From 2012 to 2013: The SheLoves I See

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“What I am truly hungry for this year is transformation.”

I was sitting in church the other night when I realized I wasn’t dreaming big enough for us for 2013. I was pretty happy to continue along our path and follow last year’s instructions to “Keep it Simple.” We did. We kept it quite simple. No elaborate strategic plans and yet, God kept opening up new doors and opportunities (as we dreamed together about a different world) and we kept walking through them.

There was our Valentine’s Day campaign to fund ID cards for every woman—and some men—in the community of Bubanza, Burundi. Each one of us who participated and chose to purchase a $12 ID card—“blue roses,” as we started calling them–said dignity for our sisters is more important than a dozen red ones. We saw tweets and shares and support flood in from every part of the world and something Beautiful–something about our own dignity and bigger stories–got unlocked.

There was that trip to the Justice Conference in Portland. A whole carload full of us–old friends and new friends and we met up with SheLoves readers on a Sunday morning for breakfast in an Irish pub.

Then in May, at LifeWomen conference, we collected underwear for schoolgirls in Gulu, so they can wear their sanitary pads and not miss a day of class. When Stephanie Skinner asked if we could bring undies, Helen Burns said, “Yes, let’s do it!” and it still makes me smile really big when I remember how the collection bin in the foyer at Relate Church overflowed with girl underwear. It was such a simple thing to do, really, but collectively it made a huge impact. That’s been a theme, really: each one of us bringing what we have, so that together we can move mountains.

That Thursday night my lifegroup girls helped sort and pack over a 1,000 pairs of undies and a few days later Tina and I flew to Uganda. O, what a day when we met Stephanie in person for the first time. We drove up to Northern Uganda with her and James and got to meet the women at Watoto’s Living Hope Center in Gulu—the ones we had run a half-marathon for in 2011. We learned about makapads and spent two days with the girls in the local schools.

We listened in as they heard about the value of being a woman and the power of getting an education. We sat in small classrooms and heard about the obstacles they face and it still astounds me when we learned that it’s not poverty, mainly, but monthly periods that keep so many girls out of school.

A few days later we flew to Burundi, gave Kelley the biggest hug at the airport and then danced with the women in Bubanza. I wrote about it–about how we danced on holy ground that day and how heaven came very very close.

This year, we also partnered with Tara Teng and her big heart and a few of us got to go pamper girls at Deborah’s Gate, a home for victims of human trafficking in Vancouver. Everyone brought something—banana bread and drinks and cookies and fruit and veggies. We painted nails and danced and ate good food and remembered how us girls, even from so many different nations and places and stories, we’re all the same, really. And God loves us.

In August, we wrote Love Letters to our Bodies and I will never forget the Saturday Megan’s story went live and the responses started flooding in. I was away with our extended family, but my phone kept buzzing and the tears welled up fresh every time as I read the new posts added to the synchroblog.  Just a few days ago, a beautiful friend sent me a facebook message to tell me how much that simple exercise had impacted her. What a moment.

– In August, we also added monthly themes.

– We had a shindig with Jeff Goins and talked about being wrecked for the goodness of God.

– This year we also added many new writers and grew from a few hundred likes on facebook at the beginning of the year to nearly 2,000 now.

-We hosted our first ever Twitter party.

-We changed to six posts a week and began to honor Sundays as Sabbath.

In November, we added Day Editors to carry the six days on SheLoves. Holly Grantham on Mondays, Claire De Boer on Wednesdays, Sarah Richardson on Thursdays, Tina Francis on Fridays (starting January) and Winnie Lui on Saturdays.

It had to happen, because on Nov. 1, I took on a part-time job with NightShift Street Ministries in my city. The next morning I woke up, lay in bed and said cried to Jesus: How are we ever going to do this?

Within seconds the answer came, crystal clear: Empower others.

Of course! I kind of wanted to give myself a little tap on the side of the head, because our whole mission here at SheLoves is to “mobilize and empower women to transform our world together.” Duh! It was about time we started doing it well with an editorial team.

So, we had our first official editorial meeting at the beginning December. We Skyped in Rebecca, Holly and Kelley Nikondeha, while Sarah Richardson drove all the way from Tacoma, Washington to be with us. We gathered at Rose Woller’s house—a friend with heaps of experience and a big global heart, who had taken on the task of helping us think strategically and build a strong foundation. I’d told Rose this: I don’t want to just grow, I want us to build our foundation strong.

