For my first interview I chose to interview my "fake sister". Rebekah has been my sister's best friend for twelve years, and over the past 4 or 5 years has become mine as well. Our families spent a lot of time together growing up and so we are like family. Most of my family and closest friends I will interview during the week of their birthday and kind of spotlight some of their interests, but since I was already highlighting some very Rebekah things this week, I skipped ahead.
I wanted to have this section on my blog, because I feel that as women we learn so much from one another. Since I am reading Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood my mind is revolving a lot around mothers and daughters, so we'll start there. Tell me about your relationship with your mom as you were growing up. What are some things you are really blessed to have learned from her? Were there struggles you seemed to have over and over?
For most of my life, I’ve viewed the relationship that I hold with my mother as one of opposites. My mom was raised in a family that mostly stayed to themselves. She was not allowed to participate in after-school activities and knew little of slumber parties. She and my aunt always grew up at least two years behind their young contemporaries in clothing and fashion and were not allowed to decorate their own room.
Now a mother herself, my mom strove to make sure that I had every opportunity to express myself and cultivate my own personal identity, while still staying inside the basic box of decency and decorum.
While mom was a teenager, my grandma became severely ill and bedridden. Though she was the youngest daughter it was Donna (my mother) who cleaned, cooked and took care of the rest of the family. Since then she has quite faithfully taken care of my father, my brother and I since the beginning. Looking back at the past and seeing how much my mother has done and does for us continually blows my mind. She did everything, and even when she asked one of us to help her, would end up doing it herself to make sure that it was done correctly. Never really being forced to any form of responsibility, I saw no problem in letting mom do all the work, and felt very little consequences for disobedience.
My parents also made the strong decision to begin homeschooling my brother and I, even though it ultimately cost my father his ministerial position and our home and forced us to move. I can attest to the dramatic difference this choice has made on my life as opposed to where I would be if they had chosen the easy road. I was told recently that the way in which my brain processes information is not understood in the public school system, and my intelligence would not have been allowed to be cultivated the way it was by homeschooling. I now look back at the struggles my mother endured while encouraging me to complete my schoolwork and shudder to consider who I would be if she had not be there to cheer me on and endure my complaints.
In the book, several generations of women have terrible relationships with their mothers which cripple them in some way being mothers themselves. While I believe we are made by who our parents are, I tend to be a little less gloom and doom. What kind of parenting legacy have you received from your parents? What things are you afraid you will repeat, and what things can't you wait to do with your own children?
I humbly cling to what attributes of my mother can be found in my character: extremely hard working, a boldness and willingness to step out in faith when called by God, a strong protection for free will. I also seek to be aware of the negative parts of her that I posses: a fear of conflict, an incapability to hand off work to others for fear it won’t get done the way I think is right, and emotional insecurities. By the time that I have put on the mantle of motherhood, I hope I will allow my children to express their individual personality but also make sure they understand the great importance and responsibilities of communal and family life, which requires a bit of bravery for a mother.
Let's talk more about where you are now. I remember when we were probably 17 and 12 you read Josh Harris's I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and were talking about it's principles. I told you you were crazy, but have wished that I had been more guarded with my heart. What do you think you benefited from the concept of courtship? What were the good and bad consequences of relationships where you gave yourself away? What did you do differently in your relationship with Ben?
Dating history for me has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. One that has even wrecked a few times! I do wish that some principles in courtship had been applied for the protection of my heart, but it’s almost difficult passing judgment on the mistakes that have ultimately brought me to where I am now. Some of the mistakes though, which have made very deep emotional and psychological scars and truly hindered my present relationships, I would never want my children to have to experience. Now I can see how some of the motions of courtship are set to protect young minds that don’t have a complete understanding of what love is and all that is needed when building a healthy marriage.
My relationship with Ben has been the greatest learning experience of my life. The fact that we were simply friends before being romantic stands out starkly from the rest of my relationships. My feelings toward him held high contents of trust and admiration, rather than simply lust and selfish emotional motives. This was definitely new for me. There was a point in our relationship where I even attempted to end it, feeling like we were too different to understand each other. Ben, heartbroken, said he would allow me to end it, but was still committed to me and would be even if I wasn’t. Talk about conviction! Because of him I understand what real love looks like, even if it isn’t convenient emotionally. I look back on old relationships and appreciate so much where God has put me.
I always feel like I can't describe myself without explaining a lot about my past, and a lot about the future I dream of. I am not myself without those things. What parts of your childhood do you think had the biggest part in making you who you are? What future do you envision for yourself and your family? What values from your past drive you toward your future?
