Deuteronomy 11:18-20 “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,……”
On a trip last year, sweetheart and I found a museum north of Flagstaff that finally answered my questions about the Indian tribes of that area. Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni Indians live in what is called the Colorado Plateau. They are descendants of many early tribes that occupied the western states. There are many, many abandoned Indian settlements. There are few answers as to what happened to them.
As we walked through the museum one of the things that struck me was how similar we are as women. Then and now. Most Indian societies are matriarchal in nature. The wisest person in the village was, and is, more often than not, a woman. The family was the most important part of society. Every person in a tribe or clan had a purpose. The women worked especially hard, together as a group, to feed, clothe, and tend to the needs of the entire tribe.
I thought of how often when I was younger, the women in my family would get together to help each other. Other women in our community would also join in. I was taught by my mother who was taught by her mother and so on. I learned to cook, to sew, to can, to budget, to tend to my children. When a woman was sick, the entire community worked together to make sure that everything was taken care of. When I looked at the history of the indian women, I saw the similarities. They spent their days grinding corn, making blankets and clothing, and tending to the needs of each other. Each generation taught the next.
When did we lose that way of life? Was this one of the reasons for the disappearance of some of these ancient tribes? Because they lost that communal sense of living? I am guilty of being caught up in the modern way of life. I am guilty of not teaching my children how to take care of themselves or each other. We don’t even know our neighbors, much less know if they need anything from us. I am quick to help the homeless but have excuses for not helping my own. I did not pass the skills I learned from the wise women of my family down to my daughters. Thus, they will lose generations of information that would have served them well in life.
I once heard James Dobson say that he felt that one of the reasons for the continuing downfall of our society was the disintegration of the relationship between women. I have to say that this makes sense to me. God gave women the task of bearing and raising children. We are to teach them the correct way of life. When the teacher is lost and broken, the next generation is left without the line of knowledge. Circumstance and life in general takes us all far from home with no circle of women to teach us the right way. It does not make me a bad mom. Or a bad woman. It just means that I need to now be aware of what I need to do to change the cycle that has begun in my life. I need to share what I know with women that I meet. Share the gospel, share my talents, share my love for them. I can mentor those who have no women to guide them. I can let myself be mentored by those who see me stumbling. And I can ask God every day to send women to mentor my daughters. We do not live alone. We are surrounded by women, young and old. Learn from the wise among us, teach it to the young. Step outside your comfort zone. Everyone has a skill to share. Ask God to show you how to help bring our women back together. Ask Him how to be a part of a community of women. He will tell you. He has promised.
Philipians 4:13 “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
copyright2012 Michelle Welch, Breath Of Life Women’s Ministry
photography by Michelle Welch & Justin Hendrix, all rights reserved
scriptures from the NIV Bible