As I sat in Rebecca's house with a room full of women, enjoying some wine and sharing about Presencia, I thought, "this is our hope for America".
I got to bring both my boys to visit my sister and her family in their new house. Cousins playing together is the best!
My sister had set up a Presencia Ladies Night for us. And even though I am shy and generally exhausted by people I really enjoyed being with these ladies.
Women are powerful. You can feel it, in a room of them : )
I credit much of who I am today to strong southern women who prayed for me everyday. But not ONLY did they pray. They were living examples of courage, generousity, and hospitality.
Don't get me wrong. They had their flaws and hang ups too. Each generation is blind to something.
But now I believe it's our turn to be living examples and to love in light of what we now see.
All throughout history, there have been strong, courageous, compassionate and capable women who sat down, stood up or sacrificed for the "other" in order to bring about change and inspire hope for the suffering.
I think we all had at least one women in our life that made things happen for us, watched out for our future, and comforted us in times of pain. She took risks for us.
I was honored to sit in a room full of women, working moms, successful business women, presidents of non profits, stay at home moms (who do everything) and share about our work and why it is so important.
I've been reading Dorthy Day's book, "The Long Loneliness." She says, "It is people who are important, not the masses."
So I believe that as women especially begin to know the stories of the suffering and plight of the marginalized in America, and open their hearts as they so naturally do, we will begin to see change!
We can get overwhelmed by the news, are able to write off the masses. But when we know people, it changes everything. Suddenly we can see our own children in them. We can empathize. We want to do something. And we can!
We women wear a lot of hats and play a lot of roles in our lives, but our most important work is to love God and love our neighbor.
But what exactly did Jesus mean when he said neighbor?
In Matthew 22:36-39, a lawyer challenges Jesus asking him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
Jesus answers him saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.
The first verse Jesus quotes is from Deuteronomy 6:5, but the second is from Leviticus.
For Jesus, to love your neighbor as yourself meant Leviticus 19:9–18:
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God."
We must look out for the poor and the immigrant (sojourner).
When women begin to know the faces and names of the poor and immigrant in our time, I believe they will begin to stand up, sit down, make sacrifice and take risks for their neighbor.
Because we know what kind of children and what kind of America we want.
We want one that is kind, and generous and honest.
This begins with community, with knowing each other and taking courageous steps to love each other even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient or it maybe means a little less for us.
"We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship."
May we open our eyes today, open our hearts to the suffering right around us and be the women of courage we know we are!
Here's to wine, and women and hope for America!