Can we talk about the little doors that open to lead us to where we are supposed to be?
Last month, I got a ticket to ReCreate16. It was sold out for weeks, but a friend posted that she wasn't able to go. There I saw Christine Caine, a powerhouse of a woman who spends her life helping women find freedom (literally -- her non-profit A21 works to end human trafficking), and her books speak to breaking the shackles of everything the world has told and sold us.
Every word out of her mouth was something I needed to hear. She spoke of the process of healing our wounds, and that recovery doesn't happen in an instant. I appreciated this truth because we want things to happen quickly. We don't want to live in the uncomfortable place, the in between. It's all over the Bible -- the wandering in the desert, the waiting for the promised land. It is not anything new, loves.
Christine speaks about the pain of transformation -- sometimes pain that's worse than the injury. Most people will not embrace the pain of recovery, she said. And to be clear: recovery can be anything -- the shame from any number of hurtful things done and said to us, or any number of hurtful things we've done and said to ourselves.
"Only when you can walk through your pain can you open the prison doors of freedom for someone else," she said. She knows, because she's walked through her pain -- reconciling being given up for adoption, sexual abuse, and her own cancer.
In Birmingham, Christine asked who was ready to step into confronting their pain, and I came forward as she prayed for us. At the break, I called my sister, who said, "I love Christine Caine! I'm leading one of her Propel groups and meeting her when she comes to speak in Jackson next month." What? Doors open.
Fast forward to last weekend, and I was standing in the Mississippi Coliseum listening to Christine Caine speak again. I heard her message loud and clear: "Jesus did not come to make us sweet and nice. He came to make us dangerous to the kingdom of darkness." I'd heard it a few weeks prior in Birmingham too, and how it clicked. (It especially clicks as a woman living in the Bible Belt where we can quote Bible verses all day long and not live it. But oh, have a slice of this delicious casserole and bless your heart.)
The Jackson Propel talk was more geared at the Propel mission -- to celebrate every woman's passion, purpose and potential. The speakers spoke to women stepping into leadership in whatever realm(s) they occupy -- board room, home, their friend group. But first, and simultaneously, we need to do the work on ourselves. And this healing, power, freedom comes from a power greater than ourselves.
Christine's words we have to keep pressing on even when it seems that things aren't changing. Even when we're doing the work and nothing seems to be happening. (Can I get a raised hand if you're in that place?) She spoke about us being created for good works but we must press into our pain. Press on. And words I needed to hear:
"You don't press on for approval, you press on from approval." You operate not for love, but from love, not for victory but from victory." Wow. What a huge perspective shift.
So back to the doors that are opened. Because my sister leads a Propel group, she was able to bring me to a meet and greet with Christine. 4,000 women and 20 of us in a room with her. She asked each woman to introduce herself. When it came to me, I couldn't help but say, "I saw you in Birmingham and I'm a person in recovery. Your words spoke so deeply to me, and have just solidified the fire in me to help other women." (I think this is what they call a testimony?)
She hugged me, a powerful embrace. When we took a group photo I slipped her a three page letter written on Embassy Suites memo pad just to let her know how much her words changed my life. She probably thought I was crazy, and I am crazy and I am a fan girl.
A fan girl for the truth. A fan girl for bold women who are unafraid to speak up.
"To breakthrough you have to press through," Christine said. And so I press on. I spent the trip home reading the final pages of Christine's book "Unashamed," which I recommend to any woman who is breathing right now. As I like to say, we all have something, I just talk about my somethings in the light.
I'm not sure what the next door is being opened for now. I know it has something to do with continuing to tell my story and telling bold truth with other women. I wait with an expectant heart and press on. xo, Erin