March 29, 2007 by Stacy McDonald

Letter from a 17-year-old Feminist

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The following excerpts are based on a letter I recieved a while back from a young lady concerned about my mental health and questioning the biblical principle of submission to authority (primarily wives submitting to their husbands). My responses to her concerns are included after each excerpt. Her name and the details to some of her questions have been changed. Please pray for Lisa and for any who would stumble across this blog who are blind to the truths of Scripture, that God in His mercy and power would open their eyes…

Dear Mrs. McDonald,

I am a 17-year-old feminist. I stumbled across your website and have been reading your articles. I must say that your writing has me convinced that you are suffering from a classic case of Stockholm syndrome. As a woman who has been dominated and subjugated by her husband for so long, you have now chosen to identify with your oppressor to protect yourself. You’ve learned to embrace your situation (and your oppressor) as to convince yourself that submission is a wonderful thing – at least in your own mind. – Lisa

Hello Lisa,

Since I have not been kidnapped, battered, or abused, I wouldn’t be a good candidate for such a “syndrome.” The main reason you are unable to grasp the beauty of a properly functioning marriage (where a husband is lovingly leading his home and a wife is submitting to his leadership according to Scripture) is that you likely have never seen one lived out in real life. You are also in rebellion to God—I know—I was there. Submission is a sickening concept to those who hate God and love lawlessness.


Your husband is only doing what any man in his situation would do. He has been offered total power and has greedily accepted the prize. I am amazed at his brainwashing abilities though. He has created in you a tried and true Stepford wife! – Lisa

Interestingly enough, many men rebel in a different way than women – they choose not to lead their families and could care less what their wives do. Men tend to be naturally (sinfully) lazy, passive, selfish, complacent, unfaithful oafs. Obviously, there may be a few whose selfishness is, by personality, less obvious than others, but it still takes the power of a redeeming and powerful God to change the heart and direction of sinful man (and woman).
Yes, there are also men who are power-hungry ogres, who sinfully control and abuse women, but it seems that I hear more from women whose husbands won’t lead or provide for them or their children than I do from women who complain about their “power-hungry” husbands.

Either way, without a regenerate heart, both the ogre and spineless jellyfish alike are destined for hell. A regenerate (Christian) man who obeys Scripture will not act as if he is drunk with “power and dominance” as you have described above – abusing his authority like some sort of barbarian.

God calls the Christian leader to servant hood. A Christian husband, though called to bravely and protectively lead his family into righteousness, is also called to sacrificially love, care for, and nurture his wife and children. He is called to love his wife as Christ loved the Church (which is considered the Bride of Christ) – to the point of laying down his life for her – as Christ did on the cross.

He is to treat her as the “weaker vessel,” cherishing her as one would a delicate rose. Not because she is spiritually or intellectually weak or inferior, but because physically, she is not as powerful – he is called to give deference to her as his cherished queen. In fact, a wise husband who is acting according to the wisdom of the Scriptures consults his (godly) wife over important matters, realizing that God has gifted her in areas where he may not be as strong or gifted.

This is the beauty of being in a one-flesh relationship with a godly husband. May I conclude that you have never been treated this way? Perhaps you have never seen a marriage functioning the way God intends. That is why our ministry is so important – a holy marriage and family glorifies God and gives testimony of His goodness and power.

On the other hand, women tend to rebel and sin in a way you are probably more accustomed to. They do not want to submit to any man. (By the way, a woman is only called to submit to her father, if she is unmarried, and to her husband if she is married – she should not submit to “all men”). And both men and women are called to submit to earthly leaders, as long as they are not asked to sin.

Sinful woman desires to be “her own man.” She wants to dominate and rebel against God’s design for her and loathes the thought of any man leading her. She is selfish, loud, pushy, and obnoxious. Proverbs 7 describes her well. In contrast, Proverbs 31 describes the godly woman (who is a woman of honor and strength, by the way; not a weak, silly doormat). She too, is a sinner in need of a Heavenly Savior.


