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40 Days Lighter – Day 22: Prepared for Purpose (Part 2)

Us

Robert Mulholland suggest that spiritual formation is about being transformed into the image of Christ “for the sake of others.”

Sharing our lives with others is always a risk. Authenticity, interdependence, and being known come with a cost. But the alternative to paying the cost of living a one-another life is to live cut off from God. By appropriately opening ourselves to each other in the presence of Christ we discover ways to “lay down our lives for our friends.” We learn how to become safe people who bring God’s welcoming embrace to others.

Excerpts from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us      

by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

Yesterday I started talking about being in a time of preparation. I mentioned our tendency to “think that one day we will magically arrive, like Cinderella in her pumpkin-turned-coach, at our place of purpose, instantaneously transformed” into the successful visionary we dream to become. Since fairy godmothers don’t really exist, it is fair to say that there is work to do on our part!

Yet the question remains – for what are we preparing? Some will answer that question by describing their future business, others have a vivid picture of a thriving family in mind. Still others hope to achieve academic success and other accolades or renown in their chosen field.

Ultimately, the greatest calling we ALL have on our lives, is to share this gift of life with someone else. Today, I had a small moment of transparency, that resulted in a variety of responses and reactions. Being vulnerable with those close to us can be a challenge by itself, never mind being open to “whoever will” in digital/online/virtual spaces.

Yet in my moment of pulling back the curtain for a brief moment, revealing my humanity (because I, like many, sometimes suffer from super-mom, super-wife, super-woman syndrome), I found strength in the very place from which we usually hide – I found strength in community. I was reminded that I was not the only one on this journey to discover identity, purpose, worth, value, beauty, and the list goes on. In the process I was brought to tears by those who having read my story, began to prepare themselves to tell their own.

I became aware that as I drop the weight, literally and metaphorically, as I declutter my physical, mental and emotional spaces, as I deal with the dirt under the carpet and the skeletons in the closet, moving out what does not belong – I am making room.

I am making room for community, for fellowship, for true sisterhood, genuine relationships, honest dialogue, and wholehearted, hand in hand forward movement in life.

And I am embracing this preparation process with open arms!

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Featured on “Climbing Out presents: Stories Unleashed”

Whitney Williams, MSW
Photo Credit – Zora: The Coming of the Sun by Arvia Walker

I’d like to introduce you to my beautiful friend, Whitney Williams, author at Climbing Out – a place created as means to tell her own story, where now, women are experiencing wholehearted healing through storytelling.

Being publicly transparent isn’t always easy for me… actually, it’s downright difficult. Uncomfortable. Painful even. Yet, I am discovering that it is the ability to be transparent, to be vulnerable, that brings about a greater sense of who we are, and empowers us to connect with others beyond surface level niceties.

Sharing our stories helps us to remember that we are not alone. It’s easy to judge a person based on what we see on the outside, without ever knowing the wrestling they are experiencing within. Yet when we share, it expands our capacity for compassion and opens up the pathways to empathy and mutual understanding. Sharing helps us to learn not to assume or jump to conclusions, and even helps us to discover the blind spots in our own perspective.

Climbing Out is more than a blog, more than a website. It is becoming a hub of our collective stories and experiences of tragedy turned miracle, disappointment turned unexpected joy, shame turned boldness, and bondage turned freedom.

I am grateful for this woman of God who has provided a space for women to release, connect, and experience the healing love of Christ through community!

I encourage you to check out Whitney’s story, as well as the stories of others who have joined her on this journey of Climbing Out.

Tell your story. Give someone else hope.

Thank you Whitney for leading women out of the shadows of shame and fear.

 

P.S.  – She thought enough of me to allow me to share a piece of my story for her Climbing Out presents: Stories Unleashed segment. Read, reflect, and tell us how YOU are climbing out!

 

 

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Beauties to Behold Featured on WGBY 57 Connecting Point

Jasmine Elizabeth speaks with Aliz Koletas about the Beauties to Behold program, and the socio-cultural imperatives that inspired its creation. For more information on the Beauties to Behold weekly afterschool program, please visit http://www.beautiestobehold.com.

Don’t forget to submit your “Woman of Beauty” nomination! Selected honorees will be recognized and awarded during the Beauties to Behold “Woman of Beauty” Gala. To submit your nomination, please click here and complete the form.