We also launched the SheLoves Mercy Christmas project–to empower and give dignity to the young women at Mercy Ministries of Canada for Christmas. It was hard and so good. I will never forget the Skype call with Rebecca on a Wednesday night—we talked about how the Chipin digits just weren’t moving and the only thing we could do was pray. We knew God had it. I was reminded again that this has never been our projects, after all, but merely God working through us and in us to help create change.

Then, a few weeks later, we asked for peanut butter and KD and ginger bread houses. When Daniela emailed me her post, I didn’t know if we could ask for more from you, our readers, but as we prayed I knew this wasn’t about what I thought could be done or asked for.

I was reminded that we are here:

– To empower others, as we are empowered.

– To mobilize others, as we are mobilized.

– To transform our world, as we are transformed.

I listed the moments that felt like Big Leaps as we entered into them this year. They were scary. Sometimes I wondered: Will we fall flat on our faces? Will we look ridiculous? Will anyone show up?

I am learning that is not the important questions to ask—those things really don’t matter. Rather, we simply need to ask: Is this God’s heart? And: Is this ours to take on?

In 2013, I want us to keep chasing after God’s heart and asking ourselves if a project is ours to take on. Or not.

Individual Lives

When I think of 2012, yes, I remember these big leaps, but I am even more aware of how God worked in our individual lives to empower us, stretch us, grow us and then help us leap to do these difficult things and the necessary things.

This year, here’s how I’ve seen empowerment in some of the individual SheLovers’ lives:

-Tina found her enough and owned the fact that she’s a photographer.

-Kelley joined Twitter (@knikondeha), owned the fact that she’s a writer and started her very own blog where she’s faithful in sharing her unique wisdom, voice and perspective.

Claire shifted big time. She moved her words from her head to her heart and continues to bring strength as she stands “with.” As an editor, she was such a big behind-the-scenes part of the Love Letter to our Bodies. To be honest, if it wasn’t for Claire, it might not have happened. I treasure this girl.

– This year, Daniela shared the thing that felt like shame–the thing she thought was holding her back–and discovered she is much bigger than her education. She also carried our Facebook page for much of the year, in spite of her fear. Seriously, another girl I couldn’t do life without.

Danielle had her third boy and keeps us on our toes with her strong, upside-down kingdom words.

-Rebecca received a new liver and became strength for us here—especially in hosting our Twitter account and now she also helps to keep me on track. Then, as a Mercy graduate, she stepped out with the Mercy Christmas project, because she knew how much it had meant to her.

-Sarah R. got hit by a truck and learned how much Jesus and people cared about her. Now she’s here and I can’t imagine SheLoves pre-Sarah.

Fiona in Luxembourg came close. It moves me so much that she can find some community with us here online, even though she’s geographically removed.

-Stephanie Skinner moved back to Montreal to hunker down and finish her degree.

Ashley made a huge leap of faith and chased her dream of moving to Uganda for five months.

Enuma became the first woman of African descent to preach at the historic American Church in Paris, plus she published another book.

Sarah Bessey got a whopping two-book deal this year and we popped some early morning apple bubbly with her to celebrate.

Abby Kelly came and stood close and shared some of the heaviness in her soul, becoming lighter and stronger.

-Winnie keeps showing up and adding her strength and story.

Michele Henter, one of our most ardent cheerleaders, just sent in her first submission.

Saskia Wishart, Rachel Pieh Jones and Holly Grantham said yes and joined us as regular contributors—women with big hearts and stunning stories.

Megan Gahan went first–for all of us–and wrote that raw and freeing Love Letter to her Body.

Emily Wierenga ran hard and so strong this year, publishing yet another book, even while mothering two extra boys in her home.

Desiree Adaway inspired with so much strength and wisdom in her Monday words, refusing to settle for less for us as women.

-Stefanie Thomas tells her stories that inspire and bring family close.

Christina Crook published her first book.

Kisa leaped to her destiny, chasing justice in a big way.

-Amy is birthing her dream.

Stacey is blooming–from India to Arizona.

Vera helped to take Relate Church’s Kids Christmas project online and give it wings.

