But it was also very confusing. At one particular youth
retreat, the explicit teaching was to have a closed mind. I can
still remember the visual props that had bright yellow warning
road signs with the precise message “open minds-closed for
repairs.” Having an open mind as we headed toward higher
education and beyond was discouraged and warned against.
Fear overpowered any messages of grace.
When I was in college, a youth minister from my
childhood church told me that God had told him that I was
going to be a minister’s wife and what an amazing privilege and
special call that would be. At that point in my life, I was pretty
sure I was going to be Mark’s wife, and minister did not seem
to be his calling. Though I could not give clear voice to the
idea at the time, an internal discomfort around the differing
male and female roles and privileges within this religious
tradition was budding. My evolving feminist sensibilities within
whispered that “wife of minister” may not always be such a
During three and a half years of dating, Mark and I
talked of our expectations and vision of marriage and family.
We both hailed from fairly traditional and conservative homes,
and we envisioned that we would follow suit. He wanted to
pursue a career, and my wishes were, if possible, to stay home
and focus my energy on raising children. That had always been
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