Have you ever built a new life so different than the one you had?
When I was a young girl I would dream about moving away and starting over; packing a backpack and peddling my bike into the sunset. I read more Boxcar Children books than I probably should have. I especially yearned for change when I was in that awkward pre-teen, everyone is staring at me, point in life. I had attended school with the same peer group from 2nd grade until my Senior year in small town, Mississippi. Your reputation and social group was solidified in elementary school leaving very little room for mobility. I graduated high school at just 17 years old. So naturally, I started my college education at the local community college. In those early days, I began having panic attacks from feeling suffocated from living in a place that I felt was closing in on me. My values that I didn’t quiet understand yet, did not align culturally with the normalized sexism and racism that was just as common as sweet tea. When I was finally launched, I sought out strong females to guide me. I met some amazing women along the way who helped me develop my strength and find my voice.
Some of the books that shaped me during this time included:
- The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine by Sue Monk Kidd
- The F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
- The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness by Karen Armstrong
If you have read my testimony, you will remember that my relationship with God was put on a shelf for years until I was blindsided by a failed marriage. Rather than running away, I ran to God and He gave me a new life. One that takes my breath away when I simply sit back and take note. I have been rescued by Jesus in every single way and I am still a feminist (…not but).
So that brings us up to now… Mardi Gras has come to an end. Going into Lent I have closed my social media accounts for my ‘fast.’ There have been some dirty quotes in the media recently directed at women who simple believe in equality. These quotes feel very personal and maybe I will explain why, later. For now I will ‘be still.’
During my fast, I’m going to take a walk with Sarah Bessey in her book Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women. I have no expectations but to spend a little time in prayer and contemplation. There are 12 chapters and some discussion questions. Reader, if you are out there, I would love for you to join me.