Three small beings settle into our big unmade king sized bed. The covers are already warm from the middle sister turning up the electric blanket for her post shower warm-up. There’s always fighting over who gets to sit next to momma and I won’t lie, I like that part just a bit.
It’s good to know, that for now, I’m still someone’s favorite. I’m still the one they’re willing to fight over.
The youngest usually wins and gets to settle into my left wing sucking that sassy with the tiny blue elephant on it with all his Ethiopian might. We’ve started back reading together at night and it seems that of all the children, this baby, this youngest in arms, who probably understands the least about our convoluted stories, gets the most out of them. He has settled in these past two weeks and no longer cries the cry of terror as we tuck him into his crib, proving once again that there is a secret magic unleashed when words are read.
On this night, we are reading a series by Suzanne Collins, no, not the Hunger Games, our American politics give us enough drama to resemble that tale. Instead, we are deep into Book two of Gregor the Overlander. There’s fighting and fury and myths and innocent sisters that need to be saved. All the fun elements necessary to keep children begging for another chapter as I end reading one and tuck the bookmark in between the secondhand pages.
After our story, as is our habit, I reach for my bible running my fingers along the thin edges of paper. This night I open to Mark chapter sixteen and I read the words about Christ’s first appearance after his death.
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. (Mark 16:1-11 NIV)
I run my fingers through big brother’s fine brown hair and start asking questions about the passage of scripture wondering what all of them will think of the Jesus they sing about in Sunday school.
“When you read this section of scripture what do you notice about Jesus first?” I ask them.
It is the Harry Potter look alike who replies without hesitation, “He appeared to them first, Momma.”
“Who?” I ask.
“The women.” He says.
And I look at him now considering whether he realizes the weight of what he has spoken. But he is looking at his brother touching that elephant pacifier where it meets the tip of his nose, totally unaware that he has innocently declared Jesus an equal opportunity deity.
“That’s right little man. Jesus appeared to the women first. And did you know that wherever you see Jesus speaking to women, ministering to women in the bible you will find him treating them the same as he did the men. He gave them the same respect, the same love, the same consideration. This was not normal then, this was special.”
He looks up at me with those blue eyes my grandfather handed down through maternal genetics and smiles gently as he leans against my arm. I breathe deep into his hair holding onto that moment of little boy gentleness for as long as my heart will allow. He breaks the silence though.
He surprises me when he says, “I will always treat girls the same momma. I will always love them like you.”
And I can’t help but smile and hold him closer knowing this little man has the heart of both Jesus & a feminist.
And so, it is here in my house, in the room where I have rocked these babies through teething, and toddling, and night terrors that I am teaching all four of them the importance of watching the Savior. We can always trust Him to show us how to walk even when we don’t want to stand. We can trust Him to pull us forward in our thinking even when we insist on dragging our heels.
That’s what love does, isn’t it?
It forces us to become more like it and less like ourselves.
What a glorious thing to behold when the spirit of our Sovereign Lord is embodied within the people who serve Him, whether male or female.
*For another view on being both a Christian and a feminist visit Sarah Bessey's post entitled On Being Christian and Being a Feminist....and Belonging Nowhere.