Inviting Girls to a Global Sisterhood {PLUS: Book Giveaway}

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{Leave a thoughtful comment on this post to be entered to win the book, A Voice Becoming: A Yearlong Mother-Daughter Journey into Passionate, Purposed Living}

By Beth Bruno | Twitter: @bethhbruno

We must have looked as pathetic as we sounded when the Dutch woman stopped her bike to help us. Though we successfully made it out of Amsterdam on our bikes, onto and off the train at the right stop, we still got lost as soon as we exited the station, and had been lost, for hours. Our bike map showed numbered trails, but the trails themselves were not numbered!

The woman escorted us out of the city, through sheep pastures and over canals, to our first destination, offering the futon in her home as an alternative (so doubtful was she of our ability to survive beyond her guidance). She was the first of innumerable Dutch hosts to aide us in our journey: a multi-generational bike adventure to discover our voices amidst those of our global sisters.

My 68-year old mom, 13-year old daughter, and myself (age not important) were concluding an epic year I dubbed the Becoming year. We journeyed through stories of women, past and present, stories of strangers, heroines, and our own, to learn how women lead, love, fight, sacrifice, and create. We framed our year around Hagar, the sister who named God El Roi, the God who sees. The sister who was asked, where have you come from and where are you going?

We came to bike the Netherlands to embrace the metaphor: as every girl is launched into womanhood, where are you going is an essential question. But we also came to immerse ourselves in sister stories of strength and weakness. For does not Hagar exhibit both strength and weakness at the well when the Angel of the Lord asks her to return to her abusive mistress?

Do we not all, often, exhibit both strength and weakness?

I figured that a people who produced Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank had many more strong women to discover, but I also knew about the work going on in the infamous Red Light District. Work to empower and equip survivors of trafficking with marketable skills. Beautiful work to embrace weakness and develop strength in men and women who also had abusive masters.

As strong women raising strong girls, we need to cast a vision of the greater story God is telling through his daughters. If we were truly created in his image, then we should see similar qualities in women throughout time and throughout the world. We went looking for some in Holland.

In Gouda, we stayed with Jet. In her narrow home, we “climbed” stairs that more closely resembled a ladder, to the 3rd floor of rooms. These were for the guests, open for just a brief time before a Cambodian family came to resettle. One was already occupied by an exchange student. Over a lingering breakfast, we learned of Jet’s work to end trafficking in Southeast Asia, her commitment to developmentally disabled children as a school teacher, and the delight she takes in hospitality. In Jet, we celebrated how women create life and beauty from their gifts and passions.

In Haarlem, we retraced the steps of Corrie Ten Boom’s hiding plan. We paused in her bedroom and imagined 6 adults squeezing behind the fake wall. A courageous heroine to be sure, willing to sacrifice her own life, but truly one of many. The Dutch Resistance Museum tells the stories of hundreds of women who sacrificed similarly. And we saw, sacrifice is a movement of intentional strength to yield life.

As we ask daughters where are you going, let us invite them to a global sisterhood. As we usher girls to womanhood, let us be clear about who they are joining. They are joining a legacy. They are joining a storyline of femininity alongside El Roi, who has seen, does see, and will see.

May I ask, Do you see? Do you know where you’ve come from? Do you know where you’re going? Have you embraced the journey of becoming? If there’s one thing my mom, daughter, and I learned while perpetually lost among sheep and cheese, it is this: becoming is a gift and a reality that never ends, no matter our age.

 

GIVEWAY:

We are so thrilled to have one copy of Beth’s book to share with our readers. Share a comment on this post today until Monday at 10pm. (January 18—January 22, 2018) and enter to win a copy of A Voice Becoming: A Yearlong Mother-Daughter Journey into Passionate, Purposed Living.

A-Voice-Becoming

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About Beth:

2014Headshot1webBeth is an activist, author, and speaker, working to empower a new generation of women. Her first book, A Voice Becoming: A Yearlong Mother-Daughter Journey into Passionate, Purposed Living (Faithwords, January, 2018) calls moms to invite their daughters to join a global sisterhood. She founded and directs a non-profit to prevent human trafficking locally and raises 3 teens with her husband in Colorado.

