So about half a year ago, just before my little baby was born, I went to something called the “IF:Conference”
Nobody could give me a straight answer of what it was exactly about except that it was a gathering of woman who wanted to get to know Jesus. They didn’t want to know more about Jesus (trust me I know a lot about Jesus as a Religious Studies major....and as a historical figure and person he is baffling) but a gathering of women who believe He is still alive (and not like in a weird Elvis or TuPac Shakur way) but alive as GOD in heaven.
I went to the event and I felt so validated in who I am. I felt like God was saying “Yes, I am the great Creator* who made you in my image and yet totally unique.” After this I began to read some of their studies online at IF:Equip and then fell into this amazing group of women who wanted to study The Artist’s Way* by Julia Cameron which also has a ton to do with identity and our concept of God.
Then, a week or so ago the questions in the Bible study were “What part of the body of Christ are you?” and “How can you build your part of the wall?” (You’ll have to read the crazy story of Nehemiah to get the wall reference but it is worth it.) I got mad reading this, annoyed, frustrated, just uncomfortable because I don’t feel that I have a place... in the church, in the analogy, in general. But then I read this paragraph from Julia Cameron and I felt this small seed of faith start to open up.
She wrote, “I may be a good cook, a rotten housekeeper, and a strong artist. I am messy, disorganized except as pertains to writing, a demon for creative detail, and not really interested in details like polished shoes and floors. To a large degree my life is my art, I may poke into what other people think of as dead ends: a punk band that I mysteriously fall for, a piece of gospel music that hooks my inner ear, a piece of red silk i just like and add to a nice outfit, thereby ‘ruining it.’...There is a connection between self-nurturing and self-respect**. If I allow myself to be bullied and cowed by other people’s urges for me to be more normal or more nice, I sell myself out. They may like me better, feel more comfortable with my more conventional appearance and behavior, but I will hate myself.” (p.180-181)
And as I read this I thought, “I still have no idea what part of the body this correlates to but I too am a mash up of contradictions and frustrations for those who try to put me in a box. I am smart but have no common sense. I love beautiful outfits but hate spending money on clothes. I value coffee above showering, writing above sleep. I crave people’s affirmation but I also choose to speak my own mind.” All this and God uses me still. I may not know what part of the body I am but God knows. And maybe it is the sort of thing that changes with the seasons of our lives. But God knows that too. He knows the plans he has for me and they are plans for good. He never promises “normal” or “nice” but he does promise “abundant life” and that is the way I want to live. That is the way I want to build my wall. #nehemiah
**for more on this I recommend the blog selfcareforcaregivers.wordpress.com