Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Call is a Call is a Call!

Welcome-to-my-World of writing as requested! In reflection, it seems I've been writing forever; my cat being my first audience. Give her a piece of a sun ray and the sound of my voice and she was happy. I began to read and write about ordinary and simple things: farm fields, secret corners in old houses, showing calves in fall fairs and walking more than a concession to a one-room school house—that was my life. I’m a farmer’s daughter and youngest of the family. 
On my long walks to take the cows to the back field after milking, I dreamed about going to far away places and I talked to the squirrels, chipmunks, birds, my dog and to myself. I probably began talking to God when I learned to make angels in the snow—which would be about age five. I would print little stories, letter by letter, with very long sentences ending up in one big paragraph that filled most of a page. It never occurred to me that I should use punctuation. I think I learned ‘just get the story down’ very early. 
Probably around 14 years of age, I experienced God’s still small voice. “I would be a missionary. . . go to Africa." Big plans for a young farm girl! Disturbing plans for this farm girl’s father! Family life won out and both the writing and the call lay waiting.
In my early married life with youngsters at my knees, I wrote pieces that usually ended up in a pile or the waste basket, simply because of lack of time, skill and confidence. In those days, I was teaching Sunday school. My ‘talking to God’ practice had developed into prayer and the children around my table thought it was spooky talking to someone they couldn't see. However, that changed as they began to understand this new relationship with God. I remember looking for biblical women’s stories for the girls and great male prophets and leaders for the boys.  I soon became aware that I could find the names of Noah’s three sons, but I couldn’t find the names of Philip’s four daughters, or mention of his wife.
Our denomination published ‘The New Curriculum’’ in the 60s and as typically happens, there was a great resistance to something new. But, I couldn’t get enough of it as it told the old story of God’s love and guidance with men . . . and women to whom I could relate and from whom I could learn.
I began to write monologues in first person from the heart of Haggi, Rahab, and then Euodia and Syntyche; Lois and Eunice. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was not only trying to understand these women and the role they played in God’s larger plan, but I was giving them voice. Doing a degree in Women's Studies at Trinity Seminary/USA took me deeper into their lives.

I soon became interested in genealogy; I found Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers with empty profiles, sometimes not even years of birth. And as I looked around, I soon began to see important Canadian women across this nation that I could help others remember.
Blessing on the call God has given you.
Agnes Macphail books; A Rare Find – Life and witness of Ethel Ayres Bullymore. 


Peter Black said...

I love it, Donna. I think I can identify somewhat with your sense of God's call, coming as it did in your youth, but finding its direction and larger fulfilment in adulthood.
A couple of lines of an inspirational song I heard in the 60s sprang to mind as I read your story, "There is no peace, no joy nor thrill, like walking in His will . . ." You've found that place and that peace. Wonderful! ~~+~~

Donna Mann said...

Thanks Peter. I appreciate your words.

Eleanor Shepherd said...

i love that you have chosen to share the stories of women. That is dear to my heart.

Tracy Krauss said...

well said! keep on writing!

Glynis said...

"I began to write monologues in first person from the heart of Haggi, Rahab, and then Euodia and Syntyche; Lois and Eunice."

Oh, Donna, how I imagine a book written by you, containing each of these monologues. I can see the potential of such scripts for the church. Might you consider this for another project? I love the way you share your sweet beginnings.

Ruth Smith Meyer said...

What a story of how you answered God's call on you life--even if it didn't turn out the way you imagined. I'm with Glynis on the topic for your next book.

Donna Mann said...

Thank you for these encouraging words. Let me see . . . at my age, by the time I find Emma's and Isabella's stories (two women saints) a home, I should be about 80 if I stay in the proposed queue. :) But, isn't it a nice thought?

David Kitz said...

Women and their profound impact and influence on the church and the world are often neglected. It's wonderful that you can "give them a voice."

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