Two F Words and a Book Review (Part 2)

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When sleeping women wake, mountains move. (Chinese Proverb)

There was a special section in the Cincinnati Enquirer Sunday paper last week titled 1968 The Year That Transformed the Nation which intrigued me so I read through it. One part in particular caught my eye: “Radical Women” find their voice, which is about a young woman tired of the patriarchy and feeling silenced so she decided once and for all to put the “act” in “activist.”

My first thought was, why should it be considered “radical” for a woman to want to be heard? Doesn’t everyone? My second was, have we made much progress in the past 50 years?

My friend Barb, who has lived a lot of life, made this comment with regard to part one of this two part series, So many of us have walked this path much of our lives. At less movement than a snail’s pace, this culture is beginning to change but you have to really search to see any of those minuscule changes. 

Because three of our five kids are strong, independent thinking women, I was a teensy bit taken aback at my man’s (their father’s) reaction of Oh, Lord, when I was talking about the book by Sarah Bessey called Jesus Feminist.

I get it. The word feminist conjures up all manner of images with the most recent being a handful (in the scope of the whole) of women marching for equal rights wearing vee-jay-jay costumes and hoo-ha hats on top of their heads.

Or maybe you envision a group of women sitting around a bon fire, smoking cigars, drinking bourbon, bashing the boys and burning their bras like a bunch of angry hussies.

To each their own but I don’t care for bourbon and I certainly don’t want to burn my bra. What I would like is to trade the ill-fitting, uncomfortable underwire that pierces in places it shouldn’t for a sports variety that will help me run my race well.

Feminism at its core simply consists of the radical notion that women are people, too. Feminism only means we champion the dignity, rights, responsibilities, and glories of women as equal in importance—not greater than, but certainly not less than—to those of men, and we refuse discrimination against women. (Jesus Feminist page 13 Kindle edition)

Don’t give this word away my church going gals. It’s meant for us too. Jesus leveled the playing field by treating us with dignity and respect. He listened to, loved on, taught, honored, walked beside, challenged, wept for, worked with, defended, talked directly to, met and included us. Women, just like you and me, in a culture that did not value females

If you look at the essence of the meaning, Jesus was and is a feminist. He is for women. Talk about radical.

What about this snail pace culture and in particular within the church? I don’t think there’s one pat answer. As people of faith, we sift our theology through Scripture, Church history and tradition, our reason and our own experience. (Jesus Feminist page 57 Kindle edition) We need to keep having conversations where we can. That snail will eventually get to where she needs to go.

In the meantime, we live out our calling by using the gifts and talents God gave us. I ended part one with this: Something I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) through the years, I kept waiting for an invitation to sit at the table when really the Table has been waiting for me to take my seat. I didn’t need a man to help me fulfill my calling because I answer to the call of one Man….Jesus.

I lost several years sitting in a pew being angry, hurt and confused thinking I couldn’t do kingdom work because I had tunnel vision that it was synonymous with church work. There’s a whole lot of kingdom outside the walls. The same God who gave you those gifts and talents will open the doors for you to use them, if you look for opportunities.

I got this text from a good friend of mine who works as a court advocate for abused women: The table (outside of the church) is so long & wide. I would not have found my seat here if my main focus was “church ministry.”

We don’t have to be a pastor to be a minister. We can choose to minister each and every day. To our families. To our neighbors. To the sick. To the shut-ins. To the Mom who is struggling. To the wife whose husband left. To the one whose diagnosis is scary. Maybe you’re the CEO of a major corporation or you may be in a season of ministry where those you are ministering to has jelly on their face and sticky fingers. Do it with all the gusto!

We don’t have to be behind a pulpit to preach the good news. We can choose to “preach” by clothing the naked, offering a drink, visiting the one imprisoned (oh these can mean so many things!), working in a homeless shelter, giving out of our abundance to those who have nothing, tutoring kids, and being kind (for goodness sake!). The world is dying for some Good News!

We have to stop waiting to get the nod when God has given the green light to go. You matter! You have worth and value and a voice and a place where you are called beloved by God.

I am surrounded by strong women. Women who are entrepreneurs, pilots, stay-at-home Moms, working Moms, foster Moms, nurses, doctors, advocates, law-enforcement, business owners, students, communicators, administrators, clerks, clergy, teachers and more! Do it Soli Deo gloria! For the Glory of God alone!

