SARAH ERICKSON: FRESHMAN, POLITICS PRE-LAW MAJOR, AT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
Of all the women who have influenced the way I see my own womanhood and have sparked my passion for telling women this same truth, Sarah Erickson has probably had the largest impact on me. Starting from the short talks we had at the beginning of freshman year and expanding to our 3-hour heated conversations in coffee shops, this woman opened my eyes to what Catholic ministry and women’s outreach are missing. It was our conversations that lead me to look to Christ to find my self-worth and to read things like John Paul II’s Letter to Women. She’s the one who implanted an idea in my head that spiraled into me realizing my vocation is in women’s ministry. So obviously, I had to feature her on my blog.
The perfect combination of tradition and modernity, Sarah’s view of feminism embraces her femininity as a beautiful gift to be cherished and embraced fully. “For me the feminist movement is coming to a full understanding that we are in this constant undoing by God and God alone. We are fed so many things by our culture today making us strive towards this mold of a perfect woman, especially in Christianity, and that’s why feminism is so important to Christian women, because God paints us a different narrative than that of our culture. He paints us the narrative that we are loved, we are fulfilled, and completely known by Him and even though we only understand fractions of His beauty and truth here on earth, no man, no relationship, and no affirmation can come into that and complete us the way God does. We should be empowered by His narrative, His gospel, and by the Passion as the ultimate sacrifice of a man and the ultimate giving of oneself. You have to be broken, you have to have let God come to you and say, ‘you are Mine, you are loved, you are significant, you are capable, you are brave, and you are My daughter. That’s the most empowering message that the Christian feminist movement needs to be sharing.” If you want to learn more about women in the Bible who are living out this narrative as a perfect example check out Emily Wilson’s book, I Choose the Sky. It’s phenomenal and it walked me through how God the Father loves and cherishes us as women in scripture.
“You have to be broken, you have to have to let God come to you and say, ‘you are Mine, you are loved, you are significant, you are capable, you are brave, and you are My daughter.”
Sarah believes in a feminism that calls women into greatness, that calls women to authenticity and vulnerability. “There is something so magnificent about being a woman that it would be a shame not to embrace the parts of us that are graceful but also a mess, that are beautiful and elegant but also clumsy, and the parts that are a wreck and the parts of us that are together. We are just striking individuals and we need to embrace that and bring God completely into, not only our image, but also our worth.” As women, we aren’t all called to be the same. Like Sarah, I don’t fit into that grace-filled, peaceful, and perfect Christian woman mold. We are outspoken, we knock things over, and sometimes we don’t say the right thing, but that does not detract from our beauty or our femininity. We, as women, are enough because that is how God made us.
Like just about every woman in this world, modesty has never come easy for Sarah. “I’ve got to be honest, modesty is something that I struggle with to this day. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop struggling to grapple images with what I’m supposed to look like, what I’m taught to look like, what guys expect me to look like, and then this image of what I know God calls me to be.” It’s hard to remember that we are not of this world when it’s this world that we live in every day. To combat this, Sarah has transformed modesty from being just about short shorts or low tops into picturing herself at the Last Supper with Jesus and imagining what that girl would look like. “I don’t have make up on, my hair is not done, I’m not put together and I feel like a mess but I’m still so beautiful and the fact that I’m in His presence and receiving Him is what gives me that beauty. It represents what I want to be as a woman, pure of heart. I’m cleansed of expectations, and cleansed of what I feel I should look like, talk like, and present myself as. When I think of modesty I think of this raw and vulnerable self and how that plays out in my life. It’s looking in the mirror and seeing myself as He sees me.”
“I’ve got to be honest, modesty is something that I struggle with to this day. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop struggling to grapple images with what I’m supposed to look like, what I’m taught to look like, what guys expect me to look like, and then this image of what I know God calls me to be.”
Sarah may not have specific guidelines when it comes to dressing modestly, but she always makes sure to think about the intention of what she is wearing before leaving her room every morning. “At the end of the day it’s just answering, ‘Are you glorifying God through everything you are and everything you wear?’ and when you walk out of your room with that in mind, you are going to radiate beauty through Him. When you dress it has to be done with the right intentions. It’s the image we have of ourselves in our heads that’s important, and when that is distorted, when a guy is behind that image or your trying to compete with a girl, that’s immodest. Dress to glorify the One who made you and Him alone.”
“The God of the World died the most humiliating and excruciating death of all time so that you can get up in the morning and just shine and say I’m enough”
Sarah Erickson has taught me by the way she lives how to be a daughter of Christ. Her example has shown me the beauty and freedom that comes with denying this world and embracing heaven. That our worth is in Christ and Christ alone. “I think girls need to know that their just enough. You are enough. There is nobody in this word who can change that. What’s being said behind your back doesn’t touch that, being called a prude more times than you can count doesn’t touch that, and what boys say about you does not touch that. You are enough. You have to hold that closer to your heart than any single message. The God of the World died the most humiliating and excruciating death of all time so that you can get up in the morning and just shine and say I’m enough. In my best moments and in my worst moments I just am enough because that is what the God of the World imprinted on me from the moment I was conceived. All girls should be able to wake up and know that.”
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