Is current religion serving its purpose? That can only be answered by each person, but I can say is that often women, especially mothers, feel as if religion does not seem to support them either as woman or mother. For many of the women/mothers I work with, they have come to believe that religion sees them as only a womb. In some churches there is only support for women/mothers who are in crisis, not every woman/mom is in crisis. One mom was so desperate to find support for her motherhood and her spirituality that she sat across from me and cried for some time. That struck a huge cord in my heart. As a mom I have felt exactly like these moms: that the church only has room for us when it suits them, help for us only when we are in crisis, and support for our womb but nothing else.
When you consider, and here I am speaking as the cradle Catholic I am, that the first to the tomb of Jesus were the women, Mary in scripture is not this weak little woman-child but this strong exceptional Jewish mother, that the women received the tongue of fire and preached just as the men did; than shame, shame on you churches for not standing up and championing women!
Than it came to me, the calling of God I had been waiting for for so long. It was as if God was saying: If they won’t do it than why don’t you, I have given you the tools and experience to help, so help!” What tools had I been given, earned, worked to get? I trained as a social worker and worked for 15 years as a in home social worker helping moms in crisis, moms involved with Family Court. I taught parenting skills, home management, budgeting, helped them with their benefits, did all the things social workers do. I ran support groups and taught parenting classes for the day care our eldest children attended. I then studied to become a spiritual director and took jobs involving the spiritual aspects of helping women: Director of a Catholic Woman’s ministry called Project Rachel at the Diocese of Lansing, worked as Director of Religious Education for Holy Cross Parish in Lansing.
As a married woman of 20 + years and mom of four: ages 26 – 16, my hubby and I have been through all the sleepless nights, worried nights, and up all nights, that comes with being a parent. We have dealt with just about every parenting situation: turbulent teens, sick preemie twins, emotional upheaval; and we survived it all with a little humour, lots of love and a ton of support and prayer. Without the support of those women who journeyed with as a young mom: Jo Copper, Julie Bauer; I think my young parenting would have been much harder. With the spiritual support I have gotten from the Brethren Church Woman’s Group I know my spiritual live would have been swallowed up by my parenting duties and I would have lost a greater part of myself.
With all I have gotten how could not help give back?!