I swiped the last page of this book being proud to be a woman, an image bearer of the One who sees me! This book made me shout a few hallelujahs and hell-yeahs. I don’t want to burn my bra. I want to blaze a trail!

I am a Jesus Feminist.

kw

Two F Words and a Book Review (Part 1)

 

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It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are. (E.E. Cummings)

I don’t even know where to begin. I’m having all the feels this month after reading two books with differing points of view. So I guess I’ll just dive right in. They both have to do with women; how God sees them and the roles they play.

The first one I read was Women of God by Kathleen Nielson. Her view is a (whole) lot more conservative and one in which I cut my spiritual teeth on. While there are some parts and pieces I agree with, there is just something about the overall theme that doesn’t sit well. I didn’t turn the last page basking in the joy of being a woman or feel encouraged to exercise my gifts. In fact, her words brought back memories…

I don’t remember the exact year but it’s been at least 15 years ago. I was sitting in the evening service (because we went Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night so as not “to miss a blessing”) and felt the need to go forward and let my church know that I felt a call into full time ministry, something I had been feeling for several weeks.

When the men in the church would go forward to announce this, the pastor would have the deacons come up and lay hands on the man, pray over him, ask for God’s anointing and for the church to pray for and congratulate him on his decision to do kingdom work. I was expecting the same. So I went forward and it went something like this…

What is it you’re coming forward for this evening?

 I feel called into full-time ministry.

 You what?

 I feel called into full-time ministry. I don’t know exactly what it looks like. I just know I can’t ignore it anymore.

 He grabbed my hands and we bowed our heads but instead of praying he said…

Call the office and set up a meeting with me this week. We need to talk this through because I’m not exactly sure what God would be calling you to do.

I turned around and walked back to my seat looking like I simply needed an answer to prayer instead of answering a call. On the way back down the aisle, I passed people peeking at me with pity instead of proud that I was fulfilling a purpose.

No acknowledgment. No laying on of hands. No celebration of someone wanting to do God’s work.

I did meet with him the following week and he was ready to offer up several ideas of what fulfilling this call may look like. He listened as I shared that I wanted to write and teach Bible studies, to do some speaking and encourage people, especially women, to be all that God had gifted them to be. I wanted every woman to understand her value and worth comes from a heavenly Father who is crazy about them. To his credit, he did let me share my desire to use my gifts of teaching and shepherding before letting me know the preschool department could use some volunteers. I could also help out in the office a couple days a week. Would I be willing to start there and see where God leads?

After all, if I’m truly called, I will do whatever needs done.

I’m not above doing any job. In fact I had been volunteering in several areas. But I felt called to do something more, something different…to teach and dare I say preach the good news. The problem was, I’m not quite sure he knew what to do with me because I was female and women didn’t have leadership/teaching roles outside of the children’s area.

So I signed up for more slots in the preschool department. I was faithful to come whenever the doors were open helping where I could. I sat in the seat Sunday after Sunday but instead of fulfilling my call, I felt forgotten. I knew in my heart God was calling me to something more but it didn’t fit inside the box of what was allowed….at least not there. My round peg didn’t fit that square hole. Was I wrong? Would God call me to do something outside of the parameters of scripture? I didn’t think so. So why did I feel like I was the one who had done something bad?

While we still love the people who attend this church, we found it just wasn’t a good fit for us any more. It’s been at least 15+ years but those feelings bubbled to the surface the more I read Women & God. I closed the book feeling like a heavy cloak had been thrown over me.

I want to be like the once blind man when the Jews were questioning him and arguing about whether or not Jesus was a fake. He replied, I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind…I now see. (John 9:25 MSG) 

There are arguments on both sides of this coin. The thing of it is, I don’t want to argue. I just want to have the freedom to work side by side, doing great stuff for God, with everyone (male and female) walking in his or her giftedness….

…not feeling forgotten because forgotten is no way to feel.

Something I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) through the years, I kept waiting for an invitation to sit at the table when really the Table has been waiting for me to take my seat. I didn’t need a man to help me fulfill my calling because I answer to the call of one Man….Jesus. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

kw

 

 

Faith > Fear

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Fears. We’ve all experienced them. We’ve all wrestled with them. Some have conquered many of them. Others still struggle. Sometimes fear pops up quicker than an Eggo waffle out of the toaster. You thought you had worked through that thing but nope, there it is joining you for breakfast…pass the butter and syrup, please. Is there any coffee left? What kind of creamer did you buy at the store? You know I like French Vanilla.