I know I can’t convince you of your ridiculous situation or that you are wasting your life on a lie. – Lisa

Likewise, I can’t convince you of the same thing about your life. Only God can do that, if He so chooses. Right now, your eyes are blinded by your own rebellion. I will pray for you. You are so young. Not only has your naturally sinful nature driven you to destructive philosophies and foolishness, but you have also been “brainwashed” as you have listened to a doctrine of demons.
Feminism will leave you empty, miserable, and alone – something you may not realize until it’s too late. If you live a long life, you will look back with regret at the end of your lonely days and it may be too late.

I believe everyone has a right to do whatever they please. However, you are leading people into the bondage of your own life. Have you ever considered that God and the Bible are nonexistent? Would you have lived life a little differently? – Lisa

I could ask you the same thing. The only difference would be that if you were right about God and I were wrong, I would have still lived a joyful, fruitful life, and die, according to your philosophy, passing into nothingness. But if I am right and you are wrong, you will have spent your life “happily” independent and selfish (not truly at peace or joyful) and then (according to the Word of God) you will have the honor of spending eternity suffering the torments of hell. Who is taking the greater risk?

What if you had married someone who wanted a true partnership, instead of some sick master-slave relationship? – Lisa

Again, there is absolutely no master-slave relationship in a godly marriage. You only show your ignorance of what a godly marriage looks like when you say such foolish things. As Christians we are all slaves to Christ—and glad about it.

Are the men who serve on a ship “slaves” to the captain of the ship? Are those in the military “slaves” to the commanding officer? No, there is a certain order in place, so that things run smoothly. Each has his own role to play. Each has his duty and understands that for things to turn out successfully, someone has to be ultimately in charge.

In fact, when the captain of a sinking ship tells his men “every man for himself” he does not claim that right for himself, but instead may go down with the ship attempting to ensure the safety of others – this is godly leadership.


When all you’ve ever done is live life following behind someone, you miss out on the good things in life. – Lisa

And when you live your life elbowing your way to the front, you miss the rewards of Heaven as well as the joy of a fruitful, giving life – this is true of both men and women. I am not concerned about whether or not I am following behind one person or leading another – it’s not my decision. God decides upon the proper order and rightful place of each person.

I am concerned about obeying God, and part of obeying Him involves submitting to my husband – to his title as “husband” and head of our family. He is not perfect, but he loves God and loves his family and he strives to obey God’s call to sacrificially serve us as leader, provider, and protector.

I realize that because of sin, not all wives are in this situation – just as all men do not have submissive wives for the same reason. Each individual has their own responsibility to obey God – which is not contingent upon another’s obedience. However, if a husband were to ask his wife to sin, she would have to obey God rather than man. This doesn’t make the command any less valid or valued, it just means we live in a fallen world…and that is why we have our ministry.

I realize you have not had the time or experience to see the ugly results of what you are being sucked into. That’s why I am praying for you and also why I took the time to write you back.


When you give up your own life just to help someone else’s thrive, you’ve abandoned your own strength and personality for someone who has used you. –
Lisa

I am not abandoning my strength or personality, but am attempting to use it to its fullest potential. Hopefully, I am doing it to glorify God and to serve others – not for my own selfish pride or gain. However, I often find myself sinning against God and my family by acting selfishly, needing to repent and start over. That’s the beauty of the gospel.

As a Christian, I not only have the gift of forgiveness and restoration, but I am no longer in bondage to sin – you are still in bondage. Unless you embrace Christ’s free gift of salvation through His sacrificial death and resurrection, turning your back on your sin and rebellion, you will remain in bondage forever. You will continue to head for the deepest of all despair – eventually there will be no turning back.


One day your husband is going to wake up and realize he’s married to a Stepford wife and leave you. Then what you are going to do? Maybe then you’ll realize you have your own strength. Maybe then you can start your own life and walk your own path instead of living your life by the Book. – Lisa

May I always live my life “by the Book” (the Word of God) regardless of what anyone else does, including my husband. And may I never choose “my own path,” but cling to God’s. Thankfully, my husband and I are on the same path. In addition, may I always seek God’s strength, because mine will always fail me.

Lisa, may the Lord give you the same mercy He has given me. May He melt your heart of stone, and reveal to you the beauty of His Truth. May He give you ears to hear and eyes to see. I will be praying for you.

