Here I am, leaving for Haiti tomorrow and I read Sarah Bessey’s blog. Always she finds a way to strike some chord in me that makes my heart respond. This time it is about women. Her personal Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives. Never heard of those terms? Me either, and I love that I hadn’t and now have and can and do have my own.
To quote Sarah:
I use the terms Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives to explain how I feel about the women intrinsically linked to my spiritual journey.
It’s an imperfect metaphor, but in a way, Spiritual Midwives helped God give birth to some new part of me. These women were the midwives – by their lives, their faith, their obedience, their words, their prayers, their real-life example – for the work that God birthed in me, and through me (they are the women I know personally). I use the phrase Patron Saint to explain how I feel about the women, both past and present, who have shepherded me through their work and legacy, and whom I seek to emulate in some way (these are the women I don’t know personally).
What a concept! It makes me think, reflect and dig deeper. It takes my mind off me and to others which is where it should be most often.
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know I’m blessed by a mother whose life has been one of service to others in the name of love, which is God. My mother-in-law is the most incredible woman of faith I’ve ever known and her influence is stamped on our family.
But there is one who I’ve shared little about. Perhaps because I knew her the least. Grandma Durham lived in California from the time I was born in Massachusetts. We seldom saw her in my childhood but here’s what I know. They had cots in the backyard of their Marysville, CA home. Men could sleep on those metal frames holding a thin mattress under the open sky and grandma would cook a pot of beans to serve them. Somewhere I think I heard they paid 50 cents but more likely they paid in produce; whatever they picked from the fields.
This wasn’t their family business. This was her mission. Grandma’s service to God. Her calling to serve others.
It wasn’t too many years ago mama told me about Grandma buying a pair of stockings for a man. He came to church but didn’t quite fit in. The impression I got was he was transgendered. This would have been years ago and he needed a pair of stockings. No one would help this man with this particular need except Grandma. She cared for people, period. God could take care of the details but she loved them and put that love in action.Yes, to be sure, she is one of my Spiritual Midwives.
Patron Saints I have more of a problem with as the term makes me a wee bit shaky. However, Catherine Booth, wife of our founder, William would be leading the way. She was a strong woman who influenced William and the direction of the Salvation Army in many areas. Her compassion and conviction to act has influenced many over the years.
There are so many. From the bible I think of Esther and Rahab and Mary, mother of Jesus. Brave women called to serve and used of God in unexpected ways.
The blogosphere has introduced me to so many women who take me into their journey as they write their struggles, doubts and hopes and bare their souls. Sarah Markley, Ann Voskamp, Sarah Bessey are three such women who draw me into a place that brings me closer to God’s breath reminding me I am His.
I fully expect to come back from Haiti with new women to add to this list. Women in the making, perhaps, as we visit the school and children’s home. More Spiritual Midwives to bring me through another delivery of spirit calling my name, calling us to follow deeper. Yes, that will happen.