Fear lives with you like an old friend, like you are some sort of bed and breakfast just waiting to serve her every need. You’ve become so familiar with her presence you don’t know what it’s like to not have her company.

But is it sin as was stated on a social media thread when I asked what kept my girlfriends up at night with worry? Nothing shuts down a conversation quicker than the blanket statement Fear is sin. (Emphasis on the period.)

The Bible talks about it a lot (Some say there are 365 “fear not’s” written. One for every day.) Maybe God knew we would have much to fear in this wacky world we live in. Maybe “fear not” is meant as an encouragement and not a command. The only thing he tells us to fear is him. Maybe that’s so our focus shifts from the thing we fear to the One who can help us fight our fear. Maybe fear gives us an opportunity to actually grow our faith.

Here’s what I know about my own dealings with the things I fear or have feared.

Trauma

Some fears seem unwarranted or silly. For example, I do not like being in the middle of a crowd if I don’t think I can get out. So I sit as close to the end of a row as I can get and know where the nearest exit is. We won’t even mention car washes…

We can have all kinds of experiences that plant a seed of fear within us. Death. Divorce. Disease. Abuse. Abandonment. Anxiety. Worry. War. Family. Loss. Sickness. Natural disasters….and not even realize a root of fear started to grow because it.

It wasn’t until I sought help that I realized where this fear of being trapped came from. It was something that happened to me as a young girl. The counselor gave me tools to deal with the fear, to talk myself through it, and breathing exercises so I can go to crowded places and enjoy myself without (too much) fear. (I even went through the car wash by myself…once…)

If “fear is sin” then I will sit in the middle of a crowd thinking I’m a bad person for feeling paralyzed by fear and never ask for help.

It’s ok to talk to someone about your fears. It’s ok to reach out for help.

Truth

Some of my fears are bathed in lies. Fear of not being good enough, thin enough, perfect enough, smart enough, talented enough, tough enough, pretty enough, loud enough, soft enough, adventurous enough, smooth enough, delightful enough, lovable enough…you get the picture. Did I hit any of your “not enough’s”?

Some of my fears have been or are my identity. I’m just a worrier. You are no longer you, the person. You suddenly become your fear. Anybody else ever said those words?

How about fear of failure, success or loneliness?

Then there’s the fear that we’re gonna mess our kids up beyond repair?

I hate to break it to you (and remind myself): we can’t mess up so bad that God can’t fix it. We aren’t that powerful. He is the best Repairer, Redeemer, and Restorer of all times.

To combat the lies, seek Truth. Find scripture verses that are opposite of the lies you believe. Read who you truly are based on what God says and not what your fears say. Satan is the ultimate accuser and wants you to sit in those fears, afraid. Get ticked and do otherwise.

Maybe fear isn’t sin but a subterfuge from Satan to keep us from living the full life God has for us. Just a thought.

Trust

I love/hate when God gives me current examples. I really want to share those things that have healed over nicely so I can show you there’s barely even a scar from battling with fear. But…

I have had an opportunity to fear the past couple of weeks. I have to admit, I sat in it for a bit, stewed on it for a couple of days and invited it to breakfast. And just like that she was back like a comfortable old friend, asking for French Vanilla creamer and a muffin.

We had conversations around this thing and the more we talked, the worse the fear became. Doesn’t matter about what. It could be anything really. The point is I let her stay way too long before I remembered she wasn’t a welcome guest in my home.

My reminder? God. I remembered I hadn’t talked to him about it. I had spent so much time playing every what if…scenario in my head, running them by my familiar friend (foe?) and allowing thoughts to run amok that it completely slipped my mind to simply pray about it.

I was trying to control it all and played into the lie that I had to. Did I trust Him with it? Would I give it to Him?

So in the middle of pulling weeds in the garden, I confessed my fears, my dreadful what if’s and doomsday scenarios. I conceded control and felt way better.

I don’t think fear is a sin. I think it lets us know we are human in need of something bigger than the thing we fear. It helps us to recognize the frailty of our fears when put next to the enormity of our God. Maybe the bravest thing we do is let God know when we are afraid. Then let HIM deal with your guest who is no longer welcome.

Oh and pour out that creamer…she is not the boss of you!

kw

 

 

 

 

Too Much and Never Enough

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The what if’s got me this past week. Every time I sat down to write, I waged war within. The cursor blinked, I stared. Tapped out a sentence or two then hit the delete button. The cursor blinked, I stared. Hands on the keys, at the ready, to knock the socks off my readers.

