Here is what I know about you: Right now, in the midst, you embody the Feminine. Right now, in the midst, you inhale and exhale Sophia (wisdom as She). Right now, in the midst, you birth and behold the Sacred. Not someday. Not when your story is satisfying and happy. Right now. This story. This day. This you!

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The proclivity to want a story – a life – that is satisfying and happy is high. Western culture all but demands it while simultaneously reminding us that we don’t have it…yet. But if we will only get this, buy this, do this, achieve this, then our desires will be fulfilled. Then, but not now.

What is the balance between reality and hope, between acceptance and desire, between the present and the longed-for future?

I don’t have answers. What I do have, however, is stories. Lots of them. And they are what save me.

Admittedly, it’s a paradox: most of the stories I retell, reimagine, and redeem are painful. Women who are often the victims of violence and power, excruciating cultural norms, and silencing and invisibility that haunts. But in the midst, they are beautiful, strong, and deserving of honor. And that, from my perspective and experience, is the key:

It is in the midst that our story, our very selves, demonstrate beauty, strength, and honor beyond compare. Not someday. Not then. Not ‘if only.’ Right now.

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What if we didn’t work so hard to elude the parts of our story we’re not all that crazy about? What if we didn’t work ourselves into a frenzy to somehow get out of our current circumstances and into the ones we want? What if we learned to stay, to abide, to dwell in the midst – exactly where we are?

Beauty, strength, and honor would be (and is) ours in the midst.

An example:

Bathsheba. In going about her life, just living and being, she gets thrust into a story in which her body was dishonored, her shame prolific, her grief visceral, and her will rarely considered. It’s not an easy story. (Read it here, if you’d like.) And she is beautiful. And she is strong. And she brings forth life. And she promulgates wisdom beyond compare. In the midst.

Though I could speak endlessly of the injustice and ache within her story, this is what speaks to me: Bathsheba’s was and is a story of beauty in the midst of ugliness, strength in the midst of struggle, life in the midst of death, wisdom in the midst of foolishness, and honor in the midst of exactly its opposite.

My story is no different. Nor is yours. For we are her daughters, her lineage, her kin.

This is the Feminine enfleshed and embodied. This is Sophia in breath and voice. This is the Sacred here and now. Not someday. Not happily ever after. Right now. Within. Always. Unswerving. In the midst.

*
Because I can witness this in the story of Bathsheba (and Eve and Hagar and Rahab and Mary Magdalene and the Woman at the Well and a gloriously-infinite list of so many others), I can allow for the same in my own story. In the midst.

What if you did the same?

Here is what I know about you: Right now, in the midst, you embody the Feminine. Right now, in the midst, you inhale and exhale Sophia (wisdom as She). Right now, in the midst, you birth and behold the Sacred. Not someday. Not when your story is satisfying and happy. Right now. This story. This day. This you!

*
May it be so.


 

When I reflect on the work I most love, one-on-one SacredConversations with clients, I recognize that this is what we are talking about: how to hold the aspects of a story – past and present – that are excruciatingly hard, at times, and see the magnificent beauty that was, is, and will always be in the midst and within. The Sacred – showing up. Not some day. Right now. 

Truly, if you find yourself in the midst of hard stories (and who doesn’t), it would be gift and privilege to walk alongside you in the midst and invite you to not only occasional glimpses, but the breathtaking expanse of the Sacred, the Feminine, the Divine, the strength, and the beauty that is present (and deserving of honor) within you.

I am inviting new clients beginning in April. I hope one of them is you.

No matter what, in the midst, I hope you’ll hear the voice of your matrilineage, the Sacred Feminine Herself, speaking through, of all things, perfectly timed text-messages. From my heart to your phone. No obligation. Free for the first week. SacredTexts.

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    The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.
    ― Malcolm Gladwell,
    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

    I so get this – and love both the concept and the book. The problem though, is that we keep hoping that we’re at the tipping point, that we’ve finally arrived at that pivotal, long-awaited moment, and still it doesn’t come. It’s elusive. We start asking questions:

    What makes it happen? When will it happen? And the deeper, truer question: Will it ever happen for me?

    *
    It can be downright frustrating really, because Gladwell’s right: something about it is magic. And magic, though entrancing and even entertaining is hardly something we can control.

    In May, I will have been at this online business for six years (and blogging for four years more than that. 10 years? How is that possible?!?). I would love to be sitting here at my desk telling you that all the blog posts, all the online courses, all the social media efforts, all the auto responders, and all the pages of website copy that have been edited and edited and edited again have been sufficient to merit my own tipping point. Am I closer? To be sure. Has my labor paid off? Of course. Would I take back one bit of the time or energy I’ve expended? Definitely not. But spreading like wildfire? Uh, no.

