For as long as I can remember I’ve loved gathering girls/women together to hear their stories. To listen to the heart of another woman is a privilege and honor, truly a sacred encounter. This is something about which I am so passionate, I’ve spent the last several years studying, and trying to put into practice, the art of listening, story sharing, asking questions, and the practice of empathy. I longed for spaces to open up for real, candid, authentic conversations to take place…and in some seasons it seemed I waited and waited and waited. After a chat with God where I may have been a bit stern, I said, “You’ve wired me to love the hearts of women and encourage them, so why aren’t any doors opening for this to happen?” And then my sweet, tender, tell-it-like-it-is God said, “What are you waiting for? You invite them. You make the spaces. Stop waiting for the permission and formality of others. I’ve called you to this and will lead you. You ARE invited and so is EVERYONE else.”
Bob Goff said in his book, “Love Does”, to show up like you are invited…because YOU are…WE are. God made us, we’re here, and as long as we are living, we’re invited to this thing called LIFE!
Have you ever felt so passionately about something that you knew if you didn’t do something about it, you wouldn’t be being true to yourself, God, or others?
In this season of “houselessness” God’s sense of humor is shining through. The past two years my “One Word 365” or word of the year was “Intention.” I chose this word with the working definition of “being intentional” with God, others, and self (Matthew 22:37-40), pursuing life with my head, heart, and will engaged. When the New Year rolled around last month I had a dis-taste for the word “intention”…I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew it wouldn’t be my word for 2015. I’ve also always been a dreamer, having prophetic insight at times, able to see ahead or dream out into the future, but this word, “dream” also fell flat rolling around on my tongue. The word or message that kept coming to my heart was “the table.” Gather together, sit at My table, feast with Me, gather others, break bread and share life at the table…the table…the table.”
As I packed up my home office to put very few things in my computer bag for our undetermined amount of time of traveling, I found a Bible study my friend had given me 2 years prior for my birthday. I had never opened it but was “saving it for another season in my life.” God said, “It’s time to take this one with you.” Well, wouldn’t you know…the study is on hospitality, the art of nurturing spaces for real heart to heart life to take place…around the table?
“Really, Lord?! Hospitality? That’s funny! Remember the part where You have led us into this season of houselessness? Remember the part where I gave our favorite table away to a beautiful friend? So, Lord, what You are saying is, I can still practice hospitality without a table, and without a home? I’ve got to see this…”
One of the last full sentences my mom was able to speak the week before she died was in response to a question, or plea rather, I had of her. I said, “MOM! How are we supposed to live without you? How are we supposed to know how God is leading us?” Our mom had a prophetic gift and we would often check in with her for prayer and confirmation that we were, indeed, or not, on track with God on certain things.
She said, “Just keep asking Him what you are supposed to do, and then be found doing it.”
Those words have gone through my head and heart every single day since she died last June. Now it’s a prayer I say in the mornings when I greet the Lord, and sometimes throughout the day when I need to check my attitude and motives, “Father, thank You for today…may I be found in Your will, being faithful in whatever way You lead…let me be found doing what You have called me to do.”
This year I’ve chosen not to simply have good intentions or spend time dreaming about all the “what if’s” in life. Yes, living engaged is still part of my day to day, but rather, I want to SHOW UP, I want to be found in the thick of IT, I know I won’t always get it right, but this year my “One Word 365” is to do what it is I’ve been wired to do, be who HE wired me to be, and one of those ways is by gathering women to share the sacredness of our stories, wherever we may travel or land for whatever amount of time, gathering women around the table, providing spaces where every woman is invited.
I’d love to help you and the women in your life gather. If you have a group of women who are interested in digging in deeper, taking your friendship and authenticity to a whole new level, or are a new group wanting to foster a safe space for women to connect, I’d love to be there to help you get the ball rolling. If you have a retreat coming up but want someone else to facilitate the content or an event for your women’s group or small group at work, email me and let’s see what we can get on the calendar.
Also, if you live in the upper Midwest, I’m sharing about “Story” on Monday, February 23rd at 7pm in Watertown, SD, at Family Worship Center. This is open to all women, regardless of faith or church affiliation. Then, on March 6 and 7, I’ll be facilitating a workshop on sharing your story, offered during four sessions, in St. Paul, MN, at University of Northwestern, at the Set Apart Conference. I would LOVE to meet you at either one of these venues, so please check your calendar and grab some friends or neighbors or random girls you don’t know and make a night of it!
I love reading your words but the experience I’ve had with you proves that these are fake sentiments. I wish the woman that I had shared my story with years ago had followed up with actions that mirror any of the words she so beautifully pens on this blog. Yes, nobody is born an asshole but apparently some are born not worthy of your time.
Thank you, “Thisishardtoread” for sharing your heart here. I’m sorry I hurt yours. I really am, even though I’m not sure who you are. I’ve hurt people and let people down because of expectations on me I didn’t know were placed there. Everyone is worthy of everyone’s time…every single one of us…and that’s why we are meant to be in community.
Your words were successful in being hurtful. And they came at a pivotal time. I’ve pondered them and prayed over them and prayed for you and forgiven you as my first reaction was hurt, which was selfish. My best friend prayed with me and we prayed for you, as well. I’m so sorry I’ve not met your expectations. Clearly they weren’t meant for me to fulfill.