Crickets.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty of thoughts. I always have blogs in the queue that I’m working on. I tried different ones on different days. I tried funny but funny falls flat when funky is the feeling. Moving to morose was, well, gloomy. I wrote and erased an entire novel. Or so it seemed.

After a few days of that I decided that I needed a change of scenery. I cleaned. I mowed. I walked around outside (and took more pics of fall wildflowers.) That’s what I do when I need to do some figuring out of things.

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Here’s what I came up with:

Nothing crushes creativity quicker than comparison.

 The thing of it is I wasn’t comparing myself to other people. I was comparing myself to the last few posts I’d written. The Wildflower Warrior concept has resonated with so many of you! I’ve loved every message, text, note and art design. You all get it! We were made for more!

This may sound weird but I began to put so much pressure on myself to perform perfectly, to give you, my readers whom I adore, exactly what you needed to read, to resonate with ALL of you EVERY time, to watch the number of reads, shares and likes beat the previous post. I froze.

Pressure to perform perfectly paralyzes productivity.

While I want to continually hone the craft and sharpen the skill of writing, always improving, I cannot compare what resonated with my audience yesterday to what I’m working on today. It kills creativity quickly.

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I will be too much for some.

My style isn’t for everyone. For some I’m over the top. I’m too simple or hippy or farmy. I mean who compares women to wildflowers and warriors? Lessons from nature and chickens and weeds? Seriously? And the whole Jesus thing? Enough already. Is that really how you think? You are too much.

So when I sat down to write this past week, I found myself wanting to water it down, making sure I wasn’t too much of anything for anyone. But being something for everyone leaves me left with nothing for no one because I’m exhausted trying to fit in a mold I wasn’t made for.

Yes. I will be too much for some. It’s okay. I’m hoeing my own row. The seeds planted there will produce the harvest I was meant to grow.

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For others I will never be quite enough.

Sigh. Oh the words that whirl around in my head on this one!

Who do you think you are? You’re seriously going to push publish on that? No one will like it. No one will get it. You’ll never be a real writer.

 There’s more but you get the picture.

Does anything crush creativity faster than trying to measure up to the critics and complainers, the killjoys and commentators that have nothing nice to say?

Sometimes this is me in my own head. Sometimes this is me speaking for you before you’ve had a chance to read what I’ve written. Sometimes it really is people to whom I will never be enough.

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As I’m typing this, I am reminded of an excerpt from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech on April 23, 1910….

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. (bold is mine)

While I may never be enough for some, I want to be brave enough to get in the arena anyhow.

Maybe you get it, this too much and never enough. Maybe you wrestle with it as well. Let’s dare greatly and keep creating, even if we’re too much for some and not enough for others.

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Me being me…no makeup, outside, taking pictures with Macey because she needed to go to my thoughtful spot too. 🙂

Be you. It’s what Wildflower Warriors do.

Fiercely for you!

kw

When You End Up in the Ditch

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The Cup Plant known to collect rain water in her “cups” that can be used for drinking water in emergencies. She can be found in ditches along roadsides, offering us a cool drink perhaps?

I had been asking Mom for gas money for several days. While I had been watching the needle move towards E, it didn’t really dawn on me that I would run out of gas…oh to be 16 again…until my car sputtered to a halt on my way to school one morning. My sister and I were able to push it off the country road enough to not get hit.

Fortunately for my siblings and me, my then boyfriend, now husband (awww…insert heart emoji’s here) took the same route to school, saw us stranded and pulled over to pick us up. There’s nothing quite like piling in to a ’67 VW with rusted floorboards. But at least his tank was full.

Later that day, I got scolded pretty good by my stepfather for parking in the ditch at the wrong angle. Wait. What? I guess gas couldn’t get to the carburetor because of the angle of the car….or something like that. (To this day I have no knowledge of any of this…I couldn’t even spell carburetor just now!)

I wish I could tell you this was the last time I ended up in a ditch. But, well, life happens, tanks run out, and there you are, parked at a wonky angle in the ditch. I’ve learned a few things through the years….

When you’re running towards E you have to go to a resource that can help you. The logical place to go for gas money was my Mom. This is usually true. What I didn’t know is she couldn’t give me what she herself didn’t have…money for gas. I kept waiting. She kept putting it off. I ended up in the ditch.

