Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Changes in me - the gift of growing

A blog reader, Stacy, emailed me and asked me about how I became a believer and embraced Biblical womanhood. I pondered, thinking about my story, and said that maybe I will take the time to write about it. What prompted me to do that was that on the very same day, I read a similar question in a letter from my dear cousin and friend, Maggie. Both Stacy and Maggie also asked about the reaction of my family. That must be it, I thought! Time to sit down and put those memories and impressions into writing.

What you will read now is definitely not the whole story, but hopefully, it will give you some insight into what my life used to be, what it is now, and what I hope and pray it will become. Some of it was already shared in a post I wrote a couple of months ago, 'Reclaiming the Gift of Chastity' (not for very young readers!).

I should begin by saying I was raised in a secular family (Maggie, if you are reading this, you can skip this part because you already know it, of course!). My mother - unmarried and struggling with raising a child on her own - wanted the best for me, and had no idea how broken my soul would be after being educated according to the norms of this fallen world. As a teenager, no one told me anything against immodesty, flirting, dating, partying and other things that are regarded as normal in our culture. It was not until my late teens, after several dating 'relationships' and in the middle of the worst of them, abused, neglected, mistreated, and taken advantage of, I realized how wounded I am, and how my life can't go on like this anymore, and I also started realizing, bit by bit, what was the core of my problems: being away from God. Not giving my heart to Him. Not following His plan.

I didn't know how to make the change, how to find the strength and the right path, and sometimes I felt it was impossible, as my sins weighed like such a heavy burden on my shoulders. Therefore, realizing it's wrong, I continued my destructive behavior for a while, in great pain and confuse, at the same time crying out to God. I got rid of my abusive relationship, but was still miles and miles away from being on the right track.

I would like to take you back now to one evening during that painful period. It was a friend's birthday party, and after my fourth beer, I dropped down, nearly unconscious, in a bar's bathroom. Humiliated, helpless, scared, I sat on the cold floor and cried. I wanted to get out. I wanted to go home. I'm telling you about this horrendous experience so that you understand how low I fell, and how difficult it was to get back up.

I don't remember how I got home that night. But when I got up next morning, my head buzzing with hangover, blurry images of the previous night flashing through my brain, I crawled out of bed and washed my face and told myself it was the last time I allow something like this to happen. Never again. I want to do what God wants me to do, I want to follow His plan, as a young woman in the beginning of her journey of adult life, and I want to be a lady. I sat down in front of my computer, and absent-mindedly, still immersed in thought, my fingers typed in Google the following words: 'how do I become a lady?'

Can you guess which site I came across? That's right! Ladies against Feminism. With a mixture of fascination and disbelief, I started reading, first the new articles, then the archives, and couldn't stop for a long time.

Needless to say, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I felt this is the model of femininity I have been looking for in my heart, during all those long and painful months. It felt like home. Heavily influenced by feminism, I never dared to articulate the thoughts LAF authors worded so boldly, but they sounded familiar, reflecting my heart's deepest desires. On the other hand, there were things I read with an expression of incredulity on my face: 'I'd love to do this, but how can it work? Can I ever really become a keeper at home? And what's all this talk on the father's authority? I don't have a father, so how do I fit into this picture?'

However, once it became obvious to me I know what I want, and more importantly, what God expects me to do, I realized most of my objections were rooted in many years of being spoon-fed feminism, Marxism, socialism and atheism in the system of public education. I had my vision clear, not only about modesty and being ladylike – even thought this is something I'm passionate about – but about my entire view on womanhood, how I see my life, today as a daughter and hopefully, as a future wife and mother.

Since that day, I never set foot in a pub or bar again, and never drank alcohol to the point of losing control or even lightheadedness. I'm very careful about my relationships with the opposite sex, the only acceptable venue of which, in my opinion, is courtship with the purpose of marriage. I'm engaged to a man who respects and treasures my renewed commitment to purity, chastity and modesty, and preparing, in God's time, to become a virtuous wife. And most importantly, I surrendered myself to Him, in everything I do, and find my happiness in Him alone.

As time passes by, I'm more and more filled with gratitude, for everything, and even for the suffering, as I know it was what brought me closer to Him, when nothing else would. It also helped me become a more compassionate, understanding, forgiving person. Had I not felt such intense and deep pain and remorse, I might have been awfully judgmental.

Seeing the change in me, and realizing how much happier I am, my mother still thinks I'm off my rocker. I don't have 'the same social life' anymore (praise God!), I rejected dating, I gave up on grand career plans, I wear only long skirts and dresses and I'm not ashamed to admit my biggest dream is to become a wife, helpmeet, homemaker and mother to many children. Many think I've lost my marbles, so to speak, but I don't care, because I know I put my fate in God's hands and let Him guide me through the wishes, desires, doubts, fears, sorrows and joys that overflow my heart – today and every day, until my last breath.

33 comments:

Dawn Marie said...