Shekinah writes plays that are transforming her country.

-Erin launched her gorgeous new website and will be packing up her life and moving to Iraq soon.

Pam publisher her first book, Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church and found her voice.

Kathy is already running so strong and free, leading us and many communities in downward mobility.

Then there are the girls on my couches every other Thursday night. These girls take my breath away. I see transformation happening up close and personal, because they keep showing up. 

Like:

-The the one I saw go from crouching in the corner to finding her breakthrough this year.

-The one who refused to be silent any longer.

-The one who found a great job this year and now nourishes women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

-The sassy one who thinks she sells fries, but saw a glimpse of her big future in Kenya.

-The advocate who spent a night in the slums in Kenya this past summer and will never be the same.

-The one who stands up for girls, so they may know their self-worth, just like she’s discovered hers.

-The one who lives around the corner and helped pack undies and now wants to go and do the same.

-The one who still observes, mostly, but will find her voice, because she keeps showing up.

The breakthrough I’ve seen in the women who have stood close, that’s what I want for every person who comes and stand with us here on SheLoves.

Like Rebecca recently shared in her facebook status: This is hardly a magazine … We are a community, a sisterhood.

Not perfect, but how could we be? That’s how we trust God and remember how much we need Grace and each other.

Fire

I’ll be honest, there’s a fire in my belly for 2013.

 I am just not satisfied with shares and likes.

We’re not here to grow bigger and just have more likes.

For me, each “like” represents a person and I want to see her grow stronger, clearer, become more healed and whole, dream and leap. (Yes, you!)

– I want you to lead us and the women in your world in your God-sized dreams.

– I want us to draw closer and grow stronger together.

– I want us to grow into the women God created us to be.

– I want us to become transformed.

What I am truly hungry for this year is transformation.

Engagement is great, but to me, the shares mean nothing, unless, over time, we become transformed together.

In order to be part of transforming our world, we first have to experience our own personal transformation. We know this. That’s what I want to work for in 2013: To mobilize and empower more of us as individuals, so we can change our world together. You’ll learn more about these plans soon enough; meanwhile stay close. We have seen the beauty and blessing in unity.

Which brings me to my One Word for 2013: “exponential.” It’s the word that almost immediately came to mind when I first starting opening my heart to a new word for this coming year. I have to admit, I wanted to shrug it off. “Exponential” sounded like math and a bit audacious (again). It sounded like a growth campaign, but when I sat down with the dictionary and looked up “exponent,” I learned that an exponent is a champion, an advocate.

I also see a beautiful picture of “with.” Someone who comes alongside, stands with and helps unlock the true potential of another—helping to multiply those God-given gifts inside every one of us, so that more of us can rise to our true potential.

That’s what I want this year to be about: unlocking the potential in each other as we stand together.

I can’t stand with every SheLoves follower, but I can stand with some. My hope and prayer is that you will then do the same—go and stand with another, see her potential, stay with her, be a safe space for her and cheer her on to follow the God-dreams inside of her.

I am simply doing what others have done for me. I am flourishing, because women like Helen and Diane and Dorothea and Angela and Erin and Sharon and Adele and Gwen and Trinity and Ellie and every one of you I mentioned already, believe in me and cheer me on.

I believe 2013 will be our year of exponential growth, as we go and stand with others’ God-sized dreams and God-given potential and yes, find our own in the process.

– In 2013, may we go to the edges of ourselves to discover more of God.
– In 2013, may we be more of our true selves.
– In 2013, may we truly be women who Love.

Happy New Year, my SheLoves friends. I love you and treasure you.

xoxo

PS: And if you’ve read this far, you already start off 2013 with a SheLoves badge of honor. I’ll send one with Love. 😉

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker
  • Erin Wilson

    Weeping over here. To bear witness to Creator God in motion, in our midst… there is no other response for me than to weep in gratitude.

    SheLoves team… you are amazing.
    Peace xoxo

    • Erin, you were one of the first to believe in me. And you still do. Your tears and encouragement are such a deep blessing. Knowing you are “with,” gives me courage to leap. Please know that. Much Love, my friend. I am so excited to hear how YOUR year unfolds. xoox

  • Susan

    Idelette, you are truly ‘an exponent = a champion, an advocate’ and it is a privilege to know you and watch and be inspired by what God is doing in and thru you ’round the world! May 2013 truly be exponential!!! (Now, off to figure out my word for 2013!) Blessings.