Sometimes the actions (or inaction) of others are what put you in the ditch. Had I realized there was no money for gas, I could have caught a ride to school with said hunk of a boy mentioned above.

How many times have I gone to someone who simply did not have the know- how or wherewithal to give me what I needed to prevent me from ending up in the ditch.

I just kept driving.

When you’re running towards E you have to pay attention to the signs. It was naïve (foolish?) of me to think I could just keep going and going and never run out of gas. There were red flags…like the needle that kept creeping closer to empty. My truck today has a signal that lets me know when I’m 50 miles or less to empty. (And believe me, I head to the nearest gas station because that beep makes me panic a little!)

How many times have I ignored signs and red flags and beeps and just kept going? Oh, hello, Mr. Ditch. We must stop meeting like this. I had no clue we’d be together again so soon. Oh wait. Yes I did. I chose to ignore them!

 I just kept driving.

When you’re running on E you don’t get to choose where you park, you just land where you run out of gas. It’s almost always not in a convenient spot…

Sometimes it’s in the hospital because you’ve ignored your body’s symptoms. Sometimes it’s with a counselor because you’ve ignored your feelings and thoughts. Sometimes it’s in divorce court because you’ve ignored warning signs in your marriage. Sometimes it’s because of someone else’s actions or lack thereof. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a store and you start crying for not any one thing but a million.  And you can’t stop.

We just keep driving.

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The Bull Thistle…completely dried up…just like us when we “bull” our way through and keep driving.

No matter the reason, no matter the how, no matter the why, we have a Rescuer. He doesn’t look at us and think You idiot. (Though he may shake his head on occasion…) He looks at his children with compassion. He doesn’t ignore our cries from the ditch…no matter how we ran out of gas, no matter what angle we “parked” the car…he hears us…

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

 Oh. My. Soul!

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Chicory coming up THROUGH a crack in the road. 

He is the Resource that never runs out. He is the One with all the answers. He is the Fuel that fills my tank. He is the Nemesis to my enemy. He is the Light that shows the way. He is Breath when I cannot breathe. He is.

He is the Lifter of my head when I’m weary. He is the Hearer of my heart. He is the collector of my tears. He is the Helper in times of trouble. He is Firmness under my feet. He is the Rock on which I stand. He is.

He Rescues. Redeems. Restores. Amen.

#ezerstrong

kw

 

 

Crying Harder Than It Hurt

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Ironweed closeup.

I’m not sure what happened. One minute I was reaching to turn the garage light on and the next minute I’m bouncing my way down the wooden steps, making sure to hit all four of them with my rear before landing on the concrete floor.

I sat there in disbelief for a few seconds. After doing a quick inventory to make sure everything was still connected and not broken, I curled up in the fetal position on the dirty garage floor and cried. Sobbed really.

I was crying way harder than it hurt. Oh sure, my butt was going to have some serious bruises but for a woman who has gone through natural childbirth not once but four (out of five) times this seemed a bit extreme.

Yet I laid there. In the dark. On the cold floor. All alone. And I wailed.

It wasn’t the bruises on my bum but the hurt in my heart that was causing this wave of emotion. The previous 18 months had demanded that I be brave. Commanded some colossal courage. Life can take you through those seasons sometimes, can’t it?

So often during that year and a half, I had held back tears and choked back any real emotion because there simply was no time for it. They came out that day…spilling over into the dust of the garage floor….

Job change, a renegade kid, death, loss of friendships, moves, being alone, loneliness, grieving what was, facing the unknown…bullying me, taunting me, daring me to give up. Whispering to me that only the weak cry uncle, only the weak cry at all.

Such a lie.

Somewhere along the way we (Wildflower Warriors) have convinced ourselves that we are invincible. Until we’re not. Then we wonder where it went wrong.

King David was a slayer of lions, bears and giants. He fought battles like a boss, killing tens of thousands of his enemy. He was confidently courageous, powerfully potent, gallantly gritty, undaunted, unafraid and handsome to boot.

Until you read the Psalms….

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. (Psalm 4:1)

The daring distress.

Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. (Psalm 5:1-2)

Sighing: to let out one’s breath audibly, as from sorrow, weariness or relief.

Warriors weary.

I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. (Psalm 6:6)

 Warriors weep.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13:1-2)

 Warriors feel forgotten.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

 Warriors feel fear.

