The following few sentences are from my most recent post:
Two weeks ago, spur of the moment, I spread 30 index cards out in front of me and wrote one of 30 names of women from Scripture on each. I shuffled them. I cut the deck three times. And then, after forming a question in my mind, and taking a deep breath, I drew the top card.
I still can’t believe what I saw. (I’ll tell you that story in my next post. You won’t believe it either.)
Here’s that story.
The question I formed in my mind that day…just to test things out? Logic might have cautioned me to start with something simple, even small. Instead, I went completely and totally with my heart. So this: “My heart still feels broken. Love is lost. What wisdom and guidance is mine in this space?” (Some context: A 3+ year relationship ended this Spring – tragically, sadly, excruciatingly. And though I’ve moved on, though life has continued, though laughter and joy and even perspective and healing have come; still, I ache.)
The top card was, of all things, the woman caught in adultery. My mind raced. My heart pounded. “Oh good grief! That can’t be the card! There was no adultery. Why her? I’m not to blame!!! Out of all these cards, this is the one that appears? What’s up with that?!?
Here’s the gist of her story, found in the Gospel of John, chapter 8.
Jesus showed up in the temple and a crowd gathered so he sat down to teach them. As he was speaking, one of the religious leaders brought in a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery and put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus knelt down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When her accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I…”
I heard myself say, “If you’re right about this, Ronna; if these stories really do have value and meaning and relevance, then this one does too. This is the one you’ve chosen for a very particular reason. More, she has chosen. you.” I paused. I took another deep breath. And then I started writing.
An excerpt from my journal: This is not about adultery or even love. It is about coming out of the shadows and not letting anything or anyone allow me to feel shame. Further, it tells me that the cultural attempts to shame, harm, or accuse will fall silent when I remain focused on the divine love and total acceptance that is mine. What are the stones – once poised to be thrown, now dropped on the ground? Each are representative of the lies I’ve believed about myself. As each rock falls from the clenched fists of her accusers, it is my burden that is lightened, my posture that improves, my face that lifts and looks into the eyes of the One who sees me completely – for all I have been, am, and will be – and loves me completely. It is in this context that new relationship and love can and will thrive. Out of the shadows and into the light. Stepping forward – whole, complete, and fully loved. With this woman alongside…
I wrote much more. I pondered just how profound it was to feel so seen, so understood, so witnessed in my own pain. And more, I felt empowered. Her presence and wisdom on my behalf arrived to remind me of what I deserve, who I most truly am, and how I am to understand myself in the context of relationship – particularly with men. She called me out of the shadows – not in denial of my sadness, but in acknowledgement that I deserve more. And that I am invited to more. I deserve light. I deserve to be seen/heard in powerful, radiant, impossible-to-ignore ways.
I thought about how many times in my relational history, I have been smaller – in the shadows. The ways I’ve held back, feeling a sense of shame for being too much. And how, in the process, I’ve experienced far more darkness than light. I thought about what it must have been like for her to be accused of something worthy of death and then be called into the light; seen in such a profound and redemptive way and sent forth into a new life, a new understanding of self, a new awareness of who she most truly was. No accusation. No shame. The past behind her.
I stepped into my day standing just a little taller, unwilling to compromise, and committed to being light and light and light at all times – even if it’s blinding; believing that the right person for me will be more than willing to wear sunglasses.
Every day since then, I have drawn another card for myself and asked another question. They have included the following:
- What wisdom is mine in regards to how I make myself bigger – more present – more “me” – in the world…now, not sometime in the future? (The card – the woman – the story? AMAZING!)
- How am I to think about and move forward with Sacred Readings? (The card – the woman – the story? AMAZING!)
- I still miss this man! How am I to move forward and move on? (OMG! The card – the woman – the story? AMAZING! I probably ought to tell you this one, eventually. In many ways, it was even more powerful than the story above…)
- How do I stay in a place of confidence regarding what I have to offer through Sacred Readings and my work in general? How do I keep the inner critic at bay? (Wow! The card – the woman – the story? AMAZING!)
- And asked the day before I launched Sacred Readings: What wisdom, grace, encouragement, and even caution are mine as I begin offering this? (The card – the woman – the story? REALLY AMAZING!)
With every card I turn, my heart catches in my throat, my skin tingles, and I can feel tears just behind my eyes. I am amazed. (Did I mention that?) And I am so incredibly encouraged. For me, to be sure; but more, for you…
Sacred Readings. The wisdom of these women, their timeless stories, their ageless guidance and truth plus just a tish of my wisdom (and training and study and experience and passion) alongside. A perfect match – with no sunglasses required!
This is the way in which I can make these women’s stories known to you. This is the way in which I can invite you into their beauty, their wisdom, their strength, their companionship, their advocacy, their kindness, their love. This is the way in which I can offer you all that I so deeply long for on your behalf.