Sitting in the Silence by Tonya Detweiler

Sitting still has never been my forte. All I have ever known is enough energy to get up and go, stay on the go at full throttle speed, often juggling two or three extracurricular activities or balancing multiple jobs at the same time. I have usually been fortunate to find work and activities that offer flexibility and allow this pace to be possible, and because I usually felt happy, it has often felt like a good way of life.

A few years ago the pastoral team at our church challenged us to “5 Habits of Jesus Followers,” which included weekly tasks such as blessing people not connected to our church, eating meals with others, studying scriptures, practicing journaling, and the fifth one… listening to the Holy Spirit. The first four felt doable, because for doers like me, those are the easy ones. You add them to your to-do lists, get them done, and off you go. But that last one felt more difficult.  We were to spend ten minutes a day sitting in silence to listen to what God might have to say to us, reveal to us, or just to center ourselves around God for ten minutes each day. I liked the concept, but couldn’t we talk about it in small group, or form a bible study, or go to lunch and talk about how we were listening? You get it. I needed to be quiet and practice this discipline most of all. And I knew it. Continue reading

Holy Ground by Elizabeth Raid

When the speaker for our annual Western District Conference women’s luncheon, in Dallas, Texas, walked to the podium with a mask covering her face, I wondered who this mysterious woman was and how her story might relate to my life. Her Spanish words were translated into English as she shared about a childhood of sexual abuse that carried over into an abusive marriage. Troubled relationships with a son and daughter only multiplied her feelings of failure and low self-esteem. However, she continued to go to church and act as if all were well. She saw her mask as a powerful protection from her painful life experiences, keeping her secrets safe. Continue reading

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Woman of the Month by Kathryn Aschliman

In response to your invitation to “Send an email to our office to let us know how you are part of this royal tribe of Mennonite Women USA,” I am moved to write about an attempt at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana to maintain contact with women who no longer are able to attend our monthly Mennonite Women Work Day.  To assure them that they are not forgotten, we  select a WOMAN OF THE MONTH to whom we extend our love and for whom we offer prayers throughout the month. Continue reading

The Lady’s Prayer by Charity Kheshgi

Charity Kheshgi is a writer and Sign Language interpreter living with her husband and 3 cats in Pittsburgh, PA. She loves making new friends, reading, and playing board games. She is a member of Pittsburgh Mennonite Church where she currently serves on the Mission and Service commission.  

The Lady’s prayer is a new take on the prayer format that Jesus offers in Matthew 6:9-13 with the Divine feminine as the listener and guide. It shifts the focus from the material to the immaterial kingdom and emphasizes our agency in the creation of a better life and a better world. As a daily meditation, the prayer centers us with love in our hearts, light in our spirits, and purpose in each breath.

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The Joy of the Purple Ribbon

Kathy Bilderback, board chair for Mennonite Women USA, reflects on Mennonite Church USA Conference 2017 in Orlando.

As I walked from hotel to classroom to booth to ballroom and exhibit or meal hall, I observed others. I smiled to strangers, hugged friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and walked alongside new friends. But it was the ribbons on nametags that I kept noticing. The sight played out in my mind, “oh, that person is an Executive Board Member, that woman is a Mennonite college alum, and look there is another purple Mennonite Women USA ribbon.” Continue reading