Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Question of A Disappointed Woman

We sat alone together,

My empty heart and I -

My lonely heart,

My hungry, cheated heart -

We sat and reasoned why.

We asked each other why this thing should be.

We argued it together, drearily,

My hungry disappointed heart and I.

For we had asked no more

Than other women clamoured for, and got.

No, nor so much.

We asked a place to store

our treasure trove.

The right to pour and pour

Life's wine away. We did not want to take,

But, just to give, and give - for giving's sake.

"O God! O God!" I said.

"The other women cry to Thee for bread.

But give me crumbs; I shall be satisfied.

Give me the right to open my heart wide.

I would expend. 'Tis thus that women grow.

Lord, pity me. For Thou hast made me so!"

He heard me. Yes, He heard.

But life had slipped,

And He had said no word

(Or thus I thought), and so

I put my hand out, one dark night, and


His garment's hem...for He is very nigh.

To all who call upon Him...I had cried,

And He was there, beside.

My pillow. So, I said:

"Now Thou art here, I will not let Thee go

Till Thou hast answered

My earnest questioning

Explained away this thing.

For here am I,

Thy creature, and I cannot understand

Why Thou, Who openest Thy bounteous Hand

And satisfiest birds and beasts and flowers

With golden sunbeams and with silver showers,

And sendest winds to bless the violet,

Canst so forget

A woman...yea, a woman Thou hast set

Upon this earth, whether she will or no.

What has she done, that Thou should'st serve her so?

"Lord, there is comfort in Thee, when great ills

Afflict mankind. And when our erring wills

Lead us astray,

Then Thou hast planned a way

To rescue us. And in the hour of death,

Thy Life will triumph, so the Scripture said...

But - I can bring Thee no smooth shibboleth -

I ask today,

What hast Thou got to say

To women, in whose ears the crushing 'Nay'

Has sounded forth? Is there a salve?

If so,

I want to let the other women know."

* * *

"My little one," He said,

"You who have cried so piteously for bread,

But have not known

That woman does not live by bread alone.

In joy's swift ecstasy, or sorrow's night,

Can tempting winds lure her appetite?

And yet she lives! ... And is it, then, too much

To think that He,

Who made a woman's frame so skilfully,

And can sustain it without wheaten bread,

Can also see her spirit-nature fed?

What? Shall I let her life limp on a crutch?

And lead her passionate heart uncomforted?

"Why, Who first thought of Womansoul, and made her?

Whose musings moulded her?

Whose hands arrayed her

In fold on fold of winsome wistfulness?

Oh, it was I!

And yet, when women cry,

And seek for words to utter their distress,

They pray as though I neither know nor care;

As though Chance fashioned Woman, unaware.

They weep! And how they sigh!

As though I had a grudge against them.

. . . I!

"And thou would'st grow?

But how the lilies grow? They never fret

Nor grieve because they think I may forget

Their daily dole of sun and silver dew

They never strive

To keep themselves alive,

As human creatures do.

They never beckon far-off Happiness,

Nor beat back coming Woe.

I care for them; and shall I love thee less?

Not so, child! Oh, not so!"

"But life has slipped away," I whispered then.

"There's no time left for winds to blow again

And change my desert to a garden fair.

Look in my face! Look at my whitning hair!"

"No, 'time'? Nay, that is true! But,"

answered He,

"Wert thou not fashioned for Eternity?

Oh, tarry thou My leisure, child; for, see,

It doth not yet appear what thou shalt be."

* * *

And so, I am living by the day.

With just sufficient grace

To fill my own small place.

With just enough of quiet happiness

To spill a little here and there; to bless

Some lonelier heart on some more straitened way.

I do not cry or clamour any more;

Not shake the fast-locked door.

I am so sure that He Who holds the key

On the right day will open it for me.

- Faye Inchfawn, Homely Verses of A Home-Lover

My great-grandmother had this old book of poetry written by a woman around the turn of the century. She bequeathed it to my mother about 30 years ago. I'm hoping the little tattered volume will be mine some day! :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Somebody Bigger... by Jemima

My sister, Jemima, shared this as a devotion at a baby shower awhile ago. I asked her if she would be willing to edit it for the my blog in written format. She has graciously agreed. I hope that her thoughts bless you as much as they have blessed me. :)
- Mary

I am a fix everything kind of a person. I want everything to be comfortable—not necessarily luxurious and it does not have to be the best. But I can’t tolerate anything “really bad”... and even if its not my business, I try to “fix” it.

At times when I see people suffering, it makes me think of the horror of eternal suffering in hell. That is “really bad” and I start to feel a feverish panic to immediately reach every lost soul with the gospel myself.

And then sometimes - horror of horrors - the thought crosses my mind, “What if the soul of one of MY siblings is lost to Satan?” I want to think, “No, not one in MY family—I’ll do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen.” But God has not put on Christian homes some kind of guarantee that makes them immune to the possibility of one of their children rejecting Christ, and I know that. The thought puts terror in my heart.

