18 Sep 2013

I am woman, hear me ... pray!

For most of my life, I have not enjoyed being a woman. 

People tell you it's the weaker sex, the manipulative, vulnerable one that listened to the snake first.
Women close to me had a hard life, making ends meet...and every page of my life i turn, i meet more of such women; like an unending sequel: more women it seems sacrifice and are taken for granted. Doesn't feel fair.
Personally I have experienced rejection and been imposed limits because of my gender (they tell me so!).

this portrait is how most women appear to me: giving and and sustaining life, lonesome and powerless

Yet -

God said He basically makes two models: male and female (and i think our definitions of these require more depth). Anyway, I grew up with very few men I admired so I don't think I want to be a man. That decision was probably sealed by the time I was fifteen or so. But it would take me many more years to uncover what a woman is about, to accept myself as one, to welcome other women and be willing to speak to groups of women, to write for women..... - and I am still finding out more!

As a writer, my search for truth and authenticity develops into articles and books of course! Here's one:
Femme Max?!

One of the things I puzzled over is whether women have a spiritual life that is different from men's.
It is no secret that throughout history, women have always been more religious than men; even though men usually hold the 'professional office'.

This led me on a journey to read about great women of the church, the women in the Bible, and just to open my eyes and see my sisters all around me. I found so much pain yet so much amazing colour, strength, and beauty.

One of my favourite readings is Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle. It is a magnificent work on the prayer life of women. She was actually asked by her male superiors to write about her prayer life in order to instruct others. Something about her must really stand out! I must add I was drawn to her after hearing that she said to God once when she fell, "if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!" Ha, what gumption!

As this journey continues; I am led to rethink this blog! I want to urge readers to live real and true. Yet i have created a section for women. It doesn't make sense. Everything i write about is filtered through my woman-self. Gender is a huge part of our identity and psyche (note i am not saying sexuality or sex).

So i am going to take out the women section and just write as me: woman - daughter, sister, wife, mother...God's lil' precocious gal !

Know that you are reading a woman. One serious about God, faith-life, just life, and being all she can be and helping others to desire and experience more of what it means To Really Live.

Let us pray:
God, in your wisdom, you shaped and formed me a woman. I have grown up in form; but let me also grow into my form. Let me grow in substance. Grant me grace to receive myself as a gift first; to see myself the way Truth sees me. Help me tear away and resist the labels and limits the world places on me. Alert me to my mortal enemies of sloth, fear and anger. Let me not be lazy to grow my talents. Let me not be afraid of failure, disapproval or rejection. Let me not stew in anger which constricts my being.
Let me hear your great word of affirmation, celebration. Let this song of your infinite love reverberate through my being and play on through my days until word and tone shape and define me, strong, true and beautiful. Amen.

Here's great stuff to read about women:

Lost Women ...of the Bible

Carolyn Custis James writes a nifty book about the identity and calling of women that goes beyond the standard stuff. She should know. As a good pastor's girl, she struggled when the usual stuff of life seem to pass her by: marriage and kids. What makes a woman then?

In this volume, she takes us through lesser and little talked about characters - from Mrs Noah to shady ones like Tamar. Even Hannah whom we know so well gets a fresh portraiture because Carolyn is a serious theologian. Her deft words and decisive scholarship brings these women to life and touches our hearts: there is a pain, darkness, and confusion we can readily recognise and feel for. 

Custis urges us to reach for the one power we all have in equal measure: the power to choose.

Enjoy and rediscover!

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