Where every presence is acknowledged, every heart is embraced and held. Where every attendance is celebrated and every absence is investigated. Where synergy radiates as individualities and differences co-labor. Where truth is spoken out of courageous love and vulnerability is comforted through a trusted receipt of love. Where misunderstandings become exercises of love and the continual discipline of the practicing of belonging, stimulates a greater reach and fluid movement.
Call me naive, but I believe that no matter how big the family, community, church or space – if I’m in it, my voice is valuable. My voice shapes considerations and adds movement to decisions. My voice either helps to remove or assists in establishing.
If there is one thing I would wish for all the women in the world, it would be that they would see their presence as a great treasure. That we would discern the integrity of where we choose to serve, worship or connect. Because our voice matters, because we know our presence is our alliance.
I have the heart of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a watchman. He blew the horn and rang the bell, raising alert of potential danger. God told him he was not responsible for how the people reacted, but that his job was to just boldly sound the alarm. So here I am. Ringing the bell.
If you didn’t already know this, I am writing a book. ((pause for an exhale of newly confident declarations!))
I am the girl who would sit in the break-room at work and listen to all the complaints, hear all the stories, take in all the frustrations – even voicing my own. I was the girl who would write them all down, presenting them to leadership on behalf of my friends with hopes of bringing about improvements. I believed in the voices of my comrades. I believed in the power of community. I believe in playing a part towards creating the change we wish to see.
I am writing about reclaiming a matriarch. If you notice all the #matriarch showing up on things I post it is because it is from the book and I’m really excited about it! My desire is to see all women adopt a posture of influence – reflecting the heart of Jesus in every domain we occupy. It is about healthy leadership. Leadership that is awake to areas of distress and alert to pressing needs.
I was fortunate to have worked under a boss who was an incredibly compelling leader. He believed in building a team of leaders to surround himself with whose talents, perspectives and experiences outmatched his own. He inquired of those whom he let go and even of those who quit, seeking to better understand weaknesses in our culture or potential blind spots. I loved that about him. He heard you. He listened to contrasting beliefs, allowing them space to weigh out truth.
One of the chapters in my book talks about being uninvited. I am going to share my own personal story that recounts a wound inflicted by church leadership. I am revealing my story in hopes to bring a greater awareness of what is really happening within our faith communities that prevents the church from being known as safe and welcoming for all. What I have discovered while beginning to share my story is that I am not alone. Not in the least.
Dis illusion takes each of us down a different path. I want to be one who gives the space for the stories to be told in hopes of raising attention. How can we, the church, advance our reach or enhance the light of our presence unless we lovingly embrace those within our walls whom we have harmed?
This is where the pastor in me comes rushing forward. I believe we must first love well those within our reach to gain privilege of being entrusted with loving those outside our sights.
This is where I need my sisters. I am asking for your story. It is out of a great love for the Church that I request the honor of telling your story. Have you been wounded by a minister or pastor? Have you gone to church leadership expressing a concern and ended up ostracized? Were you a pastor or ministry leader and a harmful experience caused you to reject the church altogether? We need your story. Your story holds great value, whether it is a healed wound or an open sore. Your story is important.
I am asking your permission to speak on your behalf, to address the church as your big sister, as a victims advocate. My heart is for the church, this is why I write. But I know firsthand how devastating spiritual wounds are and, if left unattended, can become opportunities for doubt and division to creep in. This is an attempt to be on the offense, to learn more about the areas we are weak in and move towards strengthening them. Will you join me?
You can private message me on Facebook, send me an email or write me a letter. You can sign your name or leave it blank. I will not be using names of any persons involved or of the churches they took place in. Not only is your story safe with me, it will be used to help restore the church; taking what is broken and illuminating a path towards true community.