Sunday Thoughts: Give me a White Knight

Image by Morket from Pixabay

I’ve noticed a trend in storytelling where characters are only applauded if they save themselves. Damsels in distress are right out. Don’t be needy.

But, as a Christian storyteller, I find this concept to be exceptionally distasteful. (On many levels.)

I need a savior.

I am completely incapable of saving myself.

I can’t pull myself up by my bootstraps and fix my life.

And I get it. I’m an American. We fought for our Independence. We celebrate rebellion. Our gene pool is stuffed full of people who went at it to explore, conquered, and carve out homes for themselves far from safety. Our mythos is the Cowboy and the WW2 soldier. We love stories of strong men and women out there against the world and winning. We love stories of the underdog who rises up and saves the day. I love those as much as anyone else. I love stories of bravery and courage, but I also love stories of sacrifice and saving.

It seems our culture finds it distasteful for a man to save a woman. She needs to save herself. She needs to not need him. But, what if she does need saving? What if you found yourself in an inescapable situation? Wouldn’t you want to be saved? How many times does the Bible talk about God hearing the cries of the oppressed? He doesn’t tell them he’s going to sit over here and let them save themselves because it will be good for them.  

Independence has its place, but we have given something that should be balanced with her sister Dependence, a seat alone. Independence can give us the ability to help others, the strength to do what needs to be done, creativity, but she should never be in the foremost. When Independence takes the lead alone she becomes harsh, bitter, selfish, and pushes everyone away. She’s not nice. We praise YA books that teach us women that we don’t need a man to save us, but I, as a women, have health issues. I actually do need my husband’s help. There are things he is better at than I am. There are times, yes in small, ordinary ways, he rescues me. I need to be saved.

I am a sinner. I can’t save myself. I can’t wash my sin away. I can’t, by sheer force of will, make myself acceptable. I must have someone stronger than I come in and help me. I must be saved.

As a child, I didn’t find the idea of the Damsel in Distress distasteful. I only found it distasteful when she stood in a corner and screamed, or fainted. I always yelled at her to pick up a rock and fight. Then, when I was in my teens, my goat herd got attacked by two dogs—our dogs attacked my goat herd. I stood at the top of the hill watching these dogs ravish this herd of sweet goats and I screamed. I couldn’t move. I was frozen in horror. It was one of the weirdest moments of my life. I literally could not move. I could not save the ones I loved. I was in deep distress. (I actually don’t remember screaming, but my Mom told me later she could hear me on the other side of the hill.) The one time I needed to pick up a rock, I could not.  

Being the Damsel in Distress is humiliating. Waiting around to be saved, finding out you’re weak, realizing you’re dependent on others is humiliating, but it is also so very good for us. It is good for us to need others. It is good for us to need our friends. It is good for us to need our spouses and families. It is good for us to realize we are finite.

And, it is good to remember that if you are struggling, being abused, fighting depression, or any other dark thing, get help. Don’t go it alone. Don’t let your pride or your belief that you must save yourself set you on a path of total independence. Admit to the fact that we are all damsels in distress at some points in our life and need saving. Then, at that moment, in the valley of the shadow of death, remember the fairy tales: knights come.

I think our stories would be better if we didn’t throw out the Damsel in Distress and the White Knight, but if we honestly realized we can’t handle it all, we can’t save ourselves. We do desperately need a White Knight. This isn’t some oppression tactic to tell little girls that they have to sit on their hands, and to tell little boys they get to have all the fun. This is to say that we all need saving, and we should all help others when we can, even when we are weak.

I saw a post about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that praised Harry for saving himself at the end. That the whole point of seeing himself and realizing it wasn’t his father was to show that Harry saved himself. I just laughed. Harry had to have so much help to reach that point, so much help, that it’s silly to think he saved himself. It was just one last step. He took the final step. That’s like a woman with a broken-down car who changes her own tire. The tire her father taught her to change, the tire her husband left in the car, or the tire that she purchased. We don’t’ save ourselves.

