What does it mean to be a liberated woman? In the sixties this became a hot topic for women wanting equality with men in jobs and pay which continues to this day but has morphed as I see it, into a militant negativity towards women as well as men.
In the sixties and seventies, I was a mother raising four children, baking twelve loaves of bread a week, preserving jars of food for the wintertime and freezing what I didn’t preserve. I had a wringer washing machine, for years which some of you will remember, and hung all the clothes and cloth diapers on the clothesline outside. When the weather was bad I hung them on lines strung in the basement.
I taught myself how to sew with help from books, and most of the time myself and my children looked acceptable enough with my creations.
This Corona Virus has brought back many skills from way back then. For instance, I cooked all meals every day along with all the baking of cookies, pies, and cakes for birthdays. We rarely went out to eat except occasionally to MacDonald’s for a hamburger with the kids. Once a month Neil and I treated ourselves to dining out. However, that meant paying a sitter, so we usually hired one to go out to a friends home for an evening visit and supper and they did likewise coming to our house.
Some weekends we went out-of-town to visit relatives who welcomed a family with children. The kids loved playing with their cousins and after getting the children into bed, we adults played games enjoying our time together. But that wasn’t all this liberated woman was doing to fill in any open spot in a day or week, besides sleep time.
Neil was just the same for work in that he accomplished so much in a day it often left my head spinning. When he wasn’t teaching, being a vice principal, a principal and then into the roll of a Superintendent of Schools – we always had a project of construction on the go as we finished our basements into Rec rooms, laundry rooms, shops for his tools, cold rooms to store food, extra bedroom, and even a darkroom for our eldest Tim as he developed a love for photography. (Pun intended)
As our children grew we bought waterfront property and built a cottage for vacations away. Our children worked right along with us learning many skills which are serving them well to this day.
My fond memory is that no matter how tired they said they were, as soon as we said “Swim Time” new life immediately sprung into their ‘exhausted’ bodies and we discovered where the “Fountain of Youth” was hiding! They jumped into the water and swam, dived, jumped out or tipped over the canoe, dove from the dock and otherwise had a ball laughing and playing while Neil and I sat in a chair exhausted from just looking at the energy being expended. Oh those years were so precious and so liberating for all of us. There were no Cell phones, or computers to rob us of these precious family hours spent together.
Later Neil and I built our second home right beside the cottage on Leonard Lake. The first home we built together was before we were married, which should have given me a clue as to what married life would be like with this man. I’m not complaining though as God taught me so much through His gift to me of my dear husband. We never lived in our first home as Neil went to University then we were married and moved to Toronto where he began as a teacher in North York finishing his degree at night and in the summer months.
We built this second home with our two sons Garth & Robert who were teenagers at the time, in preparation for Neil’s retirement the following year. We lived in it for about two years before selling and buying a Housekeeping Resort where the renovations and new builds really exploded! Looking back I don’t know how we did it except God had endowed us with an abundance of talents and energy.
You may think by now “Why is she confusing all this humdrum homemaking and building as being liberated when she was so stuck in that unpaid, unrecognized position of wife, mother etc. Seems like she was more a slave than a liberated woman!”
Well keep reading and you will get the answer, though it may not be the one you expect. You may think I’m stretching this liberation fact a little in a different direction than the ‘Libbers’ would say makes a true liberated woman, and you may be right! For you see I look upon myself as more on the lines of a Pioneer woman such as my mother-in-law Matilde Ann Brodie. Now there was a truly liberated woman! She was an awe inspiring story teller as she related the true stories of her life that would hold me spellbound for hours. Most of her life was spent raising eleven children on her own as dad Brodie was away often working. She looked after everything including taxes while keeping her children fed when she literally had one cent to her name.
So why do I liken myself to a liberated woman of this world? Because like my mother-in-law before me, Jesus liberated me when I was eleven years of age and I became His child. Yes, the moment I became ‘born again’ I became His servant or slave if that is what you want to label it. To me this was my forever gift from Jesus.
He liberated me with His grace and love leading me to see the temporary things of this world through His eyes of light, instead of the eyes of darkness. He liberated me so I can discern what is truth from what are lies; what is good – from what is evil; what is temporary – to what is eternal; what wastes my time and energy – to what uses my time wisely and energizes me; to what builds me up – and what tears me down; who is faithful and trustworthy – and to whom to depart from quickly; to Him who truly loves me – to him who truly hates me. To Jesus who alone has earned the Power and the Glory as I worshiped Him over the years.
Thank You Jesus for liberating me from an eternity without You.
I am an eternally grateful, Liberated, Woman!
Your forever child and Servant – Syb.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6