Friday, May 2, 2014

Flourishing: Womanhood (Part II)

”Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that you are willing to take upon you the name of Christ...If you shall press forward, feasting on the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: ye shall have eternal life.”

I love those expressive phrases, ‘full purpose of heart’ and ‘real intent’. I also appreciate that my husband often calls me a ‘woman of substance’. There certainly is the outer me -- the face that smiles, the hands that work and hug, the body I feed, wash, and clothe in fairly thoughtful ways -- but what’s inside is much more thriving and enduring. My heart is nearly always full of purpose; and if I don’t have ‘real intent’, I find it extremely hard to participate in something ‘just because’. I’m not very good at acting like something is important or worthwhile if I don’t feel like it is. What that translates into is a woman who is constantly digging into life to find what will root her and her family long-term, but who’s way too serious and tends to rub people the wrong way.

It’s in my nature to avoid trends and convenience, because I often feel that they’re flimsy somehow. I also worry that I’ll set aside that ‘real intent’ without realizing it, and I wonder how frequently we mask a lack of substance with bling or with smoothly-crafted borrowed opinions. Not that I think everyone else is just faking it, but I personally feel like I have to constantly, consciously resist the slow, insidious creep of easy habits and assumptions.

So, I’m not easy to be around at times, and it really pains my heart to know that. I’ve often lamented that I wish I either were, 1) socially impaired enough not to notice the gap, or, 2) able to smooth over and pretend a little more so that I wouldn’t be so irritating or off-putting. I seem to be at the distressing junction of knowing that my habits and opinions may bother people, but feeling a deep commitment to expressing them anyway. (Believe it or not, at least I have mellowed with age. I used to be far, far worse in this respect.)

Yet, when I hear my husband tell me he loves who I am, and that I’m someone of substance, I hear also that he knows I’ve dedicated much of my potential in hidden ways to those who need it most. I hear that he has respect for my unusual thought processes and conclusions; that while he does see more clearly why people disagree or get uncomfortable, he knows the big ways he and our children have benefitted from the way I buck the trends. I know he relies on my true self, that self that is devoted and loyal; he has seen the gentle answers I’ve learned to give to those who are truly difficult, and the refining process that that has been for me. He understands my deep desire to please others in the truest, most eternal sense I can, and my sorrow and tears that my offering isn’t always accepted. In many ways, my husband has been an example of godlike qualities that I can understand and relate to; I feel so lucky to have learned from his love what my Father in Heaven’s love for me must be like.

And so, this is part of who I am: I believe that I existed before I was born, that I was willing to face difficulty and sacrifice in order to gain an eternal identity that I would never need to be ashamed of.

Also, I used to enjoy listening to a lot of Cat Stevens in college, and his song “Hard-Headed Woman” is an oddly apt companion to this essay.

I'm looking for a hard-headed woman,
One who will take me for myself,
And if I find my hard-headed woman,
I will need nobody else, no, no.

I'm looking for a hard-headed woman,
One who will make me do my best,
And if I find my hard-headed woman
I know the rest of my life will be blessed -- yes, yes, yes.

I know a lot of fancy dancers,
people who can glide you on a floor,
They move so smooth but have no answers.
When you ask "Why'd you come here for?"
"I don't know" "Why?"

I know many fine feathered friends
but their friendliness depends on how you do.
They know many sure-fired ways
to find out the one who pays
and how you do.

I'm looking for a hard-headed woman,
One who will make me feel so good,
And if I find my hard headed woman,
I know my life will be as it should -- yes, yes, yes.

I'm looking for a hard-headed woman,
One who will make me do my best,
And if I find my hard headed woman...


  1. Kristin, for what it's worth, I've always found your company delightful! (But then, I think I often tend towards the too-serious myself). And I can honestly say that the more I read your blog, the more I find myself wishing I could be more like you--which is to say, you make me rethink some of my easy assumptions about myself and what I want my family to look like. Which is a very good thing.

  2. I'm with Rosalyn in probably also being too serious. :) But I'll say anyway that I, of course, also find your company delightful, and I LOVE that you act from a place of "what matters the most to you" no matter what is trending. I just love it. And would hate for you ever to change it. Despite the challenges that may come from living true to that particular strength.