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Growing up, I was very much what you would call a tomboy. And I was rough and tough, and actually, all throughout my childhood, my father would often ask us girls, “Are you cute and sweet, or rough and tough?” And I would always answer affirmatively, “Rough and tough.” And, I was stronger physically than my sisters, and more competitive, and I indulged those things. And, I also did not have the privilege of being homeschooled until I went to high school. So growing up all those years in school, I always sought to be one of the guys, and to be competitive with them, and seek their company, and to be like them. I resented the fact that I was a girl, and I was very discontent with that, often questioning why I couldn't have been a boy. I did everything that I could to be a tomboy, because I thought that life was so unfair that I had to be a girl. So I shirked from all things that I thought were girly or weak, because I wanted to be what I considered strong, not knowing that I was under the influence of feminist ideas already at a young age. I was very independent and always wanted to be able to do things myself, and this was how I was raised: to be very self-reliant. I had a mistaken idea of what femininity was. I thought that it was the fact that you were so dainty and delicate that you were unable to do anything for yourself. I thought that it meant that you were so weak and dependent that you were unable to do anything, and that you were just of little use. That you were so good, as to be good for nothing. So I prided myself in my boyish ways and in my independence, and it caused me to lose one of the sweetest charms of girlhood, the charm of gentle trustfulness. I loathed appearing weak, and I delighted in the fact, so I thought, that I didn't need any protection or shelter. This produced great discontentment in my life. But the Lord, very gratefully and thankfully, did a work in my heart though a number of different influences, and He revealed to me the error of my thinking.
He began to show me through His Word, and through friends who had Godly examples of what true young ladies should be like, and books that I read, that true young ladies should be gentle in speech, in voice, in manner, that they should be full of love for home, yet they should also be firm, and decided in their convictions. This was where a woman's true strength was, because real femininity is anything but weakness. My beliefs about femininity growing up were all lies. But the Lord showed me that a woman can be just a strong as a man, but that those strengths are manifested in different ways. That the means of a man's strength is different than the means of a woman's strength. That we are both warriors and soldiers for Christ, but that we have different dominions that we are to take.
I want to read a quote for you from Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America that was written in the 1830s, about his opinion of what he thought made America great.
“Thus the Americans do not think that man and woman have either the duty or the right to perform the same offices, but they show an equal regard for both their respective parts; and though their lot is different, they consider both of them as being of equal value. They do not give to the courage of woman the same form or the same direction as to that of man, but they never doubt her courage; and if they hold that man and his partner ought not always to exercise their intellect and understanding in the same manner, they at least believe the understanding of the one to be as sound as that of the other, and her intellect to be as clear. Thus, then, while they have allowed the social inferiority of woman to continue, they have done all they could to raise her morally and intellectually to the level of man; and in this respect they appear to me to have excellently understood the true principle of democratic improvement.
“As for myself, I do not hesitate to avow that although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is in some respects one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen woman occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked, now that I am drawing to the close of this work, in which I have spoken of so many important things done by the Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: To the superiority of their women.”
But even though their women were at home, in the sphere that God had ordained for them, yet they were superior because of that. That true, strong women are not masculine, but they are firm in decision, and character, and action, and have all the softness that does not imply weakness in the wrong way. Firmness that does not exclude delicacy. They are loving toward family and others; they are helpful whenever they can be; they are trusting of their fathers, and of the Lord. And that they are feminine.
I have found that strength for a woman is found in her femininity, and in her embracing and fulfilling the role that God has given to me as a young lady. He has taught me to be content and delighted in being a young lady. Something that I missed out on all those years growing up, that I would encourage all of you girls to treasure, and embrace, and take pleasure, and delight in being a girl, and in being feminine. He has taught me also to be content under the protection and authority of my father. The authority and protection that was not always there for me growing up, and when it was offered, it was rejected, because I thought that that was not compatible with being strong. And I had to learn to forgive my father, and to get rid of bitterness that I held against my father for neglecting to protect me those years growing up, and I had to ask him to forgive me for pushing that protection away when it was offered. I had to be content to give my heart to my father, to first my Heavenly Father, and then to my earthly father. I had to realize that years growing up I would sometimes be ashamed of what my father would do, or embarrassed, I had to learn that I could no longer do that, that my position as a daughter was to be feminine, and to be content with whatever my father did, and that in being feminine, I would help my father in his masculinity, and that I would give him confidence, and that I could be confident in whatever he would say or do. I had to turn my heart, and I still do, daily to my father. It wasn't a one-time thing. I have to continually search out my heart, and make sure that there is no discontent or bitterness in it. And I seek out what pleases my father, for this is my duty as a girl, and as a daughter, to seek out what pleases him, and what can make him strong in his vision. That I, too, should embrace his vision and make his passions my passions. I have found untold delight and joy and pleasure in doing this: in being a young woman, and in being my father's daughter, and completing the tasks that the Lord has given me. While pursuing femininity, I found more strength, especially in character, that I ever did in pursuing feminism.
As girls, we have duties and responsibilities that are given to us to fulfill, and we have to be responsible to do those in order for our fathers to be able to carry out the mission that God has given to them. And I want to challenge all of you girls, and all of you young ladies, to make your aim to realize in your character all the possibilities of womanhood, and to do the work that the Lord has assigned for you to do. To accept being a girl, and to delight in it. To be strong enough in your femininity, and brave enough, to always be loyal to Biblical womanhood and Biblical girlhood. But to do this, you must always make sure that your heart is in the right place. Keep your heart yielded and submissive to God and to your father, because everything depends on where your heart is. Psalm 46:13 says, “The king's daughter is all glorious within, her clothing is wrought gold.” She is glorious within, and therefore her clothing, her outward adornment, is wrought with gold. Your inner self affects how your life is going to be, how you are going to live your life, and what you are going to do, because a dark heart is never going to produce a shining life, and a selfish heart is never going to produce an unselfish life. A sad heart will never make a glad life, and a discontented heart will never yield a content life.
Be careful to guard your heart, and to keep it stayed on Christ, for He will make you strong to do your duty. And to exemplify Biblical womanhood you have train your mind, and this is something that I am continually having to do: is rid out all the influence of the world, and train your mind to think in terms of Biblical womanhood. We should follow the guidelines that God has set out for us in His Word. Set your ideal before you: a strong, beautiful, Biblical womanhood and girlhood, and bend all of your energies to attain this.