I find myself constantly dreaming up mine and Ben’s future! We’ve even discussed what sort of dog we’ll adopt first. Ben and I both have passionate gifts and talents for Jesus’ ministry that we’re ready to start using. He is theologian and preacher extraordinaire, and I want to be a minister and counselor.
Having listened to my father’s teaching most of my life, I have always remembered his insistence on the idea of “adoption” as an important attribute to God’s character. Western modern culture is so individualistic and families tend to not look far beyond their picket fences or apartment walls. Jesus instructs that we treat people, no matter what relation they may be, even better than we treat ourselves. We are all members of a family. God has pressed the word adoption on my conscience for years, and I’ve gradually, with the help of numerous variables come to understand my future as including children who might not have been born by me, but who my husband and I choose to call our own. I dream about holding these beautiful babies often.
The reason I decided to interview you this week instead of your birthday week, like I plan to do with most family, is because of the Women in Ministry emphasis. Growing up in a conservative evangelical home, like myself, we were generally led to believe that women could not be pastors, that it was unscriptural. What have you learned about this since coming to Howard Payne? Describe for me your journey to your calling.
My first semesters in college opened up a vastly different world that I did not know was acceptable, or that it even existed. Serving, loving and leading people was one thing I definitely understood growing up. I remember deciding that I would rather continue living in a pastoral family for life, and understood this as a call to be a pastor’s wife. Howard Payne University introduced me to professors and students who believed that women could be more than nursery workers and secretaries, but actually lead congregations and preach! Being taught how to properly interpret the Bible, I came to believe that in Jesus’ Kingdom male and female are equal, though they might have outward and inward differences. Ben and I strongly hold to both egalitarian and complimentarian views, and want to live our marriage out in such a way. This includes our roles in Church ministry, though we are not sure what exactly God has planned for our vocational futures. I now hold a ministry position as a youth minister and have preached a handful of times. I am always searching for the best ways to execute my personal ministry. Another providential way I am able to show love to people is through my Mary Kay cosmetic business. You would be amazed at what a woman will tell you when you’re in her home and she has her make-up off!
My favorite food to eat would be a chicken sandwich involving a shocking amount of mayonnaise, or perhaps chicken fettuccini with mushrooms, olives and vegetables! My favorite recipe to make right now is my grandmother’s baked chicken and rice. It’s so easy and tastes so goooood. People always seem to feel special when I make it for them.
At my fantasy dinner party we would definitely be outside! The sun would still be on the horizon as we sat down to dinner but would be replaced by candles in jars hours later as we still laughed over dessert. The menu would include this fantastic Lebanese Panini I had once in Morocco that had chicken, spinach leaves and spices inside and was dipped in a marvelous avocado sauce. Side dishes would include fruit and potato crisps. We’d finish off with cheesecake and chocolate pie. Guitar/mandolin/banjo required. Guests would include Benjamin, Molly, You and yours, Ben’s three best friends – all of whom are named Joshua, Siobhan and Elliott (I imagine Elliott and Efrim about five years older and very interested in climbing the tree that overlooks the table), and Stefanie Beckwith. There are many who I do not know or have died that I would love to entertain, but it is so rare that I see those who I consider dear friends that I must save my pretty dinner party for them.
My deepest fashion fantasy involves a warm beach town where underwear is always exchanged for cute swimsuits that peek out of soft, flowy cotton clothing. *sigh* My old standbys are well fitting camisoles in black or white, tasteful shorts, and all kinds of dresses! Though I use pretty standard clothes most often, I have a large assortment of ridiculous items that no one in their right mind would wear (which explains why I have them). I believe in purchasing clothes from resale shops, and would love to wear more vintage. My feet are social creatures, so flip-flops and Grecian sandals are preferred. Or shoes I can slip off easily in the winter.
Most of us have a dozen or more handbags in our closet, and my theory is that it is because we all have a perfect one we are looking for and buy so many almosts that just don't cut it. What would be your ideal handbag in a perfect world?
Your handbag theory is so true!! I AM looking for the perfect bag, and I simply cannot find it. I want something that can hold a binder and keep my constant necessities (the big three: keys, wallet and phone) organized and separated from things like receipts, lip glosses, sunglasses and miscellaneous junk. I also want the strap to be big and comfortable enough to sit atop my shoulder while my arm rests against its body. I really like dark leather, with a small amount of brushed silver hardware. I know you’re out there bag, and I won’t stop looking for you - and when I find you, I just might buy two.
Thanks again for helping with this. I love you so much and just can't wait to share you with the world.