That’s just five verses from five different chapters. All throughout the Psalms David emotes. Unabashedly. And it’s okay. In fact it’s more than okay. It’s necessary! Otherwise you end up crying harder than it hurt.

In those times of demanding distress, weariness and weeping, feeling forgotten and being afraid, David is honest about how he’s feeling. He goes to the One who can make a difference. That’s what fierce warriors do.

Courage can be found when I cry out to God from a cold concrete floor. He can take the mud I made from the dust and the tears and give me eyes to see healing in the hurt, goodness in the grief and hope in my heart. (John 9)

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

It Starts With Me

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Are you okay? I asked the woman as I approached her.

Yeah! I was already having a bad day. Then THIS happened!

My man and me were headed out for a matinee when we rounded a curve to find a woman standing in the ditch crying, her hoopty of a car obviously broken with the tire pointing 90 degrees in the opposite direction of which she was headed.

She was beside herself sobbing so I did the only thing I knew to do in the moment…I asked her her name then gave her a hug.

I pieced bits of Nikki’s story together in between the Lucille Ball like sobs and stutter breathing. I began to see that her car wasn’t the only thing broken. She had just dropped her boyfriend off at work when she got a call from her daughter that the daughters boyfriend had stranded her in a parking lot in Sharonville with her one year old who hadn’t eaten yet and was crying because he was hungry. Mom can you please come pick us up?

She didn’t have the money for gas to drive all the way over there but you can’t let your kid be stranded. What else could she do but go pick her up and try to figure out how to get some food for the baby. And then this happened. She started sobbing again.

 She had called her Dad who was mad that she was driving to Sharonville. She called her brother who was trying to get over to help but wasn’t sure when he could leave work. She couldn’t call her boyfriend because he would go back to jail…(I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to know.)

Her husband had left her nine months ago for another woman and had accused her of doing drugs. She assured me she wasn’t and even showed me her arms…see, I don’t have any needle marks.

 She didn’t know where they would stay tonight because not only was this her mode of transportation, it was her home when work was scarce and dresser for all she owned.

My man was standing in the background, taking it all in, letting me do what I do…listen and soothe, comfort and calm. He is a fixer of things not necessarily people so his mind went immediately to what it would take to get her car fixed.

I know what some of you are thinking. I had those thoughts too. This woman was a hot mess of broken down and busted up. Her life was a domino of poor choices. She fit such stereotypical molds that it would have been easy to tell her to get her act together and walk away shaking my head in disgust. To say, You made this bed…

 As her story continued, I prayed Lord let me see her as you do…. made in Your image.

 It’s easy isn’t it? It’s easy to let skepticism replace compassion, to let animosity blind our humanity. Cynicism crowds out sympathy. Indifference becomes our go to instead of grace. This world is wearying with want. It’s easy to allow our hearts to harden.

Compassion…a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering…has to start somewhere.

I could get on my soapbox and get all up in your grill here…guilting you…I mean…

We could talk about how many times Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw people hungry and sick. How he fed and healed them without asking how in the heck they got there.

We could talk about how Jesus met the woman at the well and saw more than someone who had been married five times plus a live in. Or how Jesus stood in the middle of the circle of Pharisees with the woman caught in adultery daring the elites to throw the first stone.

We could talk about Jesus explaining to the disciples that when you feed, clothe, care for and visit the least of these, you are feeding, clothing, caring for and visiting Jesus himself.

We could. But I don’t want to sound preachy and I sure as heck don’t have my act all together. Compassion is a condition of the heart and Lord knows my heart is deceitful on the best of days.

It IS hard. We AREN’T Jesus. People ARE a mess. This world IS broken.

But it has to start somewhere.

I believe the timing was divine. We were given an opportunity to choose: the gavel of judge and jury or the cloak of care and compassion. We may not always get it right but we chose the latter this time.

Todd looked at me and I at him, knowing we were supposed to help her get her car fixed. So he did what he does best and started making calls to some of his connections (my man knows people…)

I gave her another hug and whispered in her ear, We may not be able to fix everything that’s broken but we can at least help you get your car fixed.

The look of disbelief and relief was worth the cost of the repair. I have no idea what will happen to Nikki, if she will continue to tip over the domino of poor decisions. But I do know this, she needed someone to cut her a break not cut her down.

No. I can’t fix everything but I can do this one thing. I can show compassion.

It starts with me.

