Well, it’s been an adventure. Many of you have walked through the birthing of this movement…this community. You’ve walked through the growing pains, the challenges, lessons, and lots of funny moments. It’s been a beautiful journey for everyone who has been involved at one point or another. As I’ve thought about what to write and what to leave with you, I’ve reminisced over the topics that have been covered and have wondered what I could possibly say to wrap up how I feel. I feel as if we are sending you off into the world, as if we have been a family and everyone is grown and leaving the nest. I wish we could sit across from each other at the table, sipping cups of coffee and sharing what our next dreams and passions are (as I have wished with every past post I have ever written).
Ladies. In my journey with A Girl Like Me I have gone from single, to wife, to mother. I’ve walked through losing loved ones, homes, and living abroad. And I’ve watched myself walk through a season of getting lost and hidden away as other people spoke identity over me. I’ve walked in and out of this, all while sharing my heart here…always being so graciously accepted and my words always being so safely taken in.
So, as I met with a young girl today and we DID sit across from each other, sipping coffee, and sharing stories it came to me as a simple sort of, hit me in the face, way.
This. This is it. This is what we, as the writers, have wanted. To encourage other young women to do what this girl is doing. Now I don’t know if she has ever read anything here, but she reminded me of you all. A young girl who took a simple college assignment, and instead of just getting it done, she decided to turn it into an opportunity, an opportunity to give voice to people’s stories. She sat there interviewing me, asking me about my story, the stories behind my tattoos, the stories behind my marriage…Even now, after sharing so many times through written word on here…it felt life giving to have someone use their voice to bring voice to my own story. To speak value over my journey.
Girls, as I sat across from her today I saw each of you. I saw what each of you now have the opportunity to do. YOU get to offer a place for other’s voices. I shared with this girl how I went through a season a while back where my desperate longing for older, Christian counsel ended with me allowing my identity and God given gifts to become suffocated. I allowed other people’s voices to dictate my obedience, or lack thereof to God. I allowed the voices to tell me I was nothing, had nothing, and that my convictions and gut checks were nothing more than a lack of grace, and that I was judgmental and prideful. I allowed those voices to sink in and take hold and before I knew it, I went from being a strong, identified, discerning woman who chose obedience to God rather than pleasing man….to being a quiet, oppressed soul, who thought, “Surely they’re right…I’m nothing more than a nobody with too much pride.” It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom and had been hurt more times than I could handle, that I came back to the realization that, “this wasn’t me”. I was given the gift of discernment and God HAD called me to be obedient in some crazy adventures. I had to re-find my identity in HIM. And find people who would speak TRUTH and LIFE (sometimes that truth is hard to hear, but if it comes from life giving voices it should never be oppressive). I also had to come to the conclusion that if I NEVER found those people…my identity would still stand strong in Him and I would challenge myself to be that person to others.
I Am A Girl Like Me and I am living fully in my identity as a Child of God.
If there is one thing I could leave with you, it would be to encourage you to be life speakers. To pour life into your words, to uplift, encourage, and challenge the women and girls around you to step boldly into their God given identity and hear….truly hear it deep down into their heart and soul….that they have a voice. You have a voice. I have a voice.
With that voice comes great responsibility
Notice how I didn’t say the good old saying, “With great power comes great responsibility?” That’s because your voice, our voices ARE powerful. It is through your voice that power is born…and that power can be used to oppress and crush, or to uplift and breathe life. We live in an era of constant voices…everyone is speaking their opinions, thoughts, and judgments on social media everyday. SO quickly they can go from being individual voices, to just noise.
YOU and I get to use that voice in a different way.
Go against the grain.
We don’t need to hide behind our computers, we don’t need to scurry shamefully under the powerful hold of someone else’s voice telling us “we can’t”, “we’re not good enough”, “God would never tell you that”, “ You’re crazy.” No. We get to be the voice that starts a new song…that sings hope and brings good challenge to a fellow girl’s soul. The challenge to stand up and DO…to DO your passions, DO your gifts, DO this thing called “loving your neighbor”, DO the crazy thing God has called you to do. And do it knowing there are girls standing by your side joining that voice. Girls Like You.
Girl’s you have power. Power in the voice given to you by the one who created you to be a doer and light. Girl’s YOU are A Girl Like Me. I AM A Girl Like Me.
I have grown and learned so much on this journey with you all. We’ve poured our hearts out onto the pages of this sacred space…we’ve read and have each been touched by different subjects shared here. Now let’s go be doers. Let’s challenge each other as we start our own movements with our own communities, schools, jobs, and friends. Let’s use this dream that Heather had…this dream to create a place for real conversations and raw, hard to talk about topics…and bring it to life. Let’s use this action Heather took as inspiration, knowing that not a single one of us walks away from this journey of A Girl Like Me unchanged. Not one of us walks away empty handed….but each of us walks away knowing we ARE A Girl Like Me…always. It just continues to pass on like dominos through all the threads of relationships created, all of who have been inspired to live bigger and do more…because of the moments shared in this space that have spilled over into every individual girl’s life.
Thanks for making this journey such a treasured gift.
Much Love to each and every one of you,