I recently took a seminary class called Women in the New Testament. We explored a wide range of topics, from feminism to killer seals. By the end of that week, something occurred to me. Throughout my life, women have played pivotal roles in my faith journey:
- My grandma taught me how to thank Jesus...all the time! No matter what she was doing, where she was, or who she was there with, when she recognized a blessing, no matter how small, "Thank you Jesus!" was sure to be heard from her lips.
- My mom taught me how to pray. Not our usual Lutheran variety of prayer mind you, but good ol' fashioned Pentecostal prayer. Nothing too charismatic but a heartfelt prayer, said in a tone that was sure an answer was coming.
- My sister brought me to church, a place that I felt valued and loved, in spite of the fact that we were the only Hispanics there. There my gifts were not only nurtured but put to use. Little did my sister know that this would lead to a future pastor (God willing)!
- My wife teaches me hospitality...extreme hospitality. When you are around her, you are home. She is comfort food personified. She makes people feel cared for, safe, and loved, and she probably couldn't even tell you how she does it, she just does.
- My oldest daughter (16) teaches me how to rage against the injustices of this world, past and present. Her blood quickly runs hot, pumped by her egalitarian heart, when faced with the unjust treatment of others, be they people, animal, or tree.
- My middle daughter (12) teaches me how to love those who are "different" than us, who have less than us, whom society has marginalized. When she sees a need, she finds a way to fill it, no questions asked. She loves...no matter what.
- My youngest daughter (8) teaches me how to bless. Not the kind that some say after someone sneezes; but for her, blessings are real, they are from God, and they are to be expected. When she prays, she blesses...everyone; from the people sitting at our dinner table, to her classmates, or those "who have no place to sleep tonight."