    I cannot hope for the scales to tip if I’m not willing to do the work. 

    Even more true: I cannot hope for the scales to tip if I’m determined to do it all on my own. 

    *
    I need help. I need support. I need wise, kind council. I need advice. I need perspective. I need to be told the truth. And I need to be in relationship with people who see me as I will yet be; who recognize my capacity, my beauty, my brilliance – especially when I find that even more elusive that Gladwell’s premise.

    Gratefully, miraculously, and in the most generous of ways, I’ve had all of this and then some. Not because it has just landed in a pile at my feet (though sometimes that has been true), but because I’ve sought it out, I’ve asked hard questions, I’ve asked, period, for what I need.

    I wonder what it is that you need to tip your scales; what force needs to be exerted on your side of things so that conditions will be right when magic does finally happen…

    *
    Can I make a recommendation?

    TanyaGeislerAboutTanya Geisler

    This is the woman who will renew your faith in magic, in tipping points, and most of all in you!

    Tanya is a rare combination of the talent and expertise that supports all the labor and energy and work required to build the business/presence/life you desire and a spark of magic that I have not encountered in many others. I trust her. Implicitly. And because I want your tipping point about as much as I want my own, she is the one to get you there. Truly.

    Registration opens today for Step Into Your Starring Role (translated: let’s tip the damn scale already!) It’s a brilliant program. You could not possibly be disappointed (because such is completely impossible where Tanya is concerned). And it is what you’re looking for to move ever-closer to your own tipping point, your own place on the stage - you stepping into the life that is yours!

    SIYSR-TanyaDo your homework. Read the details. But believe me…

    …there’s no reason to think twice if you’re ready for the scales to tip, finally, on your behalf. 

    *

    Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not, With the slightest push – in just the right place – it can be tipped.
    ― Malcolm Gladwell,
    The Tipping Point

    If it feels like I’m pushing you toward Tanya and Step Into Your Starring Role, you’re right! Because Gladwell is right: “the slightest push – in just the right place.” Tanya is the one to do that with and for you. I’m certain of it – and her.

    May it be so!

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      Whoever you are: some evening take a step out of your house, which you know so well. Enormous space is near. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

      Full-MoonYesterday marked another full moon. I’m paying attention to such things these days. I’m honoring Her cycle; my own. As it waxes, letting go. As it wanes, inviting in.

      This is liturgy. This is ritual. This is the Sacred.

      *
      But it’s not the Sacred I grew up with.

      Back then I sat still in church. I listened carefully. I (tried to) dutifully obey. And though my required demeanor was calm-serene-peaceful, within was often a different story. Frustration. Longing. Grief. Desire. These emotions were parked at the door. The Perfect Persona applied, like a mask.

      I’ll be honest: it’s not fair to drop this reality only at the feet of the church. It was true in so many other aspects of my life, as well; namely my marriage and my job(s). Oh, how well I learned and practiced the rules, the expectations, the unspoken-but-practically-shouted way of being that was required. Be good. Don’t rock the boat. Stay within the lines. Practice makes perfect. Seen not heard. Sometimes not even seen.

      I’m grown up now. I no longer sit in church. And I’ve learned that obedience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Now, when my demeanor is calm, serene, and at peace, that’s actually how I feel! No emotions unexpressed. No masks. Just me. (And a lunar calendar on my wall.)

      This does not mean that I no longer believe, that I have abandoned all faith, that my heart no longer soars at a strain from a hymn or the stories that save me. In fact, just weeks ago, I did sit in church and watch my eldest daughter get baptized for a second time. 18 years ago, I held her as a newborn, silent tears rolling down my cheeks in gratitude for her miraculous presence in my life. This time she walked up three steps then stepped down into a huge hot-tub and allowed the pastor to dunk her completely under the water. Silent tears rolled down my cheeks in gratitude again – this time for her heart, her faith, her desire to express it in an acknowledged, bold, and unmasked way. Last week I sat at a fundraising banquet for the youth ministry that enraptures my youngest daughter. She texted me throughout saying, “Aren’t you having the best time?!?” I knew she was; that this is a safe and sacred space for her. More tears as I watched her sing and smile and step into the life of faith she desires. And yesterday I honored the full moon, the Sacred, my turbulent-yet-tenacious faith, and an ever-increasing love for/by the Divine (who, by the way, is totally into lunar cycles).

