Happy International Women’s Day! Happy second Sunday of Lent! Happy birthday to my beloved Pappy! So many things to celebrate/give up/celebrate on one day: could get a bit confusing. 🙂
The Lenten Reflection guide calls us to reflect on hunger this week: Journey into the Brokenness of Hunger. The author gives world wide statistics on how many people go hungry, how many people will go hungry, what a typical amount of money for a given meal looks like, and what the picture of present consumption vs. future popululation figures looks like (*bleak*). It’s enough to make me want to put my head under a pillow, or listen to the new U2 album really loud so that I can’t hear the worries – then again, listening to our current day St. Bono probably isn’t the best “numb out” material. Stinkin’ sensitivity to the Spirit.
The guide offers a practice of planning meals using $2.00 per person a day – the worldwide average amount of money available for sustaining life (but actually, many exist of less). Immediately, my defenses went up:
- But I can’t plan around that! I already have things planned out for the week.
- I don’t know how much this stuff cost, and I already have it on hand.
- I can’t provide the boys with nutritious food for that much money.
- What about my blood sugar issues? I need protein: that’s expensive.
- This takes too much time. I have other things that need to get done.
- Excuse. Excuse. Excuse. Excuse.
Which brings me to International Women’s Day. Feeding the family tends to fall down the shoot as “women’s work”. How many women don’t have the choice of opting out of this practice? How many women make it work – graciously – without their families knowing the work, the labor, the cost behind it – as an act of love – lean into the Lord, meal by meal, to make ends meet?
I’ve been reading a chronological mashup of Kings and Chronicles lately: talk about a crazy time period. Prosperity, famine, prosperity, famine. Good kings, bad kings, mediocre kings, and everything in between. While the stories of the different rulers run together (Was he Israel or Judah? Tore down high places? Offereed pagan sacrifices? Built up defences? Got hit with disease?), the stories of two women stand out: the woman who fed Elijah and her containers overflowed with flour and oil, and the woman who housed Elisha and he promised she would have a son. One was poor; one was rich. One was asked for hospitality; one offered it. Initially one had a son; one was without. But they both eventually had children, and they both almost lost what they treasured. These women had faith enough to seek out an intercessor: they wrestled with God over the things that were precious to them – the future that they believed God had promised them.
This doesn’t happen in every situation. I’ve seen women pray and plead and fast and ask over and over and over of the Lord to heal their children/husband/sister/friend: the ill one doesn’t make it. It’s the faith, the persistence, I see so many women equipped with. Their life circumstances, their struggles, their belief in the future that God has promised them: they keep that in their day-to-day view, driving and drawing them closer to God. Not only do they make do: they flourish. And they reach out to work with intercessors if that’s what the situation calls for, pride be damned.
Today I think about the women who’ve been in my life: my first grade teacher who I deemed would still love me even if my mom was mad at me, a woman who taught my eldest in Sunday School the same songs she taught me at day camp, my mama and her friends and how we kids never had to worry that there were economic hard times – and there were which I’m just finding out about now. Friends, teachers, advisors, writers, singers, knitters, chefs, missionaries, moms, students, pray-ers, intercessors leaning into the leanness of the time and allowing it to transform them more into the image of Christ for the sake of others.
So Happy International Women’s Day! Happy second Sunday of Lent! [And Happy Birthday to my Pappy who has always affirmed me, has taught me, and has been willing to eat $2.00 worth of my cookies as a meal.]
“The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” (And we wonder where women get it 🙂 ).