Welcome to WINE’s Summer Book Club! We are reading and discussing Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith by Melanie Rigney. We’re so happy you are joining us! We pray this book club will bless you and give you tangible ways to live the Beatitudes in your daily lives. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments section, throughout our time together.
By Colleen Mitchell
I am 43 years old and recently died my hair bright purple.
This is relevant to our conversation because it perfectly illustrates my unlikeliness to fit any definition of our theme for this chapter, meekness, as some form of natural mildness of temperament. I am and have always been all flash and fire and spark.
So when I saw the list of chapter’s in Melanie’s book, I began to pray to the Holy Spirit fervently, “Not meekness, please don’t give me meekness, I really will gladly do anything but meekness, Lord.”
But our Good Father certainly knows us well, and enjoys offering us the challenges that will most help us grow, even if they make us panic just a bit.
But here I am, and delighted to tell you that after reading this chapter, my panic has subsided and I am no longer afraid of the word meekness!
When Melanie begins this chapter by sharing the nine times the word meekness appears in the Scriptures, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the context in which it is most often used has very little to do with timidity or a naturally retiring and shy personality.
Then she tackles the very fear that had me skeptical about this chapter with this gem of an insight:
“We want to be strong, empowered, confident, successful, popular.” (p. 35)
“Yes,” I thought, “yes we do!”
“The thing is we become all those things when we embrace meekness and humility.” (p. 35)
Now I was paying attention.
This new definition of meekness as strength of spirit, as the courage to be faithful and obedient to God because we believe fully in the value of our eternal inheritance was an insight and a gift to me. It opened up the possibilities of the beatitude in a fresh way and offered me hope that maybe, it was, after all, for me too.
Maybe I can be the kind of woman who flashes and sparks with passion and still be meek after all! If meekness consists in having the faith to believe in God’s good heart for us even when He asks something difficult of us, or contrary to our natural inclinations, then I can certainly see how embracing this beatitude would allow me to grow in holiness and trust in Him more.
In my life as a foreign missionary, I daily encounter difficulties and human sorrows that are greater than my own strength. There are times when I would much rather walk away than do the hard work of walking with people in their pain and laying down my life to constantly serve them in tangible ways. There are days when no amount of passion of my own spirit can give me the strength to do what God has called me to do.
My choice is to either refuse His will for me because I cannot accomplish it on my own, or to trust that He will give me all that I need to do what He has called me to do. I only have to be obedient, and He will do the rest.
This is the heart of meekness, and it is a great gift to me to see it as such. This is a spiritual quality I understand and long for. This is a challenge in which I can see great value.
And to practice with the hope that one day I will arrive at the space where everything in my spirit sees and knows and lives and breathes with the Spirit of God for eternity, where there is nothing contrary to Him in me?
This, friends, is a meekness I will run after and chase down. A meekness I want to want, which on the path to holiness is more than half the battle, I think.
Lastly, to know that my sisters in the communion of saints, like St. Gianna and St. Therese and some new friends Melanie introduced me to in the chapter are there praying and cheering me on, holding out the hand of friendship to me on the way? What a great joy it is to seek holiness knowing we are not alone!
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
So, what about you? I am interested to know what your preconceived thoughts of meekness were and how the chapter changed or affirmed the way you see it. In Melanie’s study guide, she includes this quote from fellow writer Pat Gohn: “Meekness lets God lead.” In what ways might God be calling you to trust Him more fully to lead you?
YOUR TURN: Below in the comments box, please share your thoughts, inspirations, and reflections on Chapter 3, and/or your responses to any of the above questions.
About the Author:
Colleen Mitchell is a wife, missionary, bringer-upper of boys, speaker, writer and wanna-be saint. She lives and works with her family in rural Costa Rica as founder of their missionary non-profit St. Bryce Missions. Her first book, Who Does He Say You Are?, is available for pre-order and will be released August 6 from Servant Books.
Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 4: Righteousness. For the complete reading schedule and information about our online book club, visit the Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club page.