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March 8, 2013

Let Me Tell You About Her

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March 8 is International Women’s Day. While I love all the men in my life and spiritual direction practice, I thought I would share a small glimpse into hearts of the women of valor that I have the privilege of sitting with every day.

Let me tell you about her.*

Let me tell you how she was at the end of her rope, ready to give up on it all. All the talk, all the bumper stickers, all the happy-clappy Jesus-is-the-reason platitudes that made her want to throw up had pushed her right to the edges of faith. Let me tell you how she was so done, but she knew, deep inside of her, that she needed to give God another chance, one more opportunity to disappoint her.

Let me tell you how she showed up at my office, walls up. How she looked at me like she looked at all the other people who professed to have some answers, sideways, waiting for me to disappoint her. Let me tell you about the courage that kept her shields up, and, as the silence lengthened, let her drop them.

Let me tell you how she showed up the next time. Maybe a little more hopeful. And how she showed up the next time. Unsure. And how she kept showing up. Again. And again. And again.

Let me tell you about how she fumbled her way back to faith, knowing that she’d never really left.

Let me tell you how you’ll never know her story, or how much courage it really took to make it, but how you’ll feel the impact of her hungonthroughthehardtimes faith in everything she does.

Let me tell you about her.

Let me tell you about how she just wanted me to give her the right answers to the questions. How she’s spent her whole life figuring out how to do it well, pass the test, impress the judges. Let me tell you how tired she was, how broken, but how she was holding on with everything in her.

Let me tell you how she fought me with everything in her when I invited her to live in the questions. How she knew herself well enough to know that she would fall apart. Let me tell you how her spirit rose, how she showed her strength by standing stubbornly for the way she’d always done it.

Let me tell you how that strength was made perfect in weakness, and how her busy plans to scale that wall she’d been running up against became a resting in the arms of the One who was whispering to her to stop, just stop for now, beloved.

Let me tell you how all the doing it right fell away, how her sense of peace allowed her to enter any room knowing that the God of the Universe wasn’t interested in her passing a test, but living loved.

Let me tell you about her.

Let me tell you how she sat on my couch broken in spirit and bruised in body. Let me tell you how she knew that she couldn’t go back to him, but she couldn’t go to another Christian counselor who would lecture her about the sanctity of marriage.

Let me tell you about the way she trembled, the haunting of a love lost forcing her back into the cushions, the shame curling her body into a cup of despair.

Let me tell you how the Spirit spoke, and she began to believe. How she heard her Jesus call her name, and she turned from the open grave toward the face of a gardener who was inviting her back to an Eden she never knew possible.

Let me tell you how she wept, the grieving a birthing, and the travail in that childbirth brought forth a new life, a one washed clean by Christ, not because she was dirty was sin, but because He makes all things new.

Let me tell you how she gathered up the shards of her soul and made something beautiful out of the shattered pieces, His love the light that shone through into the brilliance of those who have suffered and still sing of His mercy.

Let me tell you about her.

Let me tell you about how she opened her hands to let her husband, her partner, her boyfriend step into spiritual direction with another woman. How she knew that he needed companionship as he felt blindly into place his life with God had become, not really believing that He was really there at all.

Let me tell you how she trusted another woman with the contours of the faith of the man she loved, knowing that she was too close to speak words that he could hear. Let me tell you how she held him in prayer, a silent warrior who wrapped each small moment, each wrestling in the kind of hope that only love can produce.

Let me tell you how she stood, and stood, and stood, as he wandered and wondered. How she worked, how she served, how she kept herself before her God. Let me tell you how she wove letting go into the tapestry of their lives together, and how she rejoiced when he returned, just a little more whole, just a little more able to turn toward the One who had been weeping, watching and waiting with her.

Let me tell you about her.

Let me tell you how she came exhausted, more in need of an hour’s sleep than an hour with me. Let me tell you how she arranged for a sitter, same time every two weeks, and had to wrestle the details to the ground each time anyway, a screaming child on each leg.

Let me tell you how desperate she was for God, how her alabaster jar was filled with the tears of she wept for her children as they fought their first feverish night, their first struggle with words, their first broken bone. Let me tell you how she tenderly wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair, her face to the ground as we held together the messy mixture of desire and duty, parenting and prayer.

Let me tell you how she began to practice the Presence in the laundry, and laugh at the days to come. How the daily became the holy, and both her desperation and desire didn’t diminish, but grew. How she found peace in the process, and home in the journey.

Let me tell you how she thinks no one ever sees, but knows that He does. How that’s often, not always, but often enough, and how she waits with Him for the dreams unrealized, the hopes to come, patience in the face of tomorrow.

Let me tell you about her.

As we sit together, she shows me what it is to be a woman of God, even as she searches for her identity in Him.

She is the reason I get up in the morning, the subject of my prayers, the reason I weep in gratitude for every moment I spend as a spiritual director.

She is my patron saint, she is my spiritual midwife.

 

patronsaintsmidwivessynchroblog

 

*For the purposes of confidentiality, all descriptions are composites. Any reference to specific stories have been removed and any congruence with the stories of those I journey with currently or in the past is purely coincidental.

  1. Sarah Bessey
    March 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Good gracious, Tara – left me in tears. This is so true and hard and beautiful. Thank you for sharing these women with us. Eshet chayil!

  2. Susie Shaw
    March 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Oh Tara. Thank you.