Let the Women Become Peacemakers

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idelette-mcvicker-israel3

She knew I was leaving for Israel and Palestine on Thursday.

We stood in the Starbucks parking lot on a Saturday afternoon in Surrey. That morning, my friend Melaney had joined me at an event where I was sharing my story. She came in solidarity and friendship and her presence, as a Musqueam woman, meant something profound to me in that room. We went for coffee afterwards, weaving the strands of sisterhood and letting the Creator of the Universe hold us. We talked, telling more of our stories and hearts. This is a relationship that’s being woven and we can feel it, but we are still at the beginning of it.

Then, standing in the parking lot, saying our goodbyes, we hugged. You know when you can feel a hug? When you can feel the spaces and stories between you solidify? We stood there in that web of connection.

When we opened our eyes, she took the scarf from her shoulders—a beautiful black and red scarf with an indigenous design on it—and placed it around my neck.

Go, represent Canada, she said.

My sister, this First Woman of Canada, was sending me, blessing me, charging me. I stood and felt the weight of her words and the fullness of what the scarf meant. Then she sent me these few words later on in the day:

“I give you my scarf as a covering and it comes with my commitment to pray for you as you go. Blankets and scarves are protection for my people. In love and friendship, I am honored to witness your work on this earth and I’m honored to walk with you.”

 

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This is what holy, divinely-ordained friendship does. We weave together. We stand together. We heal together. We walk together. We send each other. We bless each other. We receive from each other. We stand in the fullness of our own stories—our pain and our joy—and we meet each other there.

When she placed the scarf around my neck and commissioned me, I responded:

Peacemakers. Truly.

The weaving of our hearts together is peacemaking. Standing in solidarity is peacemaking. Holding space for differences is peacemaking.

When I get on the plane on Thursday night, I will be embarking on a new chapter in my story. I know it. My story has come to this now. I have shared my story of pain. I have allowed the God of the Universe to meet me in my pain. I have been blessed with relationships that have healed me and are still healing me. I have been challenged to look the people I could hate most in the face and love them. I am called to HONOR EVERYONE.

And now, I am going to a place of deep conflict.

When I started my journey of healing from Apartheid, I knew I had to pay attention to where apartheid still exists in our world. I felt a charge and wrote this in my journal:

Go stand in the most divided places.

When I heard the word “apartheid” used in relation to Israel and Palestine, I knew I would go there one day. Some day. When the time was ready. It became a prayer I held in my heart.

This past summer, I met the beautiful people of the Global Immersion Project. I sat in on their Peacemaking track at the SimplyJesus Gathering and there was just this glueing together of hearts. Jer Swigart and Jon Huckins, two guys with big hearts, had language for the things I felt like we were doing here on SheLoves. They had language for some of the things I am hoping we instill and weave and build here. They had language for justice and peacemaking and the path of solidarity as it intersects with our faith.

They told me about a new initiative they are starting—an initiative to build capacity in women to be peacemakers. They believe it’s time for the women to rise. They asked if I would consider coming along. Their hope is that more of our SheLoves women would become interested in this journey and be open and ready to become peacemakers—at home, in our cities and our communities, but O, also in our world.

It’s so easy for me to become deeply saddened by the state of our world. I am wrecked by the language we fire at each other, like we want to annihilate people with our words. The dismissal, rejection, belittling, denial, dehumanizing I see on the Internet, on Facebook, on Twitter and even around tables, eat away at me. I love every one of those outlets, but my heart aches when it is used as a battlefield.

And then I remember: We are called to be peacemakers. We are not called to be peacekeepers, but we have an assignment to be makers and crafters and weavers of peace. Beautiful peace.

Peacemaking requires training. It requires capacity. It requires understanding AND heart. Spirit and soul and body. Peacemaking is about whole making. Jesus called it blessed.

Going to Israel and Palestine, is about starting a relationship with the people of the land. It is saying, I refuse to accept violence as our only solution. Going to Israel and Palestine, walking and listening and being there, will be about starting the journey of understanding. Not choosing sides. But coming alongside to listen, hear, build, strengthen, LOVE.

I long for us as women to build this capacity to be peacemakers. This is not an easy calling, because it’s not about choosing a side or hammering down an agenda. It’s not about using force, but it’s about finding a different way forward. It’s about choosing to enter into our own stories and ultimately the larger Story of our world with a heart for reconciliation, wholeness, listening and ultimately peace.

“This is a costly, creative way of life and women just naturally get that,” Jer Swigart reminds me. “It’s not a way of life for some. It’s what we’ve been designed for–all of us. There’s something of the divine DNA implanted within women that means you  know how to make peace where it seems impossible to be made. You know how to bleed so that life emerges. You have a natural propelling toward the human heart, unity and oneness. It’s costly to make peace, he adds, “and so very worth it.”

I will be flying off on Thursday night and arriving in Tel Aviv early on Saturday morning. I will be there for one week with a group of women, mostly from the United States. (Yes, we will be there during the US election!) I will be representing Canada. I will be representing this beautiful community of SheLoves—those of us who choose to be women who LOVE. I will be building capacity to be a peacemaker.