Amen! ;)
It's amazing how far God brings us out of the miry clay!
Christians never stop growing and learning. As I celebrate my 6th birthday since becoming a Christian, I look back and see how much I have grown but also see how far I have yet to be more like Him.

Your testimony was a blessing. Thank you for sharing it.
((((hugs))))

Mrs. Brigham said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Anna. I find it interesting how the LAF website played a similar role in both of our lives. It makes me hopeful that Mrs. Chancey's website may bless other women, too.

PandaBean said...

Now I'm inspired to write a post on my story. Let's see if I even get to it!

I am constantly amazed about how God will still guide our lives in exactly the right direction, even using our bad choices to turn us closer to Him and protect us from ourselves. I know that it is only by God's grace that DH and I came thru' the "dark" period of our lives and into the wonderful situation we are in today. Do I regret the things we did, no, because otherwise we wouldn't be who we are today; do I wish we could have taken a different path and still ended up in the same place? Yes. I don't look forward to the time when my daughter will ask what I did after high school, or even how DH and I met.

God Bless!

Buffy said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Clearly whatever you do you put your heart into it. People who go against the main stream often get told they're off their rocker.

Anonymous said...

It's so wonderful you've come out of that lifestyle, Anna. How free you must feel...no more "putting on", the endless partying, and of course all the risks that come with that. You are not bound!!

This is a post I will surely have my daughters read.

many thanks, Brenda

Anna S said...

Thank you, dear ladies,

Mrs. Brigham, I have no doubt LAF was a blessing to many, many different women of all ages and backgrounds!

And Brenda, yes, I do feel so wonderfully free! What a tragedy that our culture thinks freedom means doing whatever you feel like at the moment. That's not freedom, that's slavery to low desires! Our true freedom comes only from clinging to Him.

Haus Frau said...

Precious blessings, dear friend. :o)

Rightthinker said...

God's most perfect plan for women takes more convincing on the part of the Holy Spirit than ever before, no?

Our world of women is 180 degrees away from Biblical Womanhood. Even many of us who grew up in Christian homes begin to ask questions of ourselves.

We ask quesions such as, "If the Bible speaks clearly about the blessings of children, why are we working so hard to usurp God's will and authority? Why am I seeing marriage and parenting as a burden? Why do I seek to conform to the standards of the world-since it is so clear what God actually has commanded me to live?"

The growth in Christ is amazing. It is also phenomenal, because often we believe we are in a place of "being a Christian", and then suddenly we have a reawakening of sorts, and begin seeking to know and serve Him more than ever before. It is often during a period of darkness as you described, that we see how broken and in need of a saviour that we truly are!

The natural response to this realization, is a heart of gratitude and humility. All we can do is praise Him and live for Him-it is completely out of our control.

So you may very well be wacky by today's standards. Count me in, as well, because if there is one thing I am confident in, it is my daily career of fulfilling the role God gave me to the best of my abilities!

king's_daughter said...

Thank you so much, Anna! Your testimony is beautiful, and I wish that every young girl who was in your situation could read it!

I do have a question, though: Were you saved before you began looking at LAF, and forming your convictions on Biblical womanhood, or did that occur while you were searching? Sorry if this is a somewhat silly question.

God bless!

Candy said...

I enjoyed reading your story. Amazing that you googled that and up came LAF! Shows how God can even work through the internet :)
God bless you Anna for your heart of devotion and commitment to Him. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is honoring you for your stand. And because of your stand, it will lead others to the Lord, even your family.
Love Candy

Alexandra said...

Amazingly, many of the Saints were persecuted by their family and friends for pursuing their faith so vigorously. It always amazes me that people would think this is a bad thing?!

Whenever we try to break away or grow away from our former selves there are always people who are threatened, like it's a personal judgement against their lives. There are also plenty of people who resent not being able to control others through societal pressure.

Thanks for sharing your story. You certainly have found strength in your faith, what grace!

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing your story Anna. You're very brave for putting it out there for everyone to read.
I have a question for you too. Do you think our society will every turn back?
I only ask because it's a topic I discuss often with this wonderful older woman who lives next door. She believes that the world will "come around again" as she says. I really hope she's right for my daughter's sake. I just hope that young girls like you are the beginning of a tidal wave of change in society as a whole.
There is just something wrong with this world when a girl want's to lead a modest, chaste, Christian life and she is called off her rocker for it.
Kelly

~His child said...

So very beautiful and bare from your heart. Our oldest daughter (we are a christian home) rebelled and has had the same life-changing experience. What a wonderful blog...she doesn't have a computer. Her rebellion years forced her parents to persevere; to storm the gates of heaven; and she went to get away from very harmful, addictive people and situations. She lives by family; has grown her hair as her convictions have led her...wears modest clothing and cannot wait to be a keeper at home! She now works with small children and attends a strong fellowship. The Lord burns within her and her joy is unceasing. She really has refreshed this mother of hers! Blessings to you....!!

Anna S said...

