Let us be a family…

I am so weary.

Weary of heartbreak coming at me from all sides, of the late night messages from friends harassed by ex husbands, of a mother who is in fear for her sanity, for her life, for her very soul, trying to keep it together for children with nowhere else to turn. Weary of the “widows and orphans” of our age being shunned for being victims of abuse or neglect, for being brave enough to believe that no man is better than an abusive one, or just simply for being single. Shattered to my very core by the grief my friends are forced to carry alone because of the insecurity of others.

I am angry.

This heartbreak will not go away, it will not be squashed, comforted into a mere inconvenience. It will not be ignored.  The One I turn to in heartbreak, exhaustion and sorrow is angry too!  His Grief will not be denied, and He demands we do better. The Jesus who revealed Himself to the Samaritan woman at the well demands we do better than this.  The Spirit, grieved and grieving, demands the church be a place of family for those without.

Will you sit with the pain? Will you allow it to change you, to galvanize a resolve to do better in you?  Will you love well, and constantly, not for recognition or applause, but because if you don’t, who will?

Will you say, “No More!”

No more distracting, no more demurring for a peaceful life, no more crossing to the other side.  The women on the edges of our communities deserve fullness of life, all of them; the divorced, the widowed, the single. The ones we would rather not see because they reveal our fears writ large and painful. They deserve the same loud, rambunctious and messy family we long for; an interfering, bossy, nosy band of sisters and brothers who will stand in the gap with them. A family who will walk all the way with them, be a place of healing and joy and growth. They deserve a family who will fight for them.

Our family needs them.  I need them. I need to be reminded to depend more fully on Jesus, and to be grateful for small lovely moments so easily missed as I rush to yet another game/meeting/dinner.

The Church needs them. The Church, the beautiful living expression of Jesus’ body on earth that is called to transform the earth, needs the wounded Warrior Women to lead, to share, to disciple us in the Broken Way.  We need their voices and their tears.  Because in them we see Jesus. A Jesus who always sought out and loved the broken and the lost over the put-together and in-charge.

Will you invite our sisters to belong first? Will you invite those who have no money, to come, buy and eat?

Dear Sisters,

We need you!  You are not a burden or an inconvenience, you are our family and without you, we are Less Than, we are incomplete. 

Forgive us who have flitted into your lives, when it was convenient, and out of them again when we got “busy”.  Forgive us for allowing a culture of insecurity, lust and pride to determine who we “let” our husbands care for.  Forgive us for abandoning you to pass holidays, school plays, football games and recitals alone.  Forgive us for not sitting with you when it is unbearably hard and lonely. Please hold us to account. Please reach out, and please forgive our faltering attempts to love those whose daily lives expose our idolatry of safety and security.

Let us be a family curated by The Master for one another. 

Your Sister,

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Because #MeToo is more than a hashtag

I don’t usually reblog the work of friends. I don’t usually blog about my personal experiences of abuse, either. But the “week that broke me” has stretched into two and the conviction grows that we can not and must not be silent.
The power of #MeToo cannot be allowed to diminish, we must look full in the face of this cultural societal epidemic, own our part and change. Together we can change the world that our children grow into. Together we can raise the next generation of men to treat women as equal in both value and agency. Together we must come out of the #MeToo season better, kinder and more forthright in our opposition to the cultural norms that have landed us here.

Welcome Normandy! Thank you for your vulnerability and strength.

Shoes and Shortcakes

Sometimes it feels like everyone is against me and no one is doing anything about it.

Sometimes it feels like society cares more about protecting others’ reputations than protecting my safety.

Sometimes it feels like ugly and manipulative lies are believed and valued above fearful and vulnerable truths.

Sometimes it feels like people in authority care more about abusers than survivors.

Sometimes it feels like well-wishers are only willing to engage in visible slacktivism and not invisible activism and support.

Sometimes it feels like I am alone. Weak. Helpless. Exposed.

The recent accusations against Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent social media explosion of opinions surrounding that topic, in addition to the overwhelming response to the #MeToo campaign, have weighed heavier on my soul than I expected. These events have left me feeling these sometimes feelings constantly instead of once or twice a week. My triggers have been more prevalent this past week. My…

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A “Nasty Woman” and the Enneagram

“What a Nasty Woman!”

This is what we get called when our need for truth-telling outweighs our need for approval.  When the anger, passion and injustice flood over the dam of societal convention that dictates women are to be small, quiet, uncomplicated and, above all, pleasant.

Why is that the first insult leveled at a woman who dares to step out in front and call a spade a spade, or, as in the case of a Mayor Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico, a disaster a disaster?   If the Mayor of San Juan were a man, you know the narrative would be different. Just that one word, nasty, has the power to denigrate both a woman’s character and physicality. It is a uniquely misogynistic insult and an unlikely feminist rallying cry.

But a rallying cry it has become.  Embracing your inner “Nasty woman” has been for a while the preserve of the third-wave feminist. Worn with a pink knitted hat, the nasty woman T-shirt is practically a 21st century feminist uniform, declaring opposition to the patriarchal put down in the most elemental way. But what if we, women who don’t fully identify with all the causes of a secular feminist movement, and yet full of vim and vinegar as many of us are, embrace it too?  What does it mean to let the world fully see us? How much better will the world, and yes, even the church, be served when we use our voices and our gifts to full effect.

This is part of my journey in rediscovering my identity. The inner work of shaking off outer conformity requires me to look full into the face of the nasty woman inside. The woman who is loud, opinionated, and often angry in a culture that idolizes the quiet, submissive and gentle woman.  The woman who comes out as a 7 and 8 on the Enneagram; Types exclusively reserved for my Brothers in Christ.  The woman who is ENTJ on Myers Briggs, and DI on the DISC test.

For almost a decade, I have lived in the heart of Bible Belt society, I have learned the ways, tried to conform (mostly unsuccessfully), have thrown myself into “approved” activities and groups, but at every turn, I find that nasty woman rising up and challenging. Not challenging Jesus, but challenging a culture that many small ways (and some large ways) seems to say;

” A good woman would be quiet. An excellent woman would prefer caring for her family over speaking out over injustice. A woman is for the home, for the family, for her husband.  The men don’t need your voice.  Quiet, dear, the men are talking! Isn’t it enough for you to raise Godly children? Be satisfied with your lot. Don’t complicate it, the system is for your good. Be pleasant, that is how you win influence”

And herein lies the rub, most of those things aren’t inherently bad… and if you are reading this, you don’t need me to point out the egregiously misogynistic ones.  But what those voices say, over and over to me is that I am not good, or excellent, or satisfied!

These voices declare that the very nature of me, which, to quote the Enneagram “exemplifies the desire for freedom and variety and for exploring the many rich experiences that life offers. Thus, they are probably the most enthusiastic, extroverted, and outgoing type of the Enneagram….Eights are assertive and passionate about life, meeting it head on with self-confidence and strength. They have learned to stand up for themselves and have a resourceful, “can-do” attitude. They are determined to be self-reliant and free to pursue their own destiny. ” … is unacceptable, is nasty.

I know I am not alone in this.  I also know that this is not everyone’s experience, but in the interest of being a truth-teller, I will risk the inevitable censure of my peers to offer a hand of solidarity to the younger ones coming after me and to say, “Here I am.”

To you, my sweet younger sisters, I say,

“Come, let’s be whole together. Let’s battle and explore and fight injustice. Let’s discover and share and teach, because the world needs you. The world needs your voice, your passion, your creativity and your compassion.  The world is not served by your shrinking but by your blooming into the fullness of the fierce warrior you are created to be!”

Join me

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