“I am not sure I am a feminist…I wear makeup…”I carefully, hesitantly laid out at the desk of Claudia Camp one late spring afternoon in her office in Beasley Hall. She leaned forward trying emphatically to suppress a chuckle, getting so close the my face, removing her spectacles and triumphantly exclaiming “You can be a feminist and wear make-up–I am wearing mascara!”
Never mind that I couldn’t see a speck of Loreal on her too close eye lashes…
It took me years and a Master of Divinity to figure out exactly what I was working out and trying to express all those years ago sitting in the 1970s mass produced office chair on the third floor of Beasley. I love cooking–it is a sacrament that I offer the people I love and even people I don’t much care for. I prefer dresses and love yard work. I rock climb and do yoga and sew. And I believe in mascara. I believe in the power of choice–to choose to wear or not wear mascara. To choose to work outside the home or to fully put your education and passion to shaping the next generation living in your home. But most importantly I believe that women are powerful and that we are most powerful when we support one another in growing into the people God created us to be.
Fast forward a little over a decade from that warm spring day in Beasley…I am a full-time vocational minister who serves women and children specifically and a mother who grew and brought into the world two bright and energetic girls. My oldest daughter’s favorite game to play in the yard these days, donning a tomato stake as a staff is “girl-Moses” because why not? Moses was powerful and so is she. Moses was called by God and so is she. God had a heart for Moses understanding who he was and God has a heart for her learning the same thing.
I know what I was getting at all those years ago and realize that Claudia and I were sitting there trying to wrap our arms around the same thing, although from different directions. I believe that there is power in choice, there is power in what we choose to wear or not wear and that that power belongs to each and every human God has created. Mascara, clothes, names, identities, they belong to us because ultimately when we exercise our power to choose, we exercise our listening to who we are and who God created us to be. And I believe that whoever that is, is beautiful, thoughtful, powerful and kind–mascara or not.
Cara Gilger serves on staff at First Christian Church, McKinney, Texas, with a focus in Christian Education. Cara grew up in Oklahoma, but crossed the Red River as soon as possible to attend Texas Christian University, graduating in 2004 with a Bachelors in Religions Studies. Cara continued her studies in Nashville at Vanderbilt Divinity School where she received her Masters of Divinity. Cara lives with her husband Tim and two daughters and when she’s not doing ministry or chasing two active girls she can be found practicing yoga, reading or gardening.