By His Grace,

Stacy McDonald



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14 Responses to “Letter from a 17-year-old Feminist”

  1. gail says:

    Oh Stacy, what a beautiful testimony of what a life lived “worthy of the calling” truly means. You have communicated in love the abundant, overflowing, life-giving blessings God reigns down on a family who serves Him. We can only pray that He will open the eyes of the unbelievers so they too could grasp how high, and wide and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. I was asked the other day why I blog. I said because it was fun. After thinking about it, I blog because I want to encourage others in their walk with the Lord, but also for this very reason you write about. That somehow my life would be a living testimony of Him, who has called us to faith and good deeds; and that someone may stumble by my blog and grasp a little piece of what it is like to live in obedience to Him– Jesus Christ, the one true master over all that we do. It is fun serving Him. It is fun living for Him. And it is fun being submissive to our husbands in obedience to Him. Would you allow me to reference your post from Lisa on my site? I believe it would be a tool in the hands of His servants to all He would allow to view it.
    Only 4 Jesus,
    gail

  2. Mama Russell says:

    Stacy,

    Thank you for sharing this. May I be as able to answer with such Godly wisdom to emails like that some day. I feel sad for Lisa. She obviously did not have the blessing of parents who followed God’s way of marriage. How sad, because God’s way is the most enjoyable and wonderful.

    When I am having weeks where nothing seems to be going right and I am completely unhappy, I take a step back to look at what is wrong. It is normal for me to realize that I am being self-centered and that is causing all of my problems. When I truly focus on Christ and serving those around me, only then is joy really experienced.

    Focusing on myself and pleasing me is uncomfortable, lonely, and hurts those I love the most.

  3. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Gail,

    Yes, feel free to link to my post.

    You are so right. It is in the testimony of our joy and surrender to His will that others will see a picture of our loving relationship with God.

    May He be glorified!

    By His Grace,

    Stacy McDonald
    info@raisingmaidens.com

  4. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Mama Russell,

    I know what you mean. It’s funny how we desire to serve ourselves and are miserable when we try. And we resist in serving others, but therein is our joy!

    By His Grace,

    Stacy McDonald

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Bible does say that Satan has blinded eyes…and of course, Lisa has the freedom to live according to the Bible, or not. Just as we have the freedom to love God, serve Him with our lives, and strive to bring glory and honor to HIM as we live out a picture of God’s holiness to the world. May the Lord lovingly bring her to a saving knowledge of Him and help her to see what is truth from the only true place to find truth…God’s Word. And may you contine to bring glory to your Maker by your life-you are a blessing to so many women!

    evy

  6. Jessica McDonald says:

    I feel sorry for Lisa. To be so deceived…*sigh* It causes me to be even more grateful to my Savior that he chose to show me the truth. It’s so humbling, because really, I could be just like Lisa. God is so good!

    Jessica Nicole McDonald

  7. Elizabeth says:

    What a great post! I loved how you contrasted the unfortunate results of our sinful tendencies with the beauty of a truly Godly marriage. Hopefully your post gave Lisa a glimpse of what she has never seen in real life.

  8. Tonia Donnelly says:

    Stacey, youhave been used by
    God to bring forth His Word to this 17 year old. How beautifully you have dialoged with her!! The seed is planted, and being watered by your prayers. She obviously has never known the Lord, nor heard of Biblical submission. God is using you to reach this young teenager. How wonderful He is. Love this site. Tonia.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Precious Stacy, That was one of the most lovely responses I’ve ever read. I found your website while researching the subject of “Christian Decourum” for a Ladies luncheon I’ll be teaching at this coming weekend. I’m so glad I happened on your site–I can tell it will be a valuable resource for many future messages. Blessings! Paula Friedrichsen

  10. Mrs. Bethany Hudson says:

    Stacey,
    I know I’m behind the times; I only just discovered this post, but I just have to express my amazement. First, I am shocked that this poor girl could be so aggressive with you! I can only hope that the fervor stirred up in her heart can mean that the Spirit is beginning to work on her and that her defensiveness is a sign that she is becoming convicted of a better way of life. Secondly, praise the Lord that He guided you in such a gracious response. Thank you for sharing this dialogue with your readers.
    ~Bethany

