Monday 19 March 2012

My heroine - Inez Milholland

Inez Milholland is one of my inspirations, she is considered the first female martyr of the Women's Movement. She was beautiful and came from a privileged background but she gave everything for the sake of human rights for others and especially women. This is her at the Woman's Suffrage Parade - marching for the vote!

How are we free?

Are we free? Are we equals?
I am tired of hearing so-called religious people condemn the idea of freedom and equality. How are we free? The question deepens – how as women, are we free?
The reality of rape is our continual reality in this place we call home. And when I think about it, it sickens me. The fact that God made me a woman and gave me dominion over my own body and then somebody comes and takes that away. By force. Against the desire of the person being raped. Who gives someone else that right! No one. We are taught about the sanctity of intimacy and the sanctity of our womanhood and yet here someone filled with evil destroys something sacred, someone cherished, something that belongs to you or me. Does that make us free?
And then we scream from our pulpits our women are inferior and men superior. Theologians (and I have heard them with my own ears!) simply state again – that a woman’s body belongs to a man – her husband and that she needs to submit to him in all ways including sexually. That is her duty. So where then are we left? Where is a woman left? Where is her voice? Where are her needs or wants or desires? Where is her will? Where is she? It sickens me.
I met a woman who was sexually abused within her marriage for many years, when she approached the church they told her that within marriage there is no such thing as sexual abuse – because a woman must submit to a man! I do not know how these people understand God but it is not the same God that I know – that tells me I have freedom, I have freedom over my own body, over my own choices, over my life. With that freedom, the reality of responsibility but the responsibility should be mine and not someone else’s.
I grow weary of people sending out contradictory messages – we need to start opening up those closed eyes and realize that we are who we are. Accept it and do not hate the sister who speaks up for equality it is because of her voice that one day someone may reach out to you. We need to embrace one another as equals and not as inferior, as co-rulers and not as masters and subjects.

Thursday 1 March 2012

Encourage The Heart - Facing The Giants Death Crawl

Loss and grief

Isaiah 53:3 (He was) despised and rejected by men, a man of pains and knowing sickness.

There are different kinds of losses in the world today, there are Tangible losses - the death of a life partner, the loss of a limb, a stolen car, a house destroyed by a fire or natural disaster. Then there are symbolic losses, the loss of a job, the loss of a friendship, self esteem. There are also secondary losses, the loss of a mother or father, mentor, teacher, coach, a woman who has a mastectomy may feel like she has lost her sense of being a woman. Loss is complicated and it is complex and no one bears it exactly the same, because we are all different and that is perfectly fine.

I have come to learn through Gods wisdom that for some time, I have lost some people, some friendships and some realities that others take for granted. I did not realize my own grief at losing a close friend at her own choice, and then other realities; coupled with the death of a spiritual mom who will always be missed.
I lost the ability to buy food because I could not find a job, I lost my sense of being worthy and I lost the essence of being alive. It is okay. God was my biggest part of the journey - as I look over all these realities, I see now with deeper clarity how much I have changed through it all. My understanding and acceptance of people has grown, my willingness to be alongside those who suffer without fear of saying the wrong thing - has abated. And I have greater compassion - all because God was in it with me.

I often listen to people around me and cringe at their lack of sensitivity and plight of others. I cannot understand this. And I do not believe I needed to grieve in order to understand this. 10 years ago when I was first saved God told me - I am going to take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh - then begun the "transplant" process. As God gave me my heart transplant I begun to feel the pain of others and the sufferings of the world - so much so that I remember asking God many years ago to end it all! I felt powerless among the suffering, God allowed me to feel intense suffering and to see intense suffering, of the earth, the animals, of nature, creation and then mankind. I cannot relate this without crying, that was 10 years ago. I never cried, not even more then 5 times; before I was saved. God changed me, it was not within me but within Him.

As my vision grows clearer, I know that because God was in my suffering - I have changed.
And I am not writing this from a place of comfort and relief - in fact I am writing this from within a place of suffering, a place that has made no sense but I am here and God is with me and I with Him.