|Lifted | Raedorah 2013 | Acrylics|
Names of the Twelve who prayed for me
during a breakup to prevent my breakdown
are inscribed on the intercessors' bodies.
Believing that Christianity is synonymous with community, I was intentional about asking twelve women who had shown themselves to be friends and faith-filled to just hold me up in prayer during the 18 months of separating from the relationship which I longed to be my last and lasting.
I gave in this love so completely I moved across country; sold all of earthly goods except books, stilettos, eclectic wine glass collection, and 75% of my wardrobe. I came into this relationship, imagining I would free fall with my eyes wide open to see our forever and eyes barely squinting to make weighty our flaws.
This free fall was not out of naivety, but rooted in longing to love her without strings attached to my heart. Strings of being once burned, twice shy. Strings of fearing that I was not enough and did not have enough material wealth. Strings of my calling to public ministry in an adversarial denomination. Strings of depression. Strings of aging.
This free fall resulted in a pretty hard landing when leaving the relationship became a necessity. Realizing my bruises were now brokenness, I am forever grateful to my sisters of faith who did not sigh and suck their teeth; who did not judge and spread juicy gossip; who did not offer pithy advice instead of practical steps back to my whole, former, and fortified self.
These sisters, for whom I am eternally grateful, came to me with prayer and referrals to housing and shelters, safety and self defense measures, assurances and accountability. I give God thanks and praise for each of them for holding the phone while I ranted out of panic, wailed out of anguish, or sat in silent exhaustion. I have told them thanks for making me laugh, for reminding me I was a good mother, for pointing me to places of pleasure. When I think of how God shows up in my life, it is their faces, one by one, that come to mind.
Today, as moments of pure joy and familiar contentment break through my busyness and routines, I feel more whole -- that place where these women have carried me when I could not carry my own. Thank you. Again. Forever.