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  • I love the Netherlands, for so many reasons, including the fact that my great great ancestors are from Utrecht. I love that you had this opportunity with both your mom and your daughter. What a beautiful invitation into becoming.

    • Beth Pandy Bruno

      The opening story is in Utrecht!

  • What an amazing journey that must have been, and as a mother to four sons, I’m (finally!) challenged to lean into that generational love and guidance among women with a new baby grand-girl. How wise of you to take focused time to communicate the big picture messages that are close to your heart.
    So wonderful to see your words here today!

  • Tammy Chase Whitney

    As I think about my own life I realize that I have been surrounded by a powerful sisterhood of women who have helped me along the way. Growing up in poverty my mom wasn’t really able to be intentional about parenting,it was kind of a mess but I am in a different spot with my daughter and I am learning as I am teaching her.

  • Stacey Pardoe

    What a beautiful image of these generations of women journeying together. It’s easy to find ourselves stuck in our own niches of homogeneous groupings, but we have much to learn about becoming through the women who have walked before us. Thanks for the reminder today.

  • Laurie McClary

    What a fascinating story and adventure. I would love to read more. As a side note, I love the cover of the book.

  • Jamie

    Sounds like an incredible journey of multiple generations! I love that idea!

  • Lynn Bolmgren

    I’ve realized that we are all called by God to speak up about what He has laid on our heart!!! And I am so thankful that there are voices all over the world doing so! If I don’t win a copy of this book, I will be purchasing it.

  • Pamela Rapelje-Trap

    Thankful for God trusting me with being my Maidie’s mama. Thankful for every moment – conversation, travel, laughter, tears, arguments, silence, holding hands watching old movies, singing to 50’s pop… she will spread her wings this May, as she graduates high school..am looking forward to learning from her this next phase of her life , and be a part of what she is becoming💖

  • Shaley Hoogendoorn

    I feel inspired just reading this. I am transition into having tween and Is is scary and confusing. This gives me great hope. I can be excited to help welcome my daughters into the Hlobal Sisterhood. I am so very grateful they can learn from the strong and loving women in my community and all over the world. Thank you!!!

    ♥️ THIS.

    As we usher girls into womanhood, let’s be clear about who they are joining.

  • Wow, I’m so inspired by your story – and even more by your vision. I have two young daughters at the moment but I know in a blink of an eye, they will be women. My vision feels rather small right now, but I trust that God is inviting me forward into a greater story. Thank you for sharing!

    • Beth Pandy Bruno

      I love that. Trust him to broaden it!

  • I’m watching my little one only 8 already struggle to figure out who she is becoming and where she is headed, especially as she straddles cultures. I love this idea of looking into more sisters around the globe for her and want to help her find her way earlier in life than I did.

    • Beth Pandy Bruno

      I’m sure there is a plethora of Bangladesh women to look to!

  • melanie h

    This book sounds wonderful, I’d love to read it.

  • Tiffany

    This sounds so beautiful! We had already planned on taking each of our kids on an international trip when they turn 13 with the hopes of growing in them a bigger, wider scope (and love) for the world. I love the idea of being even more intentional and weaving in the becoming aspect. And now considering bringing along another older woman on the trip too! I can’t wait to read this book.

    • Beth Pandy Bruno

      Sounds like this book is for you!

  • Debby

    My mom and I are on a different kind of journey. Her husband of 61 years and my daddy of 53 years went to heaven in November. I am seeing a strength and learning from her that I hope to carry on to my relationship with my daughter. I am blessed with a amazing mom.

    • Holly

      Debby,
      You are the winner of the book giveaway. Can you please email me and we will get your contact info to Beth and the publisher?
      My email is birthjoy@yahoo.com
      Thanks!

  • Holly

    Thank you everyone for reading and commenting. I’m excited to announce that the winner of Beth’s book, A Voice Becoming, is Debby.