Fiercely for you!

kw

PS Ironically we missed the movie we were supposed to see. The Glass Castle is a true story about a family who moved often because of bill collectors, lived in their car when necessary and struggled to survive. We traded reel life for real life that day.

We Were Made for More (Part 2: Warriors)

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

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I turned 52 this month. If you’re 32 that seems old and if you’re 72 it seems pretty young. It makes me reflect. With the average age of a woman’s life expectancy in America being 82 (ish) I have 30 more years. Morbid? Maybe. But that reality is what drives me to want to live as was originally intended.

The word God uses when he creates woman is often translated helper or helpmeet, giving it more of a domesticated flair like hamburger helper or homework helper or meet-your-man-at-the-door-with-dinner-ready-helper. While there is nothing wrong with marriage and managing a household, if we leave it here we leave out a whole slew of women.

What of those who never marry, never have children, are now widowed? They are still women. Did God leave them out? Make them less than? Has their value dried up with age?

Not at all.

The original word for helper is Ezer…

The word ezer appears in the Old Testament twenty-one times—twice for the woman in Genesis 2:18 and 20, three times for nations Israel turned to for military assistance when they were under attack, and sixteen times for God. Whenever ezer appeared—for the three nations, obviously, but also for God—it was always within a military context. God is His people’s helper, defender, deliverer, sword and shield.

God’s daughter’s were named after his very own nature and character….a strong helper, defender with sword and shield. God didn’t create woman to be an assistant. She was created from the get go to be an equal, strong and powerful force, an ally to man. A warrior.

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Sadly, however, we went from badass warrior to just plain bad with the crisp crunch of an apple (or so it’s portrayed in all the pictures.)

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We’ve been living in the shadow of that tree ever since.

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We were made for more.

It’s time for fierce Ezer’s to rise up to our original intent. To be what we were meant to be…strong and powerful women who fight for the good of the kingdom, who battle beside our brother’s for good. To be an ally. It’s time to step out of the shadow and into your calling as a warrior.

The shadow of that tree brings with it words like: insecure, gossips, illogical, emotional, afraid, can’t be trusted, high maintenance, catty, victim, damaged, not worthy, unseen, unlovable, unheard, hateful, mean, terrible friend, loud, too emotional, too fat, too thin, too ignorant, too strong, too weak, too pretty, too ugly, too soft. Too much and yet never enough.

We were made for more.

Being an ezer is more of an ethos then it is a vocation. It’s more about knowing who you are because of Whose you are in whatever role you are. It’s about understanding that you are made in the image of Almighty God who sees you, loves you and hears you. You are a woman of valor, strong and powerful not because of anything you do but because of who you were created to be.

Ezer women are:

Leaders like Deborah who led Israel to victory over the Canaanites when no one else would. (Judges 4-5) Many of you are leading your families, providing for, nurturing and loving your people because no one else would. Many of you are leaders in your workplaces, ministries and as volunteers.

Fighters like Jael who destroyed a great warrior with nothing more than a tent peg through the temple because he meant to harm her people. (Judges 4) Many of you are fighters, doing what you must do in order to survive, in order to save your people from harm. You are capable, creative, and clever.

Risk takers like Rahab the prostitute who agreed to hide men of God with the assurance they would save her and her family from destruction. She left her life of prostitution and would later become the mother of Boaz who married Ruth (another Ezer) who became a part of the lineage of Jesus found in Matthew 1. Many of you leave a life of less than to become something more. Risking everything you’ve known for something different, better.

Ezer women are:

Tender like Mary the mother of Jesus who spent her time rearing and nurturing the very Son of God. Loving, praying for, feeding, disciplining, training. Many of you are staying home to raise up the next generation of difference makers.

Tough like Esther who had the courage and grit to go up against the evil ways of a man who would see her people destroyed. Many of you are doing all you can to look evil in the eye and not flinch. You stand strong, unwavering in the face of ugly to save your brothers and sisters.

Doers like Tabitha in Acts 9:36 who was always doing good and helping the poor. Many of you work tirelessly for the least of these…those who are hungry, naked, or in trouble…often quietly and without fanfare. You just do.

Faithful like Anna who spent years looking for the coming Messiah. Widowed at a young age she never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. (Luke 2:37) Many of you have spent countless hours praying for your prodigal friends, spouses, kids, for answers to hard questions. Worshiping even in the unknown and unanswered.

All Ezer women.

Powerful.

Strong.

Warriors.

May we know them.

May we be them.