I will be posting on my Instagram and Facebook, but if you would like to enter into this journey with me as a prayer partner, I have created a private prayer group on Facebook for those of you who want to stand in solidarity and journey along. As you may know, the people who are most affected by my trip, are the ones who stay behind. Scott will be carrying our home and three children for the 10 days while I am away. This is where the real hero work happens. This is also where some very real peacemaking occurs. If you could pray for some special Grace to rest on him and my family, I would so appreciate it.

I feel like I am going on this journey for all of us, and with all of you. This is about factfinding and heartfelt listening, like Joshua. I am preparing my heart and my mind. I am listening to The Lemon Tree and reading John Paul Lederach’s The Little Book of Conflict Transformation. I will be writing and observing and praying.

And you know I will be wearing my scarf.

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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
  • Colleen Reid

    Idelette, we have never met in person but your words so often make me shout “Yes!” in my heart. I will be praying for you. And for your family for I know from being in ministry that even though you are away following God’s call, entering into one kind of battle, your family will be vulnerable to their battle as well. Satan does not like it when we are living out for Christ.
    Father God, place a hedge of protection around Idelette’s family while she is away. Lord Jesus be present with Idelette in Tel Aviv. Holy Spirit go before her, prepare hearts, ease connections, light your fire!
    Amen

    • Colleen, thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Amen and AMEN!

  • Idelette, reading this made me feel like a holy hush was falling around me – almost like you were covering all of us in your beautiful scarf by the Spirit. Actually not almost – completely! Thank you for your words, thank you for your prayer and for waiting for the right time, thank you for your courage and for your love. I will be praying for you, for Scott and your family and for all the women you will be journeying with these next few days. As the Northumbrian blessing goes, ‘may the wind always be at your back’. Xo

    • O, Naomi. I’m so honored. Thank you!

      I receive that wind and that blessing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • I want to go back and read all the links you shared in this piece, but I’ve joined the prayer group and it will be my delight to uphold you in prayer for this incredible opportunity. Especially praying for Scott and the kids as they valiantly share you with the world.

    • You are such a beautiful encourager, Michele. Thank you so so much!

  • Tasha

    Your courage and willingness remind us that there is another way and another answer to the strife and deep division across the globe. This way is new and ancient at the same time and full of hope. Thank you for stepping out and inviting us to follow, learn and join you. Praying.

    • Thank you, Tasha! I love this: “This way is new and ancient at the same time …” Yes, yes, yes!

  • Idelette, honored to be going with you in prayer and reading your words from this journey. Thank you for leading the way for us in peacemaking. We go with you! Blessings, dear sister!

    • Thank you SO much, Nicole. That blesses me so much. Thank you, xoxo

  • “You know how to bleed so that life emerges.” So raw and so true.

    I picture Jesus with his hand resting on your head, “Go in peace.” May you find peace without and within on this journey.

    Xoxo

    • Right?! These guys get it.

      Thank you for that beautiful picture, Olive. I love it. I will be keeping that in my heart.

  • Sandy Hay

    I am with you. I can feel my heart stretching across the miles. I just finished rereading Lemon Tree too. No surprise. And This photo is the first thing I see when I open my phone. xoxoxo I love you.

    • WOW! How beautiful. Thank you, Sandy. Love you too. xo

  • Roos Woller

    I love how you say our stories and healing is all woven together. It’s all about this. “The weaving of our hearts together is peacemaking.” Here, globally and every situation we enter. I would love to know more on how to build capacity to be a peacemaker.

    • Thank you my beautiful friend. You are so doing this … you are.

  • Sarah

    Inspired and encouraged by how you are following the Spirit where it leads you, Idelette. I will be praying for you and for your family, too. May you all have unexpected encounters with Divine Love and Grace during this time. xoxo

    • Thank you so much, Sarah! We can’t cry together and not have our hearts be woven together also, right? xo

  • oh i am so glad you are going with global immersion and these other amazing women.the stories you will hear, the people you will meet, the realities you will see. look forward to hearing your stories. you are a peacemaker. a woman of courage. a woman of hope. with you from afar. love and hope from colorado.

    • Thank you, Kathy! I am really looking forward to spending more time with the people of Global Immersion. I so appreciate your words and blessing. Much LOVE right back. xo

  • The weaving of our hearts together is peacemaking. Yes. Yes. Amen. And… Go stand in the most divided places. Yes, again. Peace be with you. xox

    • Thank you, Tina!

      And also with you.

      xo

  • Sarah Joslyn

    O how I love you. Peace be with you, fearless leader.

    • Thank you, my friend. And also with you. xo

  • Megan Gahan

    I was gifted a scarf when my father-in-law passed away as a reminder that I am always wrapped in prayer. There isn’t a day I don’t put it on and remember the meaning of that gift. It’s beautiful to read of the story behind your scarf, and I pray it will cover you like a mantle on your journey. Blessings on you, my friend.

    • That is so beautiful, Megan! Thank you for telling me that story and for your blessing. I so appreciate that. xo

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  • Lisette de Jager

    I read this literally the morning after returning from a week in Israel and Palestine. Such a special place…I was surprised and humbled to find peacemakers big and small (and on all the sides) right in the most conflicted area’s, men and women (and oh, the children!) of whom we can learn so very very much. Seeing your Facebook picture this morning of the sunrise in Jerusalem makes my heart ache in a beautiful and good way. Thank you for setting an example in peacemaking Idelette <3
    May this journey be of utmost blessing to you and through you and all your travel companions, you will be in my heart and prayers.