She Is Priceless, and So Are You: #PutOnYourPearls

She is priceless and so are you.

Her name is Pauline.

Her name is Maureen.

Don’t ask me to buy another bag made by a machine.

I can’t do it. Not today.

I am beaten down.

So is she.

I feel the sting of defeat, of shame,

Ridicule and self-blame,

Her too.

Her name is Neelam.

Her name is Esther.

Middle Eastern Jewelry Group

Middle Eastern Jewelry Group

I walk around the house trying to make dinner with a crying kid tugging on my shirt and pause to bury my head in my hands.

I wonder how I will carry on today.

Her name is Novel.

Her name is Rang Yong.

Her name is Noel.

Don’t get me wrong, we live in worlds separated by wealth and status and Gross Domestic Product.

I’m not pretending to compare our lives.

See, I know her name and that changes everything. It changes how I see rows of identical bags and earrings at the mall.

Somehow we are connected, and I can’t shake the feeling we are related in unseen ways.

I know her name and that changes everything.

making bags in Zambia

Making bags in Zambia

We seek to find worth.

We hope to find love.

We are the same. We hope our children will turn out, unscathed by our choices.

Yes, I know it now. She and I, we are sisters.

We are sisters as we seek to find God and meaning and where we fit in this consumeristic, image-driven, war-ravaged, cruel world.

We pray the same things:

That God would hear more than just our desperate voices.

That He would see exactly where we stand—in the place between dignity and poverty, riches and slavery.

That He would answer us, but more than that,

That He would be near us and use us up. Completely.

I’ve never been destitute or pregnant with not a soul to care for me.

But she has.

Her name is Karma.

Her name is Jungchup.

Her name is Dolli.

I’ve not been used up, afraid for my life.

But she has.

Her name is Raju.

Her name is Belinda. 

Hopeless is hopeless, no matter where you are.

Hope-filled is hope-filled no matter your language, income, or marital status.

MeasuringFabric

Measuring fabric

Micah68print

For if we have anything good to give this world, it is our hands. How we use them is up to us.

We can use them for good to buy and sell, but especially to create.

Its these small working, stitching, creating life-giving hands.

She and I, we make beauty, together and apart.

Not just a bracelet or a poem, a scarf or a blog post. We make ART and it is our good work.

We make beauty, it is her name and mine, connected by our handiwork.

The Father calls us well made—not because of who we are or what we’ve done, but because of how He recreates us from the inside out.

The rescuer brings Good news to the oppressed and the healing.

When she creates, I create too, by making a choice to honor her—not her craft or skill or stuff,

I honor her. I put on my pearls.

I honor her children, her DREAM.

I honor the Maker of this gorgeous international sisterhood.

When you need worth and hope, give it. Tweet This

SeveralNecklaces

Artisan and paper bead necklacesYou see, I can’t forget my sisters anymore—

The women whose names I know.

The stories I see, the faces, but especially their handiwork, physical evidence of their hope.

I refuse to forget her story, her face, or her name, but especially, her faith.

Her faith that someone like me will bypass the cute bags on racks, the mass-produced jewelry and headbands.

So don’t ask me to buy another bag I don’t care about, a bag without a name.

I can’t do it today.

Instead, I put on pearls and remember and honor and give.

She believes as she creates—stringing beads, printing cloth—we are connected.

She believes I am a part of her story.

She believes we are the same.

She believes she is part of my story.

That changes everything.

 Give a Gift, Honor the Oppressed

In honor of Fair Trade Friday artisans, #PutonYourPearls Tuesday, May 16. Partner with women who are finding freedom with Mercy House and around the world, women who make HOPE.

They are the ones teaching us how to change the world with our gifts. Honor a woman or mother in your life by giving to one of the fair trade organizations here.

She is priceless, and so are you.Tweet This

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May 12, 2017