Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are you seeing someone?

When my cousin Amy was born she brought much joy to our entire extended family. Born with Down Syndrome and a heart condition, she endured much from the medical world. I can still picture the bear that I drew in my 2nd grade class to send to her in the hospital. As she grew older and healthier, Amy also developed quite the quick wit and sense of humor. Her quotations have stopped my entire family in their tracks and given much needed laughter to many situations. Whether she gives sold out concert performances in the backyard or fiercely protective hugs, Amy is an amazing force to be reckoned with.

In one particular phase of her life she became very concerned about the dating and relationship status of each of her cousins. When I was 18 I remember having a brief heart to heart with her.

“Ginger,” she became, “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No Amy, no boyfriend.”
She tried again. “Ginger, how old are you?”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Nope. No boyfriend.”
“You’re 18, you have a boyfriend.”
Thinking I’d found a loophole I countered back with, “You’re right Amy. Jesus is my boyfriend.”

Amy spun around and looked me squarely in the eye and accused, “Do you think I’m stupid?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. But over the years this conversation has played in my head and made me realize that the truth for Amy and her generation, mine as well, is that young women are still expected to date, got to college, get engaged, get a job, have babies, and live motherly ever after. (And be a working mother to boot.)

As empowered as we might be from a strong women’s movement in the 70’s, the expectation for most American young women is to have it all – education, job, and family. My major concern is not the desire in itself, but instead the stigma that is still felt by single women in their 20’s and 30’s. Rarely do they finish a conversation without being asked, “And are you seeing someone?” I’m personally not offended by the question so much as I am challenged by it. Why can’t that final question be something really exciting like “And are you learning anything new? Or, “Do you have any new adventures in the works?”

I love speaking to and challenging young women to not wait for life to happen to them, but instead to “grab it by the horns” and “suck the marrow” out of it! My true desire is to see young women come to be known by their passions and giftings…and even more importantly, by their identity in Christ.

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