Posts tagged: Jubilee Women

The Abba/Papa God

Siena's Grandpa

Jesus called his Father, “Abba,” which I’m told loosely translates to “Papa,” and suggests the familiar, loving, gentle daddy. I have trouble relating to God the Father, not having known my own dad well, so I think about a grandpa, instead.

The grandfather I was closest to was often called “Papa Joe,” by the younger grandchildren. My mother’s father, Grandpa was an ideal image of Abba/Papa God. On Sunday mornings while Grandma was creating the heavenly smell of crispy bacon, Grandpa would sing and lift me onto his shoes so we could dance together. He was a blue collar worker who rose early each morning and worked his shift, not to further his career, but to provide for his family. Grandpa was a family man.

Granddad, my father’s father, came over early in the 20th century from “the old country” and worked to make something from his nothing. By the time I came along he owned a ranch, a dairy, and many rental apartments and houses. In his case I was one of the younger grandchildren that didn’t know him long enough, but I know he worked constantly to make a better life for his family. Another family man.

So I like to think of God as a family man. Someone who lets His children climb into His lap or dance along with Him in His joy.

I’m understanding that image even better now that I’m a grandma. I really do try to enforce and respect my daughter’s rules for her daughter–though for some reason Siena comes to me when she wants sweets–but grandmas aren’t about rules. We are about loving unconditionally. We aren’t as stressed and tired as parents, not bearing the brunt of responsibility, so not as worried about doing things right. I think we are more able to simply enjoy our grandchildren.

I like to imagine God the Abba/Papa looking at me the way I look at Siena. I’m so delighted by her! I know in spite of her two-year-old tantrums she is absolutely loving and lovable! When she raises her little arms up to me and waits, trusting I’ll pick her up and hug her, love surges in me. And God, the source of all love, is 70 times 7 more loving than I. How can we doubt He feels the same delight when we reach up to him? Abba/Papa is always ready to lift us up to dance on His shoes.

Jubilee Women – Biblical Advice

8 ” Count off seven sabbaths of years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. 13 In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property.” (Leviticus 25:8-13 NIV)

Leviticus has advice for the Jubilee Woman.

  • Day of Atonement – Forgive others’ debts to you. Forgive yourself. Ask for other’s forgiveness.
  • Sound the trumpet – Rejoice! Celebrate!
  • Consecrate the fiftieth year – Declare or set apart sacred time, a year to discover the better life God offers you.
  • Proclaim liberty throughout the land– Commit to release for all (yourself included) from the shackles of injustice, addiction, dependence, negative habits, and attitudes.
  • A jubilee for you – Focus on yourself, for others.
  • Return to your family property – Return to your homeland. Go home again and see what home can teach you about yourself, now that you are a woman who has earned her wisdom.
  • Each to her own clan – Reunite with family, reconnect, reassert your roots.
  • Do not sow, reap, or harvest – Refuse to worry. Trust in God’s provision and even abundance.
  • Eat only what is taken directly from the fieldsSubsist or simplify, so you can ponder.
  • A jubilee holy Where is God in your life? First? What does holy mean to you?
  • For you Realize what a gift God offers us in rest. A whole day set aside for our renewal each week, a whole year every seven years, and an extra year every seventh set of seven years.

Could we really set a year apart to rest, contemplate justice, and discover God? How often do we take even one day a week off? Let a commitment to rest and renewal be part of your Jubilee wisdom.

We must start simply, with one day each week. Work hard for six days, but rest hard on the seventh.

    “I am more and more sure by experience that the reason for the observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the everlasting necessities of human nature, and that as long as man is man the blessedness of keeping it, not as a day of rest only, but as a day of spiritual rest, will never be annulled. I certainly do feel by experience the eternal obligation, because of the eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers without it. It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state because they needed it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in human nature. He who can dispense with it must be holy and spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and unspiritual, would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser than his Maker.”1]

[1](F. W. Robertson). Found in dictionary definition of Sabbath Source: Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary

Betty’s Jubilee Celebration

“Count off seven sabbaths of years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to her family property and each to her own clan.” (Leviticus 25:8-10 NIV)[1] 

At forty-nine, I had been pondering what it would feel like to turn fifty. When I read this passage, I toyed with the possibility of applying the reading to myself. The combined ideas of celebrating, consecrating to God, taking time to rest, forgiving and being forgiven, and returning to homeland and family all appealed to me. I could be a Jubilee Woman! As part of returning to my clan, I began to write about the women in my family who had influenced me. That grew to a booklet about fifty women who blessed my fifty years. I wanted to thank the ladies who taught me, through their example, how to be a friend, a woman, a mother, a writer, a neighbor, and a child of God.

The idea grew to fruition as, shortly before my fiftieth birthday, I invited the local women to my home for a tea in their honor. I had a wonderful time preparing. I printed copies of my Fifty Years – Fifty Women booklet, complete with two homemade bookmarks. One repeated the Jubilee quote from above, and the other quipped, A Woman is like tea. You’ll never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water. — Eleanor Roosevelt.” I crocheted tiny teapots and glued them to magnets. I made nametags, added teacup stickers and a word depicting the gift each women had taught me—words like graciousness, involvement, and hospitality. I nestled tea samples, chocolates, and a demitasse spoon into a teacup for each lady to take home.

The day before the party, my daughters and mother flew through the final preparations with me; we set tables (three sets of china), cut roses to float in crystal bowls, mixed ice tea, and washed teapots. My good husband had already added leaves to the tables and hurried to get my website functional. ( or

Then the big day and the ladies arrived! Old friends reconnected and conversation between strangers bounced from what their nametag might mean to how they met me. Ninety-degree weather didn’t deter us; we simply began with ice tea until the air conditioning cooled us enough to try new hot flavors. Tea sandwiches and scones disappeared, followed by cookies and chocolate dipped strawberries, fresh from the refrigerator. I gave a quick talk to thank the women for the gift of their examples and explain how I wanted to mark my jubilee year by letting them know how important each of them is to me.

Of course, it was over too soon, but I smiled through the next day, enjoying the afterglow and phone calls from many who attended. One auntie said she didn’t remember ever having more fun with a group of women. A friend told me I had changed the course of her life with a phone call I didn’t remember making. One said she felt like she had visited Europe for a day. Another was delighted to meet my daughters, who made the event flow smoothly as they refilled pitchers and teapots, while watching for anyone who needed to be drawn into conversation. Again and again, I heard that this party wouldn’t be the last of its kind.


How about it, Jubilee Women?

I encourage you to remember the women who have influenced you and imagine how many others your unique lives have blessed. If each of us is formed by fifty others, and leaves our touch on the soul of fifty more, imagine the heartstrings that weave the women of this world together.

Whom will you thank for their influence on you? How soon?

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