I am taking this e-course right now with Rachelle Mee-Chapman. Her name has been mentioned in my circles for many years, and I have always been told enthusiastically that I simply must know her, how much we have in common, etc. I guess the time has just not been right, until now . . .
I was drawn powerfully to the content of this course, but was inhibited by a lack of resources, but Rachelle partnered with the universe in a way that made it difficult, okay, impossible for me to resist the pull to this space.
In her response to my introductory email, Rachelle asked whether blogging was a way for me to articulate my experiences . . . It is a concept I have struggled with, I must admit. So, I am taking the opportunity presented to me in this process of learning to stand more fully in my own power to speak clearly and openly in a more public context and see where it leads me.
Power Stories: Week One
In this first stage, we are identifying and eliminating the old scripts we have that keep us in a place of weakness. I made a long list of moments in my memory where I felt power-filled and moments where my power was M.I.A. I unpacked and examined lovingly one of each of those experiences.
Power? Where’d you go, lassie?
When I was nearing the end of my graduate school experience, I had most of the coursework completed to finish one of two degrees. After much discernment and prayer, I was led to a place of clarity. I took this to my professors and institutional leaders. Everything seemed to be going well. I had, after all, been at the school longer than some professors by this point and had seen many of my peers graduate. I was taking the slow, thoughtful route. I felt confident and clear and like the wind of godde was at my back. Somewhere in the midst of this discussion, the head of the program I was choosing made a comment. One that to this day, I stand by as being inappropriate for the context of the conversation. She said, “There is an elephant in this room, and it’s your marriage.”
I was stunned. My husband and I had been married in the chapel there the previous year. Then he got into a PhD program in another part of the state. As painful as it was, we decided it was best for him to go. We did have many discussions about what this meant for our new marriage and I may have mistakenly shared some of this with other professors I trusted. But for this woman, who I had NOT shared anything with personally, to bring this up in a room full of men, all in positions of authority in the seminary was more than awkward. I was STUNNED. I admit, the conditions of a minister’s marriage could potentially effect the life of a congregation. But I was a student, couldn’t this conversation have occurred through the ministry formation process? At the very least, could this woman, this FEMINIST, not have expressed these concerns to me privately. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t even speak to defend myself. And worse, didn’t feel like I should have to. In my head, I saw all of the potential ministers that had graduated in my time there, with all of their own flaws and relationship troubles. Why was mine of such great concern? I made no defense, other than to say that we were working things out and if that would keep me out of the program, so be it.
I left. I later, because I believe in care-filled confronting and Matthew 18, attempted to speak to this professor in her office and perhaps regain my power. It went poorly. She denied having done anything wrong. Again, I left. And then I left school. With 72 graduate credits, I left with no degree.
It became weakness piled upon weakness. I felt powerless to the situation and that is what made me so.
In this situation I accepted a poor image of myself that I believed others had.
I was too stubborn to defend myself, but not persistent enough to have this woman held accountable.
Before that, there was such POWER
Ironically, the situation I acknowledged as one where I felt most confident and able to stand in my own power, was in the planning and experience of my own wedding. It’s another long story, but involved some conflict with friends that I ultimately refused to allow to sully the beauty of our wedding experience.
In that power story, I was confident first and foremost in my relationship with my partner and determined to honor that above all else. I put myself, my relationship and my family above everything else. I believed with all my heart that the day would ultimately be everything it needed to be regardless. I did not give in to another person’s personal issues or desire for drama. This confidence and trust brought about one of the most fulfilling experiences of love and community and accomplishment I have ever experienced. Perhaps I will tell the story in all its fullness another time.