Sometimes I feel quite powerless and small. I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. The heart of the world is breaking wide open, particularly during this summer of sorrow, and we feel powerless to help. We pray and we weep, we listen and we pay attention but it never feels like quite enough.
But let me settle one thing: We are never powerless.
I believe with my whole heart is that the daughters of God were called to be Beloved Warriors. That calling might look different for each of us – some are called to the front lines, others of us are called to beautiful obscurity. But as a Jesus Feminist – someone whose feminism was birthed in and is now shaped by Jesus Christ – I want to engage with the fullness of that calling and the wonder-working power.
I want to pray with my voice and heart, absolutely, but you better believe I’m also going to pray with my wallet and with my mind and with my feet and my hands.
We’ve not been called to the people-pleasing life, to the approval seeking life, to the bow-down-and-give-up life or the sit-down-and-shut-up life. We’ve been called to the peace-making life, the truth-telling life, the she-who-the-Son-sets-free-is-free-indeed life.
We’ve been called to the spirit-filled and God-breathed life, living out the ways of the Kingdom and the life in Christ to every corner of our humanity. We are, what N.T. Wright calls, parables of hope.
We’ve been called to the life of the beloved. We’ve been called to the life of the disciple. We are not powerless.
So, I’ve decided to start highlighting simple ways for us to engage as beloved warriors on behalf of the daughters of the world. I hope to feature one way to engage with God in peace-making every week – a simple and from-home way to help write a better story for God’s girls in many locations and contexts around the world.
These are simple things, maybe you’d say they aren’t that big of a deal, really.
But we serve a God who takes the smallest seed of peace and justice that we can plant and then….watch….watch….watch….the mighty oak that will appear. These seeds are seeds of faith.
As I wrote last week about how to have hope that God is transforming the world, sometimes, absolutely, mountains move in a great sweep, picked up and cast out into the sea.
But these days I find that God often asks us to move a mountain one small stone a time.
Faithfulness is picking up my small stones, instead of screwing my eyes shut and denying the existence of the mountain.
This week, we’re going to send new and gently used books to the women of Joe’s Addiction Community in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.
I received a beautiful message from Jamie Z. on my Facebook page a few days ago. As soon as I read it, I cried. I emailed her and asked for permission to share this idea with our community here. I knew you would love this. Jamie and her team have been leading the ladies in their community in a study of Jesus Feminist.
But one night, their book discussion didn’t go so well….check out what Jamie had to say:
We encountered a sad and sobering reality, as we read a chapter called Patron Saints, Spiritual Midwives and Biblical Womanhood. In this chapter, Sarah talks about the many women who have been heroes in her life. Bible characters, such as Deborah, Esther, Mary Magdalene, historical figures, like Corrie ten Boom and Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman, Amy Carmichael, Dorothy Day, Gladys Aylward.
As I read out loud to our precious ladies, the tension in the room built. It was tangible. I wasn’t sure what was happening. After reading the chapter, I simply asked one of the Discussion Questions that the author has for the chapter: Who are some of the women heroes in your life, in your history?
There was silence. Total silence. Everyone looked around the room at one another. Finally one of the ladies (an incredibly strong woman who has survived a lifetime of unspeakable abuse), spoke through closed throat and tear-filled eyes. She said, “I’m so far behind. I don’t know if I’ll ever catch up. I don’t even know who any of these women are that you read about.” Another woman said, “I have no one. No women in my history that I could look up to.” The others in the room nodded.
No mothers, no grandmothers, no female community leaders, no role models, NO HEROES at all.
So many of us have grown up in the comfort of Sunday School, of Christian schools or home schooling. Many of these ladies have not even graduated high school. They are the FIRST in their family line to lift their heads from the dust and look to a possibility of a better future for themselves and for their daughters.
So Jamie Z. has decided to create a library for her friends. She wants to create a REAL bookshelf full of biographies and Bible stories about women of our history and legacy – missionaries, women of valour, faithful women, kingdom women, women who have changed the world. The women who can read can check them out, but they’ll also be available to do read-alouds for women who are still learning to read. Biography, autobiography, essays, children’s books, young adult books, and audio books, whatever – they want to begin to create spiritual midwives and patron saints for each other.
I believe in the work that Jamie is doing, absolutely, but I also believe in each woman who is there. They are women of valour! This is kingdom work.
Beloved Warriors, here is what we will do: let’s build the library for these precious women.
If you have these kinds of books just sitting on your shelf, please consider mailing them to Jamie! Walk around your house or your local bookstore or your church library, toss a few books into a box, write a note of encouragement, and pop it in the mail.
Send new or gently used to 1806B SE 59th St. Oklahoma City, OK 73129.
For instance, you could send books about Corrie ten Boom, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Harriet Tubman, Amy Carmichael, Evangeline Booth, Gladys Aylward, the women of the Bible, or even current heroes like Malala Yousafi.
And Jamie, to you and all the women – eshet chayil! Woman of valour! We are all cheering you on.