      This is the Sacred. Nothing prescribed. Nothing locked down by dogma or doctrine. Possible. Open. Full (like the moon). Big enough, magnificent enough, glorious enough, and grace-full enough that any and every way in which our hearts are moved can be honored, resonant, and true.

      *
      May it be so.

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        ImaginationImagination is a wonderful, healing, redeeming, strengthening, transformative thing.

        I spend a lot of my time in this act, this work, this calling – the privilege of imagining. How lucky am I?

        The stories I tell, the stories I love, are filled with imagination. It’s true! Even the stories of women in Scripture. Oh! Wait! Had you heard something else? Like they are actually carved in stone? Oh, well there’s (at least part of ) the problem! They’re not! Like any story, they are fluid, ever-changing, moving, shape-shifting, and offering meaning to their hearer through the lens of their teller.

        First told ’round campfires and in caves, the oral tradition carried their truth through the generations. Later, carved in stone (OK. I admit it: this part is true), then written on scrolls, then translated and transcribed (and imagined) again and again. Printed. Organized. Argued and fought over. And translated even more. Even still, their significance survives: in art, in poetry, in prose, in song. Ancient, sacred stories infused with imagination.

        Though many have walked away (if not run screaming into the dark) because of the ways in which these stories have become doctrine have become dogma have become dogmatism, I am not willing to do so. Because they were reimagined and retold again and again, in ever-changing ways, I can do the same. I get to do the same.

        I began to figure this out while in Seminary – not the most common place in which one uses imagination. As part of my M.Div. degree I was required to take a year of Hebrew and another of Greek. I don’t remember a bit of either, but I will never forget what I learned through them: this whole translation thing is SUPER subjective. Always has been. Always will be. And if that’s true (which it is), then I can translate and imagine and tell the stories just as well as the other guys (which yes, most of the time, have been and still are guys).

        My imagination. My perspective. My telling.

        When I imagine to my heart’s content, I am the one who is healed, redeemed, strengthened, and transformed.

        Oh, the stories I could tell you of this; the myriad of ways in which these stories (and the women within them) have changed my life. But we’d be here for days…

        “There is no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

        You may find it impossible to believe that the stories of women in Scripture could possibly still speak; more, could possibly speak to you (without the doctrine or dogma or dogmatism). I get that. “Impossible!” you say. And, like the Queen, it is my honor to continually invite you to a world of imagination, maybe even belief, and most definitely hope. Maybe not before breakfast, but hey, I’m always up for a good challenge!

        My hope(s) and endless imaginings for you?

        • That you would come to not just imagine, but know and believe that there are stories that long to be heard and known and experienced by you that will touch and embolden your heart.
        • That you would not just imagine, but know and believe that you are not alone; even more, realize that you are surrounded by an entire chorus of your matrilineage.
        • That you would not just imagine, but know and believe that your story matters.

        May it be so.


        Imagine going even one step further! Ask for a story to strengthen, companion, guide, and encourage you. I’ve got them. One. Dozens. Countless more.

        • Blessings – Totally free. From me to you. A reminder of what is most true, most amazing, most beautiful about you. I’m not imagining this!
        • SacredTexts – a snippet of a encouragement and inspiration via text message every day. The voice and heart of one of these ancient, sacred women that I’ve imagined and offer to you.
        • SacredReadings – One woman. One story. She’s choosing you. I promise.
        • SacredConversationsYour story. Me. You. Together. It’s time.
        • SacredMuse – The App. It’s on the way!!! (No, you’re not imagining anything. You do hear squeals of delight and champagne corks popping.)

        And here are but a few examples of the stories I love and the way imagine and tell them:

        My TEDx Talk is all about Eve. Here’s a post, and another, and yet another about her, as well. I’ve talked of Noah’s Wife. I’ve told of the Wives of AngelsLot’s Wife journeyed with me through 2014. Oh, and then there’s the art. And…did I mention…Eve?

        I’m just getting started.

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          Listen to my voice – the audio version of this post:

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          Though we would sometimes like to think that we have original thoughts – that we are the only one who could possibly hold such brilliant, astounding wisdom and perspective – it is far more encouraging (and far more humbling) to know that exactly the opposite is true: we are not alone in what we think, what we believe, what we fight for.

          I am no exception.

