GATHERING EVE: In the Beginning, I had a Voice

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On Not-So-Manic Mondays, pitching a book and becoming vanilla rooibos tea

By Idelette McVicker | Twitter: @idelette

I have unfinished business.

Two years ago I started intentionally writing on a work that became a piece-in-progress entitled Gathering Eve. I sat in Starbucks, Wired Monk and in my green chair at home and kept stacking words onto the mirage of an idea. Sentence by sentence, lattè-after-skinny-lattè, the work began to take shape.

Word files multiplied on my desktop.

Gathering girls

That summer I tested the ideas with a small group of friends over eight Tuesday evenings at a Wired Monk coffee shop. I showed up at with flipcharts, markers, iPod, crayons and oodles of hope that the ideas in my heart made sense and could actually mean something to someone else besides myself. We ended up having a very womb-like summer of sharing and growing together.

We gathered around a Jesus who, after multiplying a young boy’s tuna sandwiches [Creative License] to feed five thousand people, said to his disciples: “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”

We gathered ourselves: our hearts, the pieces of our stories and our strength.

We gathered as friends.

We gathered and nourished each other from our leftovers.

And we learned the miracle in nothing wasted, nothing lost.

LifeWomen

Then something kinda miraculous happened: I got to share eight weeks of Gathering Eve at our weekly LifeWomen gatherings.

My heart exploded and expanded. Again we picked up the fragments of our hearts, listened to stories from around the world and gathered strength as friends and a larger, beautiful Sisterhood.

When the series ended, there was a big trip to Colour Conference in Australia. A life-changing trip to Kenya. Back to LifeWomen conference and then the launch of this baby, SheLoves magazine. All in less than five months.

Needless to say, Gathering Eve became a folder, albeit a rather bulky one, on my desktop.

Cruising Along

Then in September last year, I made a big leap {<<blogpost}, signed up for the first ever Re:Create cruise and secured a 30-minute slot to pitch a book with Michael Hyatt, Chairman (and former CEO) of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Trouble was, I had an opportunity, but no longer believed it was my place to give voice to Gathering Eve. As time passed, I had begun listening to the voices in my head convincing me I don’t have the authority or training to write it. I felt ill-equipped and, perhaps like Eve, out of place. The more I thought about it, the more I imagined first needing at least Masters degrees in Theology, Women’s Studies, Social Work, Political Science AND Anthropology, before I dared write about Eve, women, our stories, Jesus, picking up the pieces, Sisterhood and moving mountains.

I had lost my nerve.

I decided to pitch a spiritual memoir instead.

Fast forward two weeks.

How thankful I was to have the first Sunday morning meeting time with Michael Hyatt. He was intelligent (naturally), professional (obviously), kind (he has a warm & beautiful wife and FIVE daughters; the man deserves a medal) and so human in shorts and flip-flops.

He didn’t like the title (“Roar,” what else?) and thought my voice felt contrived. (I had written the pieces in the first person; a risk that didn’t work.) We talked about the larger, universal story that had to be woven through a memoir to give it wings. (Think Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.) He also suggested to write out the story on my blog, get feedback and see what works and what doesn’t. That’s when I understood a book doesn’t have to be virgin material—and never been seen in blogworld–to be eligible for marriage with a publisher.

I learned lots, shook Mike’s hand, walked to our cabin and changed into my swimsuit.

I entered a season of quiet.

I wasn’t quite sure about my voice. The concept of having a voice felt elusive and somewhat intangible.

Plus, when SheLoves magazine first started, I wrote whenever we needed a piece for any day. I wrote on some Tuesdays, other Thursdays, a Saturday here and some Sundays. But as more writers came on board, I suddenly found I needed to land somewhere–find my place–and be consistent.

I also needed to figure out what I wanted to actually say.

I got even quieter and pleaded for Light.

What is my voice, Lord? What is it I am meant to write about?

Then a few weeks ago our church had a 24-hour prayer service. I found myself awake at 2am and showing up for a slot at 3am.

I heard this o-so-simple, yet piercing Spirit whisper: “Your authority is rooted in your love for Me.”

Simple. Clear.

I began thinking about Gathering Eve again.

Finding your Voice

I also stumbled upon a PDF called “The Six Steps to World-Changing Writing,” by Kyeli Smith and this beautiful image of what “finding your voice” means:

“Imagine yourself as a teapot.

Divinity pours water into you and it’s your responsibility, your calling, the drive that pulls you to share that water with the world. Take your herbs—your heart, your spirit, your light, mixed up in your own unique recipe—and steep that Divine Water.

The resulting tea?

That’s your voice.

Everything you write needs to be poured through this teapot—everything you share with the world needs to have a little bit of you in it.

Speak in your voice and you will change the world.”

So here I am, starting back in the garden and asking: Would you join me for tea on Mondays? I love vanilla rooibos, creamy Earl Grey or just plain Earl Grey with lots of milk and no sugar. I would love to meet here, gathering our hearts and lives so we may:

wake up

find our voices

may be established in Love

see our stories become larger than ourselves

gain strength

move some mountains.

And have tea.

* I’ll switch on the kettle.*

______________________________________________________________________

I’d love to hear your thoughts … Really, really, deeply yes. So:

  • Have you ever been in a quiet season?
  • What made you quiet?
  • Have you put any projects on hold? (Why?)
  • What have you learned in the quiet?
  • And, of course! What’s your favorite tea?
  • Image credit: Eve with apple, by Tina Francis

About Idelette:
Idelette is founding editor of shelovesmagazine.com. She’s a bit intense, granted, but she’s getting to be really okay with it. She was born and raised in South Africa which shaped her longing for justice and freedom for everyone and a deep, deep love for Africa. She also worked in Taipei as journalist and discovered that Heaven might look like lingering over oohlong tea in the mountains of Chiufen. She moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1999. She is married to Scott, has three children and loves Sisterhood. She blogs at idelette.com and tweets @idelette.

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