    • Susan, thank you so much! And yes, I’d love to hear your word for 2013! Please let me know … You are such a lovely blessing. xoxo

  • Sherry Naron

    I heart you soooo much Idelette! Love this community!

    • O, Sherry. I heart you right back. I love that God can connect our hearts in these meaningful ways through words and collective caring. I look forward to more online community with you this year. What a blessing you are!!!! Much Love xo

  • Sarah Silvester

    Sounds amazing 🙂 Thank you for sharing such a brave vision! I will try to let it inspire me to do likewise.

    • Dear Sarah, you have been a beautiful encouragement. Thank you so much! I blesses me so much to think that you are walking along and bringing your heart to others in the same way. Let me know how it goes … xoxo

  • I’ve only been “here” recently, just getting my feet wet in this community, but your heart bleeds and cheers and swells, Idelette, in this post.
    Thanks for sharing the fire. Love that I can feel the heat.

    • Kelli, those words are so beautiful, thank you! I appreciate it deeply. I look forward to seeing more of you and your lovely feet splashing around with us. Here’s to lots more in 2013! xo

  • This is a good word. And the truth is that you are so a “with” person, Idelette, I believe it’s your anointing (<—look at me whipping out my charismatic words!). Love this community, love doing life with you.

    • O, I like you and your charismatic words and it’s this huge, beautiful privilege to be able to do life with you. xoxo

  • Hooray for exponential and transformation! Cheers and hugs and best wishes for 2013!

    • Thank you so much, Stacey! Much Love and best wishes right back to you and your beautiful family for 2013. xoxo

  • hopejem

    Happy New Year Idelette! I am so glad I met you! You have not only spoken into my life, you have encouraged me to lean in and speak out! Looking forward to joining you for another year of this journey! Lifting my glass to a healthy 2013!

    • Happy New Year! Thank you for your encouragement and support. Lifting my proverbial glass to you right now. Cheers, beautiful friend. xo

  • Holly

    I’ve got this fantastic vision of a huge key ring filled with every kind of key you can imagine (size, shape, color) and of You, my dear Idelette, standing in an open spot, right in the middle of everywhere, and you are gently shaking that key ring. And like the sound of silver bells on anklets or wind chimes hanging from a porch or the trill of church bells from some ancient chapel, those keys are moving together, making music never heard before. And each of those keys? Each one of them open doors that swing wide, ushering in Spirit winds. THAT is what SheLoves looks and sounds like to me. Music and beauty and light.
    Thank you for being the keeper of the keys, my friend. You carry them well.
    So honored and grateful to be walking this road with you.

    • What a beautiful image, Holly. I’d love to imagine it as us being an expression of the music of God’s heart. I’d love more of that.

      I am honored and grateful to walk with you. I appreciate how you hear the winds of the Spirit. Indeed you do.

    • What a beautiful image, Holly. I’d love to imagine it as us being an expression of the music of God’s heart. I’d love more of that.

      I am honored and grateful to walk with you. I appreciate how you hear the winds of the Spirit. Indeed you do.

    • What a beautiful image, Holly. I’d love to imagine it as us being an expression of the music of God’s heart. I’d love more of that.

      I am honored and grateful to walk with you. I appreciate how you hear the winds of the Spirit. Indeed you do.

  • Love these good words and the marking of the growth and the vision for a new year. So grateful for all you and this beautiful team do to speak courage to us all… thank you.

    • Dear Annie–thank you so much! You speak courage and encouragement right back! Amazing how those two words are connected. It just struck me as I wrote that. I might have to reflect on that some more … Much Love to you. I look forward to connecting with you more as well in 2013. xoxo

  • Beautiful.

    • Thank you, Rachel. I love that you are “with” now.

  • Miz Melly

    I am so inspired and encouraged by your words. Thank you. I’d love to be part of this community. Thank you for your encouragement. Wishing you a exponentially great and transformative year for 2013 from Ireland.

