Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Knitting in Black

Today on a long road trip I started knitting a black and red purse. It was a pattern I had anticipated buying and attempting for 3 months.

I cast on 60 stitches, the yarn coarse and thick in my hands. From a few feet away it looks like black velvet, but in my fingers it felt like hair. It was really substantial, weighty to me. I thought of the way Walter Wangerin Jr. described Hagar's hair in The Book of God. I thought of my mother's jet black tresses gilted with silver. I thought of the hair of most the world's women, Asian, Indian, African, black and beautiful. I turned my needles to begin the first full row and worked in a cable pattern.

The lives of women feel the opposite of this knitting, they feel unraveled, as if because of the description of life in Genesis 3 we must always be vying for a slice of the power on earth. As if we must set our face against our sisters to get what we really want. I had dinner next to Lake Tahoe tonight and in the posh West Side setting I felt noticed by more women than men. I felt sized up on my way to and from the restroom. I felt separate as if a specimen being recorded and then dismissed. It was a brief moment, but I wondered at how God must feel. Does he long to weave women back together? To redeem not only the woman against man battle that the judgment brought on, but also the woman against woman?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Prayer Journal Day Five- Strength for Lati

Yesterday I got so much done and I never blamed or lashed out (which is a sure sign of my lack of peace). God gave me more serenity than I've had in a while. I wish I could just keep praying for so many of these things every single day. I wonder how that works, so many things I pray for are not recorded and so I don't see if or how God works.

Today I ask God for Lati who is one woman we support in Africa. She is going to be moving into her own house (her husband disowned her for her faith in Jesus the Messiah) this month, setting up the new boundary lines of her land, moving her children in with her, asking the current renters to leave and raising her own money to meet the rest of the loan. She needs strength to become a manager of her land, her home, her family. God be her shepherd through this.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Prayer Journal Day Four- Serenity

Yesterday my sister got married so I didn't have the space or time to write. That was a glorious day, everything a wedding should be surrounded by community from 3 generations in the garden of our childhood home. We all cried aplenty. It was pleasant to be part of so many behind the scenes details. Besides the typical heat of August, it was perfect.

Today I want to pray from serenity in the many, many errands, meetings and work I need to do. Though it's Sunday it's also the only work day I have had for a few days. Soulation emails need to be answered, students need to be written and my own personal correspondence is falling very behind. Emailing tends to get me agitated and restless. For me, it takes a lot of focus to plow through them at a steady pace without working overly hard on some and then wanting to give up on others. God give me serenity (peace, tranquility, even-temperedness) as I work today.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Prayer Journal Day Three- Vision

Well, I have confirmation of what I prayed yesterday. My friend right after I wrote yesterday's blog called me and told me she was going to take a long hike. So I prayed for that hike to be full of quietness and thoughtfulness. Later I found out that the hike provided just that: quiet, solitude and thought.

Today I want to pray for a new friend who is in charge of an important apologetic organization. God give her vision in the next year's events. As she is young let her show herself an example of leadership and faith. I pray that this morning she would see clearly what you want to do with this organization and that this afternoon, during the important board meeting she would have courage and boldness to share what you have revealed to her. Give her tenderness toward you.

I need vision, too. God help me to see myself differently. Help me to be free from wanting to be needed or liked by others. Help me to relax into who I am, especially this day before my sister gets married. I want to keep serving others without having to maintain anything fake. Make me a relaxed person today, relaxed that God is crazy about me, no matter who betrays or deserts me. Today, may my confidence and strength flow from that. Show me your confidence that no matter how jolted only spills out quiet strength.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Prayer Journal Day Two- Time of Rest

Yesterday I saw God at work. In several situations that should have sparked envy in me, I was at peace. I couldn't believe it. I could observe something I could not have, should have wanted and yet, was happy without it. Last night I felt more calm, relaxed and enjoyed my time with other women more than I could have done, had I just tried with sheer will-power. Here's a pic of what I did, a shot of my 2 sisters with me. All I can say, God was working in me.

Today, I want to ask God to give a good friend of mine a few hours of peaceful rest and contemplation. She has asked me to pray this for her. She wants to slow down, God help her to do that today. Help her to say, "No" to events that would clutter her day when she wants to be still, journal and think. I pray that you would give her two hours of quiet today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Prayer Journal Day One- New Eyes

For readers of Fledge (sign up here) we're doing a prayer journal this week. I've decided to post specific prayer requests as a means of watching God as work, where he says, "Yes" and where he says, "No." After quieting my heart and asking God what he'd like to do with me, in me, for me, here's a request that popped up.

God I ask you for a non-competitive spirit today. Help me to measure my success not by the stories I tell or the friends I impress, but by a new set of eyes to see these women as you see them. Show me their strengths God, and don't let the spark of envy flare in me. Show me their weaknesses God, and don't let smugness smoulder in me. Give me new eyes today.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Woman against Woman

After a disappointing meeting with an influential woman, an older, male pastor told me, "Jonalyn, you know who the worst enemy of women is?" He paused with a slow, sad smile spreading across his long face, "Other women."

My heart sunk. This is the legacy we find ourselves living in, a tendency to confess, even if only to ourselves that we'd love the world more if there were less of a certain time of woman. We have the types that bother us. We'd like less of those "passive, mousy women" or "less of those arrogant, male-hating, bossy, self-sufficient women" or "less of those sexy, mincing stepping, buxom air-heads" or "less of the passive-aggressive Christian wives who control their church with a well-placed disapproving glance."

We might want to disavow all the women we love to hate with grand sweeping statements, somewhat like one fictional character in the Angela Thirkell series. Mrs. Brandon let's out a sigh and exclaims,"I want to go to a monastery." To which her older, male friend corrects, "I suppose you mean a nunnery." But Mrs. Brandon was sure she meant a monastery. For a world devoid of women sounded safe, pleasant and less vexing, provided of course that certain women like that brilliant writer Mrs. Moreland and, of course, the Headmaster's wife were admitted.

We all, male, female, European, African, Hispanic, Asian, Indian have our little lists of tolerables and intolerables.