal] sake!) - and who I was as a woman (independent, intelligent, feeling called to ministry) was wrong. (I remember one day, when I was maybe six??, being told by a kid at church that my mom was one of those bad feminists - just because she had a job...as an elementary school teacher).
And what would be right for both of us as women might be standing barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Cooking. Cleaning. Taking care of kids while my husband is out working - possibly as a pastor. (Surely I am not called to ministry, but maybe I've misinterpreted God's Spirit and I am called to marry a pastor. ...actual verbatim quote from the first time I told someone at church I felt called to ministry: "That's either a call from the devil or a call to marry a pastor.")
Standing here. Excited for the arrival of our first child. Preparing, resting up for the sleepless nights. ...On the one hand, I'm exactly where I want to be.
On the other hand, I am overwhelmed with the terrible feeling that my childhood pastor would be happy about this. And I am not happy about that.
I did the Christian sort-of-dating-sort-of-not-dating thing with one man while I was in school to become a pastor. He told me that I should be a stay at home mom of many children. When I told him I didn't want that for myself, he told me, again, verbatim: "That's just because you've been brain washed by the liberals." A different time when I told him that I enjoy cooking and sewing as creative outlets, he said: "See, you're not so bad." I wish that was a joke. If it was, he has the driest sense of humor of anyone I've known. And I spent two months in Ireland...
And again, in seminary, a man in the counseling program told me that he was probably borderline pathologically feminine as he pursued that degree. And that I was boderline pathologically masculine as I pursued a Master of Divinity and wore punk rock band t-shirts and dickies.
A question I've had to ask over and over and over again is: "What does it mean for me to follow this calling on my life and be a woman?" And just finally in this last decade - maybe more like eight years - I've found the space to say: "Oh, it means to be me. That's all."
As I've been a pastor, an outspoken seeker of justice, independent - and yet interdependent in a marriage I love - strong willed, and yet feminine, people have assumed, without ever asking, that I don't want kids. Not people who really know me. People who really know me know I love children. I want to be a mom. I've wanted to for a long time. I've dreamed of new and innovative ways of loving kids into the glory of God's kingdom of liberating love and justice for all people and all things...But people who don't really know me have assumed, without asking, that I must be one of those women who doesn't want kids. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...it's just not me. It's a stereotype that I apparently resembled and so all curiosity was lost to assumption.)
And now, here I am, happily barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. (One time in college Mark Driscoll told me this is where I belong...I don't like being where Driscoll thinks I belong.)
This whole becoming a mother thing has been so complicated for me...
Mainly, I am excited. I can't wait. I know this is going to be one of the biggest and best adventures of my life. I can't wait to raise up a kiddo in a broader and more welcoming incarnation of the Jesus way than I had. I can't wait to raise up a kiddo to love Jesus and neighbors. I can't wait to be a mom.
And then there's this other side of this adventure. Every time someone from those old days of old school pedro the lion, church shows, and shame for pursing my calling congratulates me, I feel my back go stiff. My walls go up. And I am overcome with a deep seeded refusal to be defined by this new role.
That picture of what it means to be a woman didn't fit me as a child or adolescent. And it surely doesn't fit me now. Every time I get congratulations from someone from that world, I want to say: "I'm still a pastor. I still believe in the melding of social and spoken Gospels. I'm still leading an open and affirming congregation. I still spend my mornings with folks living on the margins blessing them by being a pastor who lets a cuss word fly here or there. If I was ever 'brainwashed by the liberals,' I'm still quite happily drinking that kool aid - only it's not kool aid, it's really good wine, the stuff I was told was wrong to drink even though one of the first things Jesus did was make some really good wine."
I want to tell them: "Yes, we can connect over parenthood. But no, I have not become who you wanted me to be. Instead, I've become who Yahweh is daily crafting me to be and it never has and never will fit the molds you hoped to stuff me into."
Finding what it means for me to a woman, a pastor, one who is passionate about justice, a wife...and now a mom, has been such a messy journey as all the old judgement and prescribed identity that never fit me surfaces.
And every day of my early maternity leave, when Luke gets up early, kisses me goodbye, and goes to work as a pastor... and I get to the work of caring and preparing for this kiddo, it all comes back and I spend my days in meditative ambivalence about this new journey I am so grateful for but that stirs up all my old church wounds. And sometimes, I'm just fucking furious that those wounds live here with me as I wait for this new life to begin!
And all I can do is pause and listen to the small voice that whispers to my barefoot, pregnant, angsty self: "Behold, I am making all things new."
PS, in addition to making lactation cookies today, I took some pink baby clothes (no that doesn't mean we're having a girl) and wrote feminist quotes on them. As bell hooks says: "Feminism is for everyone."