          Elizabeth Cady StantonMy heart to redeem the ancient, sacred stories of women from the ties that silence, bind, and irrelevant-ize is hardly mine alone. It is mirrored in the brave work of many women throughout time who have been committed to and compelled by the same. Chief among them, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

          A suffragist and political activist, Stanton was determined to bring a woman’s voice to a man’s text. In 1886 she attempted to form a revising committee of female biblical scholars, but was disappointed when even they found her claims suspect, namely that she did not believe the Bible to be divinely inspired. Undaunted, she tried again in 1894, this time with women who were Theosophists, New Thought Leaders, and Freethinkers. The result was The Woman’s Bible – a revolutionary work for that time; for all time.

          Maureen Fitzgerald, in her foreword to the 1993 edition says, “…Stanton chose to produce the work precisely because so many would see such a document as a scandalous, radical act…”

          I love this! Oh, what a legacy upon which I build, work, and live…a scandalous, radical act. (May it be so!)

          On August 1, 1895, Elizabeth Cady Stanton signed the forward to The Woman’s Bible with these words penned in its introduction:

          …there are some who write us that our work is a useless expenditure of force over a book that has lost its hold on the human mind. Most intelligent women, they say, regard it as the history of a rude people in a barbarous age, and have no more reverence for the Scriptures than any other work. So long as tens of thousands of Bibles are printed every year, and circulated over the whole habitable globe, and the masses in all English-speaking nations revere it as the word of God, it is vain to belittle its influence. The sentimental feelings we all have for those things we were educated to believe sacred, do not readily yield to pure reason. I distinctly remember the shudder that passed over me on seeing a mother take our family Bible to make a high seat for her child at table. It seemed such a desecration. I was tempted to protest against its use for such a purpose, and this, too, long after my reason had repudiated its divine authority.

          “The sentimental feelings we all have for those things we were educated to believe sacred, do not readily yield to pure reason.”

          *
          Indeed. I have applied reason to my beliefs, believe me. I have been well-schooled in how to do so, why it matters, and why anything less is unthinkable. Church. Sunday School. Bible studies. Christian college. Missionary work. A pastor’s wife. And a Master of Divinity degree. Hebrew. Greek. Textual Criticism. The History of Theology. The History of the Church. Old Testament. New Testament. You Name It. With little “success.”

          For all my wrestling, fighting, giving in, giving up, holding on, and hoping that somehow, someday God would make sense to me, this, so far, is not the case.

          *
          And this is the point. As long as I keep looking to make sense of God, I miss the point entirely. My pure reason defeats me because what is called for is a God beyond reason: a God in whom I place my faith.

          No, not even this.

          What is called for – and what I long for – is an understanding of the Divine that invites me to faith, period. Faith in miracles, yes. Faith in mystery, to be sure. And above all else, the means through which I hold on to faith in me.

          *
          And truth-be-told, I do not know how to hold on to faith in myself without holding on to other womens’ stories. 

          So many have said, “Why not just let the lot of them go? Why spend so much time in patriarchal texts that are not relevant? Why look at stories that tell of a God who is outdated, limiting, and no longer relatable?” Elizabeth Cady Stanton heard the same critique – 121 years ago. And that’s (at least one of the reasons) why: I’m not alone. I’m standing on her shoulders and those of the countless women of whom I tell, in whom I believe, all of whom I love.

          I am coming to see that this is the way of faith for me: letting go of the mental/rational/academic wrestling in the dark and instead, finding evidence and hope in the light of day – in the stories of women. Women who, when they fought, were seen. Women who, when they held on, were heard. Women who, when they could barely take another breath, were revived and restored. Women who, even though silenced and barely noticed, turn my eye and my deepest, truest, most compassionate heart, who call me back, again and again, to faith.

          Come, come, my conservative [or perhaps, liberal] friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is moving. Whatever your views may be as to the…proposed work, your political and social degradation are but an outgrowth of your status in the Bible…How can woman’s position be changed from that of a subordinate to an equal, without opposition, without the broadest discussion of all the questions involved in her present degradation? For so far-reaching and momentous a reform as her complete independence, an entire revolution in all existing institutions is inevitable. (Elizabeth Cady Stanton)

          An entire revolution…is inevitable. To have faith is one thing. To hold on to it, at least in my experience, is revolutionary. Thank God (and Elizabeth Cady Stanton), I’m not alone in this.


           

          This post is in honor of today’s New Moon; Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her brave, bold colleagues; the Sacred Circle of women and their stories who accompany, guide, and support me; the women in my writing group who love me beyond measure; the words that are mine to write/speak/share; my daughters and the words they will yet write/speak/share; and faith. Yes, always faith. Inevitable.


           

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