Sometimes I’ve even thought to myself, Maybe I don’t want to have children of my own if it’s a possibility that any of them may not spend eternity in heaven. The thought brings with it more pain than I can bear to think about.

Other things frighten me...

In a day when 80 or 90 percent of evangelical college age Americans leave church never to return…

When there is so much international instability, and so much power in the hands of people who are evil…

When 40% of “Christian” men admit to having a problem with pornography, and 20% of women do (and I know these stats are accurate because so many of my own friends weep as the reality of this demon threatens their own marriages and engagements)…

When it’s not just the neighbors who are getting divorced, but the people who were my role models for family life doing it, too…

What makes me think I can have a good marriage or raise children who will turn out right?

Mothers send ahead to a time they will never see.
Their children will face battles they have never fought.
If death ended all, that would be one thing.

But sometimes I think about how long eternity is—eternity past, as well as the forever that is still ahead of all eternal souls. The mental picture of being suspended in such an incomprehensively huge expanse of time…is scary.
Sometimes even facts like the limitless size of outer space—the idea that
if you were somehow propelled out of the reach of gravity, you would go on and
on forever into nothingness…sometimes the size of the universe makes me feel insecure.

And when I think of all these things, I cry out, “God, it’s too BIG! Eternity is too long! Hell is too bad! Why did You make souls capable of destroying themselves, of turning away from You? Why did you make human souls eternal? Why does life have to matter so much? I can’t even begin to fix the really bad physical problems in this world, much less the Spiritual ones in a scheme this big. I can’t keep everything okay!”

And then it’s like He says to me, “So you’re scared, Jemima? So you think I’ve made everything too big for you to control—beyond your ability to maintain at some mediocre level? You’re exactly right. I didn’t put YOU in charge of the universe.”

Somebody a little bigger than me is in charge. Just the infinite God who designed the billions of galaxies and placed them billions of light years apart—just Him.

And He reminds me again and again that ending human misery is not to be my chief objective—His glory must come first. He is weaving everything into a reality filled with great joy and also deep pain—pain that’s deeper than I would have it be, and joy beyond my wildest thoughts.

He doesn’t go for my flat, mediocre plans.

Here are a few verses that try to explain to our little minds what a huge God and what a good God we have:

“…I am He; I am the first, and I am the last. My right hand also hath laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens…”
Isaiah 48:12, 13

“And I say unto you my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: fear him which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell: yea I say unto you, fear him.” Luke 12:4, 5

“Yes, Lord, I’m scared of You…Scared enough to accuse You of injustice when it comes to putting souls in hell. But not enough to honour You above people when You want me to do the right thing when it’s socially unacceptable.”

“All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way…”
Isaiah 53:6

“I care about people, God…I don’t like to see them suffer! But I don’t care enough to do anything that actually makes ME suffer very much. Don’t ask me to give up something I like doing for the sake of someone else! Don’t ask me to do something I don’t like!”

“…But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed…He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter…He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was their any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied. By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.”
Isaiah 53:5-11

“God…hath in these last times spoken unto us by his son, whom he appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right of the majesty on high." Hebrews 1:1, 2

“I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations… Who hath declared this from ancient time? Have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside me; a just God, and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ends the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow… Surely, shall one say, In the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed* against him shall be ashamed.”
Isaiah 45:19--24

*in·cense tr.v. in·censed, in·cens·ing, in·cens·es: To cause to be extremely angry; infuriate.

* * * *

God’s glory must be my goal. Then I can live joyfully. I can bear children for His glory if He calls me to it someday — not because I know they will never feel pain and because I can control all the circumstances of my childrens' lives. Not because I can make sure each dear baby will grow up to choose Christ.

No, but rather, because a constantly just, and incredibly merciful God will always be in charge of their eternal souls.

Here is my version of something CS Lewis wrote:
“Is He quite safe?” she asked.
“Safe?!” they replied. “Who ever heard of safe? He is King of kings and Lord of lords! Safe? No, He is not safe, but His is God, and He is good.”

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

One Crazy Month Down, One to Go

Inauguration Day festivities in Jefferson City brought out a large group of midwifery supporters.
Here we are over at the Supreme Court building, getting ready to go greet our new Attorney General
Jan. 2009

Oh, dear! Has it really been almost a whole month since I posted on my blog?

My life has been a blur ... a long series of visitors, meetings, clinicals, paperwork, email, and driving. I'm looking forward to the deadlines and events of February being over and gone so I can get back to living a little more sanely.... I hope.

I was in Illinois this morning... I'm heading for Kansas tomorrow for the weekend. And all the while our annual "Cookie Day" at the Capitol with our special speaker - Jennifer Block - author of "Pushed: The Painful Truth About Modern Maternity Care" - is supposed to be successfully pulled off next Tuesday. That means media alerts, coordination of hundreds of people, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Whew!

I really do hope to get back to frequent blog posts again... soon. Don't go away!