Today I am linking with Sarah Bessey in honor of International Women's Day Synchro-blog. Go here to find out more.
When I think of biblical saints I think of my heroes like Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. I think of Deborah and Rahab and Ruth. I think of the widows who were persistent and the one at the well. I think of those who may have had a hand in writing the words we read today.
In the church I think of those women who have gone before me. Those like the Philadelphia 11 and Florence Li Tim-Oi and Katharine Jefferts Schori. Yet I also think of those women who have been faithful to the church whose names have never been recorded. Those who gave of their hearts and souls in ways many did not see. Those who polished the brass and silver, arranged the flowers, waxed the pews, and prayed without ceasing for the church and its people. Those who showed up and gave week after week in faithfulness to a place that did not always value them. They are spiritual midwives as well.
In my own life there have been teachers, mothers of friends, childhood friends, and those occasional superstars like my first grade teacher who taught me a love for books (that would become an escape from a painful world when I needed it). While I wish for more tangible memories there are the stories and the emotional memories of the grandmothers who loved me and prayed for me daily. Those hints of hugs and smells and smiles that have been lost with age yet their patina of recollection colors my soul today.
There are those women who believe in God sized dreams and write from the heart about being a woman, a mom, a sister, a child of God who stumbles and still triumphs. I won’t name names because many you know, but most you don’t.
They are those women like the young mother who is reaching out to other single moms or the one who touches others struggling with PPD.
The ones who create art in words or paint or fabric to tell the story of telling the truth and encourage me to do the same.
They are the sisters God has sent into my life.
The one who believed in my call to ordained ministry and walked with me for coming on twenty years even when I was running from God.
The one I met on a holy mountain who taught me to trust women for the first time ever and who teaches me daily about laughing in Wal-Mart and breathing when I can do nothing else.
The one who helped me untangle the knots who I still run into from time to time and even now gives those life giving hugs that help put me back together.
The one I met in a little southern town who prays for me when I have no words.
The one from high school who is finding joy in the pain of living into her new life.
The one I have never met in person who I trust with the hot mess me because God shows me daily she is safe.
The daughter who battles against the odds for the beautiful grace filled gift I call da baby.
And da baby who surprises us every day as she reaches another mark and jumps another hurdle.
Tears flow as these words fly…oh how lucky I am!
Why do I forget these women who show me how to live, love, laugh, and breathe?
These women I meet in the Bible, the church, and always in Wal-Mart.
How can I feel alone when some have walked before me and many walk with me even now?
Thank you God for the gift of Spiritual Midwives. Women who use the ordinary to make the world extraordinary.