We always have help.

We have friends who support us or bop us over the head. We have people who hug us and people who drive us. We have stories. We have music. We don’t save ourselves, even when we have to take that final step.

And saying Harry saved himself is sad. It removes the magic of the fact that in a way his Dad did save him. It removes all the work Hermione did with the Time-Turner. It chases away the magic of finding out about the Marauders. It changes the whole scene, and not in a good way. The beauty of that scene is the longing of an orphan to see his dad, of realizing he is going to have a home, of all of that culminating in a twist of realizing he can do the magic he needs to do. Focusing on Harry saving himself belittles all the other things going on to make the magic of that moment. Yes, Harry was armed with the knowledge that empowered him to fight, we all need that, cause we can’t save ourselves. Harry realized he was capable of a difficult spell and saved Sirius, himself, and Hermione. But he didn’t do it alone. He was only the final step.

So, dear readers, you may crack open one of my books someday and find that there are Knights, usually a bit muddy, and Damsels in Distress, usually ones with brains, yes. Because I love them. I, as a woman, like being saved. I like having a knight. You will also find Bands of Brothers, you will find Best Friends, and you will find Teams, Found Families, and Communities. You will not find people succeeding when they go it alone, because we all need help, we’re all dependent, and we all need to be saved.

Crumpled and Thrown Aside

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I’m going to try and start posting on my blogs again. I had to step back cause of life, you know. My writing has also taken a major step back, but I have found ways of fitting it in here and there, in the cracks and crevasse of my life. In the spirit of posting again, I wanted to share a bit that got slashed, thrown out, tossed from my current WIP: The Stars are Still There. I had a whole scene in an antique store that just didn’t fit with the story, but I was very pleased with this description, so I wanted to share it.

(I’m not going to worry about giving you all the links to follow me on social media because I’m just not active on social media much any more, so just enjoy this, comment, and share as you please.)

The musty smell of old things—wood, cloth, leather, plastic, and glass—settled down around them. A wild menagerie of the past sat in every corner shelf, crook, hook, and socket available. Dishes filled with all the nostalgia of Grandma’s kitchen and home cooked meals. Clothing besotted with lace and glamor. Long gone games, music, and movie stars. Knick-knacks, baubles, and jewelry from an age of craft long forgotten in the age of mass production. Each once loved. Each once carefully selected to grace a home, or a woman, or given to a friend, but the story that they told, their storytellers were long ago buried and forgotten. The children’s children shed the burden of things, the soul connection severed by death and memories lost.
Now, in the crooks and on the hooks, piled, stacked, hidden, displayed, they wait, empty, alone, they wait for new connections or the final regulation to dust and decay. They wait to joyously find use, or the discarding into rubbish.
Imrie ran her hands over the glass cabinet displaying brooches, from garish to sublime.

Church and Home

Church and home

Hi! Thanks for stopping by to check out my new blog and other social media links. Many of you know me, and even know me really well, but I wanted to do some introductory posts for the next few months to kick off my new blog. Since I’m only posting once a month, this may take most of this first year. (This should make you happy, because that means I’m actually spending most of my time writing stories.)

You can get a good overview of me and my writing from my About Page, but there are two things I want to highlight today: Church and Home.

If you ask me what is most important in my life, I will tell you it’s my local church. I’m a member of Heritage Baptist Church, a confessional, associational church in Texas. I’ve been a member of HBC since Feb 1995. Even though I grew up in this church, I didn’t really understand the importance of church, and my church membership, until I was much older.  God, in His kind providence, had to take me down a few notches. Before then I was a member, but found our church pretty uncool, boring, and filled with annoying people. I loved some people, but spent too much of my Sundays seeking to be shocking. (I’m so appalled at my behavior as a young person. Thank you HBC for loving me anyway.) For a time, my husband and I even left HBC. We were going through a very sinful stagr, but thankfully God is good and brought us back.

