Saturday, September 29, 2007

How Strong Women Pray

Mia never fails to teach me something new and true about life. The other day I was listening to My Chemical Romance's Welcome to the Black Parade in the van and singing along. She asked me "Mommy, are demons bad?" I assured her that of course they were, to which she asked why they would sing about them if they were bad. I tried to explain that the song is about defeating the demons, about beating them. She responded, "Mommy, I don't like to think about bad things like that. I like to think about pretty things like pink and butterflies and rainbows." And she reminds me what Jesus said that we have to have the faith of a child. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. -Phillipians 4:8.

How Strong Women Pray by Bonnie St. John is a powerfully written devotional/memoir. St. John had her foot amputated when she was four, was sexually abused from her preschool years until almost her teens by her stepfather, medaled in the Paralympics in skiing, and worked in the White House. Episodes in her life are bracketed by short essays by famous strong women about how they use prayer in their lives. Each woman uses prayer a little differently: some talk to God all day as a friend, others use more formulaic prayer, some meditate and listen for God there. But every woman listens to God in her own way and feels him moving in her life. Amy Grant, Edie Falco, and Maya Angelou each speak of the power of God. St. John's story is alternately heartbreaking and uplifting, and her search for faith speaks to the heart. The chapters are short and easy to read. While other reviews mention to St. John as a name-dropper, that's an unfair label. Each story tells of how this woman fought to rise above her circumstances and ultimately came to the realization that she couldn't do it alone. While she may have met famous people along the way, none of them filled the God shaped hole in her heart. This book speaks to the power of God and the strength women draw from him.

Our oven broke today. The range is still working fine, but there's no heat inside. I had bought everything for apple pie. Oh well. It'll be stove-top meals for the rest of the week.


Timothy Fish said...

How nice it would be to spend more time thinking about rainbows and butterflies.