Sunday, December 5, 2010

Frozen Pipe Churches

Many women do not realize the churches they gather with on Sunday mornings are frozen pipes. These women work hard to do the right thing, to obey God, but don't realize the refreshing water of the love of God isn't getting through to them. Psychologically, they huddle up to endure their 'lot in life,' or focus on whatever entertainment is allowed them to cope. But when the word of God is opened up to them, allowing the water of God's love to reach them, they rejoice in the miracle that God actually loves THEM. Yes, they knew He loved them, but they didn't KNOW he loved them. They hadn't experienced His liberating, freeing love. They had only known bondage.

I was one of those women, so I will share my experience. I was taught that as a female, I must give up what I thought was best, because a male decreed otherwise. First, my dad, and then my husband. I tried my best, with God's help, to be as perfect as I could. But I often ran out of energy, and the men in my life constantly complained and put me down. No matter how hard I tried, they refused to define me as a valuable person, or my work as a worthy contribution to home or society. It took me years to acknowledge that their decisions usually made life hard and painful for me. But they denied their nastiness and/or told me that was my lot in life because I was born female.

And then I learned that in the Old Testament, Moses instructed husbands to give their wives a writing of divorcement instead of just kicking them out. Further study helped me realize that through Moses, God had instituted a provision for women to free them from their abusive, adulterous, negligent, or disappearing husbands. And the divorce was to free the women so they could marry a different man, one who would love and care for them as God had intended. In other words, instead of divorce being the height of wickedness, divorce was God's gift to women to free them from hard-hearted husbands.

I hugged this knowledge of God's love to my heart. Then I returned to Ephesians 5 and noticed that husbands are never told to boss, rule, or take authority over their wives. Instead they are told to love and sacrifice for them as Christ did for the church. And the Ephesians 5:21 command to everyone to submit, includes husbands. By taking men's reasoning and doctrine out of scripture, my gut sense that something was wrong with the husband authority/wife servant-child doctrine was backed up with REAL scripture. Indeed, controlling, self-serving husbands had God's censure and condemnation, NOT His nod of approval. The men who told me I must submit to their misery-producing behavior and demands because God had instituted this to be so, no longer had a leg to stand on. GOD had provided women freedom from man's cruelty. Men were the ones who had sold me the gospel of God's disdain for women.

Churches are supposed to be God's pipelines, delivering living water and freedom from oppression to everyone. But instead of winding protective and warming tapes around them to insulate them from the world's contempt toward women (and blacks, Jews, the disabled, the poor, etc.) they embraced the icy scorn of the world, welcoming it into their midst and entwining it like barbed wire into their interpretation of scripture, using human reasoning in the process, and claiming their treatment of women and their elevating of males is God-ordered, even while they claim their demoting and promoting role-rules ARE equality.

Women, wives, God loves you so much He provided divorce as an escape from a damaging and destructive marriage partner, whether the abuse is physical, mental, verbal, sexual, economic, social, spiritual, or whatever. Our God is a God of justice.
The fast He has chosen is to “loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke.” Isaiah 58:6
God indeed has positive plans for you.
Jeramiah 29:11 (KJV) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

As happened with my frozen pipe today, when you gird yourself with the excellent heat tapes of God's REAL word, the refreshing, living water of God's deep abiding love will come gushing through, causing love, joy, and a sense of freedom from bondage to flood your heart and make you want to dance.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.


  1. Whoo hoo!

    Women rejoice that God is not made in the image of scornful men.
    And rejoice that we have the right, privilege and even responsibility, as women, to find the true God and learn His true nature. We don't have to rely on what men say about God.
    We must find Him for ourselves far away from the man-made filters and biases we've been told to honor.

    Men do not stand between us and God.
    Only The Man/God, Jesus Christ, is our Mediator. He seeks our good. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. And we can cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.

  2. And in God's mercy, our culture has changed from how it was in the time of Paul and Peter. Those days, they had no choice about remaining subject to their own husband in everything even if he was cruel, heartless, abusive.

    Nowadays, in western countries, wives do not have to remain subject to cruel husbands. Thankfully, by the grace and mercy of GOD, the culture has changed so that women have legal options (which they are exercising in droves).

  3. Mara,
    I love that quote. We women, especially, are so pressured to serve, to submit to oppressors, to make ourselves subservient, and then the words of Jesus lift us out of that pit. He gives us rest rather than degrading servitude. he lifts us up and heals the wounds made by those who ground us under their heels and teach that we must submit to them grinding us to powder.

    According to Jesus, the giver if life, this is false doctrine.

  4. Charis,
    Thanks be to God there is deliverance from marital abuse and oppression!

    Contrary to popular thought, and in agreement with your thought that a wife's submission is a state of being, I'd like to suggest another radical thought:

    When a wife divorces her abusive husband, she IS in fact submitting to her husband. The submission I wanted to give my husband was to ask his input on nearly every decision--even those he had no opinion about. I wanted to consult him about the blouse I was considering and also about the drapes and the picture on the wall, the classes I would sign up for and what times I would be gone from home, etc, etc. I wanted our lives to be intertwined with genuine love and caring. But the submission he required of me was to deal with his nastiness. It was a reality I had to face. The put downs, the constant griping/criticism, name calling, the occasional assault. Finally, I had to bow in submission, realizing that I needed to submit to his abusiveness by leaving. I needed to submit to who he really is and stay far away from him, separating myself and my finances for my own safety.

    I would prefer to be married to my ex, but only if he is a loving, caring husband. I submitted to him, to his driving me away, and we now live apart and are divorced. It still is not my preference; but I submitted to the reality of his behavior toward me. Both divorce and death at the hands of an abuser are the ultimate submission, in my view. He has made life very hard for both me and for our daughter and we are doing our part to "restore the years the locust has eaten."

    A correction in the comment above: "According to Jesus, the giver OF life, this (the heel grinding) is false doctrine."

  5. I realized this too. That many of the laws laid down by God were there to provide protection for women. Even where women were to stay virgins until they were married. Their fathers knew they needed to protect them as they were a reflection on them (the father) and so made them a valuable commodity. It also probably protected the daughters from their own fathers, as men who are abusers think that their children are their property, and without the protection of women provided by God, some men may have raped their own daughters.

    I also love in the New Testament how Jesus treated women. He treated them just like the men. He was always trying to draw out or reveal their hearts. Jesus was God so He already knew their hearts, but asked questions of them, and spoke to them so that THEY could come to this understanding of themselves. I think I read somewhere that Jesus was the first feminist. And I don't think Jesus ever told a woman that her goal was to find a man and have a baby. No. As with what he told the men, first, follow Him.