Friday, March 9, 2012

03/09/12 - True Woman Testimony

In 2008 I attended my first True Woman conference. I was excited because of the speakers, but I had no idea how God would use that weekend to set me on a new path in my walk with Christ.

October 9, 2008, my 34th birthday, and the first night of the conference. If you would have asked me before I went, I would have told you that I wasn’t a feminist. I would have said that I’ve embraced biblical womanhood…but when Mary Kassian spoke on Friday morning it rocked my thinking!

I was a feminist! The culture had infiltrated my mind way more that I cared to admit. God had some foundational repair to do in my thinking.

At the end of the weekend I was more than thrilled to sign the True Woman Manifesto and with gusto I took this message back to my church and girlfriends. (I even laminated my manifesto and it still is hung next to my kitchen sink!)

But I found out that most my friends weren’t interested in my approach. I felt like I was hitting brick walls and eventually just got frustrated with even trying to talk about biblical womanhood. (Insert Heather not following the Holy Spirit!!)

By the time True Woman 2010 rolled around I was beyond excited to meet with other like minded women. I was longing for deep fellowship with other sisters, and that’s just what I got.

But that weekend God had plans to take what He was doing even deeper in my life. He was ready to peel back another layer and dig even deeper into my heart and attitude.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss had just come from her cousin’s funeral. Nancy showed a picture of her cousin and shared that at the funeral the line to visit the family was hours long. She explained that her cousin didn’t have a big platform, but lived out biblical womanhood with her husband and sons. That impacted me greatly!

Then Holly Elliff said, during the panel, that we’re busy doing things, but are we busy doing the things God has called us to do?

Those were two of the most impactful moments at True Woman 2010.

I walked away knowing just want God wanted me to do: just do it. Just live out biblical womanhood with my husband and sons. To be a true woman in my home for an audience of one, the One that really matters.

A couple of weeks later I was listening to a podcast with Mary Kassian talking to Bob Lapine about The Art of Marriage (a do-it-yourself DVD marriage conference by FamilyLife Today).

After looking over the website, praying about it, and talking to our pastors, my husband and I hosted an Art of Marriage conference. That stirred in us a desire to do marriage ministry.

Here a year later we have a newlywed ministry at our church were God has asked us to pour into the lives of 5 newlywed couples. These couples are watching our life, our marriage, and our family. They are watching us live out biblical manhood and womanhood.

I smile as I think how God had to rearrange my heart, my attitude, and my ideas. He was so tender and gracious with me. His patience is priceless! What a mighty God we serve!

So this is why I am beyond excited to talk about True Woman 2012. If you want God to pick you up, put you on a new path, and do a new work in your heart, then plan on joining me in Indianapolis in September of 2012 for True Woman 2012! I can’t wait to see what God has for me next!


Roxana Ileana said...

Dear Heather,

would it be too much trouble for you to get in some specfic details about your own "feminism"? I think it's major that you thaught that you were biblical woman but discovered you were pretty much "feminist". I suspect I could be facing the same problem - that's why I am asking you. Thank you for honesty and transparency.

Also, I would like to tell you that I am studying Theology (for practical ministry) and some biblical texts that Biblical manhood and womanhood council gives in order to support some of their ideas, I find taken out of context or gone beyond the context. This is why I am struggling with getiing my own values and convictions on what it means to be a biblical woman in a modern world.

Roxana Ileana said...

For example, the Eph 5 simply gets to the higher standard possible for the love of the husband and the submission of wife: Christ Himself.

However, the text speaks only of love and submission, but I've heard a lot of developing on this from Mary Kassian for example: Christ is the initiator, the fighter, the pursuer, the ""wild at heart""", the adventurer; the woman is like the church - to be pursued, to be charmed, to follow unconditionally....Maybe these ideas could find some support in the practical realm of life, but I certainly don't find them in the Bible stated or even implied by some other biblical principles.

And from Genesis - that the woman as a helper, should FOLLOW her husband calling - like if he wants to do ministries, and she didn't have that calling in her life before knowing him, she should unconditionally follow her husband lead and goal and ministry. Or..based on the same text, that the man is the only provider, so a modern woman working outside her home is kind of failing in her biblical womanly role....

I find these hard to swalow, and maybe there is some egalitarism that I feel deep inside my heart- I always see (and have seen marriage) as an equally yoked pair with the man having a position of authority over woman. But this means they are equals in everything (like not the woman being inferior and the man needing to mentor her or teach her on a superior level of knowledge or maturity) but the man having a responsibility of being in a POSITION of authority.
We are both called to be Chirst-like and mature in wisdom, character, godliness - the only difference is the man's authority over woman and it is based on his sacrificial love and not power position.

Does this sound feminist or egalitarian or plain biblical?

I've seen the patriarchal tendencies in the biblical manhood/womanhood trends and I am concerned about them, as in their genuine origin and goal of the Bible

Maybe we can talk about these.

Thank you.

Heather Patenaude said...

Well, Roxana I think it could take a few blog post to explain my thoughts....but I think the way it has worked out in my life, is following God's plan for me as a woman allows me the greatest freedom.

Have you watched the video from True Woman 2008 of Mary Kassian?


Roxana said...

If you refer to "You've came a long way baby"yes I have.

I agree with some of the points, but not all.

In Europe, women worked before 1960 - the majority of them. and it wasn't because of pursuing career od feminist arguments. It was a necessity.

The problem I have with Biblical council of manhood, womanhood is that there is no balance and truth is mixed with exagerate suppositions.

It is not a COMMAND from God in the Bible that woman should depend on solely the man's working outside
or that she always has to be under the authority of a man - her father of husband!

And some more.

If you are curious, just take carefully every statement of them, and look for the passages in the Bible and do the good sound exegesis of the biblical text and see what it means.

Since when the curse of man became his commnad to be the ONLy provider for the family? Does it imply that the woman's command is ONLY to bare children?

Roxana said...

It's awesome when someone feels led to certain decisions - like not working outside the home. It's wonderful when God guides specific people to do specific things like that.

But it is a problem when people are taught to all make the same decision because it is the only true biblical way and role and command from God

Heather Patenaude said...

I think as soon as you start putting in what it looks like you start boxing in God. Does biblical manhood only mean a man works or biblical womanhood only means a woman has babies and stays home?

For me it was more of learning that line of authority that God established and learning the freedom that comes from fully submitting myself to Him.

I think anyone can go round and round on little points but the over arching theme is I need to not be the boss...God is the boss. I must obey and submit to Him.

The more I learn to obey and submit my will to Him, the more I fly under His protection.

We live in an anti-authority culture and at the heart of biblical womanhood is learning to willing, without fighting, place yourself under the mighty hand of God.

You can work and still have that attitude. You can have no babies and still have that attitude.


Roxana said...

Thanks so much!

Yes, the attitude is essential - and I am working on it : )

It's good to know that God looks at the heart more than to what we can see - however, there are also these things like staying home, working outisde etc that need to reflect an attitude and principle.

i am concerned with that too.

Heather Patenaude said...

For me Roxana I thought before True Woman that if I did certain things I was living out biblical womanhood...but it was that conference that God showed me it was my heart attitude!

Thanks for the dialog!!!