eowyn: a model for strong women

As a Tolkien-nut (certifiable), I have spent many hours reading, watching, and contemplating the characters that Professor Tolkien wrote in his Lord of the Rings trilogy.  If you pressed me on which character was my favourite, I’d say, “Arwen,” because she is graceful, beautiful, and holds the image of romance for me.  Her story (found in the addendums of the books) is one of sacrifice and commitment.  She sacrificed her Elvish destiny and privilege (of immortality) for the man she loved (Aragorn) and chose to live as a mortal, loving him all the while.  It’s a painfully beautiful story and one that was well-represented in Peter Jackson’s movies.

But the character who is most like me at this stage in my life isn’t Arwen.  Yes, Arwen was beautiful and graceful and I’d like to be like her, with her Elvish wisdom and personality, but Eowyn is much closer to me and who God has called me to be.  Eowyn’s love for Aragorn is unrequited (although he recognizes her fondness of him and acknowledges it), but where we are similar is that she is stronger than her pain and her fear. And somehow, so am I.

I won’t turn this post in to a Tolkien-love-fest, so bear with me.  Eowyn is orphaned and is dedicated to caring for her uncle (Theoden, King) and serving in his court.  Her brother has been banished from the court through deception and lies, and her King is under the evil presence and power of a wizard who is destroying their land.

Eowyn hears whispered lies … the movie has them spoken by a forked-tongue apprentice of an evil wizard, and although her character pauses for a moment and lets them sink in, she ultimately pulls away and calls the words what they are.  Her voice is strong and she says, “Your words are poison,” and walks away.

In my own life, the whispered lies of the Enemy have been strong and focused.  “He won’t love you…” or “You’re not capable of ….”  and “You’ll never be able to serve God as long as you’re …. ”  These words have been hard to overcome; I will fully admit this.  But with each encounter with God, I come away stronger, more determined, and able to call the Liar’s words for what they are:  poison.

After the scene where Eowyn walks away from the one who speaks poisonous words, she is seen as a woman of valour.  A woman who knows her own strength (or thinks she does) and desperately wants to fight the evil she sees in her world of Middle Earth.  Yet she is told regularly that she cannot:  she is a woman and women are to stay in the court and care for others during times of battle.  Her charge is “an honourable charge,” as Aragorn reminds her, but it is not her heart.  Her heart is that of a warrior.

Like Eowyn, my heart is that of a warrior.  Personality-wise, I’m an introvert who would rather be bookish and nesting in her home than out fighting battles.  But when the battle hits home and I know there are those around me who suffer and hear the same whispered lies I have been told, I want to shout the Truth from the rooftops.  I want to scream and run in to battle, just to hack off the arms of those who perpetuate the lies and bind others up in chains.  Well, most of me does.  I will take on the battle willingly and sacrifice myself to it.  It takes a large toll on my physical body and mind, but if through my struggle, someone else can be free, then I’ll do it – gladly.  Which is what Eowyn wanted to do:  free her people through her battle and struggle with the enemy forces in Middle Earth.

Challenges have been everywhere lately, and yet, as I rebound from the struggle & the ins and outs of the situation at hand, I’m reminded that I am *still* a shield-maiden.  I am *still* a warrior – for my husband, for our home, and for our marriage.  It’s nothing I can do alone (few things in life are done in complete solitude & isolation), but it is something that with the combined strength of my husband, I can plod forward.  I am still Eowyn – I still have the heart of a warrior, even if it’s not to save the world, but just my little corner of it.

I am not foolish – I do not go in to battle unarmed and unaware.  And I certainly don’t do it unprepared.  But when my back is to the wall, the ferocity I can muster is reminiscent of a war-cry on the fields of battle.  Paul reminds us that the fight is real (Ephesians 6:11-18), but it’s not a battle against flesh & blood.  Neither is my husband’s addiction.  He wages war and fights – but it’s not a battle that is easily won or one that is against a seen-enemy.  And when he gets tired (too tired to fight), I am there.  I can hold the shield and give him a place to rest, a place to recuperate, and a place to formulate a new plan with God.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t get tired – God knows that happens regularly – but it means that as I support him, I am Eowyn to his King Theoden.  He’s wounded on the battlefield and being threatened, and I have summoned the strength (somehow) to chop off the head of a Fell Beast that threatens to devour him.

Some days the battle is more ferocious than others.  Some days the battle leaves me in a heap of exhaustion and puddles of tears.  But when it comes to fighting for my marriage & family, I will shake off the poisonous lies of the Enemy and I will stand to fight another day.

It’s simply too important for me to call it quits.

His and his,

This entry was posted on 282149H Dec 2008 and is filed under Forgiveness, Path to Healing, Pornography, Sexual Brokenness, SSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • http://irresistiblebliss.blogspot.com/ Heidi

    I got goosebumps once you started to speak of Eowyn! Makes me want to watch all 3 movies again, because they really do affect one deeply. Like you, I connect with her, very much so.

    I hope you become stronger and slay more dragons as each day, month, year goes by.