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Leave the shadow of that dang tree because…

We were made for more.

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Made For More (Part 1 Wildflowers)

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I was walking a country road by my house earlier this month, praying through some things and thinking about some of my girlfriends and the things they were experiencing…fun things like new babies and grandbabies, a booming business, retirement, a new job, a quiet season of life. Hard things like a cancer diagnosis, aging parents, prodigal kids, divorce, accidents, worry….

As I was rounding a bend in the road I began to notice all the flowers blooming. They were in the fields, along side the road, beside a creek bed. They were blooming everywhere. It didn’t matter the terrain or the circumstance, there they were, standing tall and strong, flowers blooming with beauty, just simply being.

There’s the lovely grace of this one…

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…called Queen Ann’s Lace. You will notice these on roadsides and in fields. From a distance they all look the same but upon further observation each one has its own distinctness, a delicate uniqueness.

Queen Ann’s Lace is actually from the carrot family and has a long edible root. When we are each being our distinct selves, bringing our varying looks, gifts, talents, personalities to the table we can not only feed off each other, we can feed others as well.

Imagine a world where women aren’t competing to be like each other, comparing and envying, backstabbing and putting each other down, gossiping and ganging up on each other, insecure and unsure. Instead of feeding others we devour each other. No.

We were made for more.

Women were meant to come together, bringing with us our unique selves so others can see fields of beauty and grace, the same but different and after having spent time with us, people walk away hungry no more.

We are like the wildflowers….full of beauty and grace.

Then there’s this gorgeousness tucked in here and there among fields of weeds…

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…Tall Ironweed…the name is descriptive of her height and stem…tall and strong so she can rise up above the weeds and bask in the glory of the sun bringing the beauty of her color to the area around her.

We were made for more.

Imagine a world where women rise above, bringing beauty among the weeds. Imagine a world where women grow strong in the Word so they are confident in who they are and Whose they are so they no longer compare themselves to each other but bask in the beauty of who they were created to be bringing color to a dank, dark world.

We are like the wildflowers…full of strength and dignity.

This little blue flower can be found almost exclusively beside the road…

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…Chicory blooms in the morning but wilts by noon, losing all her color. Not to worry she’s back the next morning blooming as bright as ever. Her roots can be roasted, ground and used to flavor coffee or as coffee itself. Cars pass her by without nary a glance.

You see, often times we (women) have days that make us wilt by noon (or sooner, yes?), having lost all color and feeling as if we blend into the background of dishes, diapers and daily grind.

We were made for more.

Even on our wilt-iest of days, we know that morning will come and with it new mercies and new blooms. We know that when life is hectic and busy and everyone is passing us by…we are not unseen. Our Father sees us and even when our blooms are wilted he will use our roots. Roots that are grounded in Christ bring the best flavor to a world who needs to taste grace and truth, mercy and love, wholeness and healing.

We are like the wildflowers…full of hope and flavor.

I was walking our property when I spotted this gem…

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…the Orange Jewelweed who at first glance seems to be hanging from nothing. Looking closer you can see the delicacy of the connection it has to the main stem of the plant. Juice from the stem of this plant will relieve the burning sensation you get from a Stinging Nettle plant.

Everyone has gotten burned by a “Stinging Nettle.” Our connection to the stem…ahem…Vine (John 15)…is crucial for healing. You may feel like you are dangling dangerously close to losing your grip…it’s ok…don’t let go, that tiny connection is all you need to remain in Him and connected to the One who brings relief to the burn. Staying connected allows healing, healing allows growth, growth allows fruit, fruit allows others to see Who it was that applied the juice that healed the burn.

We are like the wildflowers…delicately connected to the One who heals.

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So many of you who will read this are like these wildflowers: full of grace, rising above, tall and strong among the weeds, feeling the wilt that life can bring but you keep getting up the next day blooming, and staying delicately connected to the Vine.

Just like the wildflower, you have no idea of the true beauty you exude by simply being you…you just are. The world could use more Wildflower Women like you….with grace in her heart and flowers in her hair. (Mumford and Sons)

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

PS It’s giveaway time!! Sign up to receive this blog via email…all new sign ups will be put in the drawing. Already signed up? Great! Simply share this post on your social media page and let me know you did. Or you can tag 2 Wildflower Women in the comments section of my social media pages. Anyone who comments below will also be put in the drawing.

What’s the prize? Beautiful linen satchets filled with calming lavender from Emory James Fine Linens.