I’m happy to have my writing featured in the award-winning Family Foundations magazine in the July/August edition, published by the Couple to Couple League (CCLI.org). My article is part of their “Celebrating NFP Women” issue and is found on pages 30-33. In the article I talk about embracing your feminine genius.
Here’s a snippet from the article “Embrace Your Feminine Genius”:
God loves our femininity! After all, he designed it! Women were God’s good idea! The Church calls us to a new feminism that treats the whole woman – and all her gifts — as precious, full of enduring, eternal value. Nothing about a woman is a mistake, nothing about her body or soul is anything less than a true gift, when seen through the eyes of God’s good opinion.
I grew up with feminism. For years I saw it mostly as a good in society dealing with issues of justice and fairness. And historically, there have been benefits that we must laud. Coming of age in the 70s, I became the first woman to get a college degree in my family. In the 80s, I broke some glass ceilings – being hired at jobs that had previously dominated by men. I was all about equal pay for equal work, and seeing an end to sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere. I’m still grateful for these legal gains for the sake of women, and for men.
Yet over time, I realized that there were certain aspects to cultural feminism to did not square with my deeply held Catholic faith. Feminism’s strong advocacy for oral and barrier-method contraception sent me a message that certain parts of my body couldn’t be trusted. My fertility was suspect, and my ability to conceive children were seen as potential liabilities to my happiness or threats to my earning power. This was mixed messaging. It led to a kind of reductionist thinking that said sometimes my body’s natural reproduction function was “good”, and sometimes it was “bad”, depending on prevailing opinions regarding a pregnancy. Being a woman was a negative, not a positive experience, for some of the women in my milieu.
Were some parts of us were considered less than good and holy? I remember women joking about “the monthly curse” or “riding the crimson wave”. Why did contraception treat fertility as some kind of disease to be managed rather than a gift to be celebrated? These questions were in conflict with my experience of God’s love and care for me.
Frankly, these assumptions were diametrically opposed to my faith that God made us good – even, very good! The Bible and the Church taught that God’s creation of man and woman was good. God does not make junk… every human life is a gift and has value.
I needed a coherent, consistent, and unchanging understanding of my dignity of my personhood — all of me, all the time — not one that wavered by whims.
My adult faith required that I take a hard look at how I might live a well-integrated life…. A life that knows God’s loves for me, and seeks to live that out in all the actions of my daily life. I wanted my life and faith to harmonize, not sing out of key… Especially when it
came to love, sex, and family planning… the very core of my femininity.
So I started to pay closer attention to what the Church was saying about these things. I discovered that there is a “theology” to the body… that is, the God-who-made-our-bodies had a few good things to say about them. God always has our best interest – and a woman’s feminine genius — at heart.
What are the things that make women blessed, beautiful, and bodacious? They are a woman’s dignity, gifts, and mission.
Read the whole article by subscribing to Family Foundations magazine, a wonderful resource for couples! To receive Family Foundations, just become a member of the Couple to Couple League. The cost is $35 per year. Family Foundations is published 6 times a year.