How Julia Child and Tim Keller Schooled Me In Femininity
It was just a bridal shower. But it was my bridal shower, and it sounded horrific. Girly frenzies like that just make me squirm. My friend didn't know this, so she'd offered to (graciously, generously, thoughtfully) throw the shindig. I was trapped.
Like my mother taught me, I wanted nothing to do with those Bridezilla princess complexes from hell. During my engagement, I tensed whenever any female asked me about wedding logistics. I suspected each of them critiquing my every move. The threat of unmet expectations for what it meant to be a "good" bride—feminine, graceful, austere, or whatever—well, it was just too much for me.
Until I got engaged, I hadn't realized the extent of my femininity anxiety. Growing up, my mother and grandmother were so different that the word feminine seemed intangible if not indefinable. My mother was an athlete, an academic, and the owner of a goofy, self-effacing sense of humor—a pillar of strength, shining in the midst of creative mess. My grandmother, by contrast, never had a hair out of place her whole life. Constantly focused on all things proper and pristine, she was the epitome of class—white gloves and everything.
So where did I fall on the femininity spectrum? Closer to my grandmother, the 1950s housewife who wore pearls and prepared pot roasts, or to my mother, the one who taught us to throw a football and build snow fortresses?
These conflicting images left me in need of a holistic and healthy understanding of femininity. God, in his grace and impeccable timing, gave me just that in (strangely enough) Tim Keller and Julia Child. With Keller's sermon series on marriage and Child's real-life example, the unlikely bedfellows constructed for me a new lens through which I saw a fuller, godly purpose for femininity.
Typical of God's irony, the first conduit into my new understanding of womanhood was a tall, balding man from Manhattan. Before listening to Keller's nine-part sermon series on marriage, the subject of gender differences could easily be skirted in the name of equality—break those glass ceilings, ladies! We don't have to be "the weaker sex" if we don't want to be. We don't need men to open our jars. Gender differences are just something we live with. With marriage, however, this is far from the case. In marriage, the genders are glorified, separately and differently, and I would have to wrestle with that as my wedding approached.
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