    • Well, hello to you in Ireland! How wonderful to hear from you … it blesses me so much that we can be a global Sisterhood. I look forward to connecting more in 2013. Much Love xoox

  • abby

    Wow! I knew I was in with something good, but I didn’t even know how busy SheLovesMagazine has been. I am so honored to be on board. In truth, this is a community. I look forward to each new day’s word like I do to meeting good friends for coffee.
    And I have been challenged in an almost scary way to do bigger things in my own small world than I have ever believed I was capable of doing.
    May God bless and keep each one of you!

    • Abby, it’s amazing how you’ve just come and stood “with” this year. I am blessed by your encouragement and how we get to journey together. I look forward to a whole year together. Much Love. xo

  • fiona lynne

    I am so glad I found this space. I’m inspired every week by the stories of redemption, of perseverance, of dreaming big for the kingdom. I like your new word, I’m excited to be part of the community walking together into the new year…

    • You bless me, girl. I was so bummed when I couldn’t direct my flight through Luxembourg or even one of the cities you suggested. But we will do this … Soon, at least, we’ll be on the same continent. I look forward to reading your One Word! Tomorrow @gritandglory will lead us in writing our One Word. Much Love xoox

      • fiona lynne

        Same continent is closer at least – I’ll take what I’m given 🙂

  • I love this. So excited to chase with you…this is my dream too. Help women to rise up into justice, goodness, grace. Excited for 2013 and look forward to partnering with you more here!

    • Hi Melissa–thank you so much! I hear the fire in your words and I am excited to chase God with you in this year too. Here’s to justice, goodness and grace, yes!

  • Amy Hunt

    Amen!

  • Makeda

    I love this one so many levels. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m new to this community but excited to be here now.

  • lilyscloset

    I just read this post and cried because it encourages me to press on towards the mark of the high calling God has laid on my heart. I don’t remember how I found SheLoves a few months ago, but I am thoroughly convinced (once again!) that God always knows who and what we need right when we need them.

    May He continue to bless and do exceeding abundantly above all you could ask or imagine in 2013. Your message has convinced me that I am on the right path as someone called to coach, mentor and disciple God’s daughters on their journeys of discovery, being, growing and becoming exactly who He created them to be.

    Be blessed and encouraged as you pursue your heart’s desires for His glory.

    Monica

  • “I want you to lead us and the women in your world in your God-sized dreams.”

    I just sat here and cried as I read all that. I don’t know what to say, its just incredible. Because it IS SO MUCH MORE than a magazine, and I feel blessed that I ever stumbled across this community. In fact I AM blessed, God definitely sent me here, and definitely grew my story here.

    I find it easy to doubt the God-sized dreams, I find it easy to doubt that God is even moving in this world; then I come here. And I remember to be the woman I am created to be, I remember that life is more than the confinements of other people’s discouragements.

    There aren’t the words to explain what SheLoves and the community here has done for me since finding it in April 2012.

    I read this today: “One woman can make a difference but together we can rock the world.”

    I would have doubted that, then I found SheLoves; the place where each and every woman and the difference she makes is celebrated, so that every piece of this puzzle rocks the world.

    I’d say I wish I had found this place sooner, but I don’t. God’s timing is perfect and just when I needed this {without realising} it was this He showed me.

    Just thank you. Every single one of you beautiful women that make this happen. And Idelette you are a true force of nature, God gives us all big plans, big dreams, I have never come across someone so ready to head right into them! Blessed by your courage, and willingness, and your wanting-to-welcome! Thank you tons. Love this place to pieces.

  • Gel

    Hi I just got recommended an article by a friend and have been reading for two hours straight!!!
    This article spoke to me particularly I have always been a late starter had kids at 32 became a pastor (with my husband) at 51 – totally didn’t see that one coming and was totally overwhelmed by the vision God gave me!
    God has been speaking to me about changing the world we live in which is easier to see locally but globally?!!!! We have been looking at being proactive and Gods timing us always perfect!
    I am going to share this with our women and I know they will be inspired they are amazing!!!
    Thank you!! And I know God will spread your tent pegs further than you could ever believe or ask for!!!!
    Gel

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  • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

    I just reread this Idelette. I remember first reading this as I healed from a year of disease, surgery, treatment and uncertainty. I remember reading this and feeling like all the hope in the world kept off the screen and filled my lungs. I remember reading this and knowing All Things Are Possible. Thank you again!