Kelly,

You know, I discussed what you asked with my fiance some time ago, and we reached the conclusion that people really have had enough. Yes, I believe our society will come around. Look at the immorality and corruption that were prevalent, for example, in ancient Greece and Rome (promotion of homosexuality etc...). People rebounded from it for a good long time, and I believe it will happen again! By no means am I a solitary case.

stacie said...

I loved reading your story. God is so majorly amazing. I think it's awesome that it doesn't matter how much that we mess up, he still forgives us, and gives us a second chance. I love your attitude that you don't care if people think you are off your rocker. I've kind of got to that point, where I really don't care what people think about me or what I believe. I am me and I can't change me. Also, Jesus says that "Blessed are those who are persecuted. For great is their reward in heaven." I think it's awesome how God has changed you so much. Have you ever read "Jesus Freaks"by DcTalk? Well I am reading that now, and it is a very good book! God bless you now and I hope that He continues to change all of us for his glory!

Stephanie said...

A beautiful story, Anna, thank you!
I am wondering though, how you heard the gospel in your journey? How you learned of God's saving grace? Was this through an individual, or through something you read?

Laura H said...

Amen! Reading your testimony, has made me realize, how much of my own life, I have taken advantage of! I have had a long struggle even after becoming a christian. I had a rebel time too! Don't we all?
It is as if the Lord wants to take us down, to where we cannot live anymore, then we call and seek Him, and Him alone! Hallelujah!
Laura H.

Word Warrior said...

Again, I am so grateful for young women like you who are speaking the truth in our culture.

As I responded to you on my blog, maybe one day I will find the courage to recount some of my painful experiences. While it is certainly wonderful when a young lady has this vision and is protected all her life, we have not all had that fortunate experience.

But boy, God's grace is astounding!!! If telling our smudged stories can give others hope and save even one person from a similar pitfall, then the story must be told!

Word Warrior

Jordin said...

What a wonderful testimony, Anna. You will certainly be able to use your story to help many young women! Thank you for sharing this. :)

Anonymous said...

http://maidenofgod.blogspot.com

Wanda's Girl said...

Hi again, Anna! Thanks for this post. I think this is a much-needed reassurance to curious readers that women who adhere to the tenets of Biblical femininity have very diverse backgrounds. I know this artice will provide comfort for many.

God bless you.

Dana (and Wanda!)

Anna S said...

Thank you, ladies, for your kind comments!

I realize I only touched very briefly in this post about my relationship with Him. But it is such a long and beautiful story that believe it requires to be written separately, when I can.

Susie said...

Anna,
Thank you for sharing. God is a great healer!
~Susie

Tracy said...

Anna,
Thank you for being so forthcoming with your testimony. You'll never know how much it may help someone else to read what you have been through!

USAincognito said...

Anna, Thank you for sharing how you came to know God and how living for him has changed your life! The world may not understand but one day you will stand before God and He will smile at you and say, "Well done my good and faithful servant." Keep following after God and may He continue to bless you! :)

Kathleen said...

How cool is that!!! LAF did the same thing for me, but I'm not completely there yet.

What about your church? Where does it stand on Biblical Womanhood? (mine doesn't...)

Anna S said...

Kathleen,

My religious community, sadly is very, very heavily influenced with feminism. But I have no doubt that in a few years its devastating effects will be seen more clearly and people will come around.

Kathleen said...

Anna,

What do you do when your religious community (church?) is influenced by feminism? I find it hard to get by when no one else embraces Biblical womanhood--I want to stay, yet I want to leave at the same time! It seems that there are no Titus 2 women mentoring the young women and women are, well, shall we say, not embracing their femininity. It's discouraging.

What steps have you taken in embracing BW when you are surrounded by an androgynous church? (And when you are a young woman who wants to respect her pastor/elders.)

Bless you! You really encourage me :)

Kathleen

Anna S said...

Oh, Kathleen... you ask difficult questions. Indeed, it's hard to get by. I usually try not to cause strife, but gently speak out my convictions, only when asked.

If you want to talk more about this, you are always welcome to contact me by email!

Kathleen said...

I think I will do that later tonight or tomorrow. Bless you!!

Tammy B. said...

Your testimony brought me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing.

Christy said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony Ann! It is a beautiful one indeed and it gave me goosebumps. God is so awesome isn't He!? I too Googled how to be a lady except not in those exact words. I think I typed in biblical womanhood, etc. and the first site I clicked on was LAF! I like you read everything on there and just couldn't get enough. It's as if the Lord was speaking to me through that site. I'm saddened by the secular world's views on how we're "supposed to be" but what makes me even sadder is when close family members who claim to be what we're striving to be... really aren't and try to condemn our new convictions. I hope that made sense! If it is ok with you I have added your link to my blog.

Anna S said...

Hi Christy, and thank you for sharing your experience. You are, of course, most welcome to link to me. I wanted to take a peek at your blog, but it seems your profile isn't available for public; are you aware of that?