And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelations 21:5
I told Bishop Lee about my new life and what it means for my choices in 2018. In her insightful way, she identified what has happened—I have a new call upon my life. Hmm, indeed. I am finally accepting the call on my life as a writer. It means my identity of counselor, speaker, and clergy will no longer be what drives me. It also means my focus, my energy, and how I spend my time must be reshaped. I have spent most of my life writing in one form or another without giving attention to how central it is to what keeps me well and what brings me joy. I was relieved that we were not displaced as a result of Hurricane Harvey that hit Houston with a vengeance. As a counselor, I offered whatever relief I could to those whose lives were devastated. Then, as a result of listening to their stories (and sitting through four days of hurricane-force winds and rains) I had to give attention to what mattered to me; what brings me joy—not just what gives me a living. But, I also wanted to live more authentically and began to grow my courage to live in my “true place”.
This new favorite picture of my daughter, granddaughter, and me was taken when I was invited to be guest preacher on New Year’s Eve. My scripture was lectionary and was taken from Luke 2—the story of Simeon and Anna as they received the child Jesus in the Temple and proclaimed the birth of the Messiah. My title was “Being in Your True Place” and the message focused on what it means to be in your true place as Anna and Simeon were. I suggested it means you are in a place to receive a miracle. Anna and Simeon received the miracle of witnessing the Christ, the Messiah in the child brought into their presence. I want to live in my true place and to expect a miracle. I know it happens when we are in our true place, ready to receive God’s blessings.
It is not an easy thing for me to move out of my comfort zone to enter something new and unknown. Neither Moses (But he [Moses] said, “O my Lord, please send someone else.” Exodus 4:13) nor Esther (. . . if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—all alike are to be put to death. . . . I myself have not been called to come into the king for thirty days.” Esther 4:13) accepted with ease and grace the “new thing” God offered. It meant being in their true place—not necessarily physically, but spiritually. It meant changing who they thought they were to who God was calling them to become.
It also means letting go of some things to make the room to live in my true place. Part of what I have to let go is my involvement with you, my S.A.C.R.E.D. Sisters. I was not able to participate on the “peer group” calls and will not be available to attend what is shaping up to be an amazing 2018 Retreat with Dr. Angela Cowser providing leadership. I remember from our 2017 Retreat engaging with so many of you and hearing your stories; getting feedback on your Vision Boards. I left awed by the energy and excellence that lit up the room.
My prayers and heart are with you as you create a foundation for what it means to live out your call to ordained ministry and service as a Black woman. I hope your thoughts, challenges, and achievements will be recorded to become a document for Black clergywomen everywhere. Your words, “trustworthy and true”, will provide hope and a voice to Black clergywomen who may feel alone and unheard. Do tell your stories. Allow your wisdom and excellence to inform and educate our churches, denominations, and the culture on the vitality, courage, and vision you bring wherever you serve. Know that you are in your true place and miracles will result; not only in your lives, but also in the lives of those who are blessed to be in your presence.
My Benediction, to paraphrase Ephesians 6:19: I pray also for you, so that when you speak, a message may be given to you to make known with boldness the stories of what it means to be a Black woman called to ordained ministry . . . I pray that you may declare it boldly, as you must speak. Ashay. Amen. Go in Peace.