    I started a blog specifically dedicated to marriage by the way. We’ll see how personal I get!

  • Who Am I

    Oh that more men would have co warriors like you as wives in their struggles with sexual temptation.

    Hang in there.

    Remember “That love never fails.”

  • http://christiannymphos.org/ Cumingirl

    Now you have me wanting to get out my trilogy and watch them back to back to back again! What a warrior you are Cori. I don’t get much free time to read a lot of blogs, but I’m so glad I read this tonight. Oh that we would all stand to fight another day.

  • http://www.yourmarriagerestored.com Annalea

    Hi Cori,

    Just muckin’ around on your blog tonight. Of course, it was so God because I needed to read your post about Eowyn. Tonight, I needed to read the words:

    “I will take on the battle willingly and sacrifice myself to it. It takes a large toll on my physical body and mind, but if through my struggle, someone else can be free, then I’ll do it – gladly.”

    It’s been rough in marriage ministry this week – so much wounding. And it’s difficult for me to hang it up when I hang up the phone. A lot of emotional and physical exhaustion and some serious spiritual warfare going on in my spirit. Yet, as you said, if just one marriage can be set free, then I’ll do it – and gladly.

    Let’s start calling each other Eowyn :-) You can be Eowyn The First and I’ll be Eowyn The Second.

  • cori

    Hi Annalea –

    Deal. :)

    I need to go back and watch these movies again – to remind myself how it’s really a fulfillment of the servant-passage in Philippians 2 to put myself on the line like that for others.

    But I really get how hard it is to divorce yourself from the reality of another’s pain – especially when you’re in a place of confidence and trust. That’s one of the things that I realize I will have to be on the alert about once I’m done with this next degree & actually in a clinical/therapeutic setting. I’m going to have to have a pressure-valve for relieving the concern & ache that will build up, dealing with broken people.

    So let’s be Eowyn together, even though I really want to be Arwen & not be involved in the battle at all, just enjoy the love of my Aragorn. 😉


  • http://www.yourmarriagerestored.com Annalea

    Eowyn The First (Eowyn I),

    Well, we could learn the Elfen language and get pointed prosthetic ears. :-) That would at least get us closer to being Arwen ~ Aragorn notwithstanding. What say you?

    Are you a therapist? I’ve often wondered how therapists decompress. They must have to and I’d hope that in their studies there’s a required course dedicated to teach this very thing.

    I suppose my way(s) to do this would be knitting (or some sort of crafting), eating (need to be careful with this one) :-), singing/dancing, making love to Michael, playing with my children, praying, praying in the spirit (still quite new at this), leaning on Michael, pressing in to God.

    Hmmm…just thought of something else. Isn’t Arwen involved in a battle as well? You said,

    “She sacrificed her Elvish destiny and privilege (of immortality) for the man she loved (Aragorn) and chose to live as a mortal, loving him all the while. ”

    Surely there are great battles that take place within these words.

    Just something to consider.

    Eowyn The Second (Eowyn II)

  • cori

    Excellent points, Eowyn II. 😉

    I have an MA from seminary but didn’t take enough counseling courses to pass a licensing exam, and last summer, God told me to go back for another MA, this time in Marriage & Family Therapy with the intent of getting licensed. It’s not that I *need* the degree to write about what I’m supposed to write about, but He impressed upon me that doing this will lend credibility for those who would otherwise doubt my message. So I’m being obedient. I thought it was going to be this fall, but finances haven’t been able to manage it thus far – His plan, His timing, His provision, right?

    I think your decompression-plan is a good one. I add to that my creative-side – I write, knit, sew, take photographs, and do other creative things to help keep myself sane. 😉 Sometimes I find that just skin-to-skin touch (what Shula calls “the sacred naked”) is enough to decompress me, too – just sitting silently touching my DH.

    Like most “planners,” I find that if I have thought out what my possible “escape pods” or “decompression plans” are, I’m more likely to be able to actually DO them instead of aimlessly wandering, frustrating myself with the need to do something to de-stress/decompress and not being able to figure out what to do.

    Eowyn I

  • http://www.yourmarriagerestored.com Annalea

    Eowyn I,

    The “Sacred Naked”….I love that! Leave it to Shula to term it so perfectly. Michael rubs my hair every night which really helps me relax. Even a small touch can bring so much healing.

    You knit?!? I just finished my first felted piece. Washed it 4 times and it still didn’t felt up as much as I thought it would – 100% wool too. Hmmmm…
    Anyway, I just finished a little knitted makeup bag (trying to use up my endless supply of left-over yarn) lined with hot pink satin. Love the color combination BUT, I sewed the lining too close to the zipper and now it gets stuck every time I try to open or close it. Ugh! This frustrates me no end! Not giving up though as I already have plans to make another. Not sure if I want to rip out the satin and re-position it.

    Okay….now I’m way off topic. It’s just that talk of crafting (and food and marriage) gets my juices going :-)

    Good for you for heeding God’s call in your life. He will never steer you wrong and can always see what we can’t.

    Good night, sleep tight!
    Eowyn II

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