After we came back—humbled, repentant, needy—I began to see my church as it really was. I saw the importance of meekly listening to the preaching of the Word. I saw the love of the saints. I saw men and women fighting every day to beat back sin. I saw faithful attendance as the beautiful thing it was. I saw the joy of the confession and the association we were part of. It took leaving my church to help me see what I almost lost.

I’m so thankful for my church.

I believe that serving our church is our greatest and highest calling as believers. This is the real work that we do. These fellow saints are the ones we work for. Why? Because we love Christ. We love the one who died for us. And what does He love? He loves the Church. He serves the Church. So that’s what we do. We love and serve the church.

Church and Home Quote

 

So, what does that look like for me? Well, the closest church member that I have the privilege of serving every day is my husband. He lives with me. He’s a fellow saint I can serve all the time. And, by serving him, I can serve my whole church. It is good for my church, and for me, to be submissive to him. It serves my church to take care of things for him. And, doubly so, because my husband is a gifted brother in our church with a hope for the pastorate. Every meal I cook, every cup of tea I take to him, each receipt I record, each bathroom I clean, is serving a fellow saint and serving my church.

All of that bleeds into seeing my home as my career. Writing is something I love with all my heart. It is something that makes me feel unbelievable happy. It is something that feels ‘really me’. It is something I’ll do the rest of my life even if I never get published. I love to tell stories, even if I’m only telling them to myself and a small group of fans. But, for all that love and passion, my home is my career. When I got married, I took on this career. I became a homemaker when I said “I Do”. For years, I thought of homemaking as an innate ability, much like having gray or green eyes. I’ve since come to realize that I need to view it as much as a career as a doctor does: study, practice, learn, and grow.

This is what is on my mind, in my thoughts, in my prayers. This is my labor.

Balancing between my love of writing and my career is a work in progress for me right now. I don’t think writing, seeking to get published, or any of that is wrong. I just have to work to keep it in the right spot. It isn’t my heart’s focus. My home and keeping it is my heart’s focus.  This is harder than you’d think. There are so many more glamourous things I could be doing. I could start my own Style Consulting business. I could use my energy to serve my church where that service could be seen by others. I could push and push and push for a writing career. All of that would earn me the praise of those around me. (Except for my husband who would be living and dealing with a dirty house and a proud, praised wife.) All that would be glorious. But, what I’ve been called to as a married woman is to keep my home and help my husband. And my husband needs me to manage all the things so he can work and study. Be content, oh heart, be content.

Whenever I’m struggling with this career, when I see fellow sisters getting to do things I want to do, or be involved with things I want to be involved with, I have to have a little talk with myself. My life isn’t their life. What I see isn’t always what is. This is where God has put me, right now. This is the husband he has given me to help. This is the saint I’m called to serve day in and day out. He’s the one I want to love, not myself.

I believe God gave me a love of writing. I want to use that writing to serve my church. I want to write things that encourage those in the trenches. I also want to serve my home with my writing abilities. Yes, that means working towards bringing in a small income with my writing. But, it also means keeping my writing within certain boundaries. It means writing Children’s and YA stories. And it means not taking too much time out of my day to work on my writing.

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So, when you read articles here on my blog, or see FB posts, Tweets, or Instagram pictures, know that it comes from the heart of a woman who loves her church first, then loves her home, loves being a HearthKeeper, and then loves to tell a good story of light overcoming darkness.


What is your career? How do you balance between your passions and your responsibilities? Do you make those responsibilities your passions? Do you have a church you love? Comment below and tell me about you. 


If you’re interested in supporting my writing, and getting to be a character or characters in my stories, fly on over to my Patreon Page and check out the different options. 🙂

A huge shout out and big hug to my Patrons:

Emily S.

Rachel A.

Naomi A.

Thank you so muc for paying me to write!