  11. Grace says:

    I have been enjoying browsing through your archives and I came across this and smiled. I’m 19, and went to a very feminist (and christian in name only) girls school and your conversation with Lisa reminds me of some of my own with my old school mates. While I have not yet been blessed with a husband and family, to even talk of having a desire for these things around some of these girls is to invite scorn and ridicule. You can imagine their reactions to concepts such as chivalry, biblically inspired womanhood, femininity, modesty and submission. My experience is that the kind of aggressive outburst that you received from this young lady is more an attempt to convince themself of the validity of their position, and less of an attempt to convince you. After all, no right thinking woman could ever be content with “just” a husband and family, or so they think.

    Yours in Christ,
    Grace

  12. Grateful Wife says:

    Wow! What a peaceful amazing responce to her questions/attacks.
    If I weren’t living by the Book, if I were a feminist at heart my life would truly be miserable today. My husband of his own free will and deep love for me has sometimes put in a full days work away from home then come home and basically did my work also. All because he loves me and my imperfect health. In sickness and in health. In depression and fibromyalgia. I submit to him and respect him, now more than ever. Never once has my husband misused me emotionally or otherwise. Because I have his full trust he confessed to me one day of his lifelong struggle with p*rn. Instead of being revolted or disgusted with him I grieved with him, felt compassion for him and supported him as he went on to deal with the addiction. Not too long after that we saw a news report of a pastor who had been caught by his wife using p*orn. His wife instantly left then divorced him. My husband loved me more after seeing that. Why in the world would I want to be a “liberated feminist”? I could not have been part of my amazing marriage. He loves me in my weakness just as I love him in his. If we thought outside the Book we would both be divorced and alone by now.

  13. Holly says:

    Hmmm. I am (some sort) of a feminist, (you call it white-washed?) and have been for 20+ years, and I am not empty and alone. I have an egalitarian Christian marriage, and it is fantastic. I have two kids in the public school and they are witnesses to their teachers and friends.

    While Lisa’s comments were over-the-top, your insistence that those of us who embrace equality in our marriage, in the workforce, etc. leaves us unhappy and empty is false.

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

    As in Christ, I am respectful and submissive to those placed above me, whether my boss or pastor, etc. To my enemies I turn the other cheek. I’m thankful western society has evolved- American slaves have been freed, wives are no longer subservient culturally to husbands. Now I am respectful and loving to my husband as an equal heir to the throne of Christ.

  14. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Holly,

    Thanks for writing. We probably agree more than we disagree. You may be interested in reading my husband’s and my position on submission in marriage HERE.

    Submitting to my husband does not mean that I am a mindless yes-man (woman?) who blindly obeys (if you knew that you’d know that’s not true). You are right – a husband and wife are heirs together of the grace of life – it is a beautiful blending of lives that glorifies God when proper oneness is established and lived out. However, God has most certainly established order in His creation.

    Yes, there are times when that order is abused or misapplied, and I am contemplating addressing that soon. My married daughter described to me an incident to me yesterday where she and her husband wanted to invite a couple over for dinner. After my daughter and her husband discussed their schedules, my daughter approached the couple at a social gather to see what dates worked best for them. While discussing dates, the husband interrupted her (and his wife) and said, “I’ll discuss it with your husband.” My daughter was surprised, since her husband, Daniel, delegates and entrusts the running of the household to her – and sometimes that means scheduling things for him. Anyway, this example reminded me of how often “submission” in marriage is turned into something it is not intended to be. We ignore the principle of order, and begin to create a new law for ourselves, as if the husband/wife relationship is that of slave and master.

    A wise husband with a wife he can “safely trust in” will view and value her as even more than an assistant manager; he will see her as his “completer.” She may fill in where he is weak. She may observe his blind spots and help him to see things he wouldn’t/couldn’t have seen without her (likewise he may do the same for her). Therefore, if he’s smart he will seek her counsel and value her input in decisions. He will lead with gentleness and with thankfulness for the God-given talents and skills of his wife. And if she’s smart, after sharing her thoughts, she will help him to know that he has the final word on major decisions, so that